Pickled Garlic Recipe

If you love pickles and you love garlic, this pickled garlic recipe is super simple to make and keeps in the refrigerator for a few months! Not suitable for canning.

Enjoy pickled garlic on charcuterie boards, salads, or with hummus and tapenade. Or add it to tuna salad! Pickled shallots and homemade sauerkraut are great too.


A portrait photo of a canning jar of picked garlic. The garlic is in the brine surrounded by dill and chili flakes. There is a bottle of dos exis in the background along with a white bowl, and the jar's lid is to the right of the jar. There is a silver relish fork to the right of the jar.
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A few years ago, I was discussing Dilly Beans with my mother-in-law. She made them for a church fundraiser, and she was planning to set aside a jar for me as a Christmas gift. Would I like a clove of garlic in my jar of Dilly Beans?

"How about a whole jar of Dilly Garlic?"

Aren't we all glad she agreed?

WARNING: This recipe is not suitable for shelf-stable canning. Obviously people (or companies) sell shelf-stable pickled garlic, but I am not an expert in this area and garlic has a propensity to develop botulism. So, if you make this recipe, you MUST store it in the refrigerator. Even if you seal the jars with a water bath. Refrigerate! You can read more about storing, preserving, and enjoying garlic here.

A square photo from above the jar of picked garlic. The garlic in in the brine and there are four cloves visible. There is a bottle of dos exis in the bottom of the left hand corner of the photo, the lid to the jar is in the middle of the top of the photo and there is a silver relish fork to the right of the jar.

Why did my pickled garlic turn blue?

Sometimes pickled garlic turns blue or turquoise when you pickle it. It’s completely normal and still safe to eat and you don’t need to worry. You can read all about the chemistry of garlic here (and exactly why it may or may not turn blue).

Tips to prevent your garlic from turning blue:

  • User kosher salt or sea salt to avoid iodine
  • Use stainless steel or enamel cookware and utensils (avoid copper, aluminum, cast iron, and tin cookware and utensils)
  • Reduce chlorophyll production by avoiding sunlight
  • Use distilled water to avoid the trace minerals found in tap water.
4.86 from 14 votes

Pickled Garlic Recipe

This recipe is not suitable for shelf-stable canning. If you make this recipe, you MUST store it in the refrigerator. Even if you seal the jars with a water bath. Refrigerate! You can read more about storing, preserving, and enjoying garlic here
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Keyword garlic
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling time 12 hours
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 pints
Calories 49kcal
  • 1/4 cup canning salt
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled water
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 pounds fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 heads fresh dill
  • Combine canning salt, water, and vinegar in a large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes (180 degrees).
  • Meanwhile, pack garlic in to 4 sterilized pint jars (about 8 ounces per jar) leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1 head of dill to each jar. 
  • Using a ladle, divide hot pickling liquid between the 4 jars, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles, clean jar rims, center lids on jars, and adjust band to fingertip-tight. 
  • Chill in the refrigerator until pickled as desired (I recommend at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator). Store in refrigerator for up to 4 months (see notes) or seal jars following the instructions below (the pickled garlic must still be refrigerated; it will not be shelf-stable).


  • Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. The jars must be covered by at least 1 inch of water. Turn off heat and remove cover. Let jars cool 5 minutes. Cool 12 hours. Check seals. Chill in the refrigerator until pickled as desired (I recommend at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator). Store in refrigerator for up to 4 months (See notes).

Recipe Notes

  • This is my mother-in-law's recipe which aligns very closely with the Dilly Beans recipe in the Ball Blue Book's Guide to Preserving.
  • The National Center for Home Food Preservation advises the garlic and vinegar mixture be in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. Discard if the liquid or cloves show any signs of mold or yeast growth.
  • "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." For more information, click here


Calories: 49kcal


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  1. Ch

    Hi, I could just experiment I suppose, but I’m curious what you had in mind: how much dill is a “head”? Thanks, Ch

