Learn how to freeze garlic to preserve it for longer and use it in your recipes! Freeze the whole bulb, cloves, peeled, chopped, or pureed garlic!
It turns out that questions like ‘can I freeze garlic?’, ‘can you freeze peeled garlic?’, and ‘how to freeze garlic?’ are rife online and with my Instagram followers, so I thought I’d do my best to lend a helping hand at my favorite frozen garlic methods.
Recently (or my entire life…) I’ve been on a bit of a garlic kick. Just this past week I decided to test various hacks and methods for how to peel garlic. I’ve also posted a Garlic puree method, and have garlic aioli coming up any day now. However, right now, I am answering the age-old question, can you freeze garlic?
Short answer – yes! Frozen garlic is a great way to preserve the fresh flavor and meal-prep tons of garlic months in advance, so you get to skip the peeling and prepping that people find so laborious or at least some of it. Once you start freezing garlic, you’ll realize just how much time you save and won’t look back.
Once frozen, garlic can be stored for up to 6 months (but I usually aim to use it within 3-4 for best flavor)! Best of all, you can avoid the questionable quality of grocery store preserved garlic and garlic puree.
How To Freeze Garlic
There are several ways that you can freeze fresh garlic, so I’ll mention the various options available to you, including freezing unpeeled, peeled, and pureed garlic.
Top Tip: Avoid storing unpeeled, chopped, or pureed garlic in plastic containers as they can absorb the garlic flavor, and it’s tough to get rid of it.
How To Freeze Garlic Puree?
This is one of my favorite methods as it’s low effort and means you don’t have to further prep or chop the garlic once you remove it from the freezer – just chuck as many cubes of the frozen puree mixture into a pan as needed, and you’re ready to go.
For this method you have two options, you can either prepare a garlic paste with garlic, oil, and salt or use just the garlic alone. Here’s how:
- First, peel the garlic cloves and then add them to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend into a puree.
- Feel free to continue with the paste method by adding oil and salt. I don’t add much for my paste however, you can increase the amount of oil if needed. This will help it from freezing solid.
- Alternatively, pour the plain garlic mixture into an ice-cube tray or baking sheet in 1 teaspoon portions. Cover the tray in clingfilm to avoid freezer burn and, once frozen, transfer to a container. You can also place in a thin layer in a freezer-safe bag and freeze immediately. Either way, keep frozen for between 3-4 months.
Note: It’s important to freeze the garlic puree as soon as possible when combining it with oil to decrease the risk of botulism.
I use this garlic straight from frozen in my cooking and that’s the safest option – no need to thaw first.
Can you freeze garlic cloves and/or heads of garlic? (unpeeled)
You sure can. Technically, there’s no reason not to freeze the entire head of garlic. However, for freezer space and ease of use (as you can then grab the cloves you need straight from frozen), I usually separate them first.
- First, if you’re using the whole bulb, clean any dirt from the bulb.
- Then transfer the whole thing or separate it into cloves and then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 6 months. Though for the best flavor, I’d aim to use them within 3-4 months.
Note: The texture of the frozen garlic cloves will change and become more spongy. However, this actually helps it to cook faster!
Upon thawing, you can peel and slice them immediately or wait for them to thaw slightly to smash/mince them (speed up this process by placing them in some hot water).
Can you freeze peeled garlic?
Yes, in fact, the process is no different from the above. You can use this method for whole cloves or chop/slice the garlic cloves.
- Use one of these methods to peel your garlic first.
- Then place in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 6 months. Though for the best flavor, I’d aim to use them within 3-4 months.
If chopped I like to either freeze portioned in a small ice-cube tray or in a single, thin layer, in a ziplock bag.
When you want to use some, break off the amount needed within the bag or use the number of cubes needed.
Does frozen garlic taste the same as fresh?
This question seems to elicit different answers. I tend to use any frozen garlic within dishes like sauces and stir-fries etc, rather than something where garlic is the star of the show (like this Lebanese garlic sauce or garlic confit).
I find that freezing garlic maintains the flavor well and only becomes slightly less aromatic. However, the texture can change. Once again, as long as it’s being used within dishes, this has never bothered me.
How to thaw garlic?
You can thaw the garlic in the refrigerator, though it can take quite some time to fully thaw.
The whole bulbs and cloves could also be defrosted at room temperature or thrown into a bowl of hot water to thaw sooner. Make sure not to defrost the oil garlic paste mixture at room temperature (due to the botulism risk).
Although, as previously said, there’s no need to thaw frozen chopped or pureed garlic at all. Throw it directly into your dish from frozen, and it will melt as it cooks.
Why add oil to the paste?
Honestly, this is something I’ve wondered, and I can’t be sure, but I have a few guesses. First, oil doesn’t freeze solid, allowing you to chop and pull apart the frozen garlic easily.
Also, ice can pop and spit when put in a hot pan. However, this doesn’t seem to happen as much when oil is added.
The oil may also help to preserve the flavor and texture of the garlic better.
Can I use pre-peeled garlic from the store?
Yes, if you don’t want to have to peel your garlic then feel free to use pre-peeled.
Related DIYs & Recipes
- Homemade Garlic Confit (& Garlic Oil)
- How to Peel Garlic (6 Methods)
- How to Make Garlic Flakes (+ Dried Minced Garlic)
- Homemade Garlic Paste (3 Ingredients)
- How to Make Garlic Powder
- How To Make Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum)
If you try any of these methods for how to freeze garlic, then let me know your thoughts and any questions in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see what you do with your garlic – just tag @AlphaFoodie.
How to Freeze garlic (whole, peeled, pureed)
- 2 garlic heads or as much/little as you want
To Freeze Garlic Puree
- Peel the garlic using one of these methods. Then add to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend into a paste (optionally add oil and salt like I have for this garlic paste).
- Add the garlic puree in 1 teaspoon portions to a small ice-cube tray or in small mounds on a cookie tray and cover with cling film to avoid freezer burn. Alternatively, transfer to a freezer-safe bag and spread into a thin layer. Note: It's important to freeze the garlic puree as soon as possible when combining it with oil to decrease the risk of botulism.
- Freeze until fairly solid then transfer the cubes/mounds to a freezer-safe bag or container. You can use this directly from frozen, adding as many cubes/mounds as needed (or break off a piece from the bag) to a hot pan, sauces, etc. (no need to thaw!)
To Freeze Whole Bulbs Or Cloves
- You can freeze the peeled or unpeeled garlic. I prefer to separate mine first into cloves, for ease of use when I need to use them.
- If you’re using the whole bulb, clean it/them first if needed.
- Then transfer the whole bulb or peeled/unpeeled cloves to a freezer-safe bag or container.
- Upon thawing, you can peel and slice them immediately or wait for them to thaw slightly to smash/mince them (speed up this process by placing them in some hot water).
The Shelf Life
- Frozen garlic can be stored for up to 6 months. However, I aim to use it within 3-4 months for the best flavor. Note: The texture of the frozen garlic cloves will change and become more spongy. However, this actually helps it to cook faster!