Garlic confit…and its side-creation, garlic-infused olive oil!

Garlic confit

Life without garlic? I would rather never have to contemplate such a thing. The tiny cloves of the mythical Allium Sativum plant are pungent, intensely aromatic and impressively flavorful – an irreplaceable and unique ingredient.

I always marvel at what one little clove of garlic can do. Whether sautéed, roasted or used raw, its presence transforms any dish in the most dramatic, delicious way.

But have you ever tried making garlic confit? If you haven’t then you’re in for a wonderful treat.

What is garlic confit?

The term confit is used to describe anything that has been cooked slowly into a rich, succulent texture. To confit garlic, the cloves are very gently poached in oil, transforming them into the most delicate, sweet and tender morsels. A dream!

The confit cloves can be used to flavor soups, sauces, pastas, vinaigrettes, sandwiches, or marinades — or in these super-easy garlic mashed potatoes. For a quick but sublime nibble, spread them on a crusty slice of bread — the freshest garlic spread you’ll ever taste.

Olive oil is my preferred oil to confit garlic, but of course you can use others. I like to use extra virgin olive oil: since the temperature of the oil doesn’t get too high, its natural flavor is preserved and then slowly imbued with the delicate garlic flavor as the cloves cook.

Bonus: After making your confit, you’ll also end up with garlic-infused oil!

And the confited garlic is not the only thing that will add zing to your recipes. Every drop of the infused oil will, too. Use the garlic olive oil in salad dressings and marinades, drizzle it on veggies, or dip some bread in it.

Whichever way you use your garlic confit, you’ll be astounded by its subtle yet rich flavor. I can only hope that it’ll become a favorite pantry item in your household too.

Garlic head

Garlic confit

makes 4 cups (garlic with oil)
active time: 30 min

  1. 3 cups unpeeled garlic cloves (about 112 cloves)
  2. 3 cups extra virgin olive oil

  1. Step 1: Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. Set aside. Bring 2 quarts of water to a fast boil in a medium saucepan. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a sieve and dip them in the hot water for 20 seconds. Remove from boiling water and dip the sieve with the garlic cloves in the ice water bath. As soon as the cloves are cooled, place on a cutting board. Cut off root ends and skin garlic (the skins should slip right off). Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Step 2: Place garlic cloves in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the oil. (The oil should cover the cloves by 1/2″. You may need a bit more or less oil, depending on the size of the pan you use.) Heat pan over medium heat. As soon as small bubbles appear, reduce heat to very low (or the lowest setting on your stove: the oil should not reach above 220°F (104ºC) and only small bubbles should form in the pan). As the oil heats up, bits of skin might float to the surface; skim them off with a mesh spatula. Gently cook the garlic for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring from time to time, until it is very tender and the cloves look pale-golden. Remove pan from heat and set aside, allowing the cloves to cool in the oil. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.
  3. Cook’s note: Bring garlic confit to room temperature before using, as the oil will firm up when refrigerated.

Garlic confit

condiment, confit, garlic


STEP BY STEP

Garlic confit - Step 1

Remove garlic cloves from root end and leave unpeeled.

Garlic confit - Step 2

Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes and set aside. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a sieve.

Garlic confit - Step 3

Bring 2 quarts of water to a fast boil in a medium saucepan.

Garlic confit - Step 4

Dip the garlic cloves in the hot water for 20 seconds.

Garlic confit - Step 5

Remove from boiling water and dip the sieve with the garlic cloves in the ice water bath.

Garlic confit - Step 6

As soon as the cloves are cooled, place on a cutting board. Cut off root ends and skin garlic (the skins should slip right off).

Garlic confit - Step 7

Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Garlic confit - Step 8

Place garlic cloves in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Garlic confit - Step 9

Add the oil.

Garlic confit - Step 10

The oil should cover the cloves by 1″. You may need a bit more or less oil, depending on the size of the pan you use.

Garlic confit - Step 11

Heat pan over medium heat. As soon as small bubbles appear, reduce heat to very low (or lowest setting on your stove: the oil should not reach above 220°F (104°C) and only small bubbles should form in the pan).

Garlic confit - Step 12

As the oil heats up, bits of skin might float to the surface, skim them off with a mesh spatula.

Garlic confit - Step 13

Gently cook the garlic for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring from time to time…

Garlic confit - Step 14

… until the garlic is very tender and the cloves look pale-golden. Remove pan from heat and set aside, allowing the cloves to cool in the oil. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.

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68 Comments

  • Reply Divina April 20, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for the step by step procedure Viviane. They are indispensable in the kitchen. I so agree with you that we can’t live without them. They also make a perfect gift. Thanks a lot.

  • Reply jaystevens137 April 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Viviane, this looks outstanding. I think I’d have a hard time waiting to use this for recipes, and instead go straight for some crusty bread or toss some into pasta!

  • Reply foodieforager April 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I plan on doing this soon! I have been meaning to for quite some time and this post was a nice reminder!

