How to Dry Garlic

By Charlotte King

When we think of Thanksgiving and Christmas, many dishes come to mind: turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, and so many more. One common ingredient in most of these dishes – garlic. There is nothing like the smell of fresh garlic coming out of the oven or sizzling in a pan. One of the most popular ways to enjoy garlic at home, whether it be growing in your garden or dried and stored in your pantry, is dehydrating.

It was once believed that garlic had mystic and protective powers. Garlic has been used as an antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant for centuries. Garlic is an onion family member and grows underground, similar to onions. Due to this, garlic’s harvesting and storing procedures are pretty identical to that of onions.

Growing Garlic

Growing Garlic

Garlic is a delicious vegetable that elevates every dish it is a part of. If you are a new home gardener and are thinking about growing your own garlic this year, a few tips will come in handy.

  • Plant garlic varieties that are suitable for your region. Depending on how warm or how cold the climate is where you live, the garlic varieties that are favorable for you will change.
  • Plant large cloves. Large cloves have plenty of food reserve to grow seedlings and therefore are best for planting. However, make sure none of the large cloves are diving into two, as this often results in twin plants growing very close together and competing for resources.
  • Plant garlic at an optimum time according to your area. Most often, garlic is planted in the fall, and by early spring, they start to develop foliage and are ready to be harvested by summer.
  • Cure the harvested garlic dry and dirty. Often, we are tempted to wash the dirty produce before drying it, but for garlic, this is a terrible idea. Cure the garlic while still dirty to preserve the vegetable for maximum shelf life.

How to Dry Freshly Harvested Garlic

When to Harvest Garlic

Before moving to the drying stage, you first need to know when to harvest your garlic. Because there are so many different varieties of garlic, there are different maturity dates, all within a few weeks of one another. One of the tell-tale signs that the garlic is ready for harvesting is when the lower leaves of the garlic plant have dried off. If you have planted soft neck varieties of garlic, they will dry faster than the hard neck variety. You can also cut into one of the garlic bulbs to see how well the garlic cloves are developing into individual cloves with their own wrapper to estimate their maturity.

How to Cure the Garlic

Curing is the process of drying your freshly harvested garlic to prepare it for long-term storage. Well-cured garlic will easily last you through the winter, if not spring. And it is quite simple. Here’s how to do it.

  • Take the entire garlic bulb with its stem and all the leaves to dry them. Garlic needs to be dried in indirect light and has good airflow. 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the garlic to dry for about two weeks.
  • If you have only a small amount of garlic to dry, you can leave them on a screen, which is super simple and works great. For a large quantity, bind about 10 – 15 garlic plants together with the help of twine and hang them up to dry.
  • Remember, you do not need to clean the garlic before drying. Simply trim the roots down as close to the garlic bulb as possible before drying them. You can also speed up the garlic drying process by using fans that will help circulate the warm air. A colder temperature would mean that your garlic requires more time to dry out, and a warmer temperature can mean your garlic starts to sprout.

To test whether the garlic has dried, check its wrapper, roots, and leaves. Cured garlic will have crispy and brittle leaves that turn to dust when rubbed between fingers. The neck of the cured garlic will also have constricted and dried off noticeably.

How to Clean Cured Garlic

  1. When your garlic has dried completely, it is time to clean it for storage. Trim off all the excess leaves and the stem of the garlic plant, leaving only about an inch attached to the garlic bulb.
  2. It is essential to leave that inch of the stem as chopping it off can compromise the storage life of the garlic bulb. Next, remove the dirtiest outer garlic wrappers. You want to keep as many wrappers as possible on the garlic bulb to preserve its shelf life. So take care that you are only removing the dirtiest ones. The wrappers help retain the garlic’s moisture and oils, so take care to maintain these wrappers as much as possible.
  3. At this time, you can also separate the seed garlic that you want to use for planting garlic for the following year. The ideal garlic would be one of the largest bulbs with the largest cloves to grow garlic plants with large bulbs.

How to Store Cured Garlic

Any place inside your home at room temperature and away from direct sunlight is an excellent way to store your garlic. Store the garlic far from any dampness and in containers that allow airflow. A mesh bag or loosely woven baskets are ideal for storage. Humidity plays a vital role in preserving garlic. Like onions, the relative humidity needs to be lower as high moisture promotes mold and sprouting. On the other hand, too low humidity will cause the garlic to dry out. Your garlic will last you well through winter if you maintain that balance.

Dry Garlic Cloves

How to Dry Garlic

Another method of drying garlic to improve its shelf life is to dry the individual garlic cloves. You can choose to dry whole garlic cloves, chopped garlic, and even make your own garlic powder.

