Fermented Garlic Honey

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Fermented garlic honey is one of the easiest ferments to make and a great one to have on hand for cold and flu season. All it requires is peeling garlic cloves and pouring honey over them. Simple however, you will need some patience while the fermentation process takes place. Weeks to months depending on how mellow you’d like the garlic to be. The honey does taste great just a few days in though so sampling it a little early is inevitable.

Garlic cloves in the bottom of a jar are submerged under honey.Pin

Is Garlic Honey Safe?

Let’s address this one straight up. Something that causes a lot of concern with this ferment is botulism. Many blogs mention it and suggest it’s not safe to make. However, to date there has not been one single documented cases of botulism contamination relating to garlic fermented in honey.

Clostridium botulinum (CB) can be found in soil and as a result, it can be present on foods such as garlic. It can also be present in honey (and mostly harmful to infants here). That is not to say that adding the two together = botulism.

CB needs a neutral pH, moist environment, and no oxygen to thrive. It’s important to note that food preservatives, like sugar, inhibit it. That includes honey.

Honey is roughly 80% sugar and 20% water so qualifies as a high-sugar, low-moisture food. The garlic does produce a little moisture, which slightly dilutes the mix. It’s not enough to make it troublesome though. There are also the protective effects of the fermentation process.

With this in mind – I feel it is a safe and very nourishing ferment to make – but you need to make that decision for you. If you are concerned, you can also keep it in the fridge to ease your mind.

Looking into a jar filled with honey and garlic cloves. The mix has fermented overnight so is frothy at the top, and a few garlic cloves have floated to the surface.Pin


You will only need two very simple ingredients here. Several heads of garlic and your favourite raw honey. That’s it! The only other ingredient is time, because this ferment tastes better the longer it sits. The flavours slowly meld together making the garlic much more mellow.

A brown bag filled with heads of garlic and a jug of honey are sitting on a kitchen bench.Pin
  • Garlic – you’ll need several heads of garlic for this ferment. The amount used is dictated by the size of jar used. Mine was 750ml / 1.5 pints, which used roughly 12 small heads of garlic.
  • Honey – Given this ferment is used for its medicinal benefits, raw honey is the better choice, as it has the highest nutritional compounds to offer.

Once this has fermented it will be used quickly. As such, while it might be a bit laborious to peel a tonne of garlic cloves, I do recommend it. That way you’ll have fermented garlic in honey for many months, not just a week.

How To Make This Fermented Garlic Honey

This is quite simply peel the garlic and cover it in honey. Although it is also important to make sure the cloves you’re using are not bruised or spoiled. This can and will likely affect the fermentation process. So, take the time to look over them once peeled, chop off any bits that need it or discard the whole clove if necessary.

  1. Peel all the garlic cloves and cut the bases off that were attached to the root.
  2. Cut out any bruised bits or discard the whole clove in need.
  3. Put the peeled cloves into your very clean jar and pour honey over the top leaving roughly 5cm (2 inch) head room. A little more is OK too.
  4. Stir to coat all the garlic cloves. I like to use a chopstick for this. It’s the easiest way to move all the garlic around.
  5. Pop the lid on the jar and set aside to ferment for a month. Be sure to turn the jar a few times every day to help keep the garlic submerged in the honey. Make sure the lid is on tight or you’ll have honey spilling out! Note: Gases build up during fermentation that can lead to exploding jars! As such, for the first week of fermentation it’s important to ‘burp’ the jar once or twice a day. To do that you simply loosen the lid, then tighten it again. You may hear a pop as you do it, which is just the gas being released.

You can use this in any way you like once ready. It’s most traditional is to take a clove and a bit of honey from the jar and have them as is. The garlic is much more mellow after sitting in the honey for a month. The honey will also have taken on a deliciously garlic flavour. If having them straight isn’t for you – simply chop up the garlic cloves and add to salads or mix in with cooked rice. The honey is perfect as a drizzle over meals or as an inclusion in salad dressings.

A small pink bowl has several garlic cloves in it that have been fermented and aged in honey.Pin


What are the health benefits of fermenting garlic in honey?

Honey has traditionally been used for its many curative powers but has also been used as a preservative. A mixture of garlic fermenting in honey like this is a very old remedy. It was used historically for its antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-parasitic properties which makes it a perfect food as medicine to have in our autumn/winter toolbox.

Can I take garlic and honey every day?

You sure can! They’re two natural ingredients we use in our cooking almost daily so there’s absolutely no issue enjoying them when fermented either.

How long can you leave garlic in honey?

For flavour purposes this ferment is best used within 12 months of making it. I’ve had one sitting around for two years and the garlic crystalised a little. Still fine to eat but I suggest 12 months for maximum taste.

Watch How To Make This Recipe

A square image showing garlic cloves submerged in honey in the bottom of a jar.Pin

Fermented Garlic Honey

Fermented garlic honey offers a wonderful array of health benefits and is one of the easiest ferments there is to make.
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Course: Fermented Food
Cuisine: Fermented Foods
Keyword: Fermentation, Fermented
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Fermentation time: 30 days
Total Time: 30 days 15 minutes
Servings: 40 people
Calories: 1425kcal


  • 750ml / 1.5 pint glass jar


  • 12 small heads garlic (see note 1)
  • 500 ml raw honey (see note 1)


  • Peel all the garlic cloves and cut the bases off that were attached to the root.
  • Cut out any bruised bits or discard the whole clove in need.
  • Put the peeled cloves into your very clean jar and pour honey over the top. Stop about halfway and give the jar a stir with a clean chopstick to ensure all the cloves are coated. Top up with the remaining honey leaving roughly 5cm (2 inch) head room. A little more is OK too.
  • Pop the lid on the jar and leave to ferment for one month (important – see note 2).
  • Do make sure you turn the jar a few times every day. The garlic will eventually sink to the bottom and then there will be no need to keep doing this. You could also use glass weights if you have them.

