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How long will minced garlic in olive oil last?

Minced garlic stored in olive oil can last for several weeks in the refrigerator if stored properly. The shelf life depends on several factors like the freshness of the garlic, how it was prepared, and how it is stored. Here is a detailed guide on how to store minced garlic in olive oil and how long it will stay fresh.

Does Minced Garlic in Olive Oil Go Bad?

Yes, minced garlic stored in olive oil can go bad after some time. Like any food product, minced garlic contains moisture and nutrients that can support microbial growth and cause spoilage if left at room temperature for too long.

Some signs that garlic olive oil has gone bad include:

  • Change in color – Garlic olive oil will start turning yellow, green, or gray
  • Off smells – Rancid, sour, or rotten smell
  • Mold growth – You may see fuzzy mold on the surface
  • Change in texture – The garlic becomes slimy or mushy

As long as it is stored properly in the refrigerator, minced garlic in oil can stay fresh for 3-4 weeks.

Factors That Determine How Long it Lasts

Several factors impact the shelf life of minced garlic stored in olive oil:

Freshness of the Garlic

Fresh garlic has a longer shelf life compared to older garlic that may have already started drying out. Choose heads of garlic with tight papery skin and avoid garlic that feels soft or has green shoots.

Preparation Method

Garlic that is finely minced or pureed has more surface area exposed to air and spoils faster. Leaving garlic cloves whole or roughly chopped extends the shelf life.

Storage Temperature

Storing at room temperature accelerates spoilage. Refrigeration keeps garlic olive oil fresh for longer.

Acidity of Olive Oil

Higher quality extra virgin olive oil has more acidity that slows microbial growth. Regular olive oil lacks the acidity to prevent spoilage.

Container Used

Air-tight glass jars or containers prevent air exposure and keep garlic olive oil fresher than plastic containers or plastic bags.

Amount of Garlic

Olive oil can only preserve a certain amount of garlic safely. Too much minced garlic reduces the shelf life. Follow tested recipes and guidelines for best results.

How to Store Minced Garlic in Olive Oil

Proper storage is key to maximizing the shelf life of minced garlic in olive oil. Follow these tips:

  • Start with fresh, high-quality ingredients – Fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil
  • Mince, chop, or crush the garlic – Avoid pureeing it into a paste
  • Use the right ratio – For every 1/2 cup of olive oil use 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • Combine and let the flavors meld – Let the garlic infuse into the oil for 30-60 minutes before refrigerating
  • Store in a clean airtight container – Glass jars or containers with tight lids work best
  • Refrigerate right away – Keep refrigerated at all times, do not leave at room temperature
  • Use a clean dry spoon – Always use a clean dry spoon to remove garlic olive oil to prevent introducing water or bacteria
  • Watch for signs of spoilage – Check for off smells, texture changes, mold, or color changes

Proper refrigeration and an airtight container are vital for making garlic infused olive oil last. Never leave garlic stored in oil out at room temperature.

How Long Does Minced Garlic in Olive Oil Last in the Fridge?

When properly stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, here is how long minced garlic in olive oil will last:

Storage Time Garlic Olive Oil Condition
1-2 weeks Best quality and fresh flavor
3-4 weeks Good quality if stored airtight in the fridge
1-2 months Edible but garlic flavor will start diminishing
3+ months Not recommended, potential for spoilage

For best flavor and food safety, aim to use minced garlic olive oil within 3-4 weeks of refrigeration. The oil does not necessarily go bad after that time but the quality slowly declines.

Signs that refrigerated garlic olive oil has gone bad:

  • Strong rancid odor
  • Change in color
  • Visible mold
  • Bubbles or foggy appearance
  • Slimy garlic cloves

Does Garlic Olive Oil Need to be Refrigerated?

Yes, proper refrigeration is mandatory for food safety with garlic stored in oil. Unrefrigerated garlic olive oil left at room temperature can grow dangerous bacteria like Clostridium botulinum.

Garlic and oil create an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment ideal for C. bot growth. The bacteria produces a deadly nerve toxin that can lead to botulism poisoning.

Leaving garlic infused olive oil unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours allows botulism spores to multiply to hazardous levels. Always keep garlic olive oil refrigerated and never leave it out at room temperature.

Can You Freeze Garlic Olive Oil?

Yes, freezing is an option for long term storage of garlic infused olive oil. To freeze:

  • Prepare the garlic olive oil and let flavors infuse as usual.
  • Pour into an airtight freezer container or freezer bags.
  • Label with the date and leave space for expansion.
  • Freeze for up to 6 months.

The olive oil may become slightly thicker after thawing but the flavor remains intact. Frozen garlic olive oil should always be thawed gradually in the refrigerator, not at room temperature or in the microwave.

Tips for Using Up Garlic Olive Oil Before It Goes Bad

To make sure you use up garlic infused olive oil while it’s still fresh:

  • Make only small batches of 1-2 cups at a time.
  • Plan to use within 3-4 weeks.
  • Avoid doubling recipes that call for garlic olive oil.
  • Label the container with the date it was prepared.
  • Store in a clear container to see when it runs low.
  • Use to flavor salad dressings, marinades, roasted vegetables, pasta, etc.
  • Freeze any excess you may not use up in time.

Making garlic infused olive oil in small quantities helps prevent waste. Use it frequently in your cooking to enjoy the fresh garlic flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get botulism from garlic in oil?

Yes, storing garlic immersed in oil can potentially cause botulism if left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Always refrigerate garlic olive oil to prevent this life-threatening risk.

What oil is best for infusing garlic?

Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice. The higher acidity helps prevent bacterial growth. Avoid using low acid neutral oils like canola or vegetable oil.

How much garlic should I use per cup of olive oil?

For every 1/2 cup of olive oil, use 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic or roughly 6-8 garlic cloves. Too much garlic in oil reduces the shelf life.

Can you freeze garlic in olive oil in ice cube trays?

Yes, freezing garlic olive oil in ice cube trays makes it easy to pop out a few cubes to use in cooking. Allow 1-2 cubes per 1/4 cup of oil called for in a recipe.

Is bottled minced garlic in oil safe?

Commercially bottled garlic olive oil has typically been acidified for safety and sterilized. Unopened, it can be stored up to 18-24 months. Once opened it should be refrigerated and used within 6-8 weeks.


Minced garlic in olive oil can last 3-4 weeks refrigerated provided you start with fresh ingredients and store it properly in an airtight container. For safety, it must be kept refrigerated at all times. Freezing extends the shelf life for 6 months or longer. With proper handling, you can enjoy the convenience and flavor of garlic infused olive oil for several weeks. Use your senses of sight and smell and watch for any discoloration, mold, or rancid odors before consuming. Discard if there are any signs of spoilage. Follow the guidelines above to maximize the freshness and avoid foodborne risks.