Korean Pickled Garlic (Maneul Jangajji)

Pickled garlic is a staple side dish in Korea. This recipe uses a two-step process. The garlic loses much of its pungent bite and becomes slightly sweet and tangy.Korean pickled garlic in a small bowl
 
 
This recipe was recently published on the Guardian as part of The 10 Best Garlic Recipes. It was a great honor for me to have my recipe included! 
 
Pickled garlic (maneul jangajji – 마늘장아찌) is a staple side dish in Korea. It’s one of my father’s favorite dishes. Jeju Island, where my parents are from, is well known for its abundance of quality garlic. We used to get the freshest garlic shipped from our relatives in Jeju — sometimes green garlic and other times mature garlic.
 
Either way, my parents always pickled some of them. They would first soak garlic cloves in a vinegar brine for a few days and then pickle in a soy brine. Through this two-step process, the garlic loses much of its pungent bite and becomes slightly sweet and tangy.
 

Korean pickled garlic in a jar with a vinegar brine

Korean pickled garlic in a jar with a soy brine

It’s important to use fresh garlic for pickling. Serve with rice or as an accompaniment to any main dish. The garlic infused soy brine can be used as a dipping or seasoning sauce. 

Have you tried this Korean pickled garlic recipe?  Please rate the recipe below by either clicking the stars or leaving a comment! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram! Stay in touch by following me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Korean pickled garlic in two jars

Korean pickled garlic in a small bowl
Print Recipe
4.5 from 4 votes

Korean Pickled Garlic (Maneul Jangajji)

Pickled garlic is a staple side dish in Korea. This recipe uses a two-step process. The garlic loses much of its pungent bite and becomes slightly sweet and tangy.
Author: Hyosun

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh garlic about 8 – 9 whole heads

For the vinegar brine:

  • 2/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt kosher or sea salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cups water

For the soy brine:

  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 and 1/3 cups water
  • 1- quart jar with a lid The photo above shows two batches.

Instructions

  • Separate the garlic cloves from the bulbs. Soak in hot water for 30 minutes or longer. Soaking the garlic helps the skins come off easily. Peel and remove the root ends with a small knife. Rinse and drain. Add to the jar.
  • Stir the vinegar brine ingredients together until the salt is dissolved. Pour over the garlic cloves. The liquid should fully cover the garlic cloves. Let stand at room temperature for 5 - 7 days.
  • Bring the soy brine ingredients to a boil, and gently boil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Allow to cool completely. Drain the vinegar brine from the jar. Pour the cooled soy brine over the garlic cloves.
  • Make sure all the garlic cloves are fully covered. Close tightly with a lid, and let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks. The garlic can be eaten at this point, but it will taste better as it matures. Refrigerate after opening. The garlic cloves will keep for a few months.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

Leave a Comment

*

Comments

  1. Could the sugar be omitted, or is it necessary to feed the bacteria responsible for fermentation?

  2. Lynne Freitah says

    5 stars
    I loved this garlic and am making it again for myself and some for my son for Xmas

  3. Jamie Wood says

    Could you do a recipe with cucumbers?

  4. Hi should this be eaten immediately or how should I can it. Do I pressure can it with the second brine? If you do this will store longer?

  5. Wouldn’t it just be easier to do old fashioned canning and boil the jars and sealing the lids… of course that would just be a 1 step process rather than 2….

  6. I see your post says “fresh garlic”….is the typical garlic I find at the grocery store fine? I live in Kyoto and there’s not really any farmers market or anything around here…

  7. I was very excited to try this recipe because my husband loves garlic. But I’m worried about something. After two days with just the vinegar brine, the garlic cloves started turning a green color. On the fourth day almost all were green. I had trimmed off the top brown part of each clove. Was that wrong to do? Or what did I do wrong? Will they be safe to eat? Should I go on to the soy brine stage tomorrow or just throw them away? Please help me!

  8. My garlic is turning green in the first brine after two days. Is this normal??

    • It happens, and it’s okay. See some of earlier comments. You will find some links to articles about that.

  9. Victor F says

    Thanks for the recipe, I enjoyed having pickled garlic in Korea so it’s nice to try making some here in the States. This is my first attempt at this recipe. The garlic has been soaking in the vinegar brine for a few days now, in a few more I will make the soy brine. I intend to use tamari instead of regular soy to keep it gluten-free. Because tamari doesn’t have the sharpness of regular soy sauce, should I adjust the brine recipe at all? Eager to see how they turn out (in a couple more weeks)!

  10. Is it supposed to taste really sour?

  11. Hi! Is the garlic supposed to be really sour? I just finished pickling mine and tried it. It was really sour . And also is the garlic supposed to be soft to bite ir hard to bite?

  12. Is it supposed to taste really sour? I tried mine and it taste kind of sour…. and is the garlic supposed to soft to bite or hard to bite?

