How to Make Pickled Garlic (Plain and TikTok Spicy Pickled Garlic)

5 from 14 votes
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How to make pickled garlic at home; either plain or spicy pickled garlic – with a quick and simple process! Prepare the plain pickled garlic first and transform it into TikTok trending spicy pickled garlic!

A jar with homemade pickled garlic

Pickling has become one of my favorite things to do this past year or so. Along with this pickled garlic recipe, I’ve already posted pickled red onion, pickled jalapeños, easy pickled cucumber, and Middle Eastern pickled turnips!

Within this post, I’ll take you through how to make plain pickled garlic and a delicious spicy pickled garlic recipe, using just 5 base ingredients and, if wanted, an extra 4 ingredients to make delicious chili/spicy garlic pickle!

A jar with homemade pickled garlic

Spicy pickled garlic is one of the newest ‘trends’ on TikTok, which means, obviously, I’m diving in headfirst. I’ve already shared my versions of baked oatmeal (like this strawberry cheesecake and peanut butter chocolate version), corn riblets, baked feta pasta, and the viral tortilla hack (all in 2021!) – the time for garlic is here!

While the version shared on TikTok uses pre-made pickled garlic in a jar, I thought – why not make it entirely from scratch?! That way, you can be 100% in control of every ingredient added to the dish!

A bowl with spicy pickled garlic

Best of all, this process takes no time at all to prep, and the resulting pickled garlic can be stored in the refrigerator for several months (without canning). Garlic in vinegar has never tasted so good!

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The Pickled Garlic Ingredients

For plain garlic pickle

Pickled Garlic Ingredients
  • Garlic: and lots of it! Use fresh garlic (younger garlic will be less pungent), and feel free to use one of these methods to peel them quickly and easily! There are several varieties of garlic available – I recommend using a ‘hardneck’ or ‘softneck’ variety.
  • Vinegar: I used white distilled vinegar. However, feel free to experiment with vinegar varieties for different results. I often use apple cider vinegar for pickling.
  • Herbs: dill and coriander seeds – these are two of my favorite add-ins when pickling anything.
  • Honey (optional): alternatively, you could use maple syrup or granulated sugar. I prefer honey as I find it adds more flavor and is slightly sweeter than sugar.
  • Salt: I recommend using pickling salt or a salt with no additives, even though you can use regular salt. Just keep in mind that the brine may become cloudy from the salt, which can look a little like ‘spoil.’
  • Water: I use filtered water for the best results though it’s not necessary.

For spicy pickled garlic

Spicy Pickled Garlic Ingredients
  • Pickled garlic: using the below method to pickle the garlic or store-bought pickled garlic if you want it ready ‘immediately’.
  • Hot sauce: use your hot sauce of choice, like sriracha.
  • Chili powder: or red chili flakes – feel free to adjust the amount based on your preferred spice levels.
  • Dried thyme: this is technically optional but tastes really nice with the spicy ingredients.
  • Honey: a little sweetener works well to balance the spicy flavor. Feel free to use maple instead for a vegan option.

How to Make Pickled Garlic

Step 1: Sterilize the jars

Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinsing well. Then place the jars (no rubber or plastic parts) in a pre-heated oven for ten minutes at 160ºC/325ºF to completely dry them.

sterilizing glass jars in oven

Step 2: Prepare the pickling brine

Combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a small pot and heat over medium, stirring, until the salt is completely dissolved. Then remove from the fire and add the chopped dill and coriander seeds and mix.

Preparing brine for pickled garlic

I usually use some scissors to chop the dill directly into the pot.

If you want to add honey, you can add it right at the end of this step before moving the brine to the jar.

Brine and peeled garlic cloves

Step 3: Assemble the pickled garlic jar

Peel the garlic using one of these methods and then place the cloves directly into your sterilized jar/s.

Then pour in the brine until it completely covers the cloves, leaving around ½ inch (1.2 cm) headspace at the top of the jar, and stir a couple of times to mix everything well.

A jar with garlic and brine

Allow the jar contents to pickle for about a week in the refrigerator. The longer you can hold out, the better the flavor will be, so I recommend waiting at least one week, but around 3 weeks is the sweet spot!

A jar with pickled garlic

To make spicy pickled garlic

Once your garlic is ready, and at your desired flavor level, it’s time to make this spicy pickled garlic recipe (more of a marinated garlic).

Drain the pickling brine from the jar – this can be used for a second batch of pickled garlic.

Then add the hot sauce (or sriracha), chili powder, dried thyme, and honey to the garlic and mix well. You can do this in a bowl or directly in the jar (place the lid on and shake!)

You can then enjoy the spicy garlic pickle immediately or allow it to marinate for a few hours to help the flavor meld with the garlic. Enjoy!

Preparing spicy pickled garlic

How to Store

Plain pickled garlic: Store the garlic pickle jar in the fridge and aim to use it within three months. If you notice any signs of mold or yeast growth, then it’s time to start again!

Spicy pickled garlic: Once this is prepared, I aim to eat these within a few days since the garlic is no longer stored within the brine.

How to Use pickled garlic

This really depends on you and your personal taste. I love to add pickled garlic to sandwiches, wraps, and salads (when I’m not eating them straight from the jar with a spoon!). They also make for a great addition to an appetizer platter with canapés.

