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Jun 6, 2003 07:59 PM

Is there such a thing as too much garlic?

  • c

Is there such a thing as too much garlic when cooking cuisines such as thai, cuban, italian? I find myself using more and more garlic, I think most cookbook recipes are so Americanized and use 1-2 cloves when about 8-10 does the trick. I just want the same flavors one gets from a great restaurant. I also use larger amounts of fresh herbs than called for, I want a balance , not overpowering garlic flavor.
Am I garlic numbed and need more and more to get my flavor fix? Or am I on to much garlic really gets used in your favorite thai, italian, or cuban restaurant kitchen???

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  1. I do the same thing. I really am interested in the answers you get.

    13 Replies
    1. re: wally

      Well, golly, I didn't know there was a Garlic Standard held under glass at British Museum. Who cares if the garlic flavor dominates if that's the flavor you like? That's why I make my own hummos, so I can put in more garlic than any other living human. Back in the 1950's garlic was considered Not Nice. You were allowed to flavor the food by waving a piece around in the kitchen, maybe, but no more than that. Please.

      1. re: N Tocus

        Can you post a recipe for that. I love garlicky hoummos.

        1. re: beth

          8 heads of garlic
          1 chickpea
          1 drop of tahinni
          2-3 drops of lemon juice


          1. re: van_nuys_drone

            Works for me, but might need a drop or two of olive oil to bring out the nuttiness of the chickpea.

            1. re: van_nuys_drone

              Oops - I almost believed it. Great.

              1. re: mafidl

                yeah, you would need at least 8 chickpeas - one for each head of garlic.

            2. re: N Tocus

              In the 1950's, my mother had never used garlic - only started to when I learned to use it in the 1960's, and even then she was reluctant and only used garlic powder. I use it and definitely agree with your comment - I love the flavor, don't eat it raw so don't offend friends [lol], I think?

            3. re: wally

              Actually using a lot of garlic seems quintessentially American (US). I had an Italian friend who didn't like italian food in the US--because she found it too garlicky. All other Italians I've ever known go light on the garlic, not too many spices in general. Most South Americans I know don't care for too much garlic either. Generally, people who don't care for too much garlickiness, or overly strong flavors are non-Americans.

              1. re: Wawsanham

                Exactly. Note the Marcella Hazan quote I posted further down:

                1. re: Wawsanham

                  I relate to that. If U can taste it, you've overdone it.... all that means you can learn to incorporate finer flavors like saffron, bijol seasoning, shallots, leeks, moderate amounts of onions (I said moderate), root vegetables, etc. I'm proud to be an American but we're stuck on vacuous flavors. Garlic is the easy cop out. I do like garlic, but in moderation. Try it before you knock it.

                  1. re: cactinino10

                    i absolutely detest saffron. shudder.

                  2. re: Wawsanham

                    Absolutely true that the real garlic fiends are the Americans, not the Italians. Many Italians don't like it at all, and all good Italian cooks go easy with it. Even in recipes where numerous cloves are called for, they are careful to use only high-quality, relatively fresh, delicately flavored varieties. Also, it is rarely chopped. The standard treatment is to crush the clove of garlic and remove it from the oil when it begins to color.

                2. Not thinking I was not going to cook the garlic, I've gone overboard with garlic when making bruschetta--so bad you couldn't taste a tomato. It overpowered every other ingredient. I love garlic but have to admit it was pretty bad.

                  Generally I initially follow a recipe as written, but I taste it as I go along, and adjust it according to my taste. I have been known to add much more garlic and other spices/herbs as well.

                  If and when you add too much garlic, you will know.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TR

                    Classic bruschetta calls for simply rubbing the toasted (or day-old) bread with garlic. There should be no actual garlic in the mix you put on top of the bread.

                  2. Unfortunatley I think most people have been exposed to too much Emeril and most definitely over garlic. The flavor of garlic should enhance most recipe's not dominate them. I like garlic and treat it the same way A Bourdain would (not using pre minced crap or use a garlic press). Garlic is a great ingredient that when used correctly can transform a dish but when used wrong can really make a dish rancid.

                    1. >>Is there such a thing as too much garlic?


                      Some dishes I make (red beans and rice, jambalaya), I just keep adding chopped garlic until I get tired of chopping it.

                      Can't overdo it in those dishes.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Guy


                        If you use it until you can't stop chopping it, you are using too much. Perhaps you lack sense of smell or taste. That can be your problem.

                      2. I don't know. In my household of three (6 on alternate weekends) we go through 6 - 10 large heads of garlic a week. If you asked that question of anyone here, the answer would be a resounding NO. But there are recipes that call for just a hint of garlic to enhance the other flavors, and I generally try to honor that.

                        I also try to avoid those recipes. B^}