5 Best Ways to Store Garlic: Keeping Your Garlic Fresh and Flavorful

MA Hemal

Garlic, with its pungent aroma and robust flavor, is a staple ingredient in kitchens around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, knowing the best way to store garlic can help maintain its freshness, flavor, and nutritional value. This article explores the top five methods to store garlic effectively, ensuring that you get the most out of this versatile bulb.

Understanding Garlic Storage Basics

Before diving into the specific storage methods, it’s essential to understand a few basic principles about garlic storage:

  1. Cool and Dry Environment: Garlic thrives in a cool, dry, and dark environment. Excessive moisture or heat can cause it to sprout or rot.
  2. Air Circulation: Proper air circulation prevents mold growth and keeps the garlic dry.
  3. Whole Bulbs vs. Peeled Cloves: Whole bulbs last longer than peeled or chopped cloves. Only peel or chop garlic when you’re ready to use it.

With these principles in mind, let’s explore the best way to store garlic.

1. Storing Garlic at Room Temperature

Whole Bulbs

One of the simplest methods to store garlic is at room temperature. Here’s how:

  1. Location: Choose a cool, dry, and dark place such as a pantry or cupboard. Avoid any spot that’s exposed to direct sunlight or heat.
  2. Container: Use a mesh bag, paper bag, or a garlic keeper with ventilation holes. These containers allow air circulation, keeping the garlic dry and preventing mold growth.
  3. Placement: Ensure the garlic bulbs are not stacked too tightly. Overcrowding can reduce airflow and increase the risk of decay.

Shelf Life

Stored this way, whole garlic bulbs can last up to several months. Check them regularly for any signs of spoilage or sprouting.

2. Refrigeration

Peeled or Chopped Garlic

While refrigerating whole bulbs is not recommended (as it can cause them to sprout prematurely), refrigeration works well for peeled or chopped garlic.

  1. Preparation: Peel and chop the garlic cloves as needed.
  2. Container: Place the chopped garlic in an airtight container or a glass jar.
  3. Storage: Store the container in the refrigerator.

Shelf Life

Refrigerated peeled or chopped garlic can last up to a week. For longer storage, consider adding a bit of olive oil to cover the garlic, which can extend its shelf life to about 2-3 weeks.

3. Freezing

Freezing is an excellent option for long-term garlic storage, especially if you have a large quantity.

Whole Cloves

  1. Preparation: Peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Freezing: Spread the cloves on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer until they are solid.
  3. Storage: Transfer the frozen cloves to an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Chopped Garlic

  1. Preparation: Peel and chop the garlic cloves.
  2. Freezing: Spread the chopped garlic on a baking sheet and freeze until solid.
  3. Storage: Transfer the frozen garlic to an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Shelf Life

Frozen garlic can last up to 6 months. When you need to use it, you can take out the desired amount without thawing the entire batch.

4. Storing in Oil

Storing garlic in oil can be convenient for quick meal preparation. However, it’s crucial to follow proper safety guidelines to prevent the risk of botulism, a serious foodborne illness.

Safe Method

  1. Preparation: Peel and chop the garlic cloves.
  2. Container: Place the garlic in a clean, airtight container.
  3. Oil: Cover the garlic completely with olive oil or vegetable oil.
  4. Refrigeration: Store the container in the refrigerator.

Shelf Life

Garlic stored in oil should be used within a week. For longer storage, consider freezing the garlic-oil mixture in small portions.


Never store garlic in oil at room temperature. The anaerobic environment can promote the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, leading to botulism.

5. Dehydrating

Dehydrating garlic is a great way to preserve it for long-term storage. Dehydrated garlic can be used to make garlic powder or garlic flakes.

Dehydration Process

  1. Preparation: Peel and slice the garlic cloves thinly.
  2. Dehydrator: Place the garlic slices on the dehydrator trays, ensuring they are not overlapping.
  3. Temperature: Set the dehydrator to 125°F (52°C) and dehydrate the garlic for about 10-12 hours, or until completely dry and crisp.


  1. Container: Store the dehydrated garlic in an airtight container. A glass jar with a tight-fitting lid works well.
  2. Location: Keep the container in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a pantry.

Shelf Life

Dehydrated garlic can last up to a year if stored properly. Ensure the container is sealed tightly to protect it from moisture and humidity.

Additional Tips for Storing Garlic

Avoid Plastic Bags

Plastic bags can trap moisture, leading to mold and spoilage. Always opt for breathable materials like mesh, paper, or specially designed garlic keepers.

