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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 ½ 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 ½ 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 ½ 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 clove
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
I’m so glad to know about freezing garlic for future use. Thanks for the detailed step-by-step instructions
You’re welcome! Happy freezing!
I’m excited about freezing garlic for future use. Here’s a tip that works, if your readers can’t find small freezer bags – they are really tough to find, use regular small storage bags, place them in a freezer quart zip lock and freeze.
Hi Rita, thank you so much for sharing such a great tip!
Looking forward to trying this, sounds pretty cut and dry!
Thanks for the clear explanations!
Hi Sue! I am so happy that you found it helpful!
Great for my newly home grown garlic
This will be perfect!
Did you know you can put unpeeled garlic in a plastic container with lid or use a pot with lid. shake it and voila, peeled garlic!
That’s such a good hack! Thanks for sharing!
I have recently been looking at different methods for storing garlic. Several sources cited a potential problem, that of botulism. May
I suggest you research this and report back what you have learned. The source of this concern is the USDA (the US Department of Agriculture).
If you look at this US Gov link (https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Can-you-get-botulism-from-garlic-in-oil) you’ll find that the risk of botulism is when you store garlic in oil at room temperature. The link gives you fridge and freezer storage advice. And as this article is about freezing garlic in oil for three months, and the link says keeps for several months in the freezer, I won’t be concerned about it at all.
You are great,thank you very much for your nice article.i have a peeling machine and I like to start business . peoples are don’t have much time.i want to sale it with nice packet.i don’t know after peeling the garlic how long it will be stay without any problem.need to use any chemical for long time preserve ? If yes than what is the name of the chemical.if you have any suggestions please kindly inform me.with best regards.aktiar
Aww, that’s so kind of you! Thank you! I don’t use any chemicals when it comes to my cooking, so I wouldn’t be the one to ask for that.
what a brilliant idea!!! Doing this has saved so much of my time. I use Garlic in lot of my curries and Pastas, using it up straight from the freezer has made my life so much easier. Thank you!!
Thank you! That’s what I love about it too!
Thank you very much. I’ve never bought fresh garlic before, I’ve always used the powder. I asked my son to buy one bulb for a new recipe and he came home with a giant vacuum sealed bag of cloves. I had no idea how to store the extra after I broke the seal.
Thank you for the information and the recipes so I can properly freeze and use the rest of the package.
You’re so welcome! I’m glad you found this information useful!
My local store has large bags of pealed garlic cloves. Can I just freeze them like that or do I have to mince and bag them. I was hopeful I could just freeze their large bag and take one or two out as needed. Also how long can you freeze them for? Thanks
I would recommend freezing it in this way for convenience! 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.
Thank you. I grow garlic and my garlic needed to be processed before it started growing. I put my processed garlic in mini cupcake tins just until frozen. Put in food saver bags. Lots of labor saved. I used these little silicone tubes to remove skins fast.
I found your article ré freezing garlic. Thank you. Would you please clarify the safety of using oil with garlic? I once heard that if one stores garlic in oil, it should be kept in the coldest part of the fridge (in this case) and used within a few days to prevent a toxin from growing. I recall the name of the toxin sounds like ‘botulism’. I heard the remedy is to use vinegar with problems and long storage.
There is no need to add oil or salt when freezing garlic following this recipe. If you do store the garlic with oil, it sounds safest to refrigerate the garlic in oil mixture and used within two to three days.
Thanks for sharing this. I thought it was so helpful
Does the garlic stay soft, after it’s frozen, to make it easy to scoop out of your bag/container???
Yes it does. It does firm up a little like ice cream but definitely scoopable.
Thank you! Very informative.
Glad it was helpful!
Have you ever roasted it first and then gone through the creating mince/paste to freezing process. I’d like to try it!
I haven’t, but that sounds amazing!
Perfect tips. Thanks. My mom uses vinegar to help liquidize the garlic. Is there any reason to not use vinegar instead of salt or oil?
Oh I’ve never heard of that before. I personally don’t use it because the taste of the vinegar lingers
Could you give an approximate equivalency of cloves to measurement? Like, 1 clove=about 1 tsp, or whatever it might be.
Not sure why I care. I always dump extra garlic in things, anyway!
Haha same! One garlic clove is about 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic or 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
Thanks, made toum last night. (That’s actually why I happened upon this other post.) The emulsification turned out GREAT. It’s like buttah!!!
yay! So glad to hear it!
My husband just scored a huge amount of garlic, cheap. I am going to peel it and freeze it in small canning jars for future use without it going moldy on me 🙂 Thank you for the tips!
That’s perfect!! So glad this is helpful 🙂
Looking for nice fresh garlic. Grow your own.
They have quality garlic’s. Grown in Oregon.
Inspected by the ore Department of Agriculture.
Non GMO and Pesticide Free.
Don’t want to grow it. They also sell Food Grade garlic’s.
Check out the Farm. Go to their web site.
Thank you for the hints and tips!!!
Glad they were useful! Thank you!
this is how I prep my garlic too as it saves me a whole lot of time and energy as I use garlic when cooking daily. thanks for sharing
So glad to hear it! Thank you!!
way to much in a beautiful way! I am freezing all my garlic right now!
I am loving the frozen garlic idea. It is working out great for me!
Yay! Glad to hear it 🙂
It’s incredibly important that you correct a misconception here. Botulinum toxin is anaerobic, which means it thrives in the ABSENCE of oxygen. It’s why you can’t vacuum seal or can garlic – it creates the ideal atmosphere for the spores to create toxins. “Too much air” does not increase the risk of botulism. Please consider clarifying this for your readers.
I am not sure about the science behind that but that’s what I originally read. I deleted any mention of botulism for now. Thank you!
Probably a dumb question,but how do you draw lines with a knife? Do you cut through the plastic or not? Do you do it before or after freezing?
Oh no, not a dumb question…I use a dull knife and push hard on the plastic without cutting through it before I freeze it. You can also freeze it for an hour and then draw the lines so it really partitions them well…either way works.