How To Reduce Garlic Taste In Your Food (5 Ways)

So you’ve just made one of your favorite dishes like comforting soup, tasty hummus, or delicious spaghetti, but you come to taste it and find it’s overpowering with garlic. For those that don’t like too much garlic, what can you do to reduce the garlic taste in your dishes?

To reduce garlic flavor, you can mellow it by cooking it longer, try diluting the dish with other existing recipe ingredients, or mask the flavor with strong tastes such as herbs, spices, and acids.

To state the obvious – using less garlic, not crushing it so small, or removing the green center means it won’t be as strong.

If you’re in this unfortunate situation, read on to find out some more ideas I’ve found that could really help without having to start cooking your meal again.

Ways To Reduce Garlic Taste

There are several ways to reduce the intensity of garlic’s flavor when cooking and I’ll look at specific types of dishes below, but in general, here are some ideas that usually work for most recipes:

  • Increase the amount of cooking time – the garlic flavor usually becomes more mellow the longer you cook your dish, so if the garlicky taste is too strong try simmering or roasting your soup, chili, stew, etc. for a bit longer.
  • Dilute the flavor of the garlic by cooking another batch without the garlic and then mixing them up. Or even just add more ingredients to the pot (tomatoes, onion, broth, etc). You may end up with lots of leftovers but at least you will have saved the original meal.
  • Herbs and spices – If it works for your recipe, add some other strong-flavored herbs and spices such as chili powder, cumin, or paprika to mask the garlic taste.
  • Add acids – Try adding something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar to cut through the garlicky tang without affecting the finished dish too much.
  • Sweeten it – If your recipe can stand it, try adding some brown sugar or honey a little at a time as this will reduce the bite of the garlic. Be careful not to over-sweeten the dish though.

Related: 21 Alternatives To Garlic Bread To Serve With Pasta (With Recipes)

Why Does Garlic Taste So Strong In Your Dish?

Some reasons your dish tastes so strongly of garlic is that you have added too much when preparing it or added it towards the end of cooking so that it didn’t have time to lose its potency.

Garlic is a powerful flavor that can easily overpower other ingredients in your meal. This is because garlic has a high concentration of sulfur compounds including allicin and amino acids, which produce its pungent odor and sharp taste.

These enzymes are inactivated by heat and allicin is actually destroyed by cooking, so the longer you cook them the mellower the flavor will become. 

How you prepare the clove will also have an effect on how strong the taste is of your ingredient. Crushing, mincing, or finely chopping the garlic releases the most potent garlicky notes while larger slicing or chopping it gives a more mellow nature. 

The green center of the garlic is the strongest bit so try cutting it open and removing this part.

Using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic can also play a part as this has a much more concentrated flavor so you need to use far less.

Reduce Garlic Flavor In Specific Recipes

How To Reduce Garlic Taste In Soup

If you’re looking to reduce the garlic taste in soup, one way is to add other ingredients that mellow out the flavor.

For example, adding dairy products such as cream or cheese can help balance the taste of garlic without overpowering it. Similarly, acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar can also help cut through some of the intensity.

Finally, you can use herbs like parsley, basil, or chives to add extra flavor and mask the garlic taste effectively.

How To Reduce Garlic Taste In Hummus

When your hummus has become a little too garlicky for your liking, try adding more of the other ingredients.

Try blended chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and cumin to enhance the flavor without overwhelming it. Always add them in small quantities so that you can control the taste as you go.

Lemon juice in particular really cuts through and helps tone down the effects of adding too much garlic while the extra blended chickpeas dilute the overall flavor.

How To Reduce Garlic Taste In Spaghetti

Spaghetti sauce is one of the most flavorful dishes that often relies heavily on garlic.

However, if you find that it’s become too intense then simmering it for a long time should help mellow it (1-3 hours on low).

Adding more of the other ingredients such as tomatoes, herbs, and wine can help to mellow out the flavor so it’s not too overpowering.

How To Reduce Garlic Taste In Salsa

If you want to reduce the garlic taste in salsa, try adding more tomatoes, onions, peppers, and herbs. These other flavors will help mellow out the intensity of the garlic.

Additionally, if you start off by using roasted garlic instead of raw cloves you will find this can also add a milder flavor to your dip.

Finally, don’t forget to season your salsa with salt and pepper, as this will help bring out the flavor of the other ingredients without making the garlic stronger. 

How To Reduce Garlic Taste In Pesto

Similar to salsa, try adding more of the other ingredients like basil, pine nuts, and olive oil which can help balance out the flavor and mellow it significantly. Additionally, instead of using raw garlic, try roasting it before adding it to your pesto recipe.

As I mentioned before, roasting the garlic beforehand helps to inactivate the compounds that cause the intense flavors, so if you get the chance try that for a milder-tasting condiment.

How To Reduce Garlic Taste In Curry

Reducing the garlicky taste in curry can be achieved by adding other ingredients that help balance the flavor and work well with this type of dish.

For example, in a creamy curry, adding yogurt, cream, or coconut milk can help mellow out the intensity of the garlic and is often used in curry recipes.

For a tomatoey curry, add more tomatoes or spices.

Additionally, using herbs like cilantro (aka coriander) and ginger can also add extra depth of flavor while masking the garlicky taste.

Finally, adding acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar can help cut through some of the pungency without overpowering the rest of the dish.


I hope you have found my tips on reducing strong garlic taste useful and that you now know what to do when it happens to you.

As always, prevention is better than cure so if you can avoid throwing in too much garlic in the first place then that’s the best way to avoid ruining the dish. Take note of how to prepare it as well for reducing its effects as that could make all the difference.

But if you’re nearing the end of cooking before you notice, try one of the methods I’ve outlined and you should be able to save the meal without having to start again.

Tom Hambly

Tom Hambly is the founder of Boss The Kitchen. With a background in cooking and building websites, he enjoys running this site to help other cooks improve. About Tom Hambly.

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