HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

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 something...how much garlic really gets used in your favorite thai, italian, or cuban restaurant kitchen???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  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
          v
          van_nuys_drone

          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: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2930...

                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?

                      No.

                      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

                        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^}

                        1. If you stood behind the guy in line at the P.O. that I did this morning....yes, there is such a thing as too much garlic. Eeeeew! :)

                          1. I have found the problem of using an excess of garlic is not a dominance of flavor but rather the---how can I put this delicately?---gastrointestitinal reaction it causes a couple of hours later.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: scott

                              This is probably a stupid question, but have you been taking out the germ from the garlic (if it has one)? That's been known to cause indigestion, especially when raw.

                              1. re: untitled

                                I always remove the germ. In addition to the effect you mention, I find it has a bitter edge.

                              2. Have overdone it on Caesar Salad a couple of times--I love garlic, but had guests that seemed a little overwhelmed.

                                As to restaurants, for me it depends on the dish. I want garlic bread to taste pretty strongly of garlic and not like toast with butter. Thai dishes are all about balance for me; I love garlic and ginger together but don't want one of the two to jump out at me more than the other. Cuban roast chicken and roast pork--LOVE the NEARLY overpowering garlic in the sauce.

                                1. a
                                  aromatherapy

                                  My first reaction was Of Course Not!, but on thinking it over, yes, too much raw garlic can be overpowering. The longer it cooks, the more you need. And there's a big difference between freshly harvested garlic and long-stored garlic. The fresh is much juicier and milder.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: aromatherapy

                                    oh yes too much RAW garlic IS too much, I have ruined humus and also fresh salsa by adding too much raw garlic,

                                  2. sweet melty roasted garlic? nope.
                                    raw garlic? hell yes, I get a rager of a migraine when I'm around too much raw garlic.

                                    1. I would submit the garlic fries (french fries tossed with a lot of raw garlic) sold at many California sporting facilties as evidence you can overdo it. The one time I ate a batch, my sweat smelled of garlic for two days and my wife made me sleep on the couch.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Dave

                                        just do it three times a well for about a month, she wont notice any more.

                                        when i moved to korea the garlic overwhelmed me at first. the trip up to the office in the elevator literally made me cry and i was almost gasping for breath. after a month i didn't even smell it.

                                        nope, no such thing as too much garlic so long as you can taste the other flavors in your food. and garlic fries rock (oh yeah... i happen to be single.)

                                      2. there is such a thing as too much bad (pre minced, granulated) garlic and too much poorly executed garlic (as in the time I used two bulbs instead of two cloves in an early cooking experiment). But I've never had something that would have been hurt by more properly executed garlic.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: kindofabigdeal

                                          My mother still tells a story about one of her first cooking attempts in the 70's. It was a baked chicken dish that called for 4 cloves of garlic. Never having even been on nodding terms with garlic to that point, she thought a head of garlic was a clove. When my father got home, you could literally smell the garlic all up and down the street. It was not edible, to say the least.

                                          Personally, I dearly love garlic, and if somebody made garlic ice cream, I'd probably eat it. But there are occasions when you can overdo it or have it dominate every other flavor in a dish like a 200-lb senior in an elementary school playground. I may love garlic, but I don't want it to come out of my pores for 3 days.

                                          1. re: tonina_mdc

                                            go to gilroy CA for the garlic festival... they have garlic ice cream

                                        2. For the person doing the eating no, for those about them...yes.
                                          A few years back a friend had us over for dinnder before going out dancing. She served a lovely garlic soup. Later on that evening I overheard on the dancefloor a number of people observing that the club reeked of garlic. Apparently we had turned into some sort of human/vegetable hybid anti air freshener. But the soup was great.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chilihead

                                            I second what SC said. Raw garlic can be overused but the sweetness that comes from roasted garlic is an experience that never gets old!

                                          2. i'm a garlic lover, but i think it can be over-used when raw, or is often burned. most recipes tell you to add onions and garlic to the hot oil at the same time. i've found the onions need more time to cook, so usually add the garlic just a second before whatever else. if i'm cooking something saucey, i'll add the garlic when i add the liquid. this "poaches" the garlic adding a much subtler flavor, with no concern it might be burnt.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              Yes, I agree burned garlic is terrible and I use an approach much like yours.
                                              I think there can be too much garlic used, but more often than not, me and SO like to double what is typically called for. I don't think I use the multiplication factor as much with raw garlic as I do cooked.

