Garlic salt is a perfect savory mix of garlic and salt, and one of the most praised seasoning combinations. It can be added to pretty much anything, but it is a must in dishes such as roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, stir-fries, casseroles, and stews.
Finding a quality spice blend with no added chemicals or ingredients can be quite challenging. If you’re in need of a garlic salt substitute, look no further, since we’ve explored the best options.
The best substitutes for garlic salt
Garlic salt is essentially a seasoned salt, usually made from dried, ground garlic, and table salt. In store-bought versions, you may also find other ingredients such as anti-caking agents. What’s more, garlic salt may also be combined with other spices and dry herbs for an even more versatile spice mix.
This seasoning blend is a rather smart addition to your pantry since it’s a two-in-one seasoning option. With just a sprinkle of garlic salt, your meal gets an intoxicating aroma and the savory flavor we all love. It is also a great alternative for fresh garlic cloves, since ground garlic is much more subtle, and you don’t have to worry about the lingering smell of garlic on your hands.
Most of the garlic salt blends have a ratio of 1 part ground garlic and 3 parts salt, which dilutes the overbearing flavor of garlic. It is safe to say that garlic salt is a subtle way to add garlic to your dishes, without it taking over the entire meal. However, it is best not to go overboard with this kind of seasoning if you’re watching your salt intake, and skip adding any extra salt.
Many people confuse garlic salt for garlic powder. Garlic powder is not a seasoning mix, and it is simply dehydrated garlic in powder form, without the addition of salt. Granulated garlic, on the other hand, isn’t as finely ground, and it has a rougher texture.
Without further ado, let’s get into the best garlic salt substitutes for your recipes!
1. Homemade garlic salt
For homemade garlic salt, all you need are the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry: garlic and salt. The biggest advantage of making garlic salt from scratch is knowing exactly what goes into it and avoiding any kind of unnecessary processing that would mess up all the beneficial properties. Also, there’s always the option of creating your own custom mixture and adding other spices and herbs you like in your seasoning.
Here’s what you will need for a quick batch of homemade garlic salt:
- 1 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp granulated onion (optional)
- any additional spices and/or herbs of your choice (optional)
Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir the mixture up. Once you get a consistent mixture, store it in an airtight container or a shaker for up to 6 months.
However, if you want to preserve as much of that strong, sharp garlicky flavor, you may want to use fresh garlic. For your fresh garlic salt, you will need:
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
Add the ingredients into a blender or a food processor and blend until you get the desired texture. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees for about 45 minutes. Once it is done, the mixture will be quite chunky, so you want to process it one more time before using it.
2. Garlic powder
If you don’t have the actual mixture, you can always substitute garlic salt for garlic powder and some table salt or Kosher salt. However, keep in mind that garlic salt usually contains much more salt than garlic, so garlic isn’t as dominant. You want to season your food with salt first, and then add a little bit of garlic powder at a time to avoid going overboard with it.
Garlic powder is ground and dried-out version of garlic, and it is one of the most common seasonings in any spice cabinet. It is extremely versatile and easy to use, especially since it doesn’t burn as easily as fresh garlic. Also, it is a more subtle and delicate version of garlic, suitable even for delicate, mild dishes.
Garlic powder works great with just any savory dish, including garlic bread, dry rubs for all kinds of meats and vegetables, sauces, stews, soups, dips, and so on. It provides just the right amount of garlic aroma and flavor, and it isn’t as prevalent as fresh garlic cloves. Garlic powder is also a great option to have around if you don’t have a garlic peeler and you don’t want to deal with the smell.
Just like garlic salt, garlic powder can also be made from scratch, and the process is pretty much identical. If you have a food dehydrator, it will make the drying process even easier.
3. Granulated garlic
Think garlic powder, but with a rougher, chunkier texture. This garlic salt substitution is quite similar to garlic powder, with the only difference being in the texture. What you get from this kind of spice consistency is a stronger, sharper flavor, and a flaky texture that you can use on top of the pastry, meat, fish, or in salad dressings.
There are several advantages of using granulated garlic instead of powder. First and foremost, it is less likely to form clumps, especially if you’re making a homemade version and not using any anti-clumping ingredients. What’s more, it is more suitable for spice rubs as it mixes better with other spices due to its rough texture. Also, it doesn’t disappear in liquids, so it is the best choice for your sauces and soups.
When making granulated garlic at home, you want to follow the same procedure of garlic processing as with homemade garlic salt. The only difference between making garlic powder and granulated garlic is in the processing time, as you want to stop the blending process while garlic is still chunky.
4. Minced garlic
Minced garlic is a great substitute for garlic salt for those of you who appreciate the strong flavor of garlic and aren’t afraid to use it. As we’ve mentioned, garlic salt is a milder, more subtle garlic variation, and in this mixture, salt is much more dominant. Minced garlic, on the other hand, preserves all the sharpness of the garlic aroma, adds texture to your dishes, and a little bit goes a long way.
