The Absolute Best Way To Freeze Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic is a magic ingredient. What was astringent when raw becomes soft, savory, and caramelized, bringing new depths of flavor to everything from risotto to compound butter. And while you may be used to using the whole bulb in one go, freezing your roasted garlic is a great way to increase its usability and convenience. 

Even before it's been roasted, garlic is among the easiest of aromatic vegetables to store whether in an open air container, in the fridge, or by mashing the cloves and freezing the paste in ice cube trays. Roasting the garlic does not take away from its storage capabilities — quite the opposite, in fact. When frozen properly, roasted garlic will keep just as well as it would have otherwise.

The key to freezing roasted garlic is to do it relatively quickly. Leaving it out for too long can introduce the varieties of bacteria that lead to botulism, so time is of the essence. Once the bulb has cooled down enough for you to handle it without burning your hands, remove the cloves by gently squeezing them out of their papery skins. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze immediately. Once the garlic cloves have frozen on the tray, transfer them to an air tight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag, and they should keep for two to three months.

How to use your frozen roasted garlic

Reconstituting your frozen roasted garlic is very simple. Once you've decided how many cloves you are going to use, they will need to defrost in the refrigerator for at least an hour before they are pliable enough to be used. After that, they will need some additional time to come to room temperature before being incorporated into your dish. 

What's so excellent about putting in the effort to freeze your roasted garlic is that you have the ability to use it whenever you'd like. While so many recipes call for using the entire head of roasted garlic immediately, having some on hand in the freezer allows you to add it to your dishes in whatever amount you like. So, if you want to add depth to a pasta sauce, mashed potatoes, hummus, or simply mash a few cloves to spread over toast, having them individually available in the freezer allows for that flexibility.

Another way to freeze roasted garlic is by mashing the cloves with a bit of olive oil and storing the paste in covered ice cube trays. The paste will incorporate a little easier into sauce, but it's just as simple to defrost the whole cloves and mash them. However you choose to freeze your roasted garlic, you'll be very glad to have some stored away to use at your leisure.