Does garlic go bad? How long does garlic last? (Get Expert’s Answers )

Garlic is widely known as a striking rose. It includes the family of lily or allium root vegetables and is closely similar to an onion, leek, shallot, and chive. You could largely see three types of garlic in the USA namely Italian garlic, Mexican garlic, and white skin American garlic.

It’s must-have cooking or flavoring ingredient for every household. However, people often ask several questions about garlic namely Does garlic go bad? How long does garlic last in a fridge, at room temperature, and in the freezer? How to tell if garlic is bad? Etc.

Well, today we will explain everything you need to know about garlic (shelf life, storing method, signs of bad garlic, and many more).

Does garlic go bad?

Yes, garlic can go bad if you don’t preserve it in the right way at room temperature, refrigerator, or freezer for getting different shelf life. You could preserve garlic in the form of whole, cloves, peeled, paste, mince, juice, roast, and many more.

Different ways of storing methods give you different shelf life of garlic. Normally, whole unpeeled garlic gives longer shelf life at room temperature than peeled garlic cloves. Sometimes, you could prefer to buy store-bought minced garlic or bottled garlic cloves.

But, they also go bad after the best-by date or expiration date. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot consume bottled garlic at all after its expiration date. In fact, best-by dates or expiration dates imply the supreme quality of garlic.

After passing the best-by date, garlic’s quality gets deteriorates gradually. If you want to eat expired bottled minced garlic or garlic cloves, see several noticeable signs of whether it goes bad or not which we will discuss after a while.

does garlic go bad when it sprouts

Garlic goes bad when it sprouts. The garlic prevents the growth of new garlic cloves, and the garlic bulbs are no longer usable. When garlic sprouts, the garlic flavor is diminished, and the garlic may be tough or woody. The garlic may also develop an off-flavor. If you see garlic sprouts, you should discard the garlic. You can also plant the garlic sprouts, but they will not produce new garlic bulbs.

Does garlic go bad in oil?

Garlic-in-oil sauce is a popular condiment that can add flavor to a variety of dishes. However, it is important to be aware that garlic can go bad when stored in oil. The main danger when garlic goes bad in oil is the growth of botulism bacteria. This bacterium thrives in anaerobic environments, such as garlic cloves stored in oil.

For this reason, it is essential to take care when preparing garlic-in-oil sauce. Be sure to use fresh garlic cloves and store the sauce in the refrigerator. Additionally, do not keep the sauce for more than two weeks. By following these precautions, you can enjoy garlic-in-oil sauce without worry.

Is preserving garlic in oil safe?

Garlic is a common ingredient in many recipes, and it can also be used as a seasoning on its own. To extend its shelf life, some people choose to preserve garlic in oil. While this method can be effective, it also carries some risks.

One of the main dangers of preserving garlic in oil is that garlic cloves can become contaminated with bacteria. If the garlic is not properly cleaned before it is preserved, these bacteria can multiply and cause food poisoning. In addition, if the garlic is not stored in a clean, airtight container, it can develop mold or other contaminants.

As a result, it is important to take care when preserving garlic in oil. Although it may be tempting to simply throw a few cloves into a jar of olive oil, it is important to take the time to clean the garlic and store it properly. Otherwise, you may end up with a nasty case of food poisoning.

Is yellow garlic bad?

Garlic that has gone bad will have a yellow tinge to it. While this garlic is still safe to eat, it will not have the same flavor as fresher garlic. Garlic that has gone bad may also have a strong smell, and the cloves may be mushy.

If you are unsure whether garlic has gone bad, it is best to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Bad garlic can spoil the flavor of an entire dish, so it is not worth taking the risk.

Overall, while yellow garlic is not ideal, it is still safe to eat. However, if you want to get the most flavors out of your garlic, it is best to use fresh cloves.

How long does garlic last?

Whole garlic’s shelf life at room temperature or in the pantry is about 3-6 months if not broken as cloves. But once you separate each clove from the whole garlic bulbs, it’s safe to consume within 7-10 days. Garlic can last longer periods at room temperature of 55°F- 60°F. 