I also like to eat mine with tacos, over pizza, and with burgers!

A spoonful of spicy pickled garlic

FAQs

Does pickled garlic give you bad breath?

For all garlic lovers out there, you’ll be happy to know that NO, pickled garlic doesn’t give you garlic breath like fresh garlic does.

Why has my pickled garlic turned green?

This can happen naturally with pickled garlic – in fact, the garlic can turn a green or blue tinge. This is due to a chemical reaction between the acid in vinegar and amino acids in garlic. The same can happen when using reactive materials (certain metals) with the garlic and if your water has trace minerals in it. For this reason, I recommend using distilled vinegar and water and iodine-free salt (kosher). Make sure to also store the garlic away from sunlight.
However, it’s perfectly safe to eat the blue/green garlic!

Can I speed up the pickling process?

There are a couple of ways that you can do this. If you reduce or eliminate the water from the brine, then pickling will happen a lot faster. However, the flavor will vary.
You can also add the garlic to the hot brine in the pan and allow it to cook for between 1-2 minutes (2 mins max!) before removing it from the heat.
I’ve also heard that blanching the garlic in boiling water for 3-4 minutes can help it to pickle faster – though this isn’t a method I’ve tried.

A jar with spicy pickled garlic

More Recipe Notes and FAQs

  • Increase the spice: if you want to up the spice in even the plain variety, then you could add some chopped chilies to the jar when pickling.
  • Experiment with other herbs: I stuck to a simple mix here. However, there are several other herbs you could use—for example, a crushed bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice, etc.
  • Shelf-stable canning: I didn’t design this recipe with canning in mind. Though it may be possible, it’s not something I’ve extensively tested, so I don’t feel comfortable sharing a canning process- especially as storing garlic has different rules than other veg.

If you try this recipe for plain pickled garlic or spicy pickled garlic, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d really appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

How to Make Pickled Garlic (Plain and TikTok Spicy Pickled Garlic)

5 from 14 votes
By: Samira
How to make pickled garlic at home; either plain or spicy pickled garlic – with a quick and simple process! Prepare the plain pickled garlic first and transform it into TikTok trending spicy pickled garlic!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 7 days 10 minutes
Servings: 50

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 cup garlic cloves 3-5 garlic bulbs
  • 2 ounces dill
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar or another vinegar: apple cider vinegar, etc.
  • 1/2 cup water distilled is best
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp honey optional – or maple/sugar

To make spicy pickled garlic

  • 1 cup pickled garlic
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbps honey optional – or maple/sugar

Instructions 

Step 1: Sterilize the jars

  • Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinsing well. Then place the jars (no rubber or plastic parts) in a pre-heated oven for ten minutes at 160ºC/325ºF to completely dry them.

Step 2: Prepare the pickling brine

  • Combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a small pot and heat over medium, stirring, until the salt is completely dissolved. Then remove from the fire and add the chopped dill and coriander seeds and mix.
    I usually use some scissors to chop the dill directly into the pot.
  • If you want to add honey, you can add it right at the end of this step before moving the brine to the jar.

Step 3: Assemble the pickled garlic jar

  • Peel the garlic using one of these methods and then place the cloves directly into your sterilized jar/s.
  • Then pour in the brine until it completely covers the cloves, leaving around ½ inch (1.2 cm) headspace at the top of the jar, and stir a couple of times to mix everything well.
  • Allow the garlic to pickle for about a week in the refrigerator. The longer you can hold out, the better the flavor will be, so I recommend waiting at least one week, but around 3 weeks is the sweet spot!

To make spicy pickled garlic

  • Once your garlic is ready, and at your desired flavor level, it's time to make this spicy pickled garlic recipe (more of a marinated garlic).
    Drain the pickling brine from the garlic – this can be used for a second batch of pickled garlic.
  • Then add the hot sauce (or sriracha), chili powder, dried thyme, and honey to the garlic and mix well. You can do this in a bowl or directly in the jar (place the lid on and shake!)
    You can then enjoy the spicy garlic pickle immediately or allow it t marinate for a few hours to help the flavor meld with the garlic.

How to Store

  • Plain pickled garlic: Store the garlic pickle jar in the fridge and aim to use it within three months. If you notice any signs of mold or yeast growth, then it's time to start again!
    Spicy pickled garlic: Once this is prepared, I aim to eat these within a few days since the garlic is no longer stored within the brine.

Video

Notes

  • Increase the spice: if you want to up the spice in even the plain pickled garlic variety, then you could add some chopped chilies to the jar when pickling.
  • Experiment with other herbs: I stuck to a simple mix here. However, there are several other herbs you could use – for example, a crushed bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice, etc.
  • Shelf-stable canning: I didn’t design this recipe with canning in mind. Though it may be possible, it’s not something I’ve extensively tested, so I don’t feel comfortable sharing a canning process, especially as storing garlic has different rules than other pickled veg.
Course: Appetizer, DIYs, Side
Cuisine: American, Asian
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 3 Months

Nutrition

Serving: 1pickled garlic clove, Calories: 7kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 141mg, Potassium: 21mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 88IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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6 Comments

    1. Hi, Kourt. The jars are linked on the shop page. They are glass jars with clamp seals but you can use any jar with a tight-fitting cap. I hope this helps.