Canning Garlic

By Charlotte King

Garlic is one of the most flavorful ingredients that manages to steal the show, whichever dish you use it in. And while most people find peeling garlic bothersome, the result is well worth the trouble. Garlic is used in so many different dishes and has so many health benefits that it should be a part of your everyday diet if it already is not and canning garlic will help you with their preservation for future dishes.

Often, we end up with a massive haul of garlic in our house and are left wondering what to do with it. Preserve it! One of the first methods that come to mind when you consider preserving vegetables is canning them. In this blog post, we will explore several ways you can preserve your garlic haul, including canning the garlic as well! So, read on.

Should You Can Garlic

Canning Garlic

So before you read on, a disclaimer. The USDA does not have a defined and tested method of canning garlic. The reason, as stated by the USDA, is:

“Canning of garlic is not recommended. Garlic is a low-acid vegetable that requires a pressure canner to be properly processed. Garlic loses most of its flavor when heated in this way. For this reason, adequate processing times have not been determined for canning garlic.

While the USDA does not have a defined procedure for canning garlic, it does not mean that you cannot can the garlic. If you want to try preserving your garlic by canning it, we have a method adapted from how onions are canned. Since garlic and onions are from the same family, you can tweak the canning guide for onions slightly to make it work for garlic as well.

However, please note that since this is not a USDA-recommended way of canning, you should use your own judgment when canning garlic. Since garlic is a low acid vegetable, it absolutely has to be pressure canned.

Procedure for Canning Garlic



  • 6 cups of peeled garlic cloves
  • 3 pint-sized jars


  1. You can use either whole peeled garlic cloves or minced garlic for canning. We have an excellent blog post that makes peeling garlic easy. Once you have your garlic prepared in the form you want to can it in, you need to parboil them.
  2. Wash your canning jars, lids, and rings with hot soapy water to clean and sterilize them before you use them for canning. We have an excellent post that highlights the importance of sterilizing your canning equipment as well as the different ways you can do this. Keep the washed jars warm by keeping them in the oven or dishwasher until you are ready to fill them.
  3. Bring a large bowl of water to a boil on the stove. Add your garlic to the water and boil for 2 minutes. Next, remove the garlic from the water and add them to a hot canning jar. A pint-sized canning jar will ideally fit about 2 cups of garlic.  Do not throw out the water as this will act as our canning liquid.
  4. When you are ready to fill the jars, remove them from the oven as you need and fill them with the prepared garlic. Make sure you keep 1-inch headspace in all the jars.
  5. Next, fill the jars with the canning liquid. Make sure that the canning liquid you are using is hot as well. You can use a debubbler to get rid of any air pockets that may have formed. You can add some more garlic and canning liquid to maintain the 1-inch headspace if needed.
  6. Clean the rims of the jars by wiping them with a damp paper towel, which will help ensure a good seal on your jars. Use a lid lifter to place the lids on the jars and place the rings on the jars, closing them just “fingertip” tight. Your jars are now ready to be pressure canned.
  7. Prepare your pressure canner by adding 2 – 3 cups of water to the canner. Place a trivet in the pressure canner so that your jars don’t come into direct contact with the pressure canner.
  8. Add your prepared jars to the canner, ensuring that none of the jars touch each other. Close the lid to the canner and turn on the heat. Allow the canner to vent until you see a steady stream of steam rising, after which you can place the weight.
  9. Process the garlic at 10 PSI for 40 minutes. Don’t forget to adjust the pressure according to your elevation!
  10. Once the processing time is up, turn off the burner and let the canner release the pressure naturally. Once the pressure has dropped completely, you can open the lid to your canner. 
  11. Remove the jar from the canner using jar tongs. As you remove them, you may hear the “pop” of the jars sealing shut. Leave the jars undisturbed for at least 24 hours. When the jars have cooled, you can remove the rings and wipe them to clean them.
  12. Test the seal to your jars using a simple tapping test. Label and date your jars before moving them to the pantry for long-term storage.

Preserve Garlic in Vinegar


  • 6 cups of peeled garlic cloves
  • 3 cups of heated distilled white vinegar
  • 3 pint-sized jars


  1. Fill your jars with the peeled garlic cloves, leaving about 1 inch of headspace. Make sure you are packing in the garlic cloves tightly.
  2. Heat the vinegar on the stove or in the oven until it just reaches the boiling point. Pour the heated vinegar in the jars, filling them while still maintaining the 1-inch headspace.
  3. Let the jars cool down to room temperature before closing their lids and storing them in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to use the garlic, simply scoop out as many garlic cloves as you need. You can also use garlic-infused vinegar in your vinegarettes and salad dressings. 

Preserve Garlic in Oil

There is a heated debate on how safe it is to preserve garlic in oil. You will find several recipes all over the internet about preserving garlic in oil. However, the fact is preserving garlic in oil does have some possible risks. Garlic preserved in oil without processing it in any way has some risk of botulism. There have been several cases of botulism reported due to the consumption of garlic oil, which led the USDA to issue an official warning.

A safe way of preserving garlic in oil is by processing it in some way. The heat causes botulism causing bacteria to be eliminated, thus making the garlic safe for consumption. A popular and delicious way of preserving garlic in oil is Garlic Confit. Below is a delicious recipe that you can try out right at home.


  • 1 cup of peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ cup of olive oil
  • Half-pint jar


  1. Add your garlic cloves to a large saucepan and pour in the oil.
  2. Heat the garlic steadily in the oil for 30 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. At the end of the 30 minutes, your garlic cloves will be quite tender, and you should easily test them with a fork or knife. If the cloves are still a little stiff, cook the garlic for a few more minutes.
  4. Once the garlic is soft, turn off the heat and let the garlic cool down completely.
  5. When the garlic has cooled to room temperature, use a spoon to transfer the garlic cloves to the jar you want to store them in. Top off the jar using the remainder of the oil, leaving about 1-inch headspace.
  6. Store this garlic confit in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canning lots of garlics

How do I buy the right garlic?

Garlic is one of the simplest vegetables to buy. Look for garlic bulbs that have thin papery skin. The garlic cloves should be tightly wrapped together, especially near the tip of the garlic bulb. Tightly wrapped cloves indicate that the garlic is fresh. A little loose skin is fine near the root of the garlic bulb. Ensure that the garlic is firm and that none of the cloves are shriveled up. When buying garlic, avoid any bulbs that have already started sprouting. While sprouted garlic is still safe to use, it indicates that they have been in storage for too long.

How to store garlic to make it last longer?

Garlic will store best in a cool and dark corner of your pantry. Store the garlic in mesh or loosely woven baskets in a well-ventilated pantry area. If your garlic is starting to sprout, use those bulbs first before using any others. If you notice any of the garlic cloves are starting to feel mushy or too soft, you can try to save the rest of the garlic head by carefully extracting the bad cloves. Try to extract them without exposing any of the other cloves directly to the air. If you are not sure whether the garlic is safe to consume, discard it completely.


There are multiple ways to preserve your garlic to enjoy them for a long time to come. You can experiment with canned, pickled, frozen, and fresh garlic in several dishes. Whichever way you choose to preserve your garlic, always make sure that you use your best judgment and your experience in the kitchen to make the product safe for consumption. Food safety should always be your utmost priority, especially when trying untested recipes. And always remember, when in doubt, throw it out! If you found this guide helpful, you may also enjoy some of our other canning guides here.

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