How To Cut A Garlic Clove Crosswise

A garlic clove is a very useful and delicious ingredient that is used in many different recipes. There are plenty of methods that people use to peel and prepare a head of garlic. Many of these methods provide easy ways of getting the cloves out of the head of garlic so that they may be used. But you don’t always want the garlic clove to be separated from the head.

There are a few recipes that call for a head of garlic halved crosswise. The first time I saw this, I was very confused. I didn’t know what it meant, how to do it, or why it was required.

If you are starting out your cooking adventures, you may not have experienced this very often, and some helpful advice may be welcome. So I have put together some helpful information that should be able to help you when you come across this in a recipe.

Why Cut A Head Of Garlic Half Crosswise? (How To Cut Garlic)

Garlic Clove Cross Cut

Cutting a head of garlic crossways gives you some interesting options. You will mostly find that recipes will call for a head of garlic to be cut in half crosswise if roasting is part of the process and necessary in the recipe.

Cutting the garlic in half crosswise makes roasting the garlic way easier. After you cut the garlic crosswise, drizzle some oil on the exposed garlic and wrap in foil.

After about 40 minutes roasting in the oven at 400 degrees, the center clove of the garlic should be completely soft. Further roasting will give even more golden brown color and caramelized flavor.

This roasting process gives the garlic so many uses. You can use the garlic as a spread itself, or it can be mashed and incorporated into a wide variety of other dishes, including salad dressing, hummus, baba ganoush as well as soups casseroles and sauces.

Roasted garlic is versatile and useful, and the best way to roast it is by cutting in crosswise.

How Do I Cut A Head Of Garlic Crosswise?

When you get garlic, your first instinct is to peel off the skin. There are many methods of doing this, in fact, it seems like most people have their own little tricks to getting the skin to loosen and peel off. Although, this is not something you want to do for this method. The skin helps hold together the head of garlic.

Halved Garlic in Oil

The method is very simple. You just need to slice through the head of garlic horizontally. The cutting should be easy. Because you did not remove the skin, expect it to flake and for some to fall off.

You can remove the excess but do not actively peal through it. Leaving it on keeps all of the cloves together better than anything else. Also, to prevent a crazy mess make sure that the knife you’re using, be it a chef’s knife or a paring knife, is scary sharp.

You need a blade that can slice through a garlic bulb like a hot knife through butter. Otherwise, you may damage the plant which can affect flavor and even ruin the recipe.

Holding the garlic may be an issue as it is a strangely shaped Item to be cutting in this fashion. You’ll have an easier time if the garlic is fresh and relatively easy to work with. Look for garlic plump bulbs with intact skin that feel heavy when balanced in your hand. This means that they’re fresh.

Make sure to hold the entire clove tightly and do not cut toward you or your hand. Slice quickly and smoothly so as not let the knife slip or catch.

garlic clove

Easy as that.

Slicing garlic crosswise is a useful technique that can help in cooking, and specifically it is used to prep a clove of garlic for roasting. Roasted garlic is easy to work with and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes, spreads, and sauces. It can even be used on its own as a spread on crackers or focaccia, a flat Italian bread that is to die for especially when fresh from the oven.

To cut the clove of garlic, hold it tight and slice through the center of the clove crosswise. Do not remove the skin as the skin will help keep the clove together after it is cut. The skin may flake off, but that is ok.

Cut Garlic Crosswise to Roast It

Perhaps the most common reason you’ll need to learn how to cut garlic crosswise is to roast it. Roasting helps sugars in garlic caramelize to mellow its flavor and make it a delicious veggie on its own. You can roast the garlic cut crosswise either on a grill or in the oven.

To roast garlic you’ll need to take whole garlic bulbs and gently peel away the excess papery material without letting the cloves separate. You need the bulb whole. Next, cut the garlic bulbs crosswise in order to expose the individual cloves. Some recipes recommend cutting only the top of the bulb (about 1/2 inch) and roasting the ends as well.

How to roast the garlic cut crosswise:

  • Put the garlic sliced crosswise face down on a piece of aluminum foil on an oven-safe tray or in a (muffin) pan.
  • Drizzle the bulb generously with olive oil and coat every but of the bulb in oil with your hands. You need the bulb well coated in the oil but you don’t want it to soak in it.
  • Add salt and paper to taste (this step is purely optional; the roasting will make the garlic so flavorful and delicious on its own that you won’t need the extra sodium and pepper, especially if the garlic is organic.
  • Wrap the bulb in the aluminum foil and bake in the tray or pan at 400 degrees F for half an hour to 40 minutes (don’t go over 40 minutes as you will destroy all the healthy enzymes and nutrients in garlic)
  • Remove from oven and allow it to cool before eating.
  • If you’re grilling the garlic, skip the tray or pan but make sure that the garlic bulbs are away from open flame (they can get from light brown to charred in seconds)

Roasted garlic is easier on stomachs and lacks all the sharpness and bite that distinguishes garlic from onion. It can also be preserved better. You can use it on garlic bread, focaccia, bruschetta, on roasted potatoes, or in sauces, soups, mashes, dips, and marinades for extra depth and sweetness.

And if you have an Italian Nonna you’d like to make happy or just want to make perfect roasted garlic, you can buy a handy kitchen prop– the terracotta garlic roaster. With it, roasted garlic gets closer to perfection with each use.

Garlic Roaster

Did you like this post about how to cut a garlic clove? Let us know if you have any questions. The comment section below is waiting for you.

Helen Harris

Helen’s your eternally cheerful, next-door suburban mom that genuinely enjoys sharing with the whole neighborhood her latest fresh-from-the-oven culinary creations. She’s also a treasure trove of kitchen hacks and DIY advice if you have the patience to listen to her life story on repeat and the latest news on her son, Marv, and on how great he’s doing on the college football team. Fortunately, she agreed to leave her kitchen wisdom in writing as well when one of our editors with saintlike patience asked her to.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
Lizsc - November 24, 2018

A few pictures of the actual garlic halved crosswise might help.

    Free Stuff - June 30, 2020

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The Kitchen Advisor - December 11, 2018

Good call, Liz. We kinda missed that detail.

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