Garlic is a versatile cooking ingredient that can add flavor to almost any savory dish. Its unique and aromatic qualities make it a beloved staple in kitchens around the world. But is it possible to freeze garlic so you can store and use it for longer? The answer is yes; you absolutely can freeze garlic!
Freezing garlic allows you to buy and prepare it in bulk while preserving its flavor and culinary benefits. Having frozen garlic on hand saves time and makes it easy to flavor foods quickly. Whether raw or roasted, freezing garlic is simple with the right techniques.
In this complete guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about freezing garlic, including tips for storing and cooking it after freezing. You’ll learn the best practices to maintain garlic’s flavor and potency when frozen.
Advantages of Freezing Garlic
Here are some of the key reasons to consider freezing garlic:
- Longer shelf life: Fresh garlic lasts only 2–3 weeks in the fridge. Freezing extends its lifespan to several months.
- Preserve nutritional value: Fresh garlic’s allicin and active compounds stay intact for up to 6 months in the freezer.
- Reduce food waste: buy in bulk, then freeze the excess to avoid having garlic go bad before use.
- Saves prep time: frozen garlic is easy to pop out and use whenever needed. No more chopping every time!
- Maintain flavor: frozen garlic keeps its potent, pungent flavor locked in.
- Flexible to use: frozen garlic can be used in cooking, sauces, dressings, marinades, and more.
- Cost savings: Buying large quantities of garlic to freeze can be cheaper in the long run.
What You’ll Need to Freeze Garlic
Freezing garlic is simple and straightforward. Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- Garlic bulbs: choose fresh, firm bulbs with tight skin and no moist or yellow spots.
- Knife and cutting board: for chopping or mincing garlic before freezing.
- Freezer bags or airtight containers: to store sliced, chopped, or whole garlic cloves
- Parchment paper (optional): Place between garlic cloves when freezing whole to make removal easier.
- Masher (optional): to crush roasted garlic into a paste for freezing.
- Measuring spoons (optional): for portioning out minced or chopped garlic.
- Permanent marker: To label your frozen garlic bags or containers with their contents and date.
How to Freeze Raw Garlic
Here are some tips for freezing garlic that hasn’t been cooked:
- Peel cloves. Remove papery skin before freezing for easier use later. Leave whole or chop.
- Portion in bags: Measure 1 tablespoon chopped garlic per bag. Squeeze out the air, seal, and freeze.
- Use ice cube trays. Place 1 clove in each compartment, cover with water or oil, and freeze.
- Freeze whole. Leave cloves whole with skin on. Place parchment sheets between cloves.
- Blanch first. Briefly boil peeled cloves, then cool and freeze. It helps retain color and flavor.
- Cover in oil. Submerge peeled cloves in olive or vegetable oil in an airtight container.
Raw garlic can be kept frozen for 4 to 6 months. The freezing process does not significantly affect its potency or flavor.
How to Freeze Roasted Garlic
For a nuttier, milder taste, try freezing roasted garlic.
- ** Roast bulbs**: Bake garlic heads drizzled with oil at 400°F until soft. Let cool.
- Squeeze out the cloves. Once cooled, squeeze the roasted garlic paste out of the skins. Discard skins.
- Measure into ice cube trays. Add 1-2 tablespoons of garlic paste per ice cube compartment.
- Freeze in bags. Spoon roasted garlic paste into freezer bags in 1-2 tablespoon portions. Flatten bags to freeze.
- Make compound butter. Mix roasted garlic with softened butter and freeze logs or in an ice tray.
- Blend into oils: purée roasted garlic with olive oil or melted butter and freeze in jars or bags.
Frozen roasted garlic keeps its flavor for 3–4 months. The paste softens to a spreadable consistency when thawed.
Tips for Freezing Garlic
Follow these best practices when freezing garlic to get the most out of its shelf life and flavor:
- Optimize freshness first. Only freeze very fresh, firm garlic bulbs. Check for moisture and sprouting.
- Freeze in portions: Measure garlic into recipes or meal portions for easier thawing and use.
- Avoid glass. Garlic can take on a rubbery texture when frozen in glass. Use plastic bags or containers instead.
- Remove excess air. Compress storage bags and exclude air pockets to prevent freezer burn.
- Avoid refreezing. Don’t refreeze thawed garlic. Use within 1-2 days, or it may spoil.
- Label: Note contents, amount, and freeze date on bags or containers for reference.
- Store flat: Lay filled freezer bags flat on a surface when first freezing. They stack better frozen.
Following these tips will help maintain garlic’s maximum flavor and usability when frozen properly.
How to Use Frozen Garlic
Frozen garlic is incredibly versatile for cooking or seasoning foods.
- Add to soups or stews. Drop a frozen garlic cube into simmering liquids for instant flavor.
- Blend into sauces. Add frozen, chopped, or roasted garlic to pasta sauce, pesto, or salad dressings.
- Mix into ground meat. Combine frozen minced garlic into raw meat for burgers, meatballs, etc.
- Make rubs or marinades. Mix with oils, spices, and herbs, then coat proteins before cooking.
- Season veggies: Toss frozen chopped garlic with fresh or roasted vegetables.
- Spread on bread: Thaw and spread roasted garlic compound butter over bread or toast.
- Add to oils: Drop a frozen garlic cube into salad dressings, marinades, or cooking oil.
Remember to account for the frozen state of the garlic in recipes. Reduce any cooked garlic called for, as freezing makes garlic more concentrated in flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Garlic
Here are answers to some common questions about successfully freezing garlic:
How do you thaw frozen garlic?
Thaw frozen garlic overnight in the fridge or under running cold water. Submerged in water, it thaws quickly in about an hour.
Can you freeze fresh garlic without blanching?
Yes, raw cloves or chopped garlic can be frozen without blanching first. Blanching better preserves texture but is not required.
Does freezing garlic change the taste?
Freezing can make garlic slightly more pungent. But it mostly retains its original fresh flavor when frozen and thawed properly.
Can you freeze garlic immediately after buying it?
Yes. As long as the heads are fresh, firm, and dry, newly bought garlic stores well in the freezer right away.
Can frozen garlic be refrozen after thawing?
No, garlic should not be refrozen after it has thawed. Refreezing increases the risk of foodborne illnesses. Use thawed garlic within 1-2 days.
What is the best way to freeze garlic paste?
The best way is in ice cube trays or measured tablespoon-sized amounts flattened in freezer bags. Avoid freezing large bulk amounts.
How long does frozen garlic last?
Both raw and roasted garlic generally last 4-6 months stored in airtight freezer bags at 0°F or below before quality declines.
Get the Most Out of Your Frozen Garlic
Now that you know the ins and outs of freezing garlic, you can feel confident keeping some on hand to flavor foods at any time. Proper storage methods and freezing techniques will ensure you get the full culinary benefits of garlic for months to come.
With a freezer stocked with chopped, minced, or roasted garlic, you’ll always be ready to infuse recipes with its signature flavor and aroma. So go ahead and buy that bulk bag of garlic and freeze the extra. Your future meals will thank you!
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.