Pickling or preserving garlic is a simple task and can be done throughout the year. I nevertheless love making small batches of it and it is so good for you too. If you love garlic and you love pickles, this pickled garlic recipe is super simple to make and keeps in the refrigerator for a good few months! Please note, it is not suitable for canning.
I do love pickles and pickling so this post or recipe was inspired by my Pickled Watermelon Recipe and pairs well with this Pork and Seafood Risotto, Easy Spanish Omelette (Spanish Tortilla). It's so nice to have in the fridge ready to use any time you wish.
It only takes 10-20 minutes to put together and it is dead easy!
I do know that my gym family might not love me very much until I get through this picked garlic batch but hey... life is tough! Jamie, get
Why this recipe works
If you've got a lot of garlic on your hands and you're looking for a way to preserve it, then try this easy pickled garlic recipe. A simple pickling brine with cider vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, and mustard seeds will turn your leftover garlic cloves into a tangy pickle that's delicious served as part of so many dishes like a healthy potato salad alongside cheese board, cold meats or on the side of your favorite barbecue dishes.
- fresh garlic cloves, peeled
- cider vinegar
- cane sugar
- kosher salt
- black peppercorns
- mustard seeds
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- fresh herbs (e.g., thyme, rosemary) for added flavor
See the full recipe card below for all the exact quantities.
Let's make this pickled garlic recipe in just under 20 minutes if the garlic is ready-peeled, if not it will take a little longer.
Step 1: Gather all the ingredients. See the full list above or the recipe card for exact quantities and ingredients.
Step 2 - Add the vinegar to a pan and add all the spices, salt and sugar.
Step 3 - Give the pickling liquid a boil for a few minutes.
Step 4 - Meanwhile place all the garlic cloves into the sterilized jars.
Step 5 - Pour the vinegar liquid while hot over the garlic cloves.
Here is the result and how pickled garlic will look just before placing the lid on.
- Bay leaves - use fresh herbs (e.g., thyme, rosemary) for added flavor instead
- Cider vinegar - use regular wine, white, or pickling vinegar instead
- Sugar-free - make it sugar-free by taking out the addition of sugar
- Add some pickled garlic cloves to this Cabbage Casserole With Mince Beef And Fresh Herbs, tomato soup, to homemade mayonnaise or why not serve it with the chili con meatballs recipe or even this giant samosa? Soo yummy!
Variations and substitutions
- Spicy - here is an Asian version that is totally delicious too
- Add allspice berries for extra flavor
- Kid friendly - keep the chili flakes to a minimum or add none at all.
Garlic and vinegar mixture can be refrigerated for max 4 months. It’s safe to use the flavored liquid for other things like salad dressing, meat marinade, etc. Discard if you spot any signs of mold or yeast growth.
How to peel large amounts of garlic
Peeling large amounts of garlic can be a time-consuming task, but there are several efficient methods to speed up the process. Here are some ways to peel garlic quickly:
- Using the Shake Method:
- Place the garlic cloves inside a closed container (like a Mason jar).
- Shake the container vigorously for a few seconds.
- The garlic cloves should separate from the peel, making them easier to pick out.
- Microwave Method:
- Place the garlic bulbs in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
- The heat will make the cloves easier to separate from the peel.
- Blanching Method:
- Drop the garlic cloves into boiling water for about 20-30 seconds.
- Transfer them to ice water immediately.
- The skins should loosen, and you can easily peel the cloves.
- Garlic Peeler Tube:
- Place a garlic clove inside a silicone garlic peeler tube.
- Roll the tube back and forth with the palm of your hand.
- The peel should come off, and the peeled clove can be easily removed.
- Buy Pre-Peeled Garlic:
- If you frequently use large amounts of garlic, consider purchasing pre-peeled garlic from the store to save time.
Feel free of course to choose the method that works best for you based on your personal preferences but also depending on the tools available in your kitchen.
I did not add any of the crashing methods here as this technique will not work for a pickled garlic recipe. I do love this technique for cooking with the garlic.
Top safety tips
- It is best to use fresh, quality garlic, ideally organically grown.
- Ensure the jars and utensils are correctly sterilized. (See the notes below in the recipe card for more details on how to sterilize the jars - it is an important step)
- Follow proper canning procedures for long-term storage.
- Discard any jars with signs of spoilage (mold, off smells).
Pickled garlic can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 months easily. Make sure to keep it in a sealed container to maintain its freshness.
Yes, you definitely can control the spice level by simply adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes. Omit them entirely for a milder flavor or increase them for extra heat.
Oh yes, again. Absolutely! Experiment with different herbs like dill, oregano, or basil to customize the flavor to your liking.
While I recommend cider vinegar, you can experiment with making this garlic in vinegar recipe with other kinds of vinegar like white wine vinegar or rice vinegar for different flavors.
It's advisable to refrigerate the pickled garlic for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to blend. However, you can taste it sooner if you're eager but the longer it sits, the more flavorful it will become.
Use kosher, good quality Himalayan salt, pure salt, and not table salt, which contains anti-caking additives that will make the brine cloudy or even slimy.
For all garlic lovers out there, you’ll be happy to learn that while pickled garlic might give you a little garlic breath but nowhere near as much as the fresh garlic does.
Looking for more preserve recipes, try these:
Recipes that pickled garlic will pair well with
These are a few of my favorite dishes to have pickled garlic with 😉
Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page if you have made this recipe and liked it. Thanks for stopping by!
- 3 jars
- 1 pan
- 1 knife
- 500 grams garlic cloves peeled
- 350 ml cider vinegar
- 50 grams cane sugar optional
- ½ teaspoon celtic salt
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
- 6 small bay leaves
- 1 pinch red chili flakes dried
- Sterilise 3 x 225g ( 8 oz) jars or 1 x 720g (24 oz) jar (see notes for more details on how to correctly sterilise jars).
- Peel the garlic cloves and add them to the sterilized jars. Sprinkle a pinch of dried chili into the jars. Set aside.
- Pour the vinegar into a pan and add the sugar, peppercorns, and mustard seeds, and bay leaves. Stir well, then set the pan on high heat and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn the heat down a little and boil for 2 minutes. This will be your pickling liquid.
- Gently and carefully, pour the pickling liquid over the garlic, submerging the garlic cloves completely.
- Seal the jars with vinegar-proof lids and store them somewhere dry and dark for at least 2 weeks. I put them in the cellar. Just check to make sure the garlic stays covered by the brine. It shoould be ready to serve after two weeks or so.
- The oven method.
- Firstly, wash them in hot soapy water, rinse them well, and then dry them in the oven at 110°C/Fan 90°C/ 230°F/Fan 195°F.
- The dishwasher method
- Simply put through a short dishwasher cycle to sterilize the jars.