How many garlic cloves in a bulb? (1 important variable)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How many garlic cloves are in a bulb?’. We will discuss the average number of garlic cloves that we can expect in a bulb and the factors that cause the number of cloves to vary.

How many garlic cloves in a bulb?

A Garlic bulb starts as one whole which, then splits into anywhere from 5-10 cloves. The garlic head grows underground, where it multiplies into cloves with which we are familiar. 

Garlic is one of the most common flavoring agents. The distinct spicy and pungent flavor makes it an essential ingredient for many dishes.

Garlic releases sulfide compounds that are volatile. Volatile compounds contribute to the aroma that we add to our food.

The nutrients found in garlic are Selenium, Manganese, Vitamin B6, and copper.

The health benefits of garlic are not limited to controlling blood pressure, but research suggests that it protects from the common cold as well. Garlic also has antioxidants and the ability to lower cholesterol levels.

What are a few things to know about garlic?

The entire garlic bulb is referred to as ‘head’ sometimes. The bulbs cling to a papery skin which engulfs the garlic head too. A plant of garlic bears one garlic bulb beneath the ground. 

The garlic clove is like an irregularly shaped pod with a rough root at one end with the other pointed end.

A clove can be as small as 1 inch; the longer ones can be up to 2.4 inches. The diameter is usually 1/2 inch for the smaller ones, while the big ones are 1 inch.

Usually, the garlic that we buy at the grocery store has 10-12 cloves. However, there are garlic varieties that can vary the number. The Hard Neck Garlic is capable of growing 30-40 cloves in one bulb. 

Even though it is botanically a vegetable, it is used as a herb or a spice by most people. 

Some recipes use a quarter cup of minced garlic that is equal to 3 cloves. However, garlic comes in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, it may be a little hard to determine how many you need. 


Other FAQs about Garlic which you may be interested in.

How much are 2 cloves of garlic equal in tablespoons?

How many cloves can you expect to find in a garlic bulb?

According to a survey, medium-sized garlic has 10-12 cloves. However, in some instances, you can expect your local garlic to have 8- 11 cloves.

If you buy a 2 1/2 inch garlic bulb, you will get around 11 garlic cloves. Not every 2 1/2 inch clove will have around 11 cloves because the clove size can cause the number to vary.

If you explore a wide variety of garlic in nature, you may find the number of cloves to vary from 5 to 35.

How to decide the quantity of garlic you need?

Depending on the size and variety, you may find that excess garlic cloves may need to be put aside. Garlic has an overpowering flavor that acts as a flavor enhancer. 

Even though you may prefer to add a whole garlic clove or mince it up, it is available in its alternative forms. However, if you buy flakes or powder from the store, you can expect it to have a milder flavor profile. 

No recipe will ask you to use an entire garlic head. You will need a few cloves at most. Garlic has an overwhelming flavor and, for most foods that you cook, a pinch will be sufficient.

A small clove of garlic is equal to half teaspoons and, the big ones are equal to 1.5 teaspoons. Accordingly, a medium-sized clove will yield one rounded teaspoon of garlic.

When you cook, try adding a bit of cut-up clove at a time. If you are unfamiliar with the kind of garlic that you are using, add only a chunk of clove at a time.

Can you store Garlic Cloves?

If your garlic cloves are more than you could use, you can store them for later use. You can store it in the fridge or freezer. Better yet, you can make it into a garlic paste that keeps for at least a month. You could also dry it in the oven and grind it to make garlic flakes or powder.

When you are using garlic in your recipe, a concern for the size is not your only worry; the variety can also impact the number of cloves you might need.

A clove of garlic can weigh 1 gram to 6 grams. However, the flavor intensity can vary. Garlic from a backyard where it was organically grown, will have a rich flavor profile. However, packaged or processed garlic will not have a flavor as intense as the primitive whole garlic. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How many garlic cloves are in a bulb?’. We discussed the average number of garlic cloves found in a bulb and the factors that cause the number of cloves to vary.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.