Of course, the most obvious way of preparing minced garlic is by chopping up some fresh garlic cloves right then and there and adding them directly into the dish. However, if you don’t feel like chopping more garlic each time you need it, you can store your minced garlic in a jar. All you need is fresh garlic, oil of your choice (we prefer light olive oil), and salt.
To make minced garlic from scratch, simply add 3 cups of freshly peeled garlic cloves into a food processor, followed by ½ cup of oil and 1 tbsp of salt. Blend until the garlic is minced, and if you want a rough chop, make sure to stop before it turns into a paste. Not only is minced garlic with a drizzle of salt a great garlic salt replacement, but the salt also has the role of preserving the garlic.
Of course, you can always find jarred minced garlic at your local spice shop or supermarket. However, keep in mind that store-bought mixtures usually contain preservatives and other artificial ingredients.
5. Garlic and salt paste
Now, this is a garlic salt equivalent that differs only in one aspect: texture. While garlic salt is obviously a powder, and therefore dry, this garlic salt alternative is in the form of a paste, which is extremely easy to incorporate into your dishes. However, remember that garlic paste does provide a more pungent, bolder flavor of garlic than the powdered version, so add just a bit at a time.
And if you haven’t come across garlic paste while grocery shopping, don’t worry – the homemade version won’t take too much time nor effort. For homemade garlic and salt paste, you want to chop a couple of cloves of garlic (depending on how much paste you need), season with salt, and mash using a fork. This way, the salt crystals will help the garlic dissolve into a fine, smooth paste.
However, if you don’t want to risk bumping across some garlic chunks, you can always use a blender or a food processor to make the smoothest paste. Mashing garlic cloves with a fork, though, preserves all the natural garlic juices which may disappear in a food processor.
6. Garlic juice and salt
Garlic juice is basically a pureed form of garlic, available both as an extract and juice. As opposed to other options we’ve mentioned, when making garlic juice, the focus isn’t on the garlic, but the liquid that remains after processing it. It is made by pureeing fresh garlic cloves in a food processor, then straining the mixture and storing the juice.
Even though garlic juice is made from fresh garlic, it doesn’t contain actual garlic parts and is, therefore, a much “softer” alternative to other garlic products. For instance, ½ tsp of garlic juice equals ¼ tsp of granulated garlic or ⅛ tsp of garlic powder. That being said, it is precisely the mildness of garlic juice that makes it a great substitution for garlic salt, since it is also a diluted garlic version.
You can mix garlic juice and salt into your salad dressing, as well as soups, sauces, and dips. The juice will provide a subtle touch of garlic, while the salt will add that savory note.
7. Garlic oil
Garlic oil is perhaps the most delicate garlic salt substitute, adding just a pinch of garlic flavor to your meals. This option is perfect for those of you who can’t handle the richness and sharpness of the full garlic flavor, yet still want to achieve a hint of garlicky aroma. It is available in stores in numerous combinations with other spices and herbs, but you can also make it at home using your favorite oil.
For homemade garlic oil, you will need:
- 1 head garlic
- 1 cup oil of your choice (we recommend extra-virgin olive oil)
- spices and/or dry herbs of your choice (optional).
Add peeled garlic cloves into a pot and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring and making sure that the cloves don’t burn (if the garlic starts turning brown, reduce the heat to low). Cook for about 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature for 45 minutes.
8. Garlic flakes and salt
Garlic flakes are larger dehydrated pieces of garlic, which have a fuller, richer garlic taste than garlic powder and granulated garlic. These flakes are an ideal choice if you want that full garlic flavor, yet still not have it take over the entire meal.
They’re also very easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about peeling, cutting, or processing the garlic. To substitute a teaspoon of garlic salt, combine ½ tsp of garlic flakes and ¾ tsp of salt.
9. Spice mixes
If you find garlic salt to be too plain and you want a more exciting alternative, you can always play around with different flavors and aromas and create your own spice mix. Both garlic and salt combine well with other spices and herbs, so whatever the outcome may be, you can’t go wrong with a homemade spice mix.
And if you’re not in the mood for making your own spice blends, you can find numerous pre-made spice mixes including both garlic and salt.
How to choose a garlic salt substitute
When choosing a garlic salt substitute, it is important to decide whether you want a fuller garlic flavor or a more subtle alternative. The type of dish you’re preparing is also important when making a decision.
Homemade garlic salt is hands down the best choice. It is even better than the garlic salt you find at the store, and it doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen. If you don’t want to bother with drying fresh garlic cloves, you can simply combine any garlic powder, granulated garlic, or garlic flakes with Kosher salt, and you’ll have yourself some homemade garlic salt.
Minced garlic, as well as garlic and salt paste, are more garlicky options when you need a richer, more complex flavor. If you don’t want to dilute any of the garlic smell or aroma, you can’t go wrong with either of these options. Needless to say, it is easy to go overboard with these even if you really love your garlic, so start with the tiniest amount and add more as you go, if needed.
Garlic juice and salt mixture, spice mixes including garlic and salt, as well as garlic oil, are all great ways of avoiding that overbearing garlic flavor, yet still adding just a hint of its beautiful aroma to your cooking.