When you store peeled garlic cloves in the refrigerator, they will last for about 7 or 8 days. You should not preserve the chopped or minced garlic at normal room temperature.

On the other hand, you can store minced garlic in the fridge for up to 7 days but with olive oil for up to 2-4 weeks while in the freezer for about a year.

The store-bought shelf-stable dried minced garlic lasts for up to 18-24 months in the pantry if it is unopened as the manufacturer uses preservatives. Once you opened the bottle, consume it as soon as possible.   

Have ever tried to store ginger paste? It could last a few hours at room temperature while in the refrigerator lasts for up to 2-3 weeks but its quality will be degraded day after day. However, you can preserve ginger paste in the freezer for up to 2-3 months or even more. 

What about garlic storing garlic juice? You can refrigerate homemade garlic juice for up to 2-3 weeks and can freeze for up to 8-12 months for sure. If you buy store-bought garlic juice, it will last 2 years at room temperature if is unopened.

Once opened, you may preserve it for a few months, the quality will be degrading gradually and you have to refrigerate it after every use. Freeze the opened store-bought garlic juice for use for extended periods.

In case of storing roasted or fresh garlic in oil, maintain extra caution. According to, a research paper by the University of California– preserving garlic in flavored oil at room temperature may attract a bacterium named Clostridium Botulinum, which produces a toxin and help rapid mold growth.

Researchers also suggest one should not store the garlic-oil mixture in the refrigerator for more than 4 days and freeze it for about 2-3 months.

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How to tell if garlic is bad?

How to know if garlic is bad? After noticing some sort of sign, you can tell whether your garlic is gone bad or not.

  • Look at the garlic if you see a dark or brown spot on it throw it right away. It has already gone bad. If you see some green buds or sprouts growing in the clove, it means the bulb will go bad soon. You can still eat it but the flavor could be different from your expectation. Notice the color of the bulb if see the garlic color is yellow instead of white, it’s already gone bad. Throw it out straightly. 
  • Touch and press on garlic cloves, if it feels soft and mushy, toss it away. It’s already spoiled. Fresh garlic is generally firm and tight.
  • Good garlic smells pungent, mellow, and spicy. Smell it if get a sharp sour scent or smell like gas, chances are it is already spoiled. Don’t consume it.
  • Taste it, if you get a sharp acidic flavor, it’s already gone bad.
  • Sometimes, you find some mold in the garlic-oil mixture, minced garlic, and garlic paste if it is gone bad. Stop using it.
  • Bad garlic juice may spread an unbearable odor, could be moldy, and turn into yellow color. 

What happens if you eat bad garlic?

Eating bad garlic can make you sick. According to USDA– When garlic especially garlic in oil is gone bad and we eat it, it could cause botulism, a serious but rare health condition, caused by the toxin from Clostridium Botulinum bacteria.

 Abdominal pain, paralysis, Double vision, nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and vomiting could be a sign of botulism. If you have any symptoms like these within 1-3 days after eating bad garlic, call your doctor and consult with him.

How to preserve garlic properly?

 You can mainly store garlic cloves, garlic paste, garlic juice, peeled garlic, and minced garlic in the following ways:

  • Refrigeration method- for shorter periods 
  • Freezing method- for more extended periods

How to store peeled garlic cloves in the fridge?

You can refrigerate peeled garlic cloves for shorter periods than freezing. Use this method when you consume them within a week.

  • Take the whole unpeeled garlic, and break the garlic into cloves. Here is the trick- put the whole fresh garlic into a zip lock bag and press down on the pointy side of the bulbs by hand. The cloves will separate instantly without the mess on your kitchen counter.
  • Throw away the damaged cloves and peel off white thin skin from each clove. The trick to peeling quickly is- Submerge the cloves in the water; when the skin is a bit softened, easily peel them with your fingers.
  • Once peeled, put all cloves into an airtight container, seal them tight and refrigerate the jar for not more than a week.

How to freeze peeled garlic cloves?