  • Reply Emily April 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

    This looks great! And you’re right, I have never made this before.. so I am definitely in for a treat :-)

  • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre April 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Jay, I’m with you on this one… It’s hard to resist having garlic confit on crusty bread!

    Foodieforager & Emily, Thank you for stopping by and do let me know how it turns out when you make some…

    Bon Appetit!

  • Reply ayamlin April 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Hi!
    I like garlics.
    but I’ve never made Garlic confit!
    I’ll try to do it.
    but in Japan Garlic is not cheap.
    we buy a garlic for $1.5.
    Do you get it inexpensive?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre April 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

      Ayamlin, Garlic in the US is about $4/lb. It’s not that cheap either, but you know, a little goes a long way…

  • Reply foodieforager April 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I just had a thought. I have several pounds of wild fresh ramps and will try this with those. I have been freezing, pickling, making vinegars, etc. but never thought of this!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre April 22, 2010 at 9:18 am

      Foodieforager: Ramps might work, but they’re very delicate, so you might have to cut down the cooking time. Also, I worry that the greens might cook too much. Do let me know how it turns out. You have intrigued me now. Might try it myself!

      One more thought, this is a wonderful method for making mushroom confit – although the cooking is slightly different, I sauté the mushrooms at high temperature, before I confit them.

  • Reply Laxmi Hiremath April 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Love those step by step images. Garlic is my favorite too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply bunkycooks April 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you for the detailed instructions. Garlic is wonderful when it is baked or cooked this way!

  • Reply allison lemons April 23, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Garlic confit. Wow. I love that it lasts up to a month too. What a great gift, can’t wait to make a batch and give it out to friends (or keep it. yeah, I’ll keep it.)

  • Reply s April 23, 2010 at 7:03 am

    wow! lovely pics…
    http://forkbootsandapalette.wordpress.com/

    • Reply Adele July 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

      This site is like a classroom, except I don’t hate it. lol

  • Reply Baking Barrister April 24, 2010 at 1:01 am

    I add garlic to almost everything. This sounds like a wonderful option. I might have to do it in smaller batches though since not everyone in this house shares my love of garlic.

  • Reply Chef Dennis April 24, 2010 at 6:45 am

    what a great way to prepare garlic….I do con fits of other veggies by roasting, including garlic and it caramelizes deliciously, never thought of using this method and to be able to prepare and keep that much garlic for a month is great way to have prepared garlic ready to use….
    thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!
    all the best
    Dennis

  • Reply justine April 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Wow this sounds amazing! I would eat it with everything : )

  • Reply Robyn Webb April 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

    So glad my blanching technique worked for your fab garlic confit

    This post is truly mouthwatering, now where’s all my garlic??

  • Reply Geeta April 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    What a great idea for peeling garlic! Glad Robyn shared with you. You have beautiful pictures of every step. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Geeta
    http://www.hushsupperclub.net

  • Reply Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) April 28, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Looks great, a really great idea for the peeling the garlic. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Brie May 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    lovely post. i have not seen garlic used in this manner, and this would taste wonderful in so many dishes – thanks!

  • Reply Alisa-Foodista May 2, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I have never tried this before but I will now. It looks really wonderful. I love the blanching method too!

  • Reply Daniel @ The Food Addicts May 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    What a great way to preserve garlic!

  • Reply Demetra Lambros May 8, 2010 at 1:44 am

    one time my MIL was explaining a recipe to me and when she got to the part about the garlic, she got this look on her face… she stopped, mid-sentence, to convey how important the freshness and quality of the garlic was, and to convey a sort of horror at using anything less. in the way that only a greek MIL can do. fresko, fresko, she said…. sort of shaking her head and wincing her eyes, at the mere thought of anything less–and at the thought of her daughter-in-law being the one doing it! it is a moment that comes back to me whenever i use garlic. now YOUR post comes to my mind whenever i am in garlic mode. love this post!!

  • Reply Reena, Coconut Raita July 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I made this today – and it is truly wonderful. I can’t imagine it lasting more than two more days in our house! Thank you for the recipe I think it is going to become a staple.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre July 11, 2010 at 11:37 am

      Reena, I totally understand how the garlic confit would disappear in two days – it is the same in our house! I thank you for your comment and I am truly delighted you loved the recipe.

  • Reply Rachel February 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I have made this recipie and love it. I add a fresh bay leaf and a few whole pepercorns to the mix when its gently cooking, adds a really delicate pepper flavour to the oil.

  • Reply Aaron February 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Excellent recipe! I too love the wonderful taste of garlic prepared this way. Just wanted to make a note that there is the risk of Clostridium botulinum on all garlic and keeping it around for more than a week (even if diligently refrigerated) can open you up to the nasty toxin it creates (Botulism). The web has lots more reliable info on botulism risk so I won’t go into it here, I know my garlic confit doesn’t usually last more than a week anyway!

    • Reply Linda August 13, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Botulism is a risk with RAW garlic preserved in oil. The garlic in this recipe is fully cooked. Keeping the garlic fully cooked in oil is not a risk of food poisoning. If you intent to keep it for a while (as is giving it for a gift), do be sure to use properly sterilized jars.

