Garlic powder and garlic salt are popular seasonings in the United States, allowing cooks to add punchy garlic flavor with the shake of a bottle. Would you like to know which is best for your spice rack?
We’re about to compare these two ingredients so that you know when to use them in the kitchen.
What is the difference between garlic powder and garlic salt?
Garlic powder is a ground spice that has an intense garlicky flavor, ideal for sprinkling into marinades, stews, sauces, and rubs. Garlic salt combines garlic powder with salt and can be stirred into recipes or sprinkled onto food at the table. It has a less intense taste than the powder but can quickly oversalt a dish if too much is added.
In commercial products, other ingredients are often added to garlic powder like oil, parsley, and calcium silicate to make the spice free-flowing.
Comparing the taste of garlic powder and salt
While they both have a similar garlic flavor, garlic salt has a diluted, less powerful taste. It is more like a regular salt that has some garlicky flavor added to spice up the dish.
Garlic powder has the potential to overpower food if it is used liberally. It tastes much sweeter than freshly minced garlic.
Can I substitute garlic powder for garlic salt?
Garlic powder can be used as an alternative to garlic salt in cooking. Unless you love pungent garlicky dishes, use half the amount of powder.
If you want to mimic the taste of garlic salt, combine garlic powder with salt in a small bowl before adding it to other foods. Use a ratio of 3 parts salt to 1 part garlic powder in homemade mixes, then add extra garlic powder if you enjoy a punchier seasoning.
Tip: Saltiness can be added to garlic powder using alternatives to salt, such as miso powder, stock, or oyster sauce.
Can I substitute garlic salt for garlic powder?
Although garlic salt can be used to replace garlic powder in a dish, the flavor intensity will be reduced. You can add extra garlic salt, but increase the ratios with care, as the dish will quickly become salty.
Best uses in cooking
Garlic powder is a versatile spice that should be added early in cooking to allow the powder sufficient time to absorb the liquid.
- mix into dry rubs, soups, sauces, marinades, and stews.
- incorporate into savory muffins and other baked goods.
- add warmth to Mexican and Italian dishes.
- use with liquids like brine for dispersing garlic flavor more easily than fresh garlic.
Garlic salt is useful to keep in the spice rack as it can be paired with other recipe ingredients or left on the table as an alternative to regular salt.
- add flavor to dips, stews, sauces, and dry rubs.
- mash into potatoes for an extra depth of flavor.
- sprinkle into dishes like hamburgers, casseroles, beef tacos, and baked ziti.
- shake garlic salt onto cooked vegetables, fries, popcorn, or anything else that needs a little oomph.
Garlic powder and salt are both excellent options when you don’t want to overpower a recipe with raw garlic. Dressings are a good example, which can become seriously pungent with the addition of the raw spice. Dry seasonings are also a great choice if you want to add flavor without the stickiness that comes from fresh garlic. Spice rubs are a perfect match for dried garlic spices.
The biggest nutritional difference between garlic powder and garlic salt is their sodium levels. We checked the labels on the most popular brands of each seasoning and found that:
- most garlic powders contain no sodium or very small amounts.
- garlic salt has high levels of sodium, with one major brand containing 260mg of sodium per ¼ teaspoon.
If you’re on a low-sodium diet then your best option is to use garlic powder. For everyone else, either option will provide similar nutritional benefits, but garlic salt should always be used in moderation.
What is the difference between garlic powder and fresh garlic?
Garlic powder offers a similar flavor to fresh garlic, but it lacks the freshness and bite. The powder doesn’t have a lot of depth, so you won’t get any heat or extreme aftertaste that comes from fresh garlic. You can use both ingredients together in recipes to get different layers of garlicky goodness in one dish.
What is the difference between garlic powder and minced garlic?
Minced garlic has a fresher, more powerful flavor than powdered garlic. In cooking, you’d use minced garlic like you would the fresh spice. It can be sautèed with other vegetables like onion, celery, and chili pepper to release the aromatics before adding other ingredients. Sautèed garlic powder will burn easily, and is best incorporated with other ingredients and given time to cook.
Helpful garlic conversions
|Original ingredient||Substitute ingredient|
|1 tsp garlic salt||¾ tsp salt + ¼ tsp garlic powder|
|⅛ tsp garlic powder||1 garlic clove|
|½ tsp garlic salt||1 garlic clove|
|¾ tsp garlic powder||3 tsp minced garlic|
Can garlic powder and garlic salt be used interchangeably?
If you’ve got no garlic salt, then combine salt and garlic powder in a ratio of 3:1. This will provide a garlic salt that is similar to the store-bought products. To replace garlic powder, you can use garlic salt, but the flavor will be much less intense. Of course, you can add double the garlic salt, but your dish will turn out salty.
Garlic powder and salt both offer an easy way to add garlic flavor to a dish. Either is a good option if you want to avoid the hassle of peeling cloves or you want to avoid the bitey taste that comes from freshly crushed garlic.
Garlic powder will work better in dishes that are cooked, while garlic salt also doubles as a table seasoning, perfect for adding a burst of flavor to food.
You may also want to try granulated garlic which has a coarser texture than garlic powder. The benefit of granules is that they don’t clump as easily and are ideal for sauces, dressings, and soups.