                                            2. Years ago some friends and I would throw garlic parties. Everyone would make a dish in which garlic was a dominant feature. We'd gather together and drink lots of red wine and gorge ourselves on garlic soup, garlic bread, garlic pastas, garlic veggies, etc. We all would would reek for days. And the house where the party was thrown would smell much longer than that.

                                              I think I need to throw a garlic party again...

                                              1. At least in our Chowhoundish garlic-loving, none of us will have to worry about vampires any time soon! ;D

                                                1. I'd say usually there isn't, although too much raw can be nasty- and it lasts for days too!

                                                  I was watching the news one night, and the oldest lady in Kansas was on and they asked her what the secret to her long life was (I think she was 107) and she said eating lots of garlic!!! So, I'm doing it for my longevity! :-)

                                                  Edited to add: Oh my, I did it! This is the first time I've posted to an old thread! Shame on me- broke my record! ;-)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                    just proves the love of garlic is eternal. :)

                                                  2. I'm in the "regularly uses a whole head of garlic for recipes" camp, but I find that if I eat a couple of cloves of raw garlic straight, I get a stomach ache. Is this normal, or am I a wimp?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Humbucker

                                                      I said this to someone else above, but make sure you degerm your garlic if you don't already.

                                                    2. Too much can weird me out, but it takes a LOT to be too much for me. From the Ugly Brothers' Grillosophy:

                                                      "3) When you think you've added too much garlic, add some more."

                                                      http://uglybrothers.net/

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: LordOfTheGrill

                                                        similar to the instructions I got for sweet tea. Use too much sugar.

                                                      2. Eat whatever tastes good to you, but don't pretend that too much garlic won't overwhelm every other flavor in the dish. Good food is about balance, and garlic is the first thing that will throw off the balance of a dish if used it large quantities.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: mangiatore

                                                          I enjoyed John Scar's comment about Emeril and his over use of garlic. My Mother and I had that exact conversation over lunch yesterday!!! You should obviously eat and season foods as you like them. But, I think that if you cut back on the garlic you might find you enjoy it even more as it plays off other flavors in a dish. Flavor really is all about balance. And remember, you can give your palate over-exposure. I had a friend years ago who loved hot peppers - the hotter the better. He grew them and ate them right out of his garden. Many times I'd see him out there biting into a pepper his eyes watering away. This really affected his cooking. He would add hot peppers to his dishes until he tasted them - big mistake. When he did this the dishes were so hot no one else wanted to eat them.

                                                        2. I am one of the three people in the world who dislike garlic intensely. Unusual, I know but thats how it is. My problem is trying to find something that doesn't have garlic in it. In today's cuisine it is salt, pepper and garlic regardless of any other ingredients it seems. Oh well guess I'll just have to stay home

                                                          1. An interesting time for me to read this thread... I certainly overdosed on garlic last night... In an attempt to use some old garlic heads, I roasted three small heads until soft and gushy. They were a bit bitter, but I chowed through all three heads, minus a few burnt cloves. Today, I am miserable. My stomach feels like the inside of a soda can, and the pains reach all the way up to my shoulder. So, cooking aside, the excessive consumption (I suppose of any product really) can wreck havoc on the body... I'm not sure exactly what in garlic produces such a carbonated response, but I will not be near roasted garlic for quite some time...

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                              Next time (if there IS a next time!), freeze it (the roasted garlic paste) for future use!

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                You're presuming I have self control :) It wasn't a matter of not wanting to eat them; I just failed to anticipate the gastrointestinal consequences, and now, not so much a fan of the garlic...

                                                              2. re: Emme

                                                                It is also a natural blood thinner. If I;ve eaten way too much and go to have my blood taken, I will bleed like crazy. My doc finally figured out it was the garlic.

                                                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                  I wonder if that phenomenon is in any way related to the folk myth about vampires being afraid of garlic?

                                                                2. re: Emme

                                                                  Haha okay, this is the third comment I'm going to make on degerming garlic, sorry about this. But I would never roast heads of garlic if the garlic is old (assuming you just cut the top of the entire head and roast it whole).

                                                                  Old garlic needs to have the germ taken out. Really fresh, young garlic doesn't have this problem. but as it gets older, the germ on the inside grows, eventually turns green, sprouts out, etc. Basically the germ is bitter and causes indigestion. Just cut it in half (when it's raw, obviously) and take out the germ.

                                                                  1. re: untitled

                                                                    I used to hear this a lot... then one day some old french chef mentioned he didn't bother with it, because he thought it didn't really bring that much of a bitter taste. I tried and agreed (I'm pretty sensitive to bitter tastes, although... somewhat selectively, I might add).

