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Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil

Garlic Confit styled in bowl
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Slow-cooked Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil is a staple in my kitchen and for great reason! It’s rich, sweet and flavorful and adds loads of mellow umami (i.e., savoriness) to whatever it is combined with, even if it is a plain piece of rustic bread! If you are even a mild fan of garlic, you will be hooked after making this recipe just once. Once! You will be looking to add this Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil to every possible recipe (and would be justified in feeling that way). Keep in mind, though, that this recipe yields a very different flavor than raw garlic–something much smoother and sweeter without the sharp bite!

Garlic Confit styled in bowl

This Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil recipe is life changing. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it will, indeed, forever change your kitchen. It definitely changed mine. From the first time that I made it, in a twenty-pound batch at work, to yesterday’s one-cup batch at home, it has remained the most important ingredient in my culinary arsenal and one that I always have on hand.

What is Confit?

Confit a French word that literally means “to preserve.” In cooking, it refers to food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time in oil or its own fat, such as duck or chicken confit. Often incorrectly referred to as roasted garlic, Garlic Confit is fabulous for so many reasons. It softens and sweetens the sharp flavor of raw garlic and makes the garlic clove mashable, spreadable, and easy to add to lots of recipes. As a bonus, it creates an abundantly flavorful, residual garlic oil that could be easily compared to the nectar of the gods!

So Easy!

And it couldn’t be easier to make! It is basically peeled garlic cloves that have been gently and slowly heated in lots of good-quality olive oil until they transform into something silky, sweet, and mellow. I use this confit in so many dishes—garlic bread, salad dressings, puréed into sauces, just shmeared on rustic bread with some coarse salt, and in several soup recipes in my cookbook SOUPified. Its flavor is key, often balancing out the sharpness of others.

When you add Garlic Confit to something, it immediately makes the dish more interesting. This is due in large part to the significant umami (the fifth taste sensation referring to a special type of savoriness) that it contains. Garlic Confit really doesn’t have any sort of bite or sharpness, like its raw counterpart. It is intensely sweet, rich and mellow all at the same time, adding an unmatched complexity to whatever it is added to.

Make lots of it. Use daily.

Ingredients

To make this simple and important ingredient, we will be using the following:

  • Garlic: You will need peeled garlic cloves for this recipe. I admit that it is much better to start with heads of garlic and then peel the cloves, but I often purchase pre-peeled garlic cloves for their speed and convenience factor (since I make and use A LOT of this stuff).
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: I prefer to use extra-virgin olive oil for this recipe, but you can cut it with a secondary, less expensive oil if desired. You can substitute up to 25% of the olive oil in this recipe with a different oil.
  • Bay Leaves or other Herbs: These are optional. You can add any herb of choice (or even a little crushed red pepper) for some added flavor. But, the recipe is truly perfect with just garlic and oil! Feel free to experiment with different flavors.

A complete and detailed list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is included in the recipe below.⁠

Step-By-Step, Pro-Tips included!

Here are the main steps for how to make Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil:

  • Gather all ingredients.
    • PRO-TIP: I admit that I often purchase pre-peeled garlic cloves for their speed and convenience factor (since I make and use A LOT of this stuff). There are certainly different grades of peeled garlic, and much of it comes from overseas. I buy garlic from California whenever possible.
    • PRO-TIP: To peel garlic quickly, break the garlic head up into cloves by bashing it lightly with the palm of your hand. Then, add the cloves to a container with a lid (or between two metal bowls) and shake vigorously for 20 seconds or so. This should do the trick and any remaining cloves with skin can be peeled very easily.
Garlic Confit in Process
  • Place peeled cloves in small or medium saucepan and pour in enough oil to completely cover them. Add bay leaves or other herbs, if using.
    • PRO-TIP: As a flavor variation, add crushed red pepper, black peppercorns, fresh rosemary, or thyme sprigs to oil to cook along with garlic. Remove large pieces before refrigerating.

  • Heat mixture over medium heat. Bring oil to the lightest simmer, then reduce heat to as low as possible. Continue to cook mixture over very low heat until garlic is very tender, but not falling apart. It should be only lightly browned.
    • PRO-TIP: Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil can also be made in the oven. Combine all ingredients in small baking dish, making sure to include enough oil so that cloves are fully covered. Bake at 350°F on middle rack until cloves are softened.