  • Reply Elle March 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Oooooh! I cannot wait to make this! Thank you, Viviane.

  • Reply jim June 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Viviane,

    Looks amazing!

    For a great guide on growing your own garlic see below.

    http://www.wascene.com/home-garden/grow-your-own-garlic/

    Regards,
    Jim

  • Reply Tess February 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I came here through a post on BuzzFeed about great grilled cheese recipes, and I immediately headed here for the garlic confit tips, thanks!

    About peeling a lot of garlic cloves really easy: I recently saw a video over at The Kitchn (the link is below) where a chef shows how by shaking the cloves in a bowl for a few seconds the peels come right off! I’ve tried it a few times and it works marvelously. With the many cloves that this recipe requires, though, I’d imagine it’d take a few more seconds (a minute? two?) but I think it’d be worth it. Don’t you think? ;)

    Here’s the link to the video:
    http://www.saveur.com/article/video/video-How-to-Peel-a-Head-of-Garlic-in-Less-Than-10-Seconds

    • Reply Viviane February 5, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Dear Tess, Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. As they say, there are many ways to skin a cat! Thank you for the link.

  • Reply Johane February 24, 2012 at 10:35 am

    How long can I keep this garlic? I pose the question because of the possible risk of botulism. Does this process get hot enough to kill any possible bacteria? When I make something like this, I usually only ever make enough for the upcoming meal. It would be nice to make more at one time.

    • Reply Viviane February 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Johane, You can refrigerate the garlic confit up to one week (it usually never lasts this long in my household though!). It’s hard to cut the recipe above in half as it needs to cook at a very low temperature for the garlic to be properly confit. My solution: give half the batch to friends of neighbors. Enjoy!

  • Reply Tia T. February 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    a MUST DO this weekend LOVE LOVE LOVE GARLIC

  • Reply Jacqui October 16, 2012 at 2:33 am

    Love this… One question… If I put into sterilised glass jars when oil still warm and seal will they last much longer like preserved pickle onions? Thanks your help

    • Reply Viviane October 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Jacqui, unfortunately that’s not enough to prevent botchulism. I think the best thing is to make the confit when you need it an consume it within a week. Refrigeration is perfectly adequate for this length of time. I’m experimenting with freezing left-overs and will report back on this very soon. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  • Reply Fred December 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Happy I found this site. I was thinking of ways to preserve lots of peeled garlic in oil. I tried something like this before but I didn’t cook it as long in oil and the temp was probably too high. I’ll follow your cooking process on my next attempt. I think this would work too if the garlic was slightly browned, so you have a roasted garlic taste.

    • Reply Viviane December 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Hi Fred! Welcome to my blog… I’m very happy you stopped by. To get the true flavor of a confit, you must resist the temptation of cooking the garlic cloves at high temperatures. It’s not meant to be roasted garlic. It is an entirely new flavor profile for garlic. I can’t wait for you to taste it! Bon appétit!

      • Reply Fred December 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm

        Thanks for the heads up. Will do this soon!

        • Reply Viviane December 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm

          Fred… you’re welcome! Do let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply Jaki Parsons May 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I am curious as to why you say it can only last a week in the fridge.

    Bearing in mind I grow garlic and keep it in a plait in dark cool larder for months before eating fresh. It seems a little odd that you have to eat over 100 cloves of garlic in less than a week. Guess it keeps the vampires away!.

    • Reply Viviane May 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Jaki! Oh… you made me smile. There’s a chance of contamination (botchulism) if you keep the garlic confit for long periods in the refrigerator. It’s a food safety issue. You could also try to make half a batch, but it gets a bit difficult to control the cooking temperature with smaller quantities, hence the recipe being written as it is. I haven’t experimented with freezing the confit either, as I’m not a huge fan of freezing. However, I’ll tell you that it’s not hard to consume the whole batch in a week. The confit cloves turn out so deliciously mild that they go fast… There might not even be any left for your house vampire!

  • Reply Sue December 28, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Just finished making a big batch of confit garlic. I hate peeling the cloves because it burns my hands. However your tip makes peeling the cloves so much easier. Thankyou

    • Reply Viviane December 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

      You’re most welcome, Sue! I am delighted you found the peeling tip helpful. Enjoy your confit!

  • Reply Sue December 28, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Thanks, great help with instructions and pictures

  • Reply Sarah March 30, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I understand that the garlic needs to be eaten within one week, but what about the left over oil? If I separate the garlic from the oil, will the oil keep for longer?

    • Reply Viviane March 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Sarah! I’ve kept the oil in the refrigerator (without the garlic) for two weeks, without any problems. I am cautious about recommending to store it for longer period, though. I am currently working on a new version of this recipe so it’ll make less quantity. This way storing it will be less of an issue. So stay tuned… and thank yo for your comment!

  • Reply Carla Danna August 13, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Can the end product be frozen for long term storage?

    • Reply Viviane August 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Carla! No, you mustn’t freeze the garlic confit. Olive shouldn’t be frozen. It spoils when thawed. Refrigeration is best.

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