                                                                    Oh, his name was Jacques Pepin, by the way :D

                                                                3. I once went to a restaurant where the linguine with clam sauce was almost painful to eat...there was so much barely-cooked garlic that it was HOT in my mouth, like eating hot peppers or something. I asked if there were hot peppers in the sauce, and they said no...just tons of garlic. That was the only time I thought there might be too much garlic. I think if they'd just cooked the sauce a bit more, it would have been fabulous.

                                                                  I, too, add more garlic to recipes... as with all things, it's matter of personal taste.

                                                                  1. There can certainly be too much garlic and like someone else said I think people are watching too much Emeril. The garlic overload in many dishes labled as Italian is really Italian-American. In Italy, they do not use that much garlic and in things that have it they leave it whole so it can be plucked out. I think too much garlic often times just masks other flavors. It may be a way to cover up for bad cooking.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Den

                                                                      I couldn't agree more with your point about Italian vs. Italian-American. Your point about leaving it in whole is not universal; there are many many dishes in Italy that include minced garlic. However, the dishes that do call for a very modest quantity.

                                                                      Emeril cooks that way because his background is Louisiana cuisine, which contains a lot of powerful flavors that balance each other. Thai food is another example of in-your-face-but-still-well-balanced food. This is generally not the case with Italian dishes, and this is what people are missing.

                                                                      1. re: mangiatore

                                                                        Emeril Lagasse is from Fall River, Mass, and didn't go to New Orleans until he got out of college, had cooked in Europe and in several places in the NE US including NY and Philadelphia. All that Bam! and Kicking it up! isn't true to either Creole or Cajun culinary traditions. Neither is very spicy except in tourist renditions.

                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                          I don't know about that. The food I had in NO was definitely spicey and bold, especially when compared to delicate northern Italian dishes. I suppose southern Italian dishes are a little more garlic-and-chili intensive, but still...also, the owner of a local "Louisiana cuisine" restaurant here in San Diego specifically told me that he tones down the spiceyness to suit the the local palate, and it ain't like the food he serves is exactly mild.

                                                                          1. re: mangiatore

                                                                            I know a little. My Cajun father's family has been in the Louisiana since the 1760s. Daddy moved to NOLA and married Mama whose family had been there for generations. I learned to cook from both sides and it wasn't what is served in restaurants today.
                                                                            The tourists have come to expect Cajun food to be hot, hotter, hottest and the local restaurants have changed in the past couple of decades. The local Italian immigrants were largely from Southern Italy and their influence was heavy garlic and spice. They've had a strong influence on the local food.
                                                                            Home cooking, both in the city and the country, is much different from what you find in restaurants. You still find some of the old Creole and Cajun at places like Antoine's, Galatoire's, Arnaud's, Bon Ton and some others. They're not the heat intense food that people have come to associate with New Orleans cooking any more than the Olive Garden is Italy.

                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                              Interesting. I stand corrected. I'm not sure how anyone would ever know unless the went deep into cajun country. Next time I'm there I'll try your suggestions.

                                                                      2. I wouldn't have thought there could be too much, until I had hummus that burned my mouth. That was at lunch, and at midnight I still had wicked garlic breath. It got old.

                                                                        1. In my opinion, it depends on whether you've invited some vampires to dinner. If not, then no. Okay, just kidding - it really depends on what you're making, and if it's chocolate mousse...

                                                                          Barbara Kafka lost a bit of my respect when she said that the big problem with the garlic press is that it gives one garlic clove the power of several. That sounds to me like an example of simple ingratitude, like bitching because your savings account pays too much interest!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            That's funny. A mainstay at our house is chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. The only problem is the next day at work, when people avoid me. (well, maybe not such a problem)

                                                                            1. re: whs

                                                                              That's why people who love garlic need to hang out with each other. Not to mention MARRY each other! I'm on my third one of those, and garlic was one thing we all reliably agreed on.

                                                                          2. There's no such thing as two much money or two much garlic

                                                                            1. Well, I used four whole heads of garlic to cook with yesterday for dinner alone. I also rasted fiv3e additional heads to spead on Tuscan bread,

                                                                              Nothing was too garlicky!

                                                                              1. Garlic is A-ok in my book. It helps the immune system. The only down side I can think of is that it has the ability of lowering blood pressure... so if you already have very low blood pressure... maybe back off on the garlic... you don't want to faint. A little bit is always ok though. Garlic also helps in breaking down colesterol.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: spadesaspade

                                                                                    raw vs. cooked = HUGE difference.

