How to use black garlic (plus 4 black garlic recipes to try)

Black garlic… I love this stuff. Get on board. I use it whenever I can as I love the amount of depth of flavor it creates in a dish. Use it wisely, and you’ll be rewarded with this delicious umami flavor bomb. Anyway, Here is a little rundown on how to use black garlic, plus a couple of recipes for a little inspiration!

A clove of black garlic cut showing its black interior.

What is black garlic?

It is when whole garlic bulbs have been aged through a fermentation process at a constant regulated humidity and low temperature for at least a month, and up to three months. The humid environment ferments the garlic causing a Maillard reaction, where the garlic cloves turn black and sticky. The flavor of black garlic is not as intense as regular garlic but rewards with a delicious, subtle, rich, and complex flavor in a black-colored clove that adds immense depth to a dish. Use this fermented garlic wherever a recipe calls for garlic or experiment when you want an added oomph to a recipe.

Black garlic can be found in most gourmet food stores and trust me, is totally worth it! Black garlic salt and black garlic powder are also readily available and total flavor bombs in the kitchen

How to use

  • Add cloves to soups, stews, and many other slow-cooked dishes to add depth and flavor. If you make a sub-par casserole and you are trying to fix it, add a clove or two!

  • Make a black garlic sauce by adding a little to your pan sauces to make a delicious gravy.

  • Mix some black garlic butter into a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes.

  • Add some puree (black garlic cloves crushed) to homemade aioli or mayonnaise.
    Use the black garlic aioli as a condiment on burgers and fries. Out of this world!

  • By far, my favorite way is to add crushed cloves of black garlic to a good butter and smother the butter (and let melt) over a resting steak for an amazing main course – you can thank me later!

  • Smear a clove on a slice of sourdough, then top with smashed avocado and a poached egg for a cracking weekend breakfast.

  • Add a clove to two to a bottle of balsamic vinegar and leave to infuse. Mix into a salad dressing with a little olive oil.

  • Slitherers of black garlic make a delicious addition to pasta dishes alongside some extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Here is what you need to make black garlic

Whole bulbs of fresh white garlic

A dehydrator, slow cooker, or rice cooker. In this case, my preferred method for preserving is a rice cooker. 

The details

Here are the simple steps to make your own black garlic in a rice cooker:

1. Start by getting some fresh heads of garlic. You can use as many as you want, (I made 3) depending on how much black garlic you want to make.

2. Peel off any excess papery skin layers of the fresh bulbs, making sure to keep the cloves intact with an outer layer of skin attached. Make sure each bulb is clean of dirt. To clean them wipe with a clean, dry cloth. Don’t use water as this will affect the aging process.

3. Place the garlic cloves in the rice cooker’s inner pot. For best results, make sure they are arranged in a single layer and not overcrowded, and do not touch each other.

4. Close the rice cooker’s lid and set it to the “Warm” or “Keep Warm” setting. The goal is to maintain a consistently low temperature of around 140°F (60°C) for a long period of time, typically around 4 weeks. Leave it in a dry place where it can be left undisturbed.

5. Check the garlic cloves after the first 2 weeks (and every week after that) to see if they are turning black and becoming soft. The fermentation time can vary depending on the rice cooker and the desired level of blackness.

7. Once the garlic cloves have turned black and are soft to the touch, they are ready. Carefully remove them from the rice cooker and let them cool at room temperature.

And that’s it! 


After cooling, store the aged garlic bulbs in an airtight container in the fridge. Be aware that unrefrigerated fermented garlic can turn moldy if not stored correctly. It can last for several months when stored properly.

Here are a couple of recipes for a little inspo…

A jar of homemade black garlic butter on a board alongside a chunk of crusty baguette.

Black Garlic Butter

This quick and easy homemade black garlic butter gives a subtle yet rich and intense flavor to a good steak, sauteed vegetables and so much more!

Black garlic potato gratin

Serve alongside my Herbs de Provence roast chicken on roast night or as a side to a weekend BBQ, however, I find it’s a good side dish to pretty much any gathering… Because, well, Potatoes!

frypan of slow cooked beef stroganoff with black pepper pappardelle

Big Batch: Slow Cooked Beef Stroganoff (Dutch oven)

Stew and pasta… talk about ultimate comfort food!

an oval roasting pan with a black garlic roast chicken, roast vegetables and peas in it.

Black Garlic Roast Chicken

Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Just how a roast chicken should be!

How do you use black garlic? Let me know in the comments


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