  13. hi! the spiciness of the garlic did not go away completely and it’s still too spicy (in the soy brine stage). is there any way i can get rid of it or is it too late? thank you!

    • Not too late. Give it a lot more time then. The longer you wait, the milder the taste of garlic will be. You can also try to add a bit more vinegar.

  14. I’d like to make this but want to check first – do you use regular white vinegar or rice vinegar? I prefer rice vinegar so if you use white vinegar, I’ll make an adjustment with water to vinegar ratio since rice vinegar’s only 4.2% acetic acid. And secondly, does it matter what kind of soy sauce you use? I have a few different kinds.

    Thank you for your recipe! I’m going to check out more of them as I make a lot of Asian foods.

    • Either vinegar is fine. I use rice vinegar most of the time. Adjust the acidity level to taste. Different soy sauce taste slightly different, but it really shouldn’t make it a big diff. Try to use regular ones, not too dark or not too light.

  15. Kaeley Scruggs says

    Hi! I’ve tried some of your recipes and they are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. I was wondering for the soy brine does it matter if you use light or dark soy sauce?

    • I’m sure it will affect the color and salt level a bit, so dilute less or more depending on which one you use. Hope you try it!

  16. What type of garlic will not have the blue/green color? I’m also waiting for the soy brine to finish, can’t wait. I also tried the traditional kimchi so im excited.

  17. Esther CSM says

    Thank you Hyosun for this lovely recipe.
    I heard this pickled garlic is traditionally used to help with weight reduction, is it true?
    As long as I don’t end up eating too much of rice with it right?

  18. Maybe a silly question, but new to canning (not cooking). Is there a need to put the jars with the soy brine into a water bath to fully seal the lids?

  19. Melinda Kim says

    The garlic turned blue/green color during 1st brine. It’s now undergoing the 2nd brine. Will the blue/green hue go away during the final brine stage? This is my first time trying this recipe. I love this dish when I’ve tried it before. I understand it’s safe to eat with the color change, but I don’t know if I can get over the “ick” factor (because the color reminds me of mold). Thank you for your recipes!

    • It will be less obvious but still be there. Understand your concern, but it’s really okay to eat. Hope you enjoy them regardless. Thank you for trying the recipe!

  20. Rachelle Pantig says

    Yes! This recipe is what I’m looking for! My husband and I really love this Korean side dish. I’m going to try it now. Thanks for this post! I hope to be successful with this try! So happy!

  21. I’m in the process of making my fist batch. I had the same green tinting issues after the first couple of days. Read through the comments and I see that it’s normal. My concern was that after a couple days I noticed the top of the jar lid was deformed. I unscrewed the lid just enough to let the pressure off to keep a blowout from happening. Since then I haven’t noticed a buildup again and haven’t touched the jar. Tomorrow is the end of my fist vinegar brine. Then I’ll start the secondary brine listed in the recipe. I was wondering if I should be concerned. I’d like to not have to loose a week because of some simple mistake. Some supplemental information; I used apple cider vinegar and there were couple small pieces of garlic floating after I added the brine. The lid was placed on top and some brine overflowed before tightening. I’m guessing that I didn’t leave enough space between the lid and the top of the brine.

    • I think it will be fine to go ahead with the second brine. Thanks for using my recipe!

      • Just cracked it open tonight after the second brine. The garlic bite is so subtle and there’s a sweet aftertaste. The wife (half Korean) and or 16month old son love it! This recipe is a keeper.

  22. Randall Black says

    Are we supposed to sterilize the jars by putting them in boiling water?

  23. nick willems says

    As all picklers know when something is fermenting it gives off CO2 and alcohol. I followed your instructions against my better judgment. I put lids on tight and in about 4 days two of them blew there lids with brine going ever where. What a mess.
    You all be careful.

    • Sorry to hear that. I am not sure why that happened. Did you keep them in a cool place? Did you use the brine in the recipe? I do this pickling all the time, and this never happened to me. Pickling generally requires putting lids on tight.

    • On my third day, the lid bulged from pressure and released some of the brine. Not blown off, but it probably would have eventually. I checked again the next day and can see that pressure is building up inside the jar. Lots of bubbles and fizzing. Is it okay to periodically release this pressure? Or is it important to keep it under high pressure for the pickling process? Also, can I make and add more brine to make up for what was lost?

  24. Hello. I made the first part with vinegar and after 3 days garlic turned green. You know what could have happened? Thanks a lot.

  25. Hi! I made the first part with vinegar and after 3 day garlic turned green. It’s normal? You know what could have happened? Thanks a lot!

