Learn all about freezing garlic 101 with this ultimate meal prep hack! It’s a great way to keep minced garlic on hand for easy cooking on busy nights.
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Are you a garlic junkie like me? I personally add it to recipes and meals at least a few times a week. In fact, I’ve used it in hundreds of recipes on this very blog.
Usually, I opt for fresh garlic cloves, and always keep a bulb or two on the counter with other staples like onions and potatoes. But sometimes I wish I could save myself the time of preparing fresh garlic, especially on a busy evening when I’m hangry!
And sometimes I just don’t want the lingering scent of garlic on my fingers! You can relate, can’t you?! 😉 (PS – if you have a lemon wedge on hand when you’re cooking with garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice works incredibly well at removing garlic’s smell and stickiness.)
If you also LOVE to use garlic to season your veggies, but want an easier way to prep it, I’ve got the cooking hack for you.
Read on to learn all about freezing fresh, minced garlic so you can save yourself time and money, without sacrificing flavor!
Safety Tips for Preserving Garlic
Before you freeze garlic, keep these safety tips in mind (1):
- Garlic stored in oil at room temp for long periods can promote the growth of the bacterium that causes Botulism, a serious foodborne illness. To avoid this situation, it’s important to freeze minced garlic that is mixed with oil right away.
- Garlic and oil preparations should not be kept at room temperature. They can be safely stored in the fridge, but only for a short period of time (~4 days). So, your best bet is to store garlic that’s mixed with oil in the freezer, after you make it and up until right before you add it to a dish (1).
- Of course, it’s OK to make a garlic dipping oil (i.e. for bread) that you plan to eat right away.
How to Safely Freeze Minced Garlic in Oil
Garlic can be frozen in many forms, including whole raw or roasted garlic cloves, garlic paste, and minced or chopped garlic with or without oil.
My favorite way to freeze garlic is in a little bit of oil, since I usually sautee garlic in olive oil when I’m using it in recipes anyways.
Follow these simple steps to make sure you’re following the appropriate safety precautions.
- Purchase a large bag of peeled garlic cloves or several fresh bulbs.
- Peel each clove. A silicone garlic roller is a lifesaver for this process!
- Add the cloves and olive oil to a food processor. The best ratio is 2 parts oil to 1 part garlic. Pulse until the cloves are chopped, but stop before they turn into a paste.
- Scoop out one teaspoon of the garlic/oil mixture at a time and place the teaspoons on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet in the freezer for at least a couple of hours. Then, transfer the frozen garlic/oil teaspoons to a freezer bag.
- Label the bag with the date. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- When you want to use some frozen garlic, add 1 or 2 of the frozen teaspoons directly to the dish.
This process reminds me of my favorite hack for making frozen herb cubes. Check out that post if you’re interested in preserving more of your favorite veggie seasonings!
How does freezing garlic affect taste and texture?
The taste of frozen garlic is pretty similar to fresh, but sometimes it’s not as pungent. Frozen garlic has a mushier texture than fresh garlic, but this shouldn’t make a difference in the overall texture of a recipe if you’re just using garlic to season it.
PSA for my fresh garlic lovers out there: Trust me, I understand the many benefits of using fresh garlic over frozen! Ha. But I also think that having common staples on hand in easy-to-use forms can be very helpful in staying on track with healthy cooking.
There’s room for both fresh and frozen garlic in the kitchen ;-)…
Do you need to thaw frozen garlic in oil?
Nope! Just add a frozen garlic and oil ball directly to the pan you’re using to prepare your meal or recipe.
How to Use Frozen Garlic
Here are several ways to use frozen minced garlic:
- Add to a skillet with another dash of olive oil, salt, and pepper to sautee veggies.
- Cook with onion and other seasonings as the base of a soup.
- Add to salad dressings.
- Put a few teaspoons on top of garlic bread before it goes into the oven.
- Mix into dips and sauces.
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Frozen Minced Garlic in Olive Oil
- 5 bulbs garlic - peeled and separated into cloves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Combine the peeled garlic cloves and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until the cloves are chopped, but stop before they turn into a paste.
- Scoop out one teaspoon of the mixture at a time and transfer to a baking sheet. Freeze for a couple of hours before putting the teaspoons in a freezer bag. Store for up to 3 months.
- When you want to use the frozen garlic, transfer the desired amount directly from the freezer to the dish. Do not thaw.
- Garlic stored in oil at room temp can promote the growth of the bacterium that causes Botulism, a serious foodborne illness. To avoid this situation, freeze minced garlic that is mixed with oil right away.
- Do not keep garlic and oil at room temperature for long periods of time.
Is it safe to make garlic oil with herbs and keep refrigerated? Also is it ok to mince fresh garlic and add some water and keep it in a jar in the fridge?
Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN
Hi Michelle, as discussed in the post, garlic mixed with oil can be kept in the fridge for no more than 4 days. Instead of mincing fresh garlic and adding water before storing it in the fridge, it’s best to mix it with vinegar to provide an acidic environment. You can read more about the safest ways to store garlic preparations in the fridge here: https://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/sites/g/files/dgvnsk7366/files/inline-files/250352.pdf
Most recipes call for cloves of minced garlic. How many teaspoons of the garlic/oil mixture do you guessimate equals a clove? Thank you,
Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN
Hi Carol, I would estimate that about 1 teaspoon of the garlic/oil mixture is equal to 1 garlic clove.
I washed the garlic. Is that a problem
Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN
Hi Joyce, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Does the same procedure for chopped, processed and sealed mechanically in bottles that’s found in the produce dept!