You commonly see recipes that call for sautéing onions before adding the rest of the ingredients. It’s not uncommon for me to sprinkle salt on the onions. However, if a recipe calls for starting with garlic in the pan I never think to salt the garlic. Would salting the garlic bring out different flavors or change the texture (or help slow the browning so as to prevent inadvertent burning.

2 Answers 2


I would generally advise against salting garlic before sautéing, but it depends on your use and style of cooking. Salting garlic is a French technique. It draws out moisture and makes it more difficult to brown (which may be what you're after).

Garlic is difficult to get right as people often over-cook it causing it to be bitter. If you're cooking garlic by itself, start with it in the cold oil and heat them together. If you are sweating the garlic and don't intend to brown it, then salting is fine and may help.

I sometimes use kosher salt when puréeing garlic with a chef's knife as this helps pulverize the garlic. A lot of your technique will depend on the recipe and how pungent you want the garlic. The more you cut, mince, or grind it (before cooking), the more caustic flavor you will get as more allicin is created. Cooking the garlic destroys the alliinase enzyme so no further allicin will be created once cooked.


Because my husband is Italian I learned a lot about cooking with garlic from his mother who came to America from the island of Ischia. When cooking with garlic she always started with a big "dallop" of olive oil in the bottom of a pot or skillet to which she added garlic that she minced with fresh parsley. Once she tossed the garlic in the hot olive oil she turned the heat very low and salted it lightly. The key to garlic is not to overheat it, cook it slow and gentle. If that rule of thumb is followed, salt will draw out and enhance the flavor you are seeking from the fresh garlic. Yum!

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