  • Remove pan from heat and immediately transfer confit to a clean jar or glass container. Cool Garlic Confit to room temperature, then cover jar or container tightly and promptly refrigerate it. Store in refrigerator and use within 2 to 3 weeks. That’s it!
Garlic Confit closeup

My Favorite Way To Use Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil

After the initial obligatory spreading-of-the-warm-garlic-confit-on-rustic-bread-and-eating-it, I’ll then generally pair this deliciousness with as many dishes that I can think of. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil:

  • Use it to make an incredible garlic butter to lather on bread, producing the best garlic bread that you’ve ever had;
  • Combine with some Calabrian peperoncino paste in a marinade for Spicy Garlic Shrimp;
  • Smash it into some mayonnaise for a garlicky sandwich spread or dipping experience;
  • Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, for a twist on the classic;
  • Turkey, Chicken or Beef Gravy, for obvious reasons;
  • Soup! You’d be surprised at what Garlic Confit could add to a nice pot of soup! (I used it in many of the soup recipes in my soup cookbook, SOUPified.);
  • In dips, spreads, marinades, vinaigrettes and other salad dressings;
  • As another savory element in a simple Caprese Salad; and
  • Mashed Potatoes, to kick them up several notches.

Kitchen Tools & Cookware for Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil

To make this Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil recipe, al you need is:

Garlic Confit styled in bowl

More Great Recipes to Try

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Garlic Confit styled in bowl

Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil

Michele
Slow-cooked Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil is a staple in my kitchen and for great reason! It’s rich, sweet and flavorful and adds loads of mellow savoriness to whatever it is combined with, even if it is a plain piece of rustic bread! If you are even a mild fan of garlic, you will be hooked after making this recipe just once. Once! You will be looking to add this Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil to every possible recipe (and would be justified in feeling so). Keep in mind, though, that this recipe yields a very different flavor than raw garlic–something much smoother and sweeter without the sharp bite!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Cooking Basic
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1.5 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 3 whole heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled (about 1 cup peeled garlic cloves)
  • 1-2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
  • 2-3 bay leaves or any other herb of your choice (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Place cloves in small or medium saucepan and pour in enough oil to completely cover them. Add bay leaves or other herbs, if using.
  • Heat mixture over medium heat. Bring oil to the lightest simmer, then reduce heat to as low as possible. Continue to cook mixture over very low heat until garlic is very tender, but not falling apart. It should be only lightly browned. To test the garlic, pierce one clove with the tip of a sharp knife—it should meet with little to no resistance and be easily smashable. This could take about 30 to 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Remove pan from heat and immediately transfer confit to a clean jar or glass container. Cool Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil to room temperature, then cover jar or container tightly and promptly refrigerate it. Store in refrigerator and use within 2 to 3 weeks. (The oil may solidify slightly in the fridge, but it will quickly come to room temperature and then can be easily spooned out or smashed.) Buon Appetito!

Notes

  • To peel garlic quickly, break the garlic head up into cloves by bashing it lightly with the palm of your hand. Then, add the cloves to a container with a lid (or between two metal bowls) and shake vigorously for 20 seconds or so. This should do the trick and any remaining cloves with skin can be peeled very easily.
  • Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil can also be made in the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in small baking dish, making sure to include enough oil so that cloves are fully covered. Place baking dish on sheet pan (to accommodate any spills), then bake on middle rack until cloves are softened (about 45 minutes). Remove, cool and store in a clean, airtight container in refrigerator. Use within 2 to 3 weeks.
  • As a flavor variation, add crushed red pepper, black peppercorns, fresh rosemary, or thyme sprigs to oil to cook along with garlic. Remove large pieces before refrigerating.
  • Although I prefer not to do this, Garlic Confit can be frozen with or without its Garlic Oil. Store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months. And, keep in mind that oil does not freeze solid.
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!
If you try this recipe, please share a photo on INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK and tag it @MangiaWithMichele and #MangiaWithMichele. I’d love to see it!
Keyword garlic confit, garlic oil, garlic confit recipe

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3 thoughts on “Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t believe I had never heard of or made this before! It is now a staple in my kitchen. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I call this Liquid Gold!! A super easy way to add fantastic flavor to almost anything you’re going to cook! I use the oil to cook with, add to pasta, salads & other recipes. The garlic confit takes on a whole new dimension when added to a recipe or spread on bread, other food or cutlets!

    1. I am so glad you are enjoying the Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil, Anne! I agree-it truly is like liquid gold–such a versatile and delicious ingredient that we should all have on hand at all times. Buon Appetito!

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