In this report

Garlic: Fresh vs. processed

Last reviewed: December 2011
Garlic cloves

Our trained testers were lucky enough to eat chocolate-chip cookies for this issue, but they also had to taste eight types of garlic—straight up. They tasted one sample of each type. Then they tried several of the types in cold dip and in mashed potatoes. The goal: to see whether convenience comes at the price of flavor

The table shows how each type tasted straight. In the dip and potatoes, garlic powder was fine though quite mild, and jarred minced garlic was OK. Freeze-dried garlic had a mild flavor in mashed potatoes and a big garlic flavor and some bitterness in the dip, and frozen garlic cubes had some off-tastes. Note that some garlic types have added ingredients such as oil, salt, and citric acid, and those might change the flavor.

Bottom line

Fresh garlic is best. Store it uncovered or loosely covered in a cool, dry place, and toss it when it starts to sprout, becomes soft, or shrivels. The powder and the freeze-dried garlic we tried would work fine in some savory foods such as stew. Garlic alternatives often require refrigeration or freezing.

Tasters’ notes

December 2011 Consumer Reports' trained testers notes on garlic