  26. All I can say is thank you, this recipe looks awesome! I’m fairly new to Korean food and the culture but I’ve fallen in love with what I’ve been learning. My 5 year and I are learning Hangul. The hot spices dishes are a bit to much for my tummy but this and the white kimchi are cookbooks wonderful and versatile for other dishes. Thank you immensely!! We go through D.C. often enough but Ill be visiting here much more frequently. It’s truly a pleasure to have found this blog!

    • Thank you, Shanna! That’s nice to know you and your child are learning Korean culture and language. Hope you find many recipes on my blog you and your family can enjoy.

  27. I am in the process of making your pickled garlic cloves. I have the first brine on the garlic. I see from the photos that you show the finished product with the soya brine, but the photo of the garlics in the black bowl appear to be slightly colored, as if not having been put with the soya. When I was in Korea, 20+ years ago I loved the pickled garlic and do not recall them being brown. Do you have a recipe where the pickling brine does not contain soya? OR possibly the garlic does not take on much of the color from the soya??? I look forward to your thoughts. What a great collection of recipes. I have been making and selling kimchi for the past 5 years and would like to branch out. nancy

    • Nancy – Actually the garlic in the black bowl was from the same jar that is shown in the post. My brine is pretty light in soy sauce so the resulting garlic is not that dark, especially within 2 to 3 weeks. I actually still have the pickled garlic I made at the same time of this post. (I made several batch because I was testing the recipe for the Guardian.) It’s darker now, but not very dark. Taste even more delicious after all that time.

      You make and sell kimchi?? that’s totally awesome! But I know it’s a lot of work. Good luck!

  28. Wht kind of vinegar u use?

  29. I love eating this dish but never attempted to make it until now. I am have some concerns halfway through the process. I placed the garlic in the vinegar brine for about 6 days and now they have a greenish-blue tint. Could you tell me the canning process you use because I think the air in my containers caused the garlic to go bad.

  30. THE GARLIC CLOVES FLOAT ON THE TOP OF THE SOY BRINE… IS IT OKAY?

  31. Love Korean pickled garlic and really want to try your recipe asap 🙂 what kind of vinegar do I need to use? There are several kinds of it where I live.

    • I’d like to use Korean rice vinegar, but white (plain) vinegar or any other clear vinegar is fine. Thanks for using my recipe!

  32. Can you reuse the brine? If so, do we need to boil the soy brine the second time? Thanks.

    • Yes you can. Boil it with a bit more soy sauce because your brine is most likely diluted by the moisture of the garlic cloves. Hope this helps. Thanks for using my recipe!

  33. can you also make and omit soy sauce, just pickled ?

  34. Do you suggest rice vinegar or regular white vinegar?

  35. I ‘ve been soaking the garlic in the brine for 2 days now. There are tiny bubbles developed on the surface of the brine. What did I do wrong. I followed your direction to a t. Is this normal or should I start over again. Thank you!

  36. Can I use low sodium soy sauce for this recipe?

  37. michael north says

    just peeled a lot of garlic and its pickling cant wait for it to be done then the soy brine love love Korean food and your blog is very well done thank you

    • Thank you, Michael!

    • just finishing up the jar of garlic I have. in the process of making more so good I eat it like candy. slice it up cook with it very versatile sautéed some asparagus, garlic, onions, some of the brine touch of butter was so good

  38. Can I substitute low sodium soy sauce in place of regular soy sauce? I love your food blogs. Please keep on blogging!

    • Yes, you can, but the soy sauce in this recipe is already diluted with water quite a bit. Thanks for the nice words!

  39. Is it ok if the garlic turns blue during the first brine?

  40. Wow! I love Korean food and have been enjoying attempting recipes I’ve found on the internet. Just discovered your ‘treasure trove’ of a blog! I can’t wait to try out the pickled garlic!! To think I could eat one of my favorites as a side dish! A new and eager subscriber.

  41. Anonymous says

    A lovely Korean acquaintance recently offered me some of her mother’s pickled garlic scapes, which were delicious and which I hope to replicate given that garlic shoots (with buds) are now in the market. Her garlic shoots were seasoned with chili paste. Is that traditional as well?

    • Hyosun Ro says

      Yes, that’s very traditional for pickled garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are versatile. You can do a lot of different things with them. Check out my stir-fried version too. Thanks!

  42. Anonymous says

    Do you rinse the garlic after you discard the initial brine?

  43. Liese Haley says

    Can you use honey instead of sugar?
    Also, what is meant by Fresh garlic? From the store [which is aged] or from the ground, [which hasn’t been aged/cured]

    • Hyosun Ro says

      Fresh garlic you can find from markets. I haven’t tried it with honey. I think it will be okay. Try it and let me know. Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. Are you building a winter medicine chest? | Worts & All says:

    […] Spain, Sicily…because no one is bothered by my garlic breath since they all have it too. I use this Korean recipe for pickled garlic called maneul jangajji. It is very simple and only takes about 3 weeks to finish […]

shares