Learn how to freeze garlic to use in your recipes. This easy tutorial walks you through the steps for freezing garlic to save time and money for meal prepping!
Can you freeze garlic?
Yes, absolutely! You can freeze garlic. And if you cook with garlic as much as I do, you’ll realize that freezing garlic can be such a life saver. I use garlic in a majority of my dinner recipes, especially the Lebanese dishes. Doing it in bulk saves you so much time and I’m going to share with you my easy tutorial!
It can be so tedious to peel a garlic clove or two, chop, mince or press it on a daily basis. Freezing garlic in bulk every 3-4 months makes it easy to have on hand to throw in recipes when you’re in a pinch. Yes, frozen garlic won’t have the crunchy texture of fresh garlic. But the flavor definitely stays strong and robust, and it’s way better than the jarred garlic you would find at the grocery store.
But wait, can you just refrigerate garlic? Yes, but it’s not recommended for more than 4-5 days because the flavor and texture worsen and can actually become toxic. If you find yourself with extra garlic, or if you’re trying to save time for meal prep, freezing garlic is the way to go!
How to freeze garlic
Garlic is very easy and forgiving when it comes to freezing. There are many ways to freeze garlic:
- Whole unpeeled garlic bulbs
- Individual unpeeled garlic cloves
- Individual peeled garlic cloves
- Minced garlic
- Garlic paste
Depending on your cooking needs and garlic usage, any of those methods for freezing garlic are great. The one I use mostly that I’m going to share with you is how to freeze garlic paste. But first we have to make the garlic paste.
How to make garlic paste
Peel the garlic
First, if you’re starting with fresh garlic, peel the garlic completely and remove any large green sprouts. I go to the prepared foods section of my local health store and they usually give me a large tub of freshly peeled garlic.
Remove brown stems
The garlic I buy in bulk is peeled using a machine, which is so much easier than peeling it myself. But this method leaves the brown stems on them, so I recommend using a paring knife to remove them. It should take 10-15 minutes for 5 cups of garlic.
Chop or blend in food processor
- Use a knife to chop finely repeatedly. You make garlic paste with just a really sharp knife and flakey course salt. The salt helps speed up the chopping by breaking it down further and softening it as you chop. This method is excellent if you are preparing a small amount or don’t have a food processor.
- Use a food processor to pulse the garlic. When preparing multiple cups of garlic like I do in bulk, I always use a food processor. There’s no need to add salt or oil, but you can if you wish. If adding salt, add 1 teaspoon for 4-5 cups of garlic cloves. If adding oil, you can use as much as 1/2 cup oil.
Just a minute of pulsing in the blender, and we’re in business – garlic paste! You can stop when it’s minced or continue until it looks more like a paste like I did here.
Transfer garlic to freezer safe bags
Transfer the garlic paste into small freezer safe storage bags. You can use a knife to draw lines to partition small 1 inch squares, which will be equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of garlic paste.
How to store garlic
I prefer to use ziplock storage bags for garlic because I can lay them flat in the freezer. It’s easy to peel off a chunk of what I need without having to thaw any part of it. I know a lot of people prefer not to use plastic though.
Here are some container options
- Freezer safe tupperware
- Freezer plastic bags
- Break resistant plastic containers
- Glass containers
- Well folded aluminum foil
- Ice trays
Guidelines for freezing containers
Whatever container you use, just make sure you’re freezing garlic in an air tight and moisture resistant package so that the garlic stays fresh. Some sources say you can store garlic in the freezer for up to 6 months. But I try to limit mine to 3 months for best flavor, like with anything else I freeze. Here are my suggested container guidelines.
- Air tight and moisture resistant
- Freezer safe so it doesn’t crack
- Can be written on to indicate date frozen
Tips for freezing garlic
- Select the highest quality organic garlic you can find in the store. The more fresh and high quality the garlic is, the better flavor after freezing it. You’ll know it’s fresh because the garlic will feel firm. Make sure there are no wet spots, no green sprouts and definitely no mold anywhere.
- Dry the garlic after peeling it and removing any sprouts or stems. Controlling the moisture helps to keep a fresh a robust flavor after frozen.
- Use freezer safe airtight containers as mentioned above that work for you. This not only helps maintain fresh flavor and reduce any risk of freezer burn.
Frequently asked questions
This method of freezing garlic is super convenient for having ready-minced garlic or garlic paste for busy weeknight meals. But it’s also a money saver since you’re buying garlic in bulbs and prepping it in advance. It’s so much cheaper than buying the jarred garlic at the store, and the taste is so much better!
One garlic clove will usually yield 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic or garlic paste. One garlic clove will usually yield about 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
There is no need to add oil or salt when freezing garlic. The oil dilutes the taste and makes it difficult to tell the amount of garlic needed for a recipe. However, you can add oil if it makes it easier for cooking with the frozen garlic. Add up to 1/2 cup oil and up to 1 teaspoon salt for 4-5 cups of peel garlic cloves.
There’s no need to thaw the garlic beforehand. Just take what you need from the frozen container and drop it into whatever dish you’re making.
You can use frozen garlic as you would fresh garlic . The garlic won’t have the same texture (it’s softer). But the flavor will still be strong. It’s a great solution for recipes when the texture of the garlic isn’t important.
I especially love using it when the garlic will be cooked, like in soups, sauces, stir-frys and stews, but you can still use in a fresh salad if you wanted.
More tutorials with garlic
Recipes with garlic
- Chicken Lemon Rice Soup
- Garlic Lemon Tuna Pasta
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
- Garlic Butter Shrimp Spaghetti
- Sheet Pan Salmon with Lemon and Garlic
- Shish Chicken Kabobs
- Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
- Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Olive Oil Garlic Bread
- Okra Stew
If you’ve tried this tutorial on How to Freeze Garlic helpful, or if you’ve made any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
How to Freeze Garlic
- 5 bulbs garlic
- If garlic isn’t peeled, peel it by hand, or by using a peeler tube or by using the shaking method inside a mason jar. Just place unpeeled garlic cloves inside a clear mason jar, screw on the lid and shake vigorously until all the peel is removed.
- Using a paring knife, remove any green sprouts or brown stems from the individual peeled garlic cloves.
- Add the garlic cloves to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process in short pulses until the garlic is evenly minced. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides as needed. You can stop when its just minced or continue until it becomes a paste. I prefer the paste.
- Transfer the garlic paste into small freezer safe storage bags. You can use a knife to draw lines to partition small 1 inch squares, which will be equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of garlic paste.