Regular Checks

Regardless of the storage method, regularly check your garlic for any signs of spoilage, such as mold, soft spots, or sprouting. Remove any affected cloves promptly to prevent them from affecting the rest.

Use Fresh Garlic

For the best flavor and nutritional benefits, always use the freshest garlic possible. While proper storage can extend its shelf life, garlic’s flavor and potency are at their peak shortly after harvest.

Separate Storage

If you grow your own garlic, it’s best to cure it before storage. Hang the garlic in bunches in a well-ventilated, dry, and dark place for about two weeks. Once cured, trim the roots and stems before storing the bulbs.

Avoid Refrigeration for Whole Bulbs

As mentioned earlier, refrigeration can cause whole garlic bulbs to sprout. Only refrigerate garlic that has been peeled or chopped, and always use it within a short period to ensure quality and safety.


Understanding the best way to store garlic can significantly enhance your cooking experience, ensuring that your garlic remains fresh, flavorful, and ready to use whenever you need it. Whether you prefer the simplicity of room temperature storage, the longevity of freezing, or the convenience of garlic in oil, there’s a method to suit every need. By following these tips, you can make the most of this indispensable ingredient and elevate your culinary creations.


1. How can I tell if my garlic has gone bad?

Answer: Bad garlic typically shows several signs. These include a soft or mushy texture, a sour or off smell, and visible mold or dark spots. Additionally, if the cloves are sprouting green shoots, it doesn’t necessarily mean the garlic is bad, but the flavor will be milder, and the texture may be less desirable. It’s best to use sprouted garlic quickly or plant it if you’re into gardening.

2. Can I store garlic with other vegetables?

Answer: It’s generally not recommended to store garlic with other vegetables, especially those that require a moist environment, as garlic needs a dry, cool, and dark place to stay fresh. The moisture from other vegetables can cause garlic to sprout or rot prematurely. If you must store garlic near other produce, ensure it is in a breathable container and kept as dry as possible.

3. Is it safe to store garlic in oil?

Answer: Storing garlic in oil can be safe if done correctly. The key is to refrigerate it immediately and use it within a week. Garlic in oil creates an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment that can encourage the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which causes botulism, a potentially fatal illness. For longer storage, freeze the garlic-oil mixture in small portions.

4. What’s the best way to store black garlic?

Answer: Black garlic, which is aged and fermented, should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This helps maintain its unique flavor and texture. Unlike fresh garlic, black garlic has a longer shelf life and can last several months when properly stored. Make sure to keep it in a cool, dark place if not refrigerating immediately.

5. How do I store garlic powder or garlic flakes?

Answer: Garlic powder and garlic flakes should be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard. Moisture and light can degrade their quality, causing clumping and loss of flavor. Properly stored, garlic powder and flakes can retain their potency for up to a year.

6. Can I use garlic that has sprouted?

Answer: Yes, you can use sprouted garlic, but be aware that the flavor might be milder and slightly bitter compared to fresh garlic. The green sprouts themselves are edible and can be used in cooking. However, for the best culinary results, it’s often recommended to remove the sprouts before using the cloves.

7. How do I store roasted garlic?

Answer: Roasted garlic should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can last for up to a week. For longer storage, you can freeze roasted garlic by mashing it into a paste and placing it in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. This way, you can easily use roasted garlic portions as needed.

8. Does the type of garlic affect storage methods?

Answer: While the basic storage principles apply to all garlic types, some varieties, like hardneck garlic, tend to have a shorter shelf life compared to softneck garlic. Softneck garlic generally stores better at room temperature and can last several months, while hardneck garlic might only last a few months before sprouting. Adjust your storage method slightly based on the type of garlic to maximize its freshness.

9. Can I store garlic in the freezer without peeling it?

Answer: Technically, you can freeze whole garlic bulbs without peeling, but it’s not the most efficient method. Freezing whole bulbs can make them difficult to use later, as the texture becomes mushy upon thawing. It’s better to peel and separate the cloves before freezing, which allows for easier portioning and use in cooking.

10. How do I store garlic braids?

Answer: Garlic braids are both a practical and decorative way to store garlic. Hang the braid in a cool, dry, and dark place with good air circulation. This method allows the garlic to stay fresh for several months. Ensure the area is free from excessive humidity and direct sunlight to prevent spoilage.

Share This Article