                                                                                    and never that or any other pungent food if on antibiotics (you will reek for days).

                                                                                    otherwise my second favorite vegetable.

                                                                                1. I love garlic...never a thing of too much.
                                                                                  I am the freak in the group..none of my friends are this addicted as I use 1-2 heads.. not cloves..raw or cooked..big difference on preparation.love it both.
                                                                                  I find with working out everyday for many years and increasing my fresh garlic consumption that my cholesterol LDL has dropped about 17% and my HDL has risen..
                                                                                  I counter this with fresh mint..no one knows, I am a garlic addict!

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                    I love garlic and cook with it. However, I have frequently experienced unpleasant effects of eating too much garlic - it will make me sick to my stomach. Different people have different tolerances.

                                                                                    And, no offence to you multi-head consumers, but if you show up next to me at the gym, trust me, I notice and don't appreciate it.

                                                                                    1. re: 512window

                                                                                      Too much garlic is like too much ice cream -- an oxymoron.

                                                                                      1. re: dolores

                                                                                        I very much agree with the above comments about Emeril and true Italian vs. some Italian-American food. Too much leads to an imbalance of flavors and proportion in the dish. But I also think it depends on what the dish is. Is garlic intentionally featured? E.G., garlic bread, spaghetti aglio e olio? Spanish shrimp with garlic? Then, okay. But a sauce, other pasta, most other dishes-keep it in balance and simple. Same would be for too much salt, tarragon, whatever.

                                                                                        1. re: markabauman

                                                                                          Good point. I am biased towards garlic, but I can see where it would detract from the other flavors.

                                                                                          When it comes to garlic and oil macaroni, though, I have been known to use a full head. Yum.

                                                                                      2. re: 512window

                                                                                        Thank goodness I have a gym in my home..

                                                                                    2. I love garlic... but - I used to work with a garlic addict.
                                                                                      As he cooked his dish using a bulb of garlic he'd chew on a raw clove.
                                                                                      The next day he'd have a smell that lingered long after he walked through a building... once the factory spent hours looking for an electrical fault that they could smell, when it was only this chap's 'eau de garlic' - caused when he'd walked through the factory 4 hours previously.
                                                                                      Personally, I have been turned away from a party (with my fellow diners) for reeking of garlic.
                                                                                      So - for me there is no garlic limit, but for those around me - if I value their, well, closeess - then personal hygiene sets the standard.

                                                                                      1. We went to The Stinking Rose in SF once (I know, first mistake) because we love garlic. It has some type of garlic spread which we used liberally on bread, etc., while waiting for our meal. It was very heavy on garlic (probably raw or close to it) and I could feel all of my glands staring to secrete overtime. By the time the meal arrived, my wife and I felt so bad that we barely touched our plates. We then had an extremely uncomfortable 1-2 hours hobbling down Columbus Ave - had to be outside, keep moving slightly, in the shade- until things died down. Our kids will never let us forget it . . . We wonder whether we had gotten a "bad" spread but my wife asked the staff at the time and were assured that it was OK.

                                                                                        1. I'd say there's definitely a thing as too much garlic. I remember once I was on vacation and my friend and I shared a garlicky dish. We were staying in a room with her mom and aunt who claimed to have a miserable night because the garlic in the air was so overpowering. I've had at least a few other meals where I was very self conscious about the garlic emanating from my pores.

                                                                                          I have only had one dish in my life where I felt the garlic really overpowered the experience. It was a ravioli dish with a garlicky sauce and all I could taste was the garlic. I love garlic, but when I can't taste any of the other flavors, it is too much.

                                                                                          1. I OD'd on garlic at a cocktail party 19 years ago. Marinated baby white mushroom caps were the toothpick target. I inadvertently speared an elephant garlic clove and scarfed it down during converastion. I had to walk around backwards, exhaling, for 20 minutes, and almost got sick. Mea culpa for not paying attention. Keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer, doesn't always work out.

                                                                                            1. How much garlic is enough? Let it burn, baby! Then again, I'm just a crazed chilihead, so ignore everything I say.

                                                                                              1. i love garlic, and i used to put it in everything. i used to work in an italian restaurant where a lot of attention was paid to garlic - crushed, sliced, minced, salted, cooked slowly in olive oil, etc . . . i started to thinnk about it more after seeing that.

