Cooking Time

The recipes on this site were developed with the SousVide Supreme, a very capable cooking device which uses water convection. More recently, we’ve been cooking with immersion circulators which maintain even cooking temperatures by moving water in the bath with a pump. If you’re using an immersion circulator, slightly reduce cooking times for best results.

Garlic Confit

Bounty of Garlic

Garlic confit is to raw garlic as preserved lemon is to lemon zest. While raw garlic and lemon zest are strong and easily identifiable flavors, garlic confit and preserved lemon are subtle and delicate, with elusive yet irresistible flavors for which, in my opinion, there are no substitutes.

Even compared to roasted garlic, which I love whether it’s enhancing a recipe or simply slathered on a piece of toasted baguette, garlic confit is light and understated. It can add just the right touch to a range of dishes, from poultry and shellfish to soups and salad dressings, without overpowering delicate ingredients.

Like preserved lemon, garlic confit is a staple in my kitchen. I always have some on hand for that special flavor tweak. Preparing it sous vide is a snap, so I do a pretty large quantity, but you can easily cut this recipe in half.

Important Food Safety Note: For food safety, the FDA advises against preserving low-acid foods such as garlic in oil unless you process the food at a high temperature. The bacteria that cause botulism are killed by high heat, but they can form heat-resistant spores. Thus, you should quick-chill the jars for 30 minutes in an ice water bath immediately after removing them from the water oven, then promptly refrigerate. The low temperatures in the refrigerator (below 39°F) will prevent the spores from germinating. You can keep unopened jars in the refrigerator for up to one month. To be safe, use the entire jar when you open it or discard any unused contents.

For more detailed information on food safety, along with recipes and lots of good information, read Douglas Baldwin’s “A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking.”

Makes 2 cups

cups peeled garlic cloves (from about 8 to 10 bulbs)
cups canola oil

Preheat the water bath to 185ºF (85°C).

  1. Divide the peeled cloves equally into two large, heavy-duty, double-zipper bags. Add 2 cups of canola oil to each of the bags and seal them with the water displacement method.
  2. Cook the garlic cloves for 90 minutes, or until they are very soft but still hold their shape. You can test doneness by carefully removing a bag from the water oven and lightly pressing the back of a spoon or fork against one of the cloves to make sure that it is completely tender.
  3. Remove the bags from the water oven and immediately place in an ice water bath. Chill for at least 30 minutes, then transfer the garlic and oil to lidded jars. Make sure the garlic is completely covered by the oil, adding a little fresh oil if necessary. Refrigerate for up to a month. To be safe, use the entire jar when you open it or discard any unused contents.

13 comments to Garlic Confit

  • Bobbi

    Can you substitute another type of oil, like olive oil, for the canola oil?

    • Absolutely. We specify canola oil because it doesn’t have any flavor of its own and the resulting confit is pure garlic; the oil is neutral. Olive oil would be delicious but the confit would have a different character.

  • Ken W

    This sounds delicious and I’m on it right now. I just divided 2 cups of garlic into two quart size bags and added the 2 cups each of oil. The only thing is that this looks like a TON of oil. I basically have two sacks of oil with garlic floating around in it. Is this correct? The jar you picture looks to be far more densely packed with garlic than my bags and it looks like I will have lots of extra oil. Is a 2/1 ratio of oil to garlic needed?

    • Hi Ken: The exact ratio of garlic to oil isn’t critical — what’s important is that the garlic is completely submerged in oil while it’s in the bath, even if the bag moves around. So, go ahead and cut back on the amount of oil if you like, with that caveat. We all use the flavored oil for cooking, so we consider the huge amount a benefit!

  • Ken W

    Thanks for the quick reply!!!

    I was thinking along those lines. I may just use the extra oil for the next batch, if I don’t cook with it first. I just found your site the other day and I love it. I love how you think ouside the box with sous vide. Your Mussels Provençal recipe is unique and inspired!! I live in New England and PEI mussels are abundant.

    I built my own sous vide rig (actually a couple revisions) over the past few months. I notice that you use ziplock bags quite a bit rather than a vacuum sealer… Same here! Great with liquids.

    As for the garlic confit, this sounds like an excellent way to use garlic in dishes prepared en sous vide. I’ve seen fresh garlic warned against quite often. Garlic powder is often recommended, but this must be SOOO much better!!

  • Robert Jueneman

    I wonder — could you freeze the garlic confit, so that it would have an almost indefinite shelf life (botulism can’t grow below about 33F)?

    • Pete Johnson

      Freezing garlic confit is an excellent idea, Robert. We have lots of recipes that call for garlic confit, so it’s good to have a long-term storage solution. Thanks.

  • Eric Rosenberg

    Can butter be substituted for oil?

    • We don’t think there’s technically any reason you couldn’t use butter, but some immediate disadvantages that come to mind are greatly decreased shelf life (think rancid butter), and cosmetic issues with the appearance and texture of the butter (think refrigerated and resolidified butter sort of clotting around the garlic cloves). For the latter, using clarified butter would help, but…?

      Anyway, interesting idea. If you go for it, let us know the results.

  • JackH

    If the garlic/oil mix is vacuum sealed in a bag (think Vacmaster) does it need to be transferred to a jar after cooking and cooling?

    • From a food safety perspective, as long as you do the quick-chill ice-water bath and immediately transfer to the fridge, you can store the confit in the sealed bag. Do note all the other safety caveats, above, though.

  • Lee

    Was just wondering what your thoughts were on actually cooking the confit in jars, similar to your dulce de leche recipe – so have the jars filled with oil and garlic, negating the need to worry about split bags or transferring the result after cooling. I would imagine you’d need to incorporate some extra time as the jar would probably be thicker than a bag would be, but it feels like it would work…

    • This should work just fine. Pam’s vote is for another 30 minutes cooking time. Love the simplicity of it. Let us know how it works!