Deeply aromatic and resonant with the rich, complexly sweet flavor of garlic, this easy sous vide garlic confit recipe is a dream to make. It takes only about 5 minutes of active time in the kitchen before tossing jars of garlic, oil and herbs into a water bath. And in a few hours, you'll have a rich confit that's perfect for spreading onto bread, swirling into soups or tossing into stews.
What is garlic confit?
Confit is a culinary term that means to preserve food in fat. Accordingly, garlic confit is garlic cooked slowly and preserved in fat. This process gives it a rich and resonant garlic flavor, complex sweetness and a meltingly tender texture. Most recipes cook and preserve the garlic with extra virgin olive oil, but others will use clarified butter or ghee or even lard.
Why sous vide?
Making confit is a slow process that requires low, even temperatures. While you can make it in a saucepan on the stove, or even in the oven, making sous vide allows the garlic to develop even richer flavors, while retaining the complex integrity of the extra virgin olive oil. As a result, you have more deeply flavorful garlic and lighter, better tasting oil.
In addition, making sous vide garlic confit is a fairly hands-off project. Once you tuck the jars of garlic and olive oil in the water bath, you can leave them unattended until they're finished - four hours later.
You don't need to monitor or adjust the temperature, because the immersion circulator does that for you. And that means there's no risk of accidentally burning your garlic while you're distracted.
Tips for Making Sous Vide Garlic Confit
Making sous vide garlic confit is a simple process. After all, you only need to toss your garlic into a jar and cover it with olive oil before tucking it into a water bath, there's a few things to keep in mind.
- Use clean, unblemished garlic. There's always a temptation to preserve food just as it begins to turn, but your garlic confit can only be as good as the ingredients that go into it. So use fresh, clean garlic free from soft spots or other blemishes.
- Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Not only is it rich in healthy fats, but it's also high in antioxidants. That means better flavor for your garlic confit. A well-rounded, buttery and mellow flavored olive oil like this one works particularly well.
- Add herbs that you like to round out the flavor. Rosemary works well, and so does thyme. You can also add dried chilies, too.
- Keep it in the fridge and use it within a few weeks. As with many foods preserved in fat, there's always the risk of spoilage. So transfer it to the fridge and use it within 2 weeks, or tuck it into the freezer and use it within 3 months.
- Use an immersion circulator. While there's plenty of sous vide hacks for your slow cooker or pressure cooker, they all have trouble maintaining the constant, circulating temperature required for sous vide. So grab an immersion circulator and maybe a bin for it too.
- Make big batches. This recipe scales up very well. So if you have an abundance of garlic, make several jars. And toss them in the freezer for when you need them.
Pro Tip: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil. We've worked with Jovial Foods for a number of years, and they sell a certified organic, hand-harvested extra virgin olive oil made from heirloom olive varietals. See how it's harvested, and order it online here.
Sous Vide Garlic Confit Recipe
- Pint-Sized Mason Jar
- Fill a deep container with water. Using your immersion circulator, heat the water to 190 F.
- While the water warms, fill a pint-sized jar with whole, peeled garlic cloves. Sprinkle them with sea salt and add a sprig of rosemary. Cover with extra virgin olive oil, allowing ½-inch of head space. Seal the jar tightly.
- Place the jar in the water bath, and allow it to cook sous vide at least 4 and up to 6 hours. Use immediately, or transfer to the fridge and consume within about 2 weeks.