Onion & Garlic Powders—Homemade is Better!

Once you make your own Onion & Garlic powders,
you will never buy the grocery store brands again.

As with many aspects of natural living, simple is often cheaper, easier, and healthier. Making your own garlic and onion powders can be one of the easiest and tastiest changes you can make. Not only do they come in handy in their spice shakers to add to food as you are cooking but these are also a great addition to homemade spice blends as well as salt blends.

Garlic and onion are wonderful and powerful savory additions. They jazz up many recipes and also contain healing properties. One way to maintain not only the flavor but also the healing powers is to dry onions and garlic to make them into powders.

The most obvious benefits to making homemade garlic or onion powder is the cost: With onions or garlic purchased from the farmer’s market you will pay about half the price of these powders at Trader Joe’s or Penzey’s. And if you manage to grow your own garlic and onions, you will pay even less.

Besides cost, there are no additives like “anti-caking agents”. If you’ve ever bought spices from the store, you probably noticed that they often contain ingredients like “ant-caking agent” or “natural flavor” (aka MSG). Many often contain trace amounts of soy or other fillers, and sometimes these don’t even have to be listed on the ingredients.

How many times have you opened a new bottle of onion or garlic powder and been WOWED by the pungent smell? Yes, I thought so….never. What usually happens is that you get a lingering smell of an almost stale consistency hitting your nose. These spices also often sit on the shelf, in plastic bottles, for a long time. By the time you bring them home, they have lost much of their smell and flavor. When you make your own powders, the flavor is so much stronger than store-bought powders you will find you use less and enjoy it more.

Preparing the Onions

One of the good things about making your own powder is you can choose the variety of onion you want for a unique flavor. Vidalia, white, red, and yellow onions all make good onion powder as does green, Spring onions, and shallots.

  1. Wash the onions thoroughly before cutting.
  2. If you are sensitive to the onion’s juices and tear up, try these tested methods of onion cutting in the no-cry zone:
  • Use googles to protect your eyes.
  • Put the onion in the freezer for about 15 minutes before cutting it.
  • Putting your cutting board on the stove and turning on the overhead vent or microwave ventilation fan redirects the eye-irritating gases onions produce away from your eyes.
  1. Cut the bottom and the top off your onion to make it easy to peel. Peel the outer layer off. (You can also dehydrate the peel to add to your powder.)
  2. Using either a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer, cut the onion into thin slices, no more than 1/4 inch thick. Alternately you can put pieces into your food processor and pulse until the onions are coarsely chopped. Be sure you are consistent in the size of your slices/chops. You don’t want different sizes because the drying time takes longer.
  3. Blanch the slices briefly in boiling water, about 30 seconds, to prevent discoloration. This process also helps speed up dehydrating time.

NOTE: 3 pounds of onions = 6 cups chopped onions = approximately 1-1/2 cups dried chopped onions (a.k.a. onion flakes) = approximately 6 tablespoons onion powder (enough to fill an average spice bottle)

Preparing the Garlic

By far, the most time consuming part of the process is peeling garlic. Crush it to bruise it for easy peeling or soak it in water? Crush a whole bulb and bang it around in between metal bowls—or perhaps the method of adding cloves to a jar with a bit of water and shaking is what works for you. I wanted slices, not crushed garlic, so I end up peeling the garlic as best I can, usually with a small paring knife.

  1. Wash the garlic bulbs thoroughly before cutting, pulling off the outer paper layers.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves with your best method.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut the garlic into slices, no more than 1/4 inch thick. Alternately you can put pieces into your food processor and pulse just until the garlic is coarsely chopped. Be sure you are consistent in the size of your slices/chops. You don’t want different sizes because the drying time takes longer.


Dehydrating Onions & Garlic

  1. Onion: Place them into your dehydrator trays in a single layer. Do not stack them up. If you have slices pull them apart and alternate between the thre outer layers, staggering succeeding layers inside so as to save space. If you have coarsely chopped the onion, use mesh inserts for your trays to hold the small pieces.
    Garlic: Use mesh inserts for your trays to hold the small slices of garlic. Do not stack, but lay out in a fashion so they are not touching.
  2. Put your dehydrator into either a closed off separate room, in the garage, or outside. The fumes as these two are dehydrating bother many people and can be pervasive.
  3. I dry my onions and garlic at 125°F/50°C with my dehydrator for 12 to 24 hours. You can do it at a higher temperature (135°F/57°C for 8-12 hours) and get a shorter drying time but I like to keep as many nutrients as I can.
  4. Dry until you hear a crunch when broken in half. It will look and feel just like old paper when cool.

