Oven Roasted Whole Garlic Bulbs

I love garlic but I particular love oven roasted garlic. The sharp garlic flavour mellows becomes smoky and the cloves soften and lightly  brown. The cloves will slip right out and can be eaten as is (honest!) or mashed and used in any number of ways. You can spread a clove or two straight onto bread as a condiment; substitute roasted cloves for raw garlic in many dishes to give a milder, more delicate flavour; mix a few cloves into mashed potatoes; combine with mayo, soured cream or yogurt for a delicious dip, burger topping or addition to sandwiches; mix a few cloves with softened butter for terrific garlic bread or to serve with a steak; add to home-made bread recipes; use as a marinade or stuffing ingredient or in place of raw garlic in pesto recipes; create your own roast garlic tomato sauces. The list of uses is practically endless, you can pretty much let your imagination run riot.


So without further ado, here is my preferred method for roasting garlic. It’s simple, the results are super yummy and no special equipment needed! I like to roast four large bulbs at a time, but you can of course do one or more, the method is exactly the same regardless of the number you roast.

Here’s what you need

  • large firm garlic bulb(s)
  • olive oil (cold pressed is best)
  • salt & pepper (freshly ground)
  • tin foil
  • oven safe shallow roasting dish (round works best)

Here’s what you do

Pre heat your oven to 200C

Take a large pice of foil and place it in the bottom of your oven-safe dish with plenty of foil left to be able to complete cover and seal the garlic bulbs.

Whilst the oven is heating up, trim any roots from the bottom of the garlic bulbs, this will help the bulbs stay upright during roasting, and peel off any lose skin layers but try not to expose the individual cloves.

With a sharp knife cut off about a centimetre off the top of each bulb to expose some of the individual cloves.

Place all of the garlic bulbs in your dish. They want to be nice and snug whilst they roast. Slowly add a good slug of olive oil to the top of the exposed bulbs so that it seeps between the individual cloves.

Cover the bulbs with the foil and crumple together round all the edges to seal. This helps the bulbs to roast and traps the steam to keep the cloves moist & prevents them from drying out.


Place the dish in the oven and roast on middle shelf for at least an hour. After an hour carefully open the foil package to release the steam. Test the cloves – they should be nicely soft and lightly brown.

Roasted garlic bulbs in a small pool of olive oil

Allow the bulbs to cool in the dish. as the bulb cool the pool of olive oil is reabsorbed by the roasted bulbs.

Olive oil reabsorbed by garlic bulbs

Once cooled you can carefully remove the outer layers of skin and separate the individual bulbs. I would highly recommend wearing vinyl latex-free gloves for this stage.

Peel back the out layer of skin and gently remove the out circle of individual cloves, try not to squeeze as you peel. You should be able to remove the root-base of the bulb at this stage which will help in the separation of the inner cloves.

I tend to keep the smaller cloves and any that no longer have there individual clove skins intact in the fridge they should keep well for a few days or so in an air tight container. The larger cloves I freeze for later uses.

To freeze your roasted garlic, placing the individual bulbs on a tray and freezing overnight. The next day place the frozen bulbs in a freezer proof box or zip-lock plastic bag removing all the air to help prevent freezer burn. If you have a vacuum sealer, vacuum seal the frozen cloves in small batches – I tend to do groups of four, but as I said at the beginning of the post I love the flavour of oven roasted garlic. Don’t forget to return the bags of clove to the freezer!!!


I’d love to hear how you use your oven roasted garlic, so do drop me a line with your  garlicky recipes.


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