                                                                                                in the last year i have been cooking simpler, more thoughtfully, and now i think before i reach for the garlic - does this dish really want the garlic? instead of just going on autopilot. and i find i am using less, and enjoying it more when i do use it.

                                                                                                there has been a great garlic crop where i live this year, and i have been finding that when i use really fresh, high quality garlic, i need less and it has a much deeper depth of flavor - very enjoyable.

                                                                                                1. For the most part no, but with fish, yes. The last two times I've had fish in restaurants all I could taste was garlic. One was served swimming in garlic lemon butter sauce and I cannot recall the others preparation offhand. Granted they were mild fish, but it is the first time I can remember being irritated at the overpowering flavor of garlic. I also had a pesto recently where the only flavor was garlic. It wasn't TERRIBLE, but I didn't eat much because i knew if I did it would be coming out of my pores.

                                                                                                  1. The only time I had a problem with garlic was one time in Mazatlan (Christmas Eve), when I chose to try the "garlic fish" on the restaurant menu...

                                                                                                    Warning : possibly TMI below

                                                                                                    It was either that (deliciously garlicky), the raw sugar cane, or the taco from the taco stand, but I spent most of Christmas Eve (and into Christmas morning) alternating between praying to the porcelain god, lying on the (thankfully cool, tiled) bathroom floor, and going to the giant drinking water bottle on the deck to recharge my glass with something to offer the porcelain god.

                                                                                                    Santa didn't come that night :(

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: kali_MM

                                                                                                      Must have been the fish - couldn't have been the garlic.

                                                                                                    2. I push the garlic content of what I cook until my stomach says "enough". Often, my garlic-craving taste buds exceed what my system can take. So I look for cuisines (like the ones you mention above) and individual recipes that lend themselves to procucing the most garlic flavor without using a ton of it. I have found, for example, in Italian cooking and particularly in tomato-based recipes, that sauteeing the garlic until it browns very well is the key to bringing out its flavor. That's a tricky proposition because you have about a 5-second window under high-heat cooking conditions, to achieve a nutty, rich garlic flavor vs. burnt and bitter. But sometimes, I also like the "bite" of the raw garlic flavor, like in an aioli.

                                                                                                      My advice is don't assume that moderation is a bad thing. All-in-all, what should guide you in your quest to garlick-up your cuisine is to incorporate it to the point that it complements, even predominates, but never overpowers.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: HSBSteveM

                                                                                                        In general, I've come to believe that more garlic is better. One exception I recall is a Caesar salad I made a couple of months ago. I was fairly true to the traditional recipe, except I put a few large garlic cloves (say, 4) through a garlic press and into my dressing. when I tossed the greens with the dressing, it smelled great. When I tasted it, the garlic just seared through my tastebuds and the walls of my mouth. I couldn't taste anything else for the rest of the day and woke up the next day with a stomach ache and the worst taste in my mouth. I can't say whether or not the garlic cloves had green shoots in the middles, which might have made it more bitter, but I'll concede that I ruined that salad with so much garlic. I've also made an artichoke and almond vegan dip, which is generally delicious, with too many cloves of garlic. It was still tasty, but had a similar tastebud-searing effect. I had to admit it was overkill. I've used an entire head (small-medium) of garlic, raw, to a pound of tomatoes some excellent Tuscan olive oil and a small bunch of basil for a tomato-basil bruschetta mix that I tossed with 10-12 ounces of pasta for a bruschetta pasta salad. Sure, we stink after eating it, but it is so good, especially with a light sprinkling of aged, black peppercorn-studded pecorino and aged Parmigiano Reggiano.

                                                                                                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                          I always thought a good burn was part of the fun.

                                                                                                      2. I think it's simply a matter of personal preference.
                                                                                                        If you prefer to stink, then there no such thing as too much garlic. And Just because you eat a pound of raw garlic, and no longer smell it yourself because your nasal cavities have been numbed after consuming so much, don't think that other ppl CAN'T smell you from across the room. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've sat at a conferece table for an AM meeting where someone has obviously eaten an inhuman amount of garlic the night before and still reeks enough for ppl three or four seats away to wince when they are talking. Garlic is good, garlic is fine, but please be aware that second hand garlic is disgusting. If you choose to smell bad, be prepared for other ppl to not enjoy it. And yes, more than likely, they will laugh behind your back. People who stink are kind of funny. I'm no garlic prude, either. I make Thai, Indian, Mexican, and Stir Fry with loads of garlic all the time. I just really can't stand it when ppl who have eaten a ton of garlic pretend that they don't stink to high heaven just because they eaten too much to notice it anymore.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                          I had a plumber once smelling of sweat and dirty jeans and who knows what else complaining about my garlic breath from the night before - fine pal you run up and down 3 stories to clear the taps instead of me.

