If you’ve been wondering how to properly store garlic so it stays fresh, then you’re in the right place! From storing in the refrigerator, at room temperature, or in plastic or mesh bags- it all depends on the type of garlic you’re using! Whether whole cloves or chopped, you’ll find the best and easiest ways to make this delicious, savory ingredient last a long time.

Multiple heads of garlic in a basket.

How to pick out quality garlic?

Quality garlic is firm, dry, and has papery skin. When buying it from your grocery store, be picky about cleanliness, longevity, and freshness. Your garlic will last that much longer! Avoid purchasing any bulbs that are soft, sprouting, or have damaged unpeeled cloves. (Confused about a bulb vs. a clove? Learn more here, What is a clove of garlic?)

How to store garlic?

The best way to store garlic depends on the form it’s in. Unpeeled, peeled, minced, paste—even pickled!—all call for different methods and have varying shelf lives. Some forms of garlic call for airtight containers, while others require plastic or even mesh bags.

To make things easy, here are of the 5 most common types of garlic and exactly how to store each one:

Type of GarlicEnvironmentMaterialsLongevity
Fresh Garlic (Unpeeled)Dry, dark placeMesh bag, wire basketSeveral months
Fresh Garlic (Peeled)RefrigeratorCrisper drawer, airtight container2 weeks
Minced GarlicRefrigeratorPlastic bag, glass jar2 weeks
Garlic PasteRefrigerator
Freezer
Airtight container, glass jar
Ice cube trays, plastic bag
5 days
Several months
Pickled GarlicRefrigeratorGlass jarSeveral months
Multiple heads of garlic in a basket.

Fresh Garlic (Unpeeled)

Fresh garlic, when it’s unpeeled, should be stored at room temperature in a mesh bag or wire basket. Keeping it in a dry and dark place out of direct sunlight will prevent it from sprouting as quickly. The most ideal temperature would be 60-65°F. Having good air circulation keeps your garlic fresher for long-term storage.

If you think about it, when you buy whole garlic bulbs at the store, they aren’t refrigerated or under the misters like the lettuce and other vegetables. So that’s how it should be at home!

Fresh Garlic (Peeled)

Peeled, fresh garlic should be stored in the refrigerator in your crisper drawer. At room temperature, it will start sprouting , and once that happens, the taste turns bitter. Your peeled garlic will last up to 2 weeks in your crisper drawer or in an airtight container. 

Peeled garlic cloves in a glass bowl.

Minced Garlic

The easiest way to store minced garlic is in your refrigerator in a plastic bag. This type of garlic will last up to 2 weeks when kept this way.

Pre-minced garlic in a jar, however, can last up to several months in your refrigerator door. But remember: pre-minced garlic loses its strength as time goes on, so you’ll need to use more of it to match the flavor of the fresh stuff.

Garlic Paste

Garlic paste is a fun one because you can store it multiple ways for longer, and still have that depth of flavor you love! You can store it in two different ways:

  1. Airtight container (or a glass jar) in the refrigerator for 5 days, or
  2. Ice cube trays in the freezer for several months. (Here’s more on how to freeze garlic.)

(To learn more about garlic paste, why you should make it, and how to keep it fresh, dig into How to Make Homemade Garlic Paste.)

Frozen garlic in ice cube trays.

Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic is very similar to garlic paste in its storage and shelf life. You’ll need to know How to Roast Garlic in the Oven (it only involves a baking sheet, aluminum foil, and some olive oil). Then, you can freeze it for several months, or refrigerate it for up to 1 week.

Pickled Garlic

Pickling garlic adds a unique twist on your average, every-day cooking. Use this Pickled Garlic recipe and store it in your refrigerator for months. It’s a great way to add your own spin on the overall garlic taste with different vinegars, oils, and salts!

Jars of pickled vegetables.

The BEST Garlic Recipes

Now that you know everything about keeping your garlic fresh for a long time, it’s time to put that knowledge to good use! Try some of these recipes next time you’re craving this savory allium:

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