Puree Collage

Note: You can also roast your onions and/or garlic and use your food processor to achieve a purée which you can then dehydrate on Paraflexx trays in your dehydrator. This takes a bit longer, but the drying process is the same.

Powdering Onions & Garlic

  1. Once thoroughly cooled, simply pulverize the food in a coffee/spice grinder or, if you don’t own a grinder, in your blender or other high powered appliance like a Bullet. A mortar and pestle works well also. You want to grind them enough to achieve a powdered consistency between white sugar and white flour.
  2. You may find it useful to shake the material from the grinder through a sieve. Put the larger pieces left behind through a second grind or store them in a jar for adding to foods as flakes.
  3. Store in sealed, airtight containers away from heat and light according to the directions below.

How to Store

For immediate use: Place the powder in an adequate size jar with a oxygen absorber (if you are using a larger jar) and store away from heat, steam, and light. Adding a few grains of rice will help to keep it from clumping. You can also add a bit of arrowroot powder as a natural anti-caking agent.

Long term storage: Store the powder in vacuum sealed bags for long term food storage. Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber will help eliminate the light and other variables. I usually store the slices themselves in long-term storage and grind when I am ready to refill my jars for short- term storage.

Storage Options

  • Stored in a spice jar or a Mason jar, powders will last about 6 months.
  • Stored in a Mason jar with an oxygen pack, powders will last up to a year.
  • Vacuum sealed with an oxygen pack, then double-bagged in Mylar and stored in a cool, dry place, powders will last five years or more. When stored like this, the powder can become compacted. If it does, just sift, re-blend, or grind again before using.
  • If you vacuum seal the onions and/or garlic without first grinding, the shelf life is extended, and you have more flexibility. Powdering increases the surface area, which is why powders have so much punch, but that larger surface area also allows for more oxidization and more surface area for pathogens to attack and thrive on. You can always open a bag or two and blend/pestle and mortar it as needed, storing the remnants in jars for immediate use.

Uses for Onion & Garlic Powder

I am sure you already use your onion and garlic powders in your cooking. Here are a few other things you can use it for that you may not have thought of:

  • Sprinkling on homemade popcorn,
  • Spice mixes for dry rubs on meat (chopped garlic and onion tends to burn and become bitter),
  • In hamburger patties and meatloaf for getting a more even flavor,
  • To get brighter flavors in low-sodium dishes,
  • Make your own spice blends to flavor your foods.

Recipes Using Onion & Garlic Powder

Ranch Dressing Mix

1/4 cup dried Parsley leaf
1 Tablespoon Dill leaf
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Basil leaf (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in jar or food processor. Store in airtight container away from heat and light.

To make into Ranch Dressing, mix 1 Tablespoon of this mix with 1/3 cup Mayonnaise (or Greek Yogurt) and 1/4 cup Milk.

Seasoned Salt

1/4 cup Onion Powder
1/4 cup Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Black Pepper (ground)
2 tablespoons Chili Powder
3 tablespoons Paprika
2 tablespoons dried Parsley Leaf
1 tablespoon ground Red Pepper Flakes

Mix well by shaking in a jar or in a food processor. Store in airtight container away from heat and light.

Italian Herb Seasoning Blend

(With homegrown herbs, chilies and tomato skins.) From Karen Lawrence, “This is an adapted recipe but this is for the blend in the photo. I dehydrated most of the ingredients myself.”

Italian Herb Seasoning Blend3 tablespoons tomato powder
3 tablespoons dried parsley
3 tablespoons dried basil
3 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄4 teaspoon chili flakes
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix well by shaking in a jar or in a food processor. Store in airtight container away from heat and light.

Onion or Garlic Salt Blend

Makes 1/4 cup

3 tablespoons fine kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder or onion powder

Stir until blended thoroughly. Use a funnel to pour into spice jars that have a screened top.

2 thoughts on “Onion & Garlic Powders—Homemade is Better!

  1. Judy says:

    Love this post–great information.

    1. cebohrer46@yahoo.com says:

      Thank you !!! Glad you found it helpful.

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