Baked Garlic with Thyme

Baked garlic, savory and sweet, finds its way into our kitchen more often than it should – weaving its way in and out of sauces, breads and soups.  And, without a doubt, we enjoy it in its own right – unctuous and smooth, intensely garlicky and scented with fresh thyme.  Garlic, mellowed but simultaneously made richer by roasting, provides a lovely, but mild sweetness to savory dishes.

Garlic, like leeks, onions and most alliums, is a potent food – rich in nutrients including sulfur-compounds which account for its strong odor, vitamins and minerals.  Some research indicates that garlic may offer benefits to your heart and cardiovascular system – possibly even reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) in some individuals.  Garlic also anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which may account for its use as a traditional folk remedy for fighting colds and flus.  Garlic is a nutrient-dense, valuable food that not only supports your overall health but also provides a beautiful depth of flavor to your cooking.

In this version of baked garlic, I season fresh bulbs of fragrant heirloom garlic with thyme.  Instead of the customary addition of olive oil, I roast my garlic by using lard – richly flavored and dense in vitamin D.  The lard, a monounsaturated fat like olive oil and avocado, provides a lovely flavor to the final dish –  a richness found only in real food.

But, before I get to the recipe, don’t forget about the 28-day Real Food Challenge coming up this February!  Each day throughout the month of February, I’ll be sending tips and assignments to help you transition your family into a diet based on wholesome, natural traditional foods.

baked garlic with thyme

By Jenny Published: January 26, 2010

    Richly flavored, this baked garlic is nestled in a bed of fresh thyme and gently flavored by freshly rendered pasture-raised lard. If you can’t consume six bulbs of garlic right away, you can easily freeze the cloves for later use and they keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.


    • 6 bulbs fresh heirloom garlic
    • 6 tbsp pastured lard
    • 1 bunch fresh thyme
    • unrefined sea salt


    1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
    2. Gently rub away as much of the papery outer skins of the garlic bulbs of you can, but take care to leave the skins encasing the garlic cloves intact.
    3. Using a good sharp and sturdy knife, chop the very top of the bulbs of garlic off so that you might expose the tops of the individual cloves of garlic,
    4. Place the bulbs of garlic in a clay baker or casserole dish, root-side down.
    5. Dot each bulb with 1 tablespoon of pasture-raised lard.
    6. Cover the garlic with fresh thyme and sprinkle the bulbs with unrefined sea salt.
    7. Bake, covered, at 400° F for thirty to forty-five minutes. If you don’t have a covered casserole dish or clay baker, you may tent the bulbs of garlic with aluminum foil.
    8. After about thirty to forty-five minutes, when your home becomes fragrant with the rich scent of garlic and thyme, remove the garlic from the oven and allow it to rest and come to room temperature before serving it. Baked garlic is perfect on its own or with a slice of bread, but it also adds a beautiful, deep richness to any dish in which you would customarily use fresh garlic.

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    What people are saying

    1. Local Nourishment says

      Mmmm. I love roasted garlic! I usually put a head or two inside the chicken I roast each week. I cut off the fat from the neck of the chicken and “tent” the trimmed head with it. That good chicken fat bastes the garlic, the garlic gently seasons the bird, and I conserve energy by cooking them together! We squeeze the garlic out of its cloves onto sourdough bread for instant garlic bread. Heavenly!

    2. Devon Hernandez says

      This has my mouth watering…

      *note to self: buy a ton of garlic at the farmers market on Saturday*

      RE: lard – check with your local farms if you purchase meat directly from them, to see if they have rendered lard available. There are a few local farms I have gotten meat from here in Pennsylvania that sell their unrefined, rendered lard in quart containers that they keep frozen, and it’s very inexpensive. I may have paid shy of $3 for a quart. I buy two or three, keep one in the fridge, and the others in the freezer until I start getting low and defrost another one. Lard keeps for several months in the fridge.

      Thanks Jenny! Never thought about using lard on roasted garlic, but I’ll be making this over the weekend! :)

    3. Marly says

      Ohhhh Jenny, I can smell the fragrance now. And I just happen to have a large mesh bag of those garlics. I’m off to the kitchen!

      And such beautiful photography! Makes my mouth water.

    4. Joy says

      Have loved roasted garlic for a longtime and not ever put thyme together with it! (Always went more Italian herbs) Really like the idea of that marriage…and love the comment about roasting inside a bird!…Is that “killing two birds with one stone”? Hahaha!

    5. Happi Shopr says

      Jenny – hubby would love us both if I make this for him…will save it as a “get out of the dog house free” meal, lol. 😀

    6. says

      My favorite way to consume roast garlic: with melty brie. Mmmm.
      To always have roasted garlic on hand I separate a couple heads of garlic into cloves (don’t peel), spread on a sheet pan, and roast until soft (it only takes about 15 minutes). Cool completely, then pop into the freezer. They thaw super quick, making it easy to add yummy roasted garlic flavor to any dish.

      • REB says

        Great tip about freezing it! I can’t wait to make the recipe – it will also warm up the house on a very cold day, but I was wondering what to do with what I can’t eat :)

    7. Laura says

      OK, I’m going to ask a stupid question and risk sounding like an idiot. I’ve tried roasting garlic before and the directions always say that the garlic will squeeze out of the cloves when done. This has never been my experience. Once the garlic is roasted, how do I get it out of the peel?

    8. Handful says

      OOOOH….Garlic…..mmmmmmm. I ate an entire bulb last night all by my self. Squeezed right onto my tongue.

      Note: No vampires last night. 😉

    9. Farmerswife says

      Jenny, I can’t wait to try the garlic with thyme. The only way I have roasted garlic before is by itself in foil on the BBQ. Time for some baked roasted garlic!

    10. Jenny says

      Julie –

      You will LOVE the baked garlic recipe.  The thyme really makes it.  I suppose you could use other herbs too – rosemary might be nice.  It is so delicious.

      – Jenny

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