    1. meggan

      Hey there, I realize now what a horrible ingredient that is. It’s one of those “who works here?!” moments. A “head” of dill is basically the top part where it flowers. Sort of like queen anne’s lace but yellow? Google “dill head” and you’ll see what I mean. So basically no one who buys dill at the store will ever find that. Some people say you can buy it at the grocery store, but I’ve never seen it there. MAYBE a Farmer’s market would sell it that way. In any case, you should use 1 teaspoon dill seed or dried dill weed, or 3 teaspoons fresh dill. I’ll update the post with this info.
      1 teaspoon dill seed/dill weed = 1 dill head / umbel
      1 teaspoon dill seed/dill weed = 3 teaspoons fresh
      [Source: National Center for Home Food Preservation]

  2. Andrew Jerdee

    This recipe is awsome. My friends paid me to make more. In some of the jars I put 1/2 of a Habanero to make spicey garlic and it was awesome. For my taste I put 1/3 ,cup of salt. Wait 3 weeks if you can!5 stars

  3. Tash

    I ate some pickled garlic for the. First time recently and had to try to make it myself because it was so delicious!
    I used your recipe because it had the best ratings. I followed all of the steps and put the jars straight in the fridge.
    It’s been 24 hours and I tried one clove and it is so strong and bitter, like eating raw garlic. Is this normal? How long am I meant to wait until I can eat it and does the bitterness go away?
    Thank you!

    1. Matthew H Stevenson

      They’re pickles. You have to pickle them. That does not happen in one night.

    2. meggan

      Hi Tash! Sorry for not explaining this in the post/recipe card. Ideally you’d like the garlic sit for at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator (yes, after just one day it will still taste raw). You could definitely test it after one week, two weeks, etc. to see if you like it when it’s done earlier. But 3 weeks, even 6 weeks, is a good amount of time to let the garlic sit in the refrigerator and soak up the brine. Thanks! -Meggan

  4. Lisa

    Well I went ahead and made it as you had it w/o water and it was delicious! We started eating them the next day, but we love garlic.5 stars

  5. Lisa

    Super confused. Did I miss something? Says to use distilled water to preventing blue garlic, but I don’t see water in this recipe??

    1. Nicole

      Thank you for clarifying! I was so confused. Haha!
      What we’re the reasons for not adding water?? I made my last batch with only vinegar, and it didn’t turn out like my first batch (that had water). Not sure if this would make a difference?? But the garlic didn’t pickle. It is so spicy, as if biting into a raw clove. I also didn’t do a hot water bath the second batch, and just put them in the fridge.

    2. meggan

      Hi Nicole, so this is a great example of me taking advice from strangers on the internet without testing the recipe myself, ha ha! I have only ever made pickled garlic with half vinegar, half water. I’ve never made it with ALL vinegar, I only changed the recipe because strangers on the internet said I should. I was just wondering if the recipe you made was mine (the one that yielded the raw garlic cloves). I don’t think it would have been the hot water bath that was the issue. I do think, however, that I’m going to change this back to have half water, half vinegar, at LEAST until I test it with all vinegar to see what happens. Sorry for the confusion, this recipe is turning out to be all sorts of complicated. A least from a safety standpoint, as long as the garlic is ALWAYS refrigerated, I can’t think of why using half water would be a problem. Thanks. -Meggan

    3. meggan

      Hi Lisa, I’m so sorry about this!!! Up until about 2-3 weeks ago, the mixture for this pickled garlic was 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water. But there are a lot of people who read my post and leave comments (garlic or pickling experts) and so based on their feedback and some additional research of my own, I recently swapped out the water and now it’s ALL vinegar. But I forgot to go back and fix the post to take that part out. It’s totally my fault! Garlic is just kind of a risky ingredient overall so I’d rather be safe than sorry. But yes it’s confusing since now there is no water. I will fix the post. So sorry about that! Thank you! -Meggan

  6. Chris

    How soon after can this garlic be eaten? Is it safe to say the longer you let it sit, the more mellow the garlic will become?

