Once you’ve learned how to freeze garlic, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been using one of these easy methods all along! This post breaks down the best way to freeze whole garlic cloves and garlic paste (hint: ice cube trays help!). It’s so simple, you’ll be using frozen garlic in all your favorite recipes and enjoying the same flavor as the fresh stuff.

Peeled garlic cloves in a glass bowl.

​Can you freeze garlic?

Yes, you can freeze garlic. Whether it’s whole, unpeeled cloves, an entire bulb or head of garlic, or even garlic paste, you can freeze it ALL. While freezing does slightly change the texture, it does preserve the flavor, which is far more important.

(Are some of these terms totally mystifying? Here’s more on What is a clove of garlic?, plus a run-down of How to Make Garlic Paste.)

It’s also important to understand that freezing whole, unpeeled, raw garlic bulbs isn’t necessary. As long as it’s kept in a cool, dark space with good air circulation, your whole head of garlic can last for months. Learn more about How to Store Garlic in this post.

Why freeze garlic?

​Freezing garlic is the most convenient way to keep garlic on hand while still delivering the full impact of flavor.

Freezing garlic is a great way to meal prep and save time. It doesn’t take much upfront effort, and it lasts for months once frozen. Whenever a recipe calls for it, you can add it straight to your dish—no thawing needed.

You also know exactly what’s going into your garlic. Unlike some of the manufactured versions, you won’t be adding unnecessary preservatives, salts, or sugars. It’s way cheaper than buying already-prepared garlic and delivers far more flavor than powdered garlic or garlic salt.

Furthermore, you’re preventing food waste. Think about all those times you minced more garlic than a recipe called for—and all the deliciousness that went unused as a result! With a stash of frozen garlic, you can just take what you need.

And the triple bonus? Having frozen garlic means ZERO mess! When you’re prepping a meal, all you’re doing is reaching into the freezer instead of pulling out the garlic press or a sharp knife and cutting board. You don’t even have to touch the frozen garlic if you don’t want to (because who likes garlicky smelling hands and fingers, anyways?). 

Frozen garlic cloves in a plastic bag.

How to freeze garlic?

Garlic freezes well in two forms: as peeled garlic cloves and garlic paste. Below, you’ll find the simple steps for both.

Gather Your Materials

​For each method: you’ll need a key ingredient: garlic. For optimal freshness, look for heads (also known as bulbs) that are firm and dry have plenty of papery skin.

The basic materials you need to freeze whole garlic cloves include:

  • Paring knife
  • Baking/cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Freezer-safe bag/airtight container

For freezing garlic paste, you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Food processor
  • Ice cube trays
  • Freezer-safe bag/airtight container

​Separate the Cloves

Whether you’re freezing garlic cloves or garlic paste, you’ll first want to remove the garlic cloves from the bulb, or head. To do that, start with these 2 steps:

  1. Place the bulb on a flat surface and apply pressure to the root end of the bulb with the palm of your hand to loosen up the cloves.
  2. Cut the root end off of the head. Peel and remove the papery skin from each clove.

How to Freeze Whole Garlic Cloves

Follow these 2 steps for when you’re freezing garlic cloves:

  1. Place the peeled cloves onto a large baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for 2-4 hours, or until almost completely frozen.
  2. Transfer the cloves to a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag or airtight container with the date on the front. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Peeled garlic cloves on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

How to Freeze Garlic Paste or Minced Garlic

Follow these 3 steps for when you’re freezing garlic paste. (Get even more details in this recipe for Garlic Paste.)

  1. Add peeled garlic cloves from 5-6 heads of garlic to a large food processor along with the 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Blend for 30-60 seconds, scraping down the sides every 10-15 seconds, or until a smooth paste forms.
  2. Fill an ice-cube tray with 1 tablespoon of garlic paste in each cavity. Freeze for 2-4 hours.
  3. No ice-cube tray? No problem. Alternately, you can scoop a tablespoon of garlic paste onto a sheet pan, freeze for 2-4 hours, then add to a Ziplock bag.
  4. Transfer the frozen garlic cubes or scoops to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or airtight container with the date. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Wanting frozen minced garlic on hand instead of a paste? Simply chop it to your desired size, and freeze in ice cube trays or on a sheet pan as you would garlic paste.

Freezing Garlic Tips & Tricks

  • In a flash. Flash freezing garlic on a sheet pan before adding them to either a freezer container or plastic bag keeps the cloves from clumping together and prevents freezer burn. Don’t skip this step!
  • Clean ’em up. Don’t forget to remove any green sprouts or bruises before the freezing process. 
  • Be ready. Get your freezer container or plastic freezer bags set before you get started.
  • Make note. Label your containers or bags with the date.
  • Avoid squishy. For the best results, firm cloves are the best option for freezing; anything soft will not turn out and the flavor will change.

​Freezing Garlic Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to thaw frozen garlic before using it?

​No, thawing garlic before cooking is not necessary. It’s ready to use the moment it touches your hot cooking pan.

How long does frozen garlic last in the freezer?

Frozen garlic lasts up to 6 months.

How do you peel garlic?

To peel garlic, place the flat part of the knife over it and press it down firmly, listening for a mild crushing sound. The paper will loosen and fall away.

Does frozen garlic taste the same as fresh garlic?

Frozen garlic has the same taste as fresh, but the texture can change slightly.

Garlic paste in a glass bowl and a spoon.

Resources for Using Garlic

Garlic is an important ingredient for a wide range of recipes. Knowing what it is, how to store it, and its most basic preparations will set you up for success, no matter the cuisine. Dig into these posts to learn more:

The BEST Garlic Recipes

Garlic shows up in all kinds of dishes, but it really shines through in some of these recipes. Give them a try, and the garlic-lovers in your house will keep asking for more!

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5 from 1 vote

How to Freeze Garlic (Cloves or Paste)

Learn how to freeze garlic cloves and garlic paste with these simple step-by-step directions!
Frozen garlic cloves in a plastic bag.
Yield 16 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Total 5 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. garlic about 40-50 cloves
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil if freezing paste*

Instructions 

  • Remove the garlic cloves from the bulb, or head. (Tip: Place the bulb on a flat surface and apply pressure to the root end of the bulb with the palm of your hand to loosen up the cloves.)
  • Cut the root end off of the clove. Peel and remove the papery skin.

Freezing Garlic Cloves:

  • Place the whole cloves onto a large baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for 2-4 hours, or until almost completely frozen.
  • Transfer the cloves to a large freezer-safe ziplock bag with the date on the front. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Freezing Garlic Paste:

  • Add the peeled garlic cloves to a large food processor along with the oil. Blend for 30-60 seconds, scraping down the sides every 10-15 seconds, or until a smooth paste forms.
  • Fill an ice cube tray with 1 tablespoon of garlic paste in each cavity. Freeze for 2-4 hours, or until solid.
  • Transfer the frozen garlic cubes to a freezer-safe ziplock bag with the date. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Notes

  • This recipe makes roughly 1 pound of garlic paste. A serving size is 1 tablespoon of garlic paste.

Nutrition

Calories: 50kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 5mg, Potassium: 114mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.3g, Vitamin A: 3IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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