You can freeze peeled garlic cloves as well. Use this method if you want to use them for up to 6 months.

  • Choose the best-quality garlic cloves and throw the bad garlic away. Cut the pointy side of each clove and peel them off.
  • Place the peeled garlic cloves into an airtight container or zip lock bag, label them, seal the container tight, send the jar to the freezer, and store for up to 6 months. For getting the best quality, consume them within 2-3 months.

You can follow the same process to store unpeeled garlic cloves.

Can you freeze minced garlic?

 Yes, you can freeze minced garlic for longer periods and even refrigerate it for about 1-3 days. You can freeze minced garlic with vegetable oil preferably, olive oil, or without oil.

But, most people use olive oil to enhance garlic’s flavor. If you preserve minced garlic with vegetable oil, take extra precautions. Don’t keep the minced garlic-oil mixture at room temperature for longer periods.


It can grow bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum faster. And it’s responsible for rapid mold growth and causes a foodborne illness called Botulism. As soon as you prepare the minced garlic-oil mixture; store them in the freezer right away.

How to freeze chopped or minced garlic?

Here are several steps you have to follow to freeze the minced garlic-oil mixture.

  • Buy some fresh garlic heads or bulbs from super shop
  • Separate cloves from the garlic head and peel each clove using a silicone garlic roller.
  • Toss the cloves and olive oil into a blender or a food processor maintaining an ideal ratio of 1 part garlic to 2 parts olive oil. Minced them properly but stop the blender before turning them into the garlic paste.
  • Arrange side by side in small mounts on a baking sheet taking one teaspoon of chopped garlic oil at a time. Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Send the baking sheet into the freezer and preserve it until frozen.
  • Once frozen, transfer each frozen garlic-oil mixture into a freezer-safe bag and send them in the freezer again for up to 3-6 months. 

Can you freeze garlic paste?

You can freeze garlic pasta for sure. Garlic paste is the smoother version of minced garlic. You can store garlic paste with oil or without oil as your preference.


Don’t store the garlic paste at room temperature. For a shorter period namely 3-5 days, you can store it in the fridge and for getting more shelf life, freeze them promptly after preparation.

  • Choose the fresh garlic cloves and throw away the damaged cloves.
  • Peel them using a silicone garlic roller. You do not need to wash them at all.
  • Toss all cloves into a blender and a handful of olive oil or avocado oil. Blend until turns into a paste.
  • Take your ice cube tray and fill each slot with garlic paste and freeze until get solid.
  • Once frozen, transfer them into an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and store them again in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Can you freeze garlic bulbs?

Yes, you can freeze whole garlic bulbs or heads easily. Buy fresh garlic bulbs. Transfer the bulbs to an airtight container or zip lock bag. Seal the container or zip locker tight, and freeze them for up to 4-6 months.

Can you freeze garlic juice?

You can freeze garlic juice for more extended periods. And can refrigerate for a few weeks. 

  • Select fresh garlic bulbs, separate them as garlic cloves, and peel them off. 
  • Toss all peeled garlic cloves into a food processor or a blender, and make garlic purees. 
  • Pour all garlic purees into a strainer or sieve and press down them with a rubber spatula. Keep pressing until the juice flows into the bowl.
  • To get more pure garlic juice, further run the juice into a coffee filter slowly.

Once filtered fully, pour the pure garlic juice into an airtight mason jar and freeze for more extended periods.

What to do with old garlic

There are actually lots of different ways to use bad garlic. For example, you can chop up bad garlic and add it to your compost bin. The garlic will break down over time and help to enrich the soil. Alternatively, you could use bad garlic as a natural pest repellent.

Garlic is known to repel mosquitoes, so you can place cloves of bad garlic around your home to help keep the bugs away. Finally, bad garlic can also be used as a weed killer. Simply chop up the garlic and mix it with water. Then, pour the mixture over any unwanted plants in your garden.

The bad garlic will kill the weeds without harming your other plants. So there you have it: three different ways to use bad garlic instead of throwing it away.

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