                                                                                                          1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                            what, are we supposed to go around saying, "sorry i smell bad, i ate garlic?" you know i stink, i know i stink; we don't need to talk about it, let's just go about our business. i knew what i was doing when i ate two heads of roasted garlic by myself in one sitting. i'm eatin for me, yo!

                                                                                                            1. re: starrsj

                                                                                                              I'm with you starrsj, although I have become more um subtle, in my use of that and other ingredients.

                                                                                                              my thyme crapped out this year. (in response to the below - and I wanna come to your picnic)

                                                                                                          2. no way. garlic is the stuff of life as far as i'm concerned. the only flavors that can compare to garlic in terms of sheer perfection are, imo: a perfect cherry tomato, good dark chocolate, fettuccine alfredo, marinated mushrooms (just thinkin about it i'm losing my mind... of course those involve garlic!!)... and poutine :). one of my favorite foods in the world is a soup involving 44 cloves of garlic (or, if you're me, 50 cloves), a bunch of parmesan cheese, fresh thyme, heavy cream, and some chicken stock (which i always have plentifully home-made and frozen). last time i made it, my mom and i ate all of it by ourselves. that's 25 cloves of garlic, each, in one sitting. (and let me say, we slurped it down..) it did give me a bit of a woozy stomach for a few mintutes but i didn't care because i was high on garlic. and, ok, we STANK -- i don't think it was coming out our pores, but we did have 24 hours of garlic farts. kinda gross, but not nearly as gross as the soup is delicious... and it's unquestionably worth it.

                                                                                                            1. Old thread, but still a lively topic, it seems. Is there such a thing as too much garlic? Depends on your perspective. On the one hand, however much you like is the right amount for you. On the other hand, if you're trying to cook the cuisine of, say, Italy as closely as possible to how it would be done in Italy, then yes, there absolutely is such a thing.

                                                                                                              Consider this quote from a recent interview with Marcella Hazan, arguably one of the top authorities on true Italian cooking:

                                                                                                              Q: What is the biggest mistake we [in the US] still make in cooking Italian food?
                                                                                                              A. Too much garlic! Too much ruins everything. We say in Italy that what you keep out is as important as what you put in.

                                                                                                              1. For years I was a member of the "there's no limit to the amount of garlic I can stand" club. As my palate matured, I started to tone down the garlic sometimes and use it as a subtle seasoning. For example, scallops can be ruined by too much garlic, but shine when there's just a touch.

                                                                                                                As with many things, understatement is sometimes the best way to go. I'm also careful never, ever to overcook garlic. On the other side of that coin, if I'm going to use garlic in a salad dressing, for example, I'll "mellow" it in a little olive oil before adding to the recipe.

                                                                                                                All that being said, I'm a big fan of the Italian bagna caude ("hot bath") dip that's basically garlic and olive oil heated up. There's a great Sichuan chicken dish that's made of battered chunks of thigh and leg meat that've been deep-fried and sauced with so much garlic the sauce is basically a condiment-bound shower of minced garlic. I love it even though I taste it for at least 12 hours, no matter how often I brush my teeth...

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                  If you're like me and love chiles, one of the appealing things about lots of *fresh* garlic is the burn, which sauteed or baked garlic loses. I've had the bagna caude at The Stinking Rose in SF, it is indeed joyously excessive. That chicken dish sounds great.

                                                                                                                  1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                                    I just posted about this on another thread. The chicken dish is "crispy chicken chunks with spicy garlic sauce" In Chinese 魚香八塊雞 Yu shan ba quai gee. See if you can get your go-to Sichuan place to make it for you. The Taiwanese also love this dish.

                                                                                                                  2. I'm allergic to garlic. Any garlic is too much garlic, although I still remember the taste, and wish I could eat it. I developed an allergy to chocolate and garlic about 16 years ago, when I was 15 years old. I get horrible sinus infections, fever, mood swings, and generally feel like I'm going to die when I eat it. The problem is eating foods other people prepare. You ask if it has garlic, and they respond no, but although they didn't add garlic or garlic powder, they may have used Montreal seasoning, or Worcestershire sauce, or any of hundreds of things that has garlic that nobody even guesses it's in. I almost feel as if people are unimaginative cooks when they use so much garlic. I think people use it to mask the fact that they can't cook (essentially because garlic makes everything taste better). Basically, if it tastes good, I can't eat it, because it definitely has garlic! I have consequently learned to be a very creative cook. I have to find a way to season food to make it taste good without this omnipresent ingredient. For instance, you can't find any chili powder on the market that doesn't also contain garlic. Anyway, enjoy your garlic. I'll be the one in the corner wishing I was eating what you get to eat!