    1. meggan

      Hi Chris, yes, the flavors of the brine develop and the flavor of the garlic mellows the longer it sits. I have eaten this as soon as the next day (how long it takes to chill to my liking) but some websites recommend you let the flavors develop for 3 weeks. So you could sample one the next day and see what you think, and let it sit longer as you see fit. Thanks! -Meggan

  7. Nicole

    Just made my first batch today! How long do you recommended before eating? So excited to try them!5 stars

    1. Nsteins

      We started eating ours a week after! This was two weeks ago- and have gone through two jars already. My kids eat it like candy! So good!

    2. Traci Maldonado

      At least 4 months

  8. Ernest Duarte

    do the have to be refrigerated after there canned

    1. meggan

      Hi Ernest, for my recipe yes! I don’t have a lot of experience with canning, and there are no instructions for canning in this post (it’s just about pickling, and yes the garlic needs to refrigerated). You need to be extra careful with garlic because of the risk of botulism, so I wouldn’t even feel comfortable providing instructions on how to can garlic (pickled or otherwise) even if I knew how. So just keep this in the fridge please! Thank you! Take care. -Meggan

  9. A player who simply gained a big jackpot, reached the processor steer, and
    is moving his luck.5 stars

  10. Soemaya

    Hi. I’ve also just started making my own garlic pickle. I however have found I notched it up.. So it’s sweet sour garlic chili pickle.
    I’ve also played around with trying to eliminate the colour change from blue to purple. What seemed to work at one time was pouring hot water.. Leaving garlic for about 2minutes then into very cold water. I then on high heat give it a quick stir fry.. Let that cool completely then add my already boiled vinagar.

  11. Thanks for this recipe, Meggan! I’ve been on such a garlic / pickle kick that this recipe is exactly what I needed5 stars

  12. Kenny Hendrick

    This one is for Samantha, the recipe police “;-)
    You say it’s unsafe to can garlic? I hope that’s not really the case though. I am still eating pickles from 2015 (it’s 2018) and not only are they the best damn pickles (coming from a non-pickle fan) but they contain cloves of garlic. In fact many of my pickling recipes of course came from the internet that call for cloves of garlic. Can you clarify the worst scenario her (aside from botulism)? Right now, before reading your comments here about the dangers, I’m canning 3.5 cloves of garlic in a pint jar (or whatever the tall thin jar is). The reason I came here to seek the recipe is due to some visitors I had here yesterday and the big hit in the pickles were the garlic cloves. All the jars being used around here now are from 2015 so your comment, although disconcerting for me to hear because I don’t refrigerate and haven’t for years (now that battery-gulping freezer is another story), however of course I’m going forward anyway. The recipe was altered a bit, in the freezer I found bags of dill and some onions so that’s all in the jar also pending the wood stove to bringing this pan of vinegar solution up to speed. I’m wondering if we’ve sterilized our immune system so much that we are actually making our species weaker (that’s the motif I’m rolling with at the moment so onward canned garlic!5 stars

    1. Samantha


      As I said, I’m not the canning police, I just teach safe canning practices.  I posted the link from UC Davis as to WHY garlic is not safe to can.  

      If you want to be nonchalant with the safety of your recipes and what you share with others, that’s up to you.  Botulism is nothing to play around about. You are playing russian roulette. The granny who water bath canned her potatoes had done if for over 40 years, thought it perfectly safe.  Yet, the potatoes she used for potato salad with those same canned potatos at a church picnic killed 2 people and made many very sick, herself included.  I’d feel awful if one of my family or anyone else was harmed from something I’ve preserved or served.  

      Also, I often see all kinds of unsafe recipes (for preserving or canning) on the internet and on Facebook pages.  So, just because you find recipes in the internet that has cloves of garlic in it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a safe recipe.

      Sterilized immune system or not, Botulism is a killer, and it’s a risk you run if you can garlic. Personally, I love pickled garlic, but I make them in small batches and refrigerate.  Its a pretty quick pickle.

      Good luck, I hope you and everyone you share with stays well.  Sincerely.

