What to Do if Your Garlic Powder Gets Hard?


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Garlic powder is an excellent inclusion in many recipes. It flavors food quickly without the hassle of dealing with fresh garlic. However, it can promptly harden, making it difficult to use.

But why does garlic powder harden quickly? When exposed to the air, garlic powder absorbs moisture readily. The absorbed moisture makes the powder bond and forms a solid.

Do you know what to do if your garlic powder gets hard? This article discusses that in greater detail to help you efficiently resolve the issue when it arises.

Reasons Why Garlic Powder Goes Hard

Before you start wondering what to do if your garlic powder gets hard, it’s critical to know the causes of the hardening. That way, you can stop bulk garlic powder from hardening.

In most cases, garlic powder goes hard due to exposure to moisture, keeping it too long, and holding it in an unsealed or open jar. Here is a detailed explanation of these causes of garlic powder hardening:

1. Exposure to Moisture

Like most spices, garlic powder is hygroscopic and can absorb moisture directly from the air. Instead of garlic powder getting affected by humidity randomly, it actively pulls moisture from the air. This happens when the powder is exposed to high humidity. The dehydrated powder captures moisture from the air and hardens.

2. The Age of the Powder

People tend to keep spices like garlic powder for prolonged periods unconsciously. In most cases, the powder would still be good when kept in a closed jar. However, it can also harden after remaining in your pantry for too long.

The average shelf-life of ground garlic is 2 to 3 years when kept in a sealed container or plastic bag. Besides, the garlic powder should be kept in a cool, dry place like the pantry, away from moisture.

3. Unsealed Container/Jar

When a garlic powder container/jar remains unsealed or open, it exposes it to moisture, which gets it hardened. The hardening may happen long before the garlic powder’s sell-by date.

So, what should you do? You should open the jar only for a while. Be sure to close or seal the container once you finish using it. Leaving the jar open can make the garlic powder harden if you live in a place with high humidity levels.

How to Prevent Garlic Powder from Hardening

The best way to handle garlic powder is to prevent it from hardening. With that, you can avoid the inconvenience of dealing with hardened garlic powder while preparing dinner. Luckily, there are four ways to prevent garlic powder from getting hardened.

1. Keep in an Airtight Jar/Bottle/Container

Possibly, you purchase your garlic powder in a sachet or packet. After opening it, you should transfer the garlic to a jar or bottle. Seal the bottle tightly to prevent exposure to moisture, which could make it harden.

You may need a spice jar to store the garlic powder properly. Remember that spice jars have an excellent design that prevents moisture from getting in. If you have no spare jars or bottles, purchase one from any major online stores.

2. Store Garlic Powder in a Cool, Dry Place

After putting garlic powder in a sealed jar or bottle, store it in a cool, dry place. Ensure the area is dry, w the kitchen counter or the pantry.

Whatever you do, don’t store garlic powder in an area with lots of heat and moisture. So, if you intend to store the garlic powder jar on a spice rack, ensure it’s away from direct sunlight.

Ideally, you should store it in a dark, dry cupboard dedicated to spices. Or you could use any other cabinet that meets the conditions for proper storage.

3. Put Some Uncooked Rice in the Jar

One of the best ways to stop garlic powder from getting hardened is by putting some uncooked rice into the bottle. This tip also works very well for garlic salt.

You only need to place a teaspoon of uncooked rice grains into the jar. Then, the rice absorbs any moisture that threatens the garlic powder. That’s because uncooked rice absorbs moisture more efficiently than garlic powder. Therefore, the spice remains dry for a long time.

However, avoid letting the jar remain in the same position for long. Instead, keep shaking it repeatedly

4. Avoid Buying Bulk Garlic Powder

Garlic and onion powder have a shelf-life of up to three years. But that doesn’t give you the excuse to buy it in excess. Of course, you only need one garlic powder container at a time. One may harden because of age and become unusable if you purchase multiple containers.

How to Unstick Onion Powder

Even after taking all precautions, your garlic powder could end up hardened. Here is what to do if your garlic powder gets hard:

  • Hot Water: Place it in hot water with the jar still closed. The hot water should heat the garlic powder in the jar and disentangle the grains.
  • Scrape with a Spoon: After several minutes, remove the jar from the hot water and open it. Scrap the garlic powder into a bowl, dish, or pan using a small spoon. Keep moving the spoon until the garlic powder is as loose as possible.
  • Using Uncooked Rice: Take a teaspoon of uncooked rice and place it into the jar. Shake vigorously for the rice to mix with the garlic powder.
  • Heat in a Microwave: Placing the garlic powder jar in hot water may not work. So, put the garlic powder on a dish and place it in a microwave to loosen it.
  • Food Processor or Blender: After heating garlic powder in a microwave, put it in a food processor in a blender. It is one of the best ways of loosening garlic powder.
  • Bake in an Oven: Even though it might change the flavor of the garlic powder, baking it in an oven is one of the best ways to loosen it.


How Do You Make Garlic Powder Soft Again?

You can make garlic powder soft again by placing the container in boiling water or heating a dish of garlic powder in a microwave or oven. Once dehydrated, you can process the garlic powder in a blender or food processor.

Why Does Garlic Powder Go Hard?

Garlic powder goes hard because of moisture exposure, chilled, or storage in an open container. Storing garlic powder in a closed jar in a cool, dry place can help you prevent the hardening of the powder.

How Do You Fix Hardened Powder?

You can fix hardened garlic powder by heating it in a microwave or baking it in an oven. Then you should store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

How Do You Fix Hardened Onion Powder?

You can fix hardened onion powder by heating the jar in boiling water. Like garlic, dried onions are hygroscopic and tend to harden when exposed to moisture. Therefore, heating loosens the powder.

The Bottom Line

Garlic, onions, and other spices are gear for various foods and dishes. Instead of fresh onions and garlic, you can use these spices in powder form. However, you need to store garlic powder correctly to prevent it from hardening. If your garlic powder hardens for some reason, you can follow any of the tips above to loosen it. In storage, keep garlic powder jars in a cool, dry place.