                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Saletski

                                                                                                                      About 25 tears ago I had recently moved to the North End of Boston. One Friday night my roommate and I had dinner at the bar at the Union Oyster House - mussels with white wine and garlic. I think the bottle top fell off the jar of dried garlic chips, because there were about triple the usual number in the sauce. Afterwards we went to one of the Irish pubs at Faneuil Hall. An very good-looking young Irishman came up to talk to my roommate and the minute she opened her mouth he yelled "GARLIC!!" and reeled back a couple feet. He insisted she drink a shot of schnapps before he'd go on talking to her. They did go on a few dates after that, so I guess it wasn't a bad first impression in spite of the fumes. :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Saletski

                                                                                                                        what's Montreal seasoning?

                                                                                                                        you might consider starting a thread over on "home cooking" trading flavorful, but non-garlic recipes as, sadly, I'm sure you're not alone. (love the stuff myself)

                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          "Montreal seasoning" is a seasoned salt that usually contains mustard seed, dried garlic/garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, and a few other spices, depending on the maker. Goes nicely with grilled meats, especially steak, and is quicker to apply than using the individual ingredients. I buy the President's Choice brand in Canada, and usually give a few quick shakes on steaks as they come off the grill. One of the very few dishes I actually add salt to.

                                                                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                            thx, down here in MO there was a regional grocery chain "National" whose house brand was Presiden't Choice, usu. decent stuff, wonder if it's connected...

                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                              One of the supermarket chains here in Boston used President's Choice as their house brand for a while, but stopped a few years ago. It is the same Canadian company.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Saletski

                                                                                                                          My husband is super sensitive when it comes to garlic, and will only eat small amounts if it is lunchtime, never at night (causes him to not be able to sleep). I've just been teaching myself to cook properly the last 6 months, and learning to do so without garlic I think has been a real education. I think I'm getting pretty good at creating a lot of different dishes with various flavors that balance plenty well without garlic--even tomato sauce!

                                                                                                                          Unfortunately, I ate way too much garlic scape pesto today because someone gave us a huge bag of the things and I forgot how much I liked the taste. I'm suffering now--ugh! Also, I'm curious as to how it will affect our daughter via my breastmilk. We shall see...

                                                                                                                        3. Is there such a thing as too much garlic?

                                                                                                                          Yes. On ice cream.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                            Also, garlic *in* ice cream. I had garlic ice cream at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. It doesn't work.

                                                                                                                            1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                                              I have had garlic ice cream at the Gilroy fest and I completely agree. It is weirdly seductive. Tastes like ordinary ice cream until the raw garlic starts kicking in. Totally freaked out my daughter, who was about seven at the time.

                                                                                                                          2. Bread is the staff of life; garlic is the stuff of life. If you are allergic I can only pity you, for you will never know how vibrant and fragrant existence can be, As I mentioned earlier, we garlic freaks must perforce marry each other, probably the best guarantee of a congenial mating imaginable.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                              yeah, but we still have to know when to knock it the heck off and go easy every now and then. It will always be among my very favorite root vegetables (yeah not herb, vegetable).

                                                                                                                            2. Here's a story for you: In school, my Italian mother almost always packed a lunch for me (a delicous one at that). In Kindergarten one day I begged her one day to let me try the school lunch, and she did. After school she asked me what I ate and I described one of the side dishes for her by saying "the broccoli wasn't very good; they didn't put olive oil and garlic in it like you do". I was a smart kid! :-)

                                                                                                                              Anyway, I'm with one of the other posters; I just keep chopping it until I get tired of doing it. I've never once in my life tasted anything and thought "gee, this has too much garlic".

                                                                                                                              1. as mentioned here already, it depends very heavily on whether the garlic is roasted or properly sweated out first or not. If its raw or improperly sweated out, thats not necessarily WRONG, but a very little bit does the trick so be very careful. Roasted garlic can get away, but if you like garlic flavor it takes a good bit before that happens. With properly sweated garlic, my personal tolerance is very high... I'd have to purposely try to ruin something that way for it to happen.