  13. Jim

    I tried your recipe and mine turned blue. How can I make this recipe and it not turn blue ?4 stars

    1. Debbie

      use distilled water

    2. meggan

      Hi Jim, there is actually nothing wrong or unsafe about blue pickled garlic. Sometimes that happens. I found this article which talks a lot more about it: https://www.thespruce.com/garlic-turns-blue-when-pickled-1327752
      From that same article, here are some tips to prevent your garlic from turning blue (if you don’t want it to look that way). Good luck!
      -Use distilled water for pickling; distilled water doesn’t have the trace metals found in a lot of tap water
      -Use iodine-free salt; most kosher salt and sea salt does not have iodine
      -Use stainless steel or enameled cookware and utensils; avoid copper, aluminum, cast iron and tin
      -Blanch the garlic briefly (about 10 seconds or so); this may or may not prevent coloring and can affect taste, so try this judiciously
      -Store fresh and pickled garlic away from sunlight, which can lead to chlorophyll formation

  14. Meggan, I grow Garlic quite a lot actually and can maybe help out with Bruce’s question.
    I was reading and maybe you did not fully understand, or maybe I did not. But I am hopelessly helpful so here goes.

    Under the garlic skin is a membranes you can peel also. Tricky to get off, I use water bath and this helps. It also helps getting the skin off as the water gets under it easily and them the skins come right off. Simply put your cloves in a bowl with water 3-5 minutes and your ready to peel.
    Hope this helps you and all others reading your recipes. Thanks5 stars

  15. Meggan, on the above post from Bruce You misunderstood his question about the inner what he called papery layer.
    I grow this stuff and this layer he is referring to is a membrane, super thin and sometimes difficult to remove.
    So if I may, you can remove this sometimes by washing. This also how I peel my garlic (simply place cloves in a bowl of water for a few minutes) as the MS way really is only effective on store bought product. If you buy the fresh and good garlic that folks grow locally it will really not peel this way unless it is very old and then it is of course not fresh (what is very old) more than a year. Which is how old your store product is as they store it in zero oxygen or zap it with radiation if it is from certain places! Hope this helps!5 stars

  16. Peni King

    Only wanna remark that you have a very nice web site, I like the layout it actually stands out.

    1. meggan

      Hi Peni, wow thank you so much! That’s really nice of you to say! I appreciate you. Thanks again.

  17. Valerie

    I have a friend who put their batch in smaller jars and added more dill than the recipe. Would this cause the garlic to turn green5 stars

  18. Bill

    You really don’t have to use a hot water bath if you keep it in the fridge. It will also be crisper and not as rubbery. It will keep for a year in the fridge but mine never last that long You can also add soy sauce in place of the dill for something different.4 stars

    1. Derrick

      No hot water “bath” but use the ladle and scoop the canning mix in, correct??

  19. Bruce

    When you peal the garlic do you take the final thin papery layer off to so it’s down to the fleshy part of the clove? Other recipes I’ve looked up have you leaving it on and others don’t say. Seems like you would want that layer off. 

    1. BRUCE

      Thank you Meggan. I was thinking the same thing. Just wanted to check. 

    2. meggan

      Hi Bruce, thanks for the question! In my recipe, you take the paper off and just use the fleshy part. For me, this is so I can just take the garlic out of the jar and eat it immediately (no peeling required). Also, the garlic I see from the store has the paper off. So, I’d definitely remove it! I cannot think of a benefit to leaving it on. Thanks!

  20. Brenda

    How do you remove the air bubbles?

    1. Lori

      Hi Brenda,
      You can tap the jars, or use something long and narrow like a skewer to reach in between the garlic and release any air trapped between them.

    2. meggan

      Lori! You saved me! Thank you so much. I appreciate you getting back to Brenda while I 1). Missed her question and then 2). Was traveling over the weekend. I appreciate you so much! Thanks again.

    3. Brenda

      Love how sites like this pick and chose what questions to answer although the logic escapes me. Either it was a stupid or you don’t know the answer? Why would you bypass a question and go to the next?

    4. meggan

      Hi Brenda, I’m really sorry about that! I get a lot of comments and sometimes one slips through the cracks. Let me look into this because I don’t immediately know what you mean or the answer. But, I will get back to you! Didn’t mean to ignore you. Thanks.

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