How to use this fermented garlic honey

  • When ready (you'll notice the honey as become much more liquid) – you can take a garlic clove and some honey from the jar and eat as is as a cold remedy. Immune boosting at its best! You can also chop them up and add to salad dressings or meals if you'd prefer that.


Note 1: More or less garlic cloves and honey may be needed if you’re using a different sized jar. Just go with what you have on the day.
Note 2: Gases build up during fermentation that can lead to exploding jars! As such, for the first week of fermentation it’s important to ‘burp’ the jar once or twice a day. To do that you simply loosen the lid, then tighten it again. You may hear a pop as you do it, which is just the gas being released. There’s no need to do keep doing this after the first week because the fermentation process will become much less active, so less gases are formed.


Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 1425kcal | Carbohydrates: 376g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 769mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 330g | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 277mg | Iron: 4mg

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A pinterest poster image showing the garlic fermenting in honey at the top, the title of the ferment in the middle, and some garlic cloves in a small pink bowl that have been fermented and aged for 2 years in the bottom picture.Pin

Want More Fermenting Ideas? Take A Look At These!


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  1. Hi, question, I just made this for the first time. Mine has caused my jar lid to bulge (despite being burped every day since made on Saturday) and when burped it almost pops and then bubbles like crazy and overflows the jar. The recipe I had used said to leave 1” at the top. My garlic was very potent and I slightly crushed it before putting in the jar. Is it normal for it to bubble this much? Did I overfill it? I am concerned about botulism, I saw a video about a woman warning about this because she didn’t burp it and her family all ingested it. Any help you could give would be great. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kristin – Crushing the garlic has likely caused your mix to become extra bubbly. I assume it’s VERY active given it has made the lid bulge and caused it to overflow even when burped. With a ferment this active I would definitely recommend burping it several times a day. In saying that, it will only remain this active for a few days to a week and will then settle down. Was the lid of the jar rusty at all? If not I wouldn’t worry, but I would suggest decanting the entire mix into another (very clean!) jar with a lid that closes properly. Once the fermentation dies down you will want to keep the fermented garlic in honey airtight. If the lid was rusty – I personally would throw the entire batch away and start again. Not so much for safety reasons, but the rust can affect the taste of the honey making it quite metallic. I know others may opt to keep it but I always err on the side of caution with fermentation. As to botulism – I have a short – and I hope informative – paragraph on that towards the top of this post that is worth reading. Ultimately you will need to decide whether you think your ferment is safe – but again, when I was a novice fermenter (and certainly still to this day) if I ever have any doubts I toss it out and start again.

  2. 4 stars
    This article is great! But it needs to be noted that you have to loosen the lid to burp the jar once a day for a while, or it can explode.

    1. Hi April – Thank you, I had to read back and see what you meant. I make this two ways depending on the jar I have. The way I’ve written it here – you’re quite right, the jar does need to be burped if you’re using a tight fitting lid. I’d use a jar like this if I need to turn the jar a few times a day to keep the garlic submerged (usually when I don’t have any fermentation weights available). Otherwise, the garlic goes in, then the honey, then a glass weight on top to keep the garlic under the honey and then I actually don’t close the lid too tightly at all to ensure the gases can escape. But given I have written ‘tight fitting lid’ here – you’re definitely correct and I’ll update accordingly! Cheers.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi, just made mine, however I didn’t leave as much room as I should have at the top and it’s bubbling and overflowing. Is it ok to remove some honey? It will it mess up the fermentation process

    1. Hi Michelle – yes definitely remove some honey and it will be fine. I’d suggest pouring the garlic into a new, very clean jar, and tipping in as much of the honey from there as you can leaving sufficient space this time. It does get very bubbly in the first few days but settles down after that.

  4. Can mold grow on garlic in the honey? I just turned my jar (I put it together about a week ago) and noticed 3-4 cloves with a green tinge on their tips. Is the whole batch ruined? Thank you in advance for your response.

    1. Hi Jorge

      I have never had mould growing in this particular ferment but it’s not impossible. Garlic can go quite neon green and/or blue due to a chemical reaction occurring during the fermentation process. When it’s like this it’s a simple colour change and safe to eat. I suggest Googling “green garlic fermentation”, which will return several images of what it looks like. I see this mostly in brine ferments but have heard others say it has appeared in their honey ferments too. I’ve been looking for a picture I had to share here but annoyingly I can’t find it so Google will be your best bet. If something in the ferment is mouldy it won’t simply have changed colour, you will also see a powdery like growth along with that colour (like green mould on bread for example, or green/pink mould in yoghurt). However, if you’re new to fermentation and you feel uncertain about whether the garlic has simply changed colour or has mouldy growth on it I would recommend discarding it. Safety always comes first!

  5. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, so good to have on hand for so many occasions. Have made it before.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Gabby! Elaine just opened her jar of fermenting garlic honey and we each ate a couple of cloves. Feel healthier already! Haha! Great (easy) recipe. Thank you. Keep well.

    1. Oh amazing! I’m glad you love it. It’s honestly one of the most delicious things in my kitchen and the health benefits are an added bonus!

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