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Garlic powder, Garlic Salt, Onion Powder

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I saw another thread in which posters spoke of the value of garlic powder and onion powder in jambalaya. I've never used either, figuring the real things were better but these folks were saying that each gives a different dimension.

My questions are:
What's the difference between garlic salt and garlic powder?
How much garlic powder or onion powder should one be using?
Are they used instead of their fresh counterparts or in addition to them?
What foods/types of recipes are they typically used with?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Rick Bohan

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  1. Garlic powder is the dehydrated & ground powder of garlic with no salt added; garlic salt is the dehydrated garlic with salt added. Onion powder is dehydrated & ground powder without salt.

    How much to use is dependant upon how much flavor you want. The rule of thumb usually is 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to 1 clove of garlic. With the onion powder, 1 teaspoon of powder is equivalent to about 1/3 cup of fresh onion in terms of flavor.

    Personally, I use both fresh garlic & onion powders & their fresh counterparts in many of the same dishes, for example, chili. I use both. Not so much the onion salt as I like to add my own salt. My daughter don't like the taste of fresh onions or garlic so when I cook for her, I use the powder because she won't bite down on a piece of the veg.

    You can use garlic and onion powders in pretty much anything you use fresh although some dishes are best used with the fresh. Also, the powders are milder than the fresh vegetables so you can go heavier to impart more flavor. Hope this helps

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      Thank you. This was very helpful.

      1. re: Cherylptw

        "y daughter don't like the taste of fresh onions or garlic so when I cook for her, I use the powder because she won't bite down on a piece of the veg." My mother used to do the same for me, bless her.

        And a friend of mine who has an intolerance to fresh onion and garlic (something along the lines of heartburn that feels like a deadly heart attack) can eat onion and garlic powder with hardly a twinge.

      2. Just to add to Cherylptw's very complete usage info, I use powered onion and garlic for dry rubs exclusively, never fresh garlic or minced onion. I occasionally sprinkle garlic powder on pizza dough before baking and flatbread or rolls brushed with olive oil after baking.

        I rarely use onion or garlic salt, as I prefer to add my own salt.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bushwickgirl

          I'm in the same camp - the powders are only for dry rubs, never for dishes where using fresh is an option. I find they don't really have the same flavor as fresh onions and garlic, they're somehow more - I'm not sure what the word is - astringent?

        2. Fresh garlic powder seems to be pretty powerful stuff. When it is new, I'd say that it may be stronger than an equivalent amount of regular garlic. However, not surprisingly, its strength reduces considerably with time. Also, the flavor isn't the same as fresh garlic. It has a much more "oniony" aspect to it than fresh garlic.

          I like garlic powder for rubs and for things where incorporating fresh garlic into the dish is not easily done, such as frozen pizza. But, generally, give me fresh garlic, instead.

          1. I giggle every time I use garlic powder because I used to add it to horse feed. Now I use it in meatballs and meatloaf (particularly turkey) because I (and this is quite possibly nonsense, it's just my impression) feel that the 'wetness' of minced meat absorbs the flavours well from the powdered product. Also if I'm breading schniztel or chicken or making a crumb topping on savoury dishes I will add a pinch. Be careful though - I went to sprinkle a bit on a pizza one day and the loose lid came off. I definitely did not manage to remove enough of it.

            1. Thank you. All responses were helpful. Any suggestions as to amounts? I gather from the posts below that a little goes a long way with these products. Is that the case?

              1. I do not have garlic powder or onion powder among my spices. I always feel that they give an off taste to things -- like burnt garlic or onions. Maybe there is a place to use them, but so far I have not missed having them.

                1. As others have said, I use dried garlic and onion in dishes where I don't want the water content using fresh would add. I use them in meatloaf or meatballs (sometimes I use fresh, sometimes dried), for dry rubs, and in a thick tomato sauce or chili. For meatloaf or meatballs I prefer to use dried onions over powdered, they're in thicker chunks that reconstitute as they cook and have a lot of flavor. Also I use the powders on a pot of fresh popcorn.

                  I never use the garlic salt because the proportions are wrong, you have to make it really salty before it gets good and garlicky.

                  You can use a fair amount of the dried onions - I've used 1/2 cup in a meatloaf - but you should use less with the powders.

                  1. I'd like to add that garlic/onion powders are great added to creamy dips that have sour cream, mayo, or cream cheese, etc... After sitting waiting for the party to start the garlic flavor really blooms! It's easy to use too much in this application though.