I'd like to make roasted garlic, but I don't have an oven, only a gas range. Is there any way for me to get the same results with the range as I would in a conventional oven?

  • If not an oven what cooking implements do you have? Stove? Charcoal Grill? – Cos Callis Jun 26 '11 at 19:32
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    Since you ipso facto cannot "roast" something without a source of dry heat (and you really don't want to try using an open flame), I've edited this question to refer to something slightly more realistic. – Aaronut Jun 27 '11 at 17:25

I have had great results by taking individual garlic cloves and cutting the root end off each, but leaving them in their papery skins.

Then you put those dry into a small saucepan (ideally one with a thick bottom) over low-to-medium heat. Put a lid on it, and let it go for 20 minutes or so, shaking vigorously every couple of minutes to turn the cloves over. When the cloves are really soft, you're done.

The paper skins protect the garlic cloves from burning, but the direct contact with the hot pan cooks them nicely. When you're done you can squeeze the soft, roasted garlic goodness out of the root end of the skins. This is a particularly nice technique when you want roasted garlic flavor but only need a few cloves, not a whole head.

The first time I did a recipe that called for this process, I was sure the garlic would scorch or the skins would catch fire, but it worked great.

  • Thanks, your method looks promising, I'll try that and get back. I would like to know roughly how much amount of time is need to cook this on a very low flame? – Aquarius_Girl Jun 28 '11 at 3:01
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    @anisha kaul: I wish I could tell you exactly, but that's really dependent on your cooker and your pot. I'd suggest putting in more garlic cloves than you need for your recipe, and testing one of the extra ones for doneness when you think you're getting close. When they're done, the insides will be very soft and will squeeze out of the skins and spread easily. – bikeboy389 Jun 28 '11 at 13:38
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    I tried this yesterday, putting 10 cloves on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tava, covered them with a steel plate. They developed a brown burned line on them, when I ate them they tasted burnt. :( – Aquarius_Girl Jun 29 '11 at 6:15
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    I'm sorry to hear this didn't work for you. All I can suggest is that maybe your heat was too high, or you didn't turn them often enough, or both. Perhaps this technique isn't as failure-proof for everyone as it has been for me, since it probably requires more experience than I thought to get the balance between temperature and turning and time. – bikeboy389 Jun 29 '11 at 13:36
  • Heat wasn't high, but I didn't turn them "often", and too because I had put a lid over them. :) – Aquarius_Girl Jul 7 '11 at 5:16

You can get the same result by frying the garlic in a saucepan of oil.

Place peeled cloves in a saucepan and add enough light olive oil or canola oil to just cover the cloves. Cook at medium to medium-low heat, stirring not too often until the garlic becomes golden brown.

Strain the cloves into a strainer or colander to remove excess oil, but save as much of the oil as you can. It is now filled with the lovely roasted garlic flavor, and is wonderful for sauces, salad dressings, and drizzling over cooked foods.

If you don't mind a less-neutral base oil, you can use good extra-virgin olive oil instead of light olive oil. The resulting infused oil will have an even richer flavor.

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    Thanks Bob, but if the oil is involved it will be called frying rather than roasting, isn't it? Nevertheless, I shall try the same and get back to you. :) – Aquarius_Girl Jun 26 '11 at 8:45
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    Technically it's not roasting if there's not an oven involved, true. But the result is the same. Just be careful not to use too high heat; I assure you it works, I've had it demonstrated to me in a fine dining restaurant kitchen, and have done it myself. – BobMcGee Jun 26 '11 at 14:04
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    When I've done similar (more to infuse the oil than cook the garlic), you dont want to get anywhere near the temperatures that it'd be considered frying. It should be slow cooking, more like a confit. – Joe Jun 27 '11 at 0:00

My first suggestion would be a "dutch oven" at a low temperature. If you have a small ceramic dish you might set that into the dutch oven and then the garlic into the dish in order to further manage the "low and slow" effect that is desired for roasting garlic. (add a couple of small wood chips on some aluminum foil in the pot but away from the garlic to create a 'smoked garlic'...if you like that.)

If you can invest in additional kitchen equipment, you might consider a small crock pot to get the same results.

  • The Dutch Oven is what I was thinking as well. Only thing I would recommend is to raise the garlic up from the bottom of the pan. And perhaps put something between the food and the bottom to diffuse the heat. – Sean Hart Jun 27 '11 at 18:48
  • @Sean, thus the ceramic dish to put the garlic in, inside the Dutch oven. – Cos Callis Jun 27 '11 at 19:21
  • Ah, didn't catch that. Great idea @Cos! – Sean Hart Jun 27 '11 at 19:43
  • I have these: hawkinscookers.com/2.1.5.futura_CNS_bowls.asp Is this the same as yours? – Aquarius_Girl Jun 28 '11 at 3:06
  • Those should work just fine. – Cos Callis Jun 28 '11 at 12:33

Roasted garlic needs a lot of slow, even heat to cook through and not burn. I doubt that you will be able to replicate this without an oven or oil. I have two ideas that might work.

First, take four or five heads of garlic and cut them flat at the stem and place a little bit of oil in a pan to sear the cut surface until it begins to caramelize mostly to get the process started and begin to develop the roasted flavor. Then place the head of garlic up so it sits on its side in a crock pot. I bet in four or five hours it would make nice roasted garlic. (I've never done this but would like to try.)

I know a very famous French Chef who boils the garlic for his vichyssoise in milk for about half and hour to take out the bitter, spicy bite. So if you need soft, sweet garlic for pureeing to use instead of roasted you can boil it in milk first. Because if you saute the garlic raw it might burn before the inside is softened, boiling before using a little oil in a pan to saute the garlic to get some complicated flavor and color might work very well.

These are just two alternatives to the other answer of cooking the garlic in oil. However, it is very frequent that restaurants will cook the garlic in oil to not only get nice caramelized garlic but also amazing flavored oil to use as a condiment or in salad dressings.

You might want to look up confit garlic.

  • Not bad ideas. You don't need milk or a lot cooking time to cook garlic; blanching it will do just fine. – BobMcGee Jun 27 '11 at 0:24

Hot air rises and one needs a vegetable steamer, or crumpled aluminum foil will do, for the bottom of the pan, or both, to keep the garlic from burning on the bottom. The drizzled evo over the tops of the garlic cloves is important and keeps garlic moist. A cast iron skillet and lid, plus the mechanism to keep the garlic off of the bottom, works beautifully.

My technique is to heat the iron skillet, put in the steamer amd foil, and wrapped garlic on top, and immediately turn the flame down to low. The fragrance of the garlic will surely alert the chef when the garlic is ready, or almost roasted. Doubtful you will have a 'burned head of garlic, if you check after 25 - 35 minutes, then roast longer if necessary. Also, I have used an oven thermometer sitting in the pot on top of the vegetable steamer and foil to help regulate the heat. This method is better for me, because it uses less energy than heating an entire oven for one head of roasted garlic.

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