Supplies for Drying


The first thing required for drying is, of course, garlic. Depending on which form you want to dry your garlic, prepare the garlic. The most cumbersome job when deciding to dry garlic cloves is peeling them. So we have a perfect post that will make this job super simple. If you are drying chopped garlic cloves, take care to chop them into pieces of equal thickness so that they can all dry evenly. If you want to make dried garlic powder, prep your garlic cloves by chopping them, and you can grind them in a mixer pot post drying.

Drying Equipment

You can dry your garlic cloves in a food dehydrator or an oven. An oven works just fine if you don’t have a dehydrator on hand. It is quick and simple. However, you need to be extra careful not to scorch the garlic. If you want to invest in a food dehydrator, the Excalibur Dehydrator is really popular with avid food dehydrators.

Storage Jars

Store the dehydrated garlic in glass containers. Dehydrated food needs to be bone-dry to preserve it for long periods. And storing them in glass containers makes it easy to identify any condensation being formed on the inside of the container.

Steps for Dehydrating

Dry Garlic

In a Food Dehydrator

  1. Preheat your food dehydrator while you prepare the dehydrator trays. To prepare the dehydrator tray, spread your garlic in a single layer on the trays, ensuring that none of the garlic pieces overlap one another.
  2. Load them into the dehydrator once all the garlic trays have been prepped. You will need to set the temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius) and dry the garlic for up to 48 hours. Depending on how large or small your garlic pieces are, this time may vary. So check on them periodically.
  3. Depending on the dehydrator you are using, you may also have to rotate the trays periodically to ensure the garlic dries evenly. Once the garlic has all dried, remove the trays and let them cool to room temperature.

In an Oven

The oven method is much quicker than a food dehydrator and comes in handy if you don’t have a dehydrator. However, take care that because even the lowest temperature setting on an oven is much higher than we want to dry the garlic ideally, you will have to be extra vigilant when drying the garlic in an oven.

  1. If you have non-stick baking trays, you can use those or line a standard baking tray with parchment paper to dry the garlic. Spread the garlic pieces in a single layer on the tray, ensuring none overlap.
  2. While prepping your trays, you can set the oven up to preheat at the lowest temperature.
  3. Load it into your oven once the tray is prepped, and let the garlic dehydrate at the lowest temperature setting possible (ideally 170 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. Leave the door to your oven slightly open so that the hot air can circulate and the temperature inside doesn’t rise too much. If you are drying a big batch of garlic, you may have to do the drying step in batches to accommodate all the garlic.
  4. Once the garlic has dried completely, remove the tray from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature.

How to Store Dehydrated Garlic Cloves

Garlic Cloves

When the dried garlic has all cooled completely, can now condition it. If you want to make dried garlic powder, this is the time to add the dehydrated garlic to a mixer pot and grind it until you get a fine powder. Grinding the garlic in the mixer may increase the temperature slightly, so be sure to let the powder cool down completely before transferring it to a jar for storage. If needed, you can also use a sieve to sift the garlic powder to remove any large pieces that may have been left behind when grinding.

  • For your dehydrated garlic cloves, add them to glass jars until they are ⅔ full. Filling them this way will allow us to condition the garlic. Conditioning is a process where we make sure that the dried product (garlic in our case) has dried completely and any residual heat and moisture are well distributed throughout the batch to prevent any possibility of spoilage.
  • When your jars are full, close their lids and store them in a cool corner of your kitchen. For the first week, shake the garlic jars multiple times to help distribute residual heat or moisture throughout the jar.
  • If you notice any condensation on the jars during this week, it indicates that the garlic has not dried completely. You can dry your garlic for some time using your preferred equipment at this point.
  • At the end of the week, if your jars are all looking good at the end of the week, you can fill them up all the way and label and date them before storing them in your pantry for long-term storage.

Properly dried and stored garlic will easily last for two to three years without a problem in your pantry. Always check on your dried products in the pantry periodically to make sure there isn’t any mold growth. In case of any spoilage, discard the affected jars immediately.


So there you have it! A comprehensive guide covering everything from harvesting and curing your own garlic to drying your garlic cloves for an even longer shelf life. Garlic is a wonderful ingredient with so many health benefits that we should all make it a point to include it in our diet a little bit more. The next time you have a surplus of garlic you want to preserve or have a batch of garlic you have grown in your own garden, be sure to visit us here! If you liked this drying guide, you might also enjoy some of our other drying guides, which you can find here.

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