Pickled Garlic

This recipe is easy to double if you happen to have more garlic on hand.

Pickled Garlic
Photo: Stacy Allen; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
16

Pickled garlic is that little something extra that elevates charcuterie boards, brightens antipasto salads, and enlivens sautéed vegetables. Its crisp bite is certainly garlicky, but the pickling process gives the garlic cloves a gentle vinegar acidity that is more invigorating than aggressive.

Bonus: As long as the pickled garlic is stored in the fridge, it can last up to 4 months. That means you can make it now and have the pickled garlic on hand for many meals and gatherings to come.

How to Make Pickled Garlic

You can make pickled garlic with just about 15 minutes of active prep time and eight hours for chilling.

Step 1. Cook and chill garlic cloves

First, fill a bowl with ice water and set it aside.

Next, fill a small saucepan with about two inches of water and bring it to a boil. Add the garlic, and cook until tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and transfer it to the bowl of ice water, and let it stand.

When it's cool, drain it and transfer it to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

garlic cloves in bowl of ice water
Stacy Allen; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower

Step 2. Make brine

In a saucepan, stir together the distilled water, vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper (optional). Bring the mixture to a boil, while stirring, until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

making pickling liquid for pickled garlic
Stacy Allen; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower

Step 3. Cover and store

Pour the warm brine over the garlic in the jar, and let it stand uncovered until cooled to room temperature (about 1 hour).

After the garlic has cooled, cover the jar with a lid, and refrigerate for eight hours before serving.

pickled garlic cloves in jar
Stacy Allen; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower

Pickled Garlic Ingredients

To make pickled garlic, you'll need four heads of garlic; this recipe is also easy to double if you have extra garlic on hand.

In addition, you'll need distilled water, distilled white vinegar, sugar, kosher salt, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds. For an extra kick, crushed red pepper is optional.

pickled garlic ingredients
Stacy Allen; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower

What Is Pickled Garlic Good For?

Both the garlic-flavored liquid and the garlic cloves may be used to add big flavor to various dishes. Pickled garlic is great to add to vegetable sautees, to accompany meat or fish dishes, as a wow-worthy addition to charcuterie boards, in antipasto salads, and more.

Can You Eat Straight Pickled Garlic?

You can eat pickled garlic on its own for a flavor-packed snack. Obviously, pickled garlic has a strong garlicky taste, which balances nicely with a subtle vinegar flavor. The aromatics come through nicely, too, and there's even a little bit of sweetness from the sugar in the flavor profile.

How Long Does Pickled Garlic Stay Good?

You can store pickled garlic in the refrigerator for up to four months; do not store the mixture at room temperature because it will rapidly grow mold.

Discard both the cloves and the liquid if there are signs of mold or yeast growth on the surface of the vinegar.

Editorial contributions by Alesandra Dubin.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peeled garlic cloves (from 4 garlic heads)

  • cup distilled water

  • cup distilled white vinegar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt

  • ½ tsp. black peppercorns

  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds

  • ½ tsp. fennel seeds

  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Fill a small saucepan with tap water to a depth of 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Add garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove garlic using a slotted spoon, and transfer to ice water; let stand until cool, about 1 minute. Drain well, and transfer to a pint-size (16-ounce) glass or heatproof jar with a tight-fitting lid.

  2. Stir together distilled water, vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper, if using, in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high, stirring often until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour hot vinegar mixture over garlic in jar. Let stand, uncovered, until cooled to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Cover with lid, and refrigerate 8 hours. Serve. Store in refrigerator up to 4 months.

Updated by
Alesandra Dubin
a woman with blonde curly hair smiles at the camera

Alesandra Dubin is an LA-based lifestyle writer and editor. As a veteran digital journalist, she's covered travel, food, parenting, and more for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in Allrecipes, TripSavvy, Town & Country, Business Insider, Marriot Traveler, Today.com, and countless other online and print outlets. She is a writer for Southern Living.

Related Articles