                                                                                                                                1. The one time I've regretted using garlic in abundance (and for me, 1 clove, EXCEPT in Marcella Hazan's recipes, means at leat 3) was when I made a Circassian chicken from a New York Times recipe - something like 40 cloves raw to 2 or 3 lb of boiled chicken (with walnuts, oil, etc). Utterly vile. Like the worst nightmare metallic fishy taste. And it was for guests, of course.

                                                                                                                                  1. Uncooked garlic can be overpowering, and my first two batches of tzatziki sauce were disasters. In cooked preparations, I can't get enough garlic.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                      Uncooked garlic can have a big burn if you eat enough of it, which is appealing to chiliheads like me.

                                                                                                                                    2. Answer to the OP's question is , yes, of course there's such a thing as too much garlic. It's a flavouring like any other flavouring. And, as with any other flavouring, it can be overused in absolute terms and, certainly, overused to someone's individual taste.

                                                                                                                                      1. My house smells like garlic, but we'll see how overloaded the pesto is after freezing most and taking it to a family vacation next week. The scapes in the back yard turned out to be mostly leaves, so I washed everything, chopped it large, steamed it, and made pesto. It was really great after refrigerating for a few hours, but yeah, I could smell it after being outside.

                                                                                                                                        1. It is possible to be too heavy handed with anything, of course. I recall in 11th grade home ec (me and my best friend were the only guys in there because we wanted to be around all the girls- we both became cooks, incidentally) my little group had the assignment to cook Kung Pao chicken. The recipe called for cloves of garlic which we understood to mean heads of garlic. You should have seen the teacher's face when she came around to taste the results! Classic!

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                            So that's why Rick Dick (no joke, & the name suited him) was in my foods class.

                                                                                                                                          2. I LOVE garlic, but my husband doesn't. He will almost always prefer onions as a flavour base. Certain things, like the foods I grew up with must have garlic. Some of the foods he grew up with must have garlic too but he still doesn't like it. For him, I make an exception, I just use a little less than I used to unless I'm going to make a dish that I feel must be prepared in the traditional way.

                                                                                                                                            It is too much if it means I won't get any kisses later. :P

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: S_K

                                                                                                                                              Use less. You will be a better cook. Garlic is nasty when you can smell it on the person of if it overpowers the meal....

                                                                                                                                            2. You should use a much as you'd like, but it does not mean that is the right thing to do. Your call. Garlic is overused in America. Italians don't use as much as you would think... Nor do Mexicans, Greeks, etc.. Great food is about balance. When in doubt, some seem to think, "just add tons of garlic." Nasty ! Rachael Ray has been bad for this lack of taste. You can actually overpower a dish if you use too much (one or two cloves maximum please, no matter how big the dish). If garlic is the predominant flavor in your dish, if you burp the nasty odor, or if one can smell it on you, you have used too much.. Learn to cook with better ingredients. Don't meant to offend you...

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: cactinino10

                                                                                                                                                It's not fresh garlic that's overused in the US, it's that nasty, should-be-banned, bitter, sour garlic in a jar. Way too many Italian-American restaurants use that stuff and just hurl it into the pan freely, and burn it, which results in the overpowering acrid taste many of you dislike.

                                                                                                                                                One fortunate thing about eating in such places during my youth was that I developed a sensitivity to garlic. I love the stuff, but in balance and moderation, freshly chopped, and not burnt. Please!

                                                                                                                                              2. yes... one clove is all you need.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. yes okay garlic tastes good but from a nutrtion stand point many ppl consider one of the healthiest foods in the world, called a super food. in extermely high doses it can cause digestive problems but 10 cloves a day is harmless and very healthy for your heart, immunes sytem, detoxifys ur body espically from heavy metals like lead and is helpful for virtually every illness from colds to cancer.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I love garlic-heavy dishes, but to address the original query, yes, there is a thing as too much garlic. Exhibit A is attached. The previous few times I'd been to my local pizza place, I ordered double, and even triple-garlic, and the pizzas had been coming back with a tiny amount of garlic. I mentioned it last time I was there, so apparently the cook said, "Oh, he wants garlic? Well, HERE!" I took the shot mainly so next time, I can show this photo to the waiter, and tell him/her that I want a lot of garlic, but not THIS much!

                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                        1. I like garlic, a lot. I used 3 lbs. of raw peeled garlic cloves last month cooking for one. I like to chop the cloves large then roast them in a little olive oil till brown then add vegetables or do a sauce reduction with wine and chicken stock.