Pickled garlic is crunchy and salty with a little bit of sweet. It has a huge garlicky hit and is completely addictive.

What is pickled garlic?

Pickled garlic is kind of unassuming, but it’s super popular and universally loved, especially in Korean food. You can snack on it as is (as people have been doing with tiktok spicy pickled garlic) or you can slice it or crush it and add it to rice, noodles, or stir fries. If you like kimchi, you’ll love this.

pickled garlic | www.iamafoodblog.com

The best snack

If it sounds crazy to you that people are eating cloves of garlic as a snack, don’t worry, the pickled version tastes vastly different than raw. Just like how garlic gets sweet and caramelized when you slow roast it, garlic also mellows out and sweetens as you pickle it. The longer it pickles, the more mellow, sweet, and tangy it turns. Pickled garlic is truly wonderful.

pickled garlic | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make spicy pickled garlic

There are two ways of making pickled garlic. The fast and easy way and the slow and easy way. Either way is good, it’s just a question of how much time your have on your hands.

From scratch

  1. Peel your garlic, keeping the cloves whole.
  2. Add the garlic to a jar.
  3. Top the jar up with a pickling solution made of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and Korean chili flakes.
  4. Pickle. Let the magic of pickling do its job for 2 weeks minimum. The longer the raw garlic sits in the brine, the more mellow and sweet, yet garlicky it gets.

spicy pickling brine | www.iamafoodblog.com

With store bought pickled garlic:

  1. Drain your jar of store bought garlic.
  2. Mix in 1-2 tbsp of your favorite hot sauce and 1-2 tsp gochugaru/Korean chili flakes, and 1-2 tsp fresh thyme.
  3. Put the lid back on the jar and shake it up. Enjoy!

Homemade ingredients

  • garlic – you need a lot of it, we’re talking multiple heads of garlic
  • rice vinegar – rice vinegar is my preferred vinegar but you can also use white vinegar too
  • sugar – sugar adds a extra bit of sweetness
  • Korean chili flakes -also known as gochugaru, Korean chili flakes are fruity, sweet, smoky, sun dried bright red flakes. It’s not too spicy and perfect for spicy garlic

pickled garlic | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tiktok pickled garlic ingredients

This store bought spicy version was made popular by @lalaleuu on Tiktok.

  • store bought prepickled garlic
  • hot sauce – use your favorite hot sauce, the Tiktok version uses sriracha but I think sambal oelek would be even better
  • Korean chili flakes – add as desired
  • fresh thyme – there’s a bit of fresh thyme leaves in the Tiktok version – it’s pretty optional in my opinion

homemade pickled garlic | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to easily peel garlic

For best results, you want to keep the cloves whole. Separate all the cloves from the base, then place the garlic into a bowl of very hot tap water. Trim the ends off the garlic and the peels should just slide right off.


Separate all the cloves from the base and put the separated unpeeled cloves into a bowl and cover with another bowl (you can use a large jar too). Shake to remove the skins.


Just buy the bag of pre-peeled garlic. Your fingers will thank you.

How to enjoy pickled garlic

Happy garlic breath!

pickled garlic | www.iamafoodblog.com

Spicy Pickled Garlic

Pickled garlic is crunchy and salty with a little bit of sweet
Serves 4
4.56 from 18 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Pickling Time 14 days
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 heads garlic peeled, about 48 cloves, see notes
  • 1-2 tsp gochugaru optional


  • Stir together the 2/3 cup warm water, rice vinegar, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. If you like you can heat it on the stove over low heat then let it cool completely.
    spicy pickling brine | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Place the garlic and gochugaru (if using) n a glass jar. Cover with the vinegar-sugar mixture and cover tightly. Depending on your jar, you might need to double the pickling solution. Let pickle in the fridge until desired. Pickled garlic usually takes 2 weeks. The garlic becomes more mellow the longer the pickling period.
    homemade pickled garlic | www.iamafoodblog.com


If you want to make this with store bought prepickled garlic, skip the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and add hot sauce to taste. 

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Spicy Pickled Garlic
Amount Per Serving
Calories 89 Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.2g0%
Saturated Fat 0.01g0%
Cholesterol 0.01mg0%
Sodium 587mg26%
Potassium 144mg4%
Carbohydrates 17.9g6%
Fiber 0.8g3%
Sugar 6.4g7%
Protein 2.3g5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Ralwoe says:

    5 stars
    You can also pickle garlic in honey instead of vinegar.

  2. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    great idea for me, I know all of the garlic benefits, but still don’t eat enough of it to make a difference, pickled garlic might work as an alternative snack for me, so thank you!

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