Pickled Garlic Recipe – with Thyme, Ginger & Chilli

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As it’s a staple feature in so many different cuisines, it’s not an uncommon predicament to find you have a lot of garlic in the kitchen cupboard, sometimes more than you know what to do with.

Pickling garlic is an often overlooked, super simple solution to ensure you make the most of those cloves and cut down on potential food waste. Once pickled, your garlic should last for about a month – a nice extension to their shelf-life.

Pickling is also really fun – you can play around with adding in different herbs and spices, using whatever you have available or tweaking to get a taste that really works for you.

Pickling garlic cloves

When you pickle garlic, the vinegar takes away much of that spicy kick that you get from the raw cloves (thankfully, it also neutralises most of the sulphuric compounds responsible for the infamous ‘garlic breath‘). We’ve added thyme along with ginger and chilli to ours so they’re still full of attitude, however the sweet and savoury flavour they take on when pickled is great without these as well.

Once pickled, your garlic cloves are great to eat straight from the jar, but also are great way to reduce the pungency of recipes where raw garlic is normally used, delicious in salads and salad dressings (and a great way to keep vampires at fangs-length).

How to pickle garlic


1 large, sterilised jar with sealable lid


  • 2 garlic bulbs
  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 handful of fresh thyme
  • 1 thumbs of fresh ginger
  • 1 whole chilli pepper (fresh or dried)


  1. Separate  the garlic into cloves (don’t worry about removing their shells yet).
  2. Bring a saucepan of boiling water to the boil and add the garlic cloves, blanching for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the cloves from the water and once cooled, remove their shell casings (this should be easy after they’ve been blanched)
  4. Empty the water from the saucepan and replace with the white wine vinegar and salt – this is your pickling liquid.
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer until the salt has dissolved, then add the peeled garlic and boil for a further 2 minutes before removing from the heat.
  6. Combine the thyme, ginger and chilli (or your alternatives) and the peeled garlic into the jar, and pour over the hot pickling liquid, leaving about half an inch of space at the top.
  7. Tap the jar to remove any air bubbles in the liquid.
  8. Wipe the rim of the jar dry to ensure a good seal, then once cooled put on the lid and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Enjoy! (Be sure to return them to the fridge after each time you use some of them.)

Tips when pickling garlic:

  • Don’t leave garlic cloves in olive oil in the fridge – this can seal them off from oxygen, potentially creating a breeding ground for botulism. Don’t worry, they’ll be fine in vinegar!
  • If you use table salt, the pickling liquid will become cloudy during the pickling process (this is due to the anti-caking agents found in table salt). Cloudiness shouldn’t affect the taste, but might affect the willingness of your friends and family to try your pickled creations! Using iodine-free salt should help your garlic steer clear of murky waters.


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