Experimenting with confit garlic

This will be a short post, because it turns out that confiting stuff, in this case garlic, is very easy. I was inspired by Sophia Roe, a chef, writer and multi-talented lady to give it a go. I thought it would be another great kitchen experiment the second I saw those golden cloves. Is there a form of garlic I don’t love?*

You’ve probably heard of confit meats, especially duck (Confit de Canard), which is a dish from southern France that was traditionally made, before fridges, to preserve meats by both cooking and keeping them submerged in a thick layer of fat. Refrigeration arrived, but that was by no means the end of cooking meat this way and it remains popular. Confit garlic uses the same technique by slowly cooking cloves of garlic in olive oil until soft, rich and golden in colour. It’s a way of cooking that can be used for pretty much everything, so is definitely worth more exploration in it’s own right.

Garlic cloves on a chopping board

Harry (and I to lesser extent) are growing chillies again this year. We currently have three scotch bonnet plants and five chocolate habanero plants. Seriously spicy stuff. Apart from stringing them up and drying them, I want to have some other ideas of ways of preserving them, because if all goes according to plan we might have quite a lot. It would be a shame not to make the most of the opportunity. I was thinking in terms of some kind of fermented hot sauce, but now I can add confit chilli peppers to that list too – just think of all that chilli oil.

*there actually is – anything pre-chopped or pureed, because it tastes stale and can upset my delicate tum…

Garlic cloves in pan ready for confit

How to use confit garlic

  • Use both oil and garlic in mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes, cauliflower etc.
  • Spread cloves on crostini or toasted sourdough
    • Could be the base of the most delicious cheese toasty you’ve ever had or even as the base of a swanky lil canape
  • Use oil over roast veggies (pre- or post-roast)
  • Use oil in salad dressings – you could mash up a clove or two in there as well
  • Run cloves through bread dough for homemade garlic bread
  • Slather mashed cloves with a little of the oil over roast chicken
  • Confit garlic aioli
  • Use as a base for soups and stocks
  • Cook pretty much anything in the oil

How to make confit garlic

Makes: 1 small jar

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours


  • 1 1/2 bulbs of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • Enough olive oil to cover (about a cup)
  1. Peel garlic and remove any green shoots. I elected to cut mine in half at this stage to make smaller slicers of the confit, but do whatever suits, it doesn’t really matter.
  2. Put all ingredients into a pan and place over a low heat. You shouldn’t see anything too exciting in the pan, if it’s a rolling boil that’s way to hot and it’s probably done for. You want small bubbles, think like a freshly poured glass of sparkling water.
  3. After 2 hours remove from the heat and let the oil and garlic come to room temperature. Place in a clean jar or tub – I would recommend sterilising first, just to be on the safe side.
Jar of confit garlic