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.

Jars of pickled garlic.

Several 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?

My response? “Could I please have a whole jar of Dilly Garlic?” I’m so grateful she agreed!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Pickled Garlic Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for pickled garlic.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • 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!  “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.”

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Combine canning salt and vinegar in a large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes (180 degrees). Meanwhile, pack garlic into 4 sterilized pint jars (about 8 ounces per jar) leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Add ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1 head of dill to each jar. (If using fresh dill, add ½ cup to each jar.)
Jars of pickled garlic.
  1. 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. 
Jars of pickled garlic.
  1. 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).
Jars of pickled garlic.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 pints (8 cups), enough for 32 servings, ¼ cup each.
  • Storage: The National Center for Home Food Preservation states that the garlic and vinegar mixture may be refrigerated for up to 4 months. It’s safe to use the flavored liquid for other things. Discard if you see any signs of mold or yeast growth.
  • Blue garlic: 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 (and exactly why it may or may not turn blue). To prevent the bluish color:
    • 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
Jars of pickled garlic.

Bloody Mary Bar

Lazy weekends and holiday mornings call for a Bloody Mary bar with homemade mix and all the savory pickled stuff you can find. It’s a total crowd-pleaser; from the purists to the meal-in-a-glass folks, everyone…

2 hours 10 minutes
View Recipe

Put your pickled garlic to work

Pickled garlic in a mason jar.

Pickled Garlic

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!
4.97 from 95 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling time 12 hrs
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 32 servings (¼ cup each)
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 52

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup canning salt
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 2 pounds fresh garlic peeled
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 heads fresh dill or 2 cups fresh dill, stems and leaves coarsely chopped

Instructions 

  • Combine canning salt and vinegar in a large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes (180 degrees).
  • Meanwhile, pack garlic into 4 sterilized pint jars (about 8 ounces per jar) leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Add ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1 head of dill to each jar. (If using fresh dill, add ½ cup 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).

To seal jars (MUST BE REFRIGERATED, NOT 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 Video

Notes

  1. 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!  “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.”  
  2. Yield: This recipe makes 4 pints (8 cups), enough for 32 servings, ¼ cup each.
  3. Storage: The National Center for Home Food Preservation states that the garlic and vinegar mixture may be refrigerated for up to 4 months. It’s safe to use the flavored liquid for other things. Discard if you see any signs of mold or yeast growth.
  4. Blue garlic: 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 (and exactly why it may or may not turn blue). To prevent the bluish color:
    • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 52kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 124mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 35IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. are you cooling the boiled water before adding it to the garlic? It doesn’t say what to do

    1. Hi Dorothy, yes! Sounds great! The dill is a component for flavor, it is the brine that does the pickling. Enjoy! – Meggan

  2. It is true you should not can low acid vegetables and garlic, is low acid. However, when you add the vinegar to the brine the acid from the brine makes the vegetable high acid and therefore safe to process into pickles. I have processed cucumbers, carrots, beans, onions, zucchini……pretty much everything in garden into pickles. Proper water bath processing is totally safe making vinegar brined pickles and even fermented pickles. Every jar of pickles I have ever made includes garlic.

  3. My pickled garlics are more than 15 years old now. The starter essence of it came from Iran from my uncle’s batch dating back to 35 years. I keep adding to it as needed, and never refrigerate it as long as you keep things clean. It is a delight!

    Just be careful as to how close you get to people the next day. In humid climates the odor is much milder.

    PS: I use balsamic vinegar.

    1. Hi Sandra, yes you can! It will just have a slightly different taste. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan

  4. So I’m trying pickling garlic for the first time I’ve got a recipe that I use for my other pickles how do I avoid the developing of botulism bacteria

    1. Hi Riley, thanks for the question! Since you’re using your own recipe, I would like to share that the canning of garlic is not recommended since it is a low-acid vegetable, so you must refrigerate pickled garlic. Take care – Meggan

  5. Can I use any jar or does it have to be a jar only used for Pickling such as Mason jars? I only have the kind of jars used for storing legumes,etc that doesn’t have a tight seal.

    1. Hey there, you can use any kind of jar you want. The pickled garlic has to be refrigerated (it cannot be canned to be shelf-stable) so you could use literally any glass container at all (that has a lid). Thanks! -Meggan

  6. Hi Meggan! I’m excited to try this recipe out! One question I have is – is this recipe suitable for shelf-stable canning? Hope to hear from you. Thanks!

    1. Hi Brit, this recipe is not suitable for shelf-stable canning. Garlic is a low acidic food, so if you make this, even processing in a water bath, it will need to be refrigerated. I hope you enjoy it! – Meggan

    1. Hi Tammy, the pickling liquid used to call for half water and half vinegar. Based on testing and feedback, it’s been updated to use all vinegar. If you prefer to pickle with half water/half vinegar, make sure it’s distilled to prevent the garlic from turning blue. Thank you – Meggan

    1. Hi Kim, the pickling liquid used to call for half water and half vinegar. Based on testing and feedback, it’s been updated to use all vinegar. Sorry for the confusion! – Meggan

  7. the written recipe said 5 cups of white vinegar no water is in it but watch the video and the water is there ?

    1. Hi Debbie, I am so sorry about that. I changed the recipe and but never changed the video. I changed the video to match the recipe card now. I am so sorry about the confusion! Have a great day! -Meggan

    1. Hi Sondra, I think so? You can try it and see if you like it. I’m not sure, but I don’t see any issues. Just keep it in the refrigerator. Good luck! -Meggan

  8. 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. 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]

  9. 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

  10. Hello,
    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. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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. 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

    2. Meggan-
      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.
      Thoughts?

    3. 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

  13. 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. 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

    1. 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!

    1. 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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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. Kenny, 

      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.

    1. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

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

  19. 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

  20. 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. 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!

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    1. Thanks for this, Samantha! I agree with you. I’ve obviously had this canned and haven’t had any problems, but the risk is clearly there. I’ll update the recipe to reflect this info. I really appreciate that you dropped the link for me!

    2. Meegan,

      not seeing the recipe be changed. Canning garlic is not safe, you can store in fridge, but not shelf stable for long term storage. Sorry, not trying to be food police, but I’m a certified food preserver and don’t want people getting sick from preserved food.

    3. Hi Samantha,

      I really appreciate you coming back and letting me know. I am grateful you took the time to do that, and I completely understand why. I’ve updated the recipe and notes. Thank you again.

    4. The Ball Blue Book has a recipe for pickled garlic that is canned and not refrigerated.    That book is what I go by.  FYI

  21. How long do you let your garlic sit before you can eat them. I’ve been trying to pickle garlic for years but it never turns out. I’ve had them turn blue and go to mush. I’ve also had them go so strong that they turn your stomach. I’m going to try this recipe. 

    1. Nicole, the blue color is just a chemical reaction, it’s still edible. However, it must be stored in the fridge, not safe for long term storage or canning it for the shelf.

  22. looks great!! we used to make our own half sour pickles at my coffee shops! It was awesome cause we got MASSIVE pickles, I mean huge buggers, from a local farm and pickles them whole in buckets. Love garlic so I bet these are right up my ally5 stars

  23. Too bad we don’t live closer. I’ve got 20 quarts of organic dilly beans.  I’ll have to try this on a pint. 

    One note, if you can stand it, let them sit for 3-5 weeks to mature and achieve their full flavor. 5 stars