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When it comes to adding flavor to food, garlic is an absolute must. The all-star allium, known for its pungent, sharp flavor that mellows with cooking, is found in practically every savory recipe (and if you’re a garlic-lover, you probably add even more than the recipe calls for).
While our love of garlic runs deep, our collective disdain for peeling and chopping cloves runs even deeper. That’s why we recently compiled a list of all of our favorite garlic shortcuts in grocery stores. We’re not alone, either: Professional chefs feel our pain in this department, too. We reached out to a few pros to get a list of their faves. Here’s what they had to say.
“In general, I try to only use fresh products. If I were to use premade store-bought garlic, however, it would be frozen, as the integrity of the product is much better.” — Franklin Becker, chef of Benny Casanova’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“One of my favorite garlic hacks is buying already peeled garlic to make a ginger-garlic paste. All you do is combine equal parts of fresh ginger and fresh garlic and blend them together with a little water until it becomes a paste. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze until you’re ready to use it.” — Maneet Chauhan, TV personality, author, and co-founder of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee
“I love FreshDirect’s brand of garlic powder. The moment you open the cap, you can smell its glorious sweet, pungent flavor. This is always in my pantry and I find that it’s just as good as minced. Because it is a powder, it mixes into food more evenly than chunks of garlic. I use it when making garlic bread and stews, and when roasting shrimp.” — Jason Goldstein, Food Network Star finalist and recipe developer for Chop Happy
“This garlic is grated super fine; smaller than other store-bought products. After opening, you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer with no quality deterioration. I use it for marinades, dressings, and sauces. It’s almost like you took cloves and ran them over a Microplane.” — Christine Lau, executive chef of Kimika in New York City
“I absolutely love garlic confit. It has a sweet and meltingly tender quality that elevates the flavor of many dishes. I add it to hummus, pasta sauces, mayonnaise, and dressings for salads or roasted vegetables. Forestière makes a great product that is all-natural and as fresh as possible. You also get a delicious oil that the garlic is cooked in!” — Matthew Sprister, chef de cuisine of The Terrace restaurant at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, Los Angeles
“This amazing product is a true gem. It’s delicious when used as a drizzle to finish dishes like grilled vegetables, or meat, soups, stir-fries, risotto, and more.” — Ashley James, director of culinary at Di Bruno Bros. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Whenever I find jarred minced garlic in my fridge, I like to make crispy garlic! I then use that to make a chili crisp — with lots of chili oil.” — Sarah Gavigan, chef and owner of Otaku Ramen in Nashville, Tennessee
What’s your favorite garlic shortcut?