Pressure Cooker Garlic Confit

I received a bunch of complaints about this post. I was told that electric pressure cookers (and stovetop pressure cookers that aren’t dedicated pressure canners) are untested for pressure canning, and are therefore unsafe. Garlic carries botulism spores, and botulism can be deadly, so you have to be careful when dealing with canned garlic.

[UPDATE 2014-11-27] The National Center for Home Food Preservation has issued a statement warning people not to can in electric pressure cookers: Can I Can in a Multi-Cooker?
I’m retracting this post. I don’t want to take it down, so people see this warning; I’m striking the text of the recipe out. Please only pressure canners, not pressure cookers, for pressure canning.

If you want to see the recipe it was based on, get a copy of the Modernist Cuisine at Home cookbook, or go to the Pressure Cooker Garlic Confit recipe on Modernist Cuisine’s website.

The coolest thing in Modernist Cuisine at Home? Cooking in canning jars in the pressure cooker. They use the technique where the food would have to be stirred if it was in contact with the bottom of the pot – which can’t happen in a locked pressure cooker.
*I’ve heard of pot-in-pot cooking and pressure canning, but I never thought to do them both at the same time…

Pressure cooker garlic confit called out to me. I love the idea of a jar full of roasted garlic cloves in the refrigerator. And the garlic-infused oil is as useful as the cloves. I made braised kale using a few tablespoons of the oil and a few cloves of garlic from this recipe, and Diane was raving about it.
*See the Notes section for the kale recipe

After I got over how cool it was to see canning jars in the pressure cooker, my next thought was: Garlic infused olive oil? That can be a bad idea. Botulism multiplies in low-oxygen, low acid environments – like being covered with oil. Garlic, like most vegetables, can carry botulism spores. Fresh garlic in olive oil should be thrown away after a day or two in the refrigerator, and homemade garlic infused oil is dangerous. What about pressure cooking it? Does that make it safe?

It took a lot of searching, but I finally found out that the recipe is safe. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, botulism spores are killed if you can hold the temperature between 240°F to 250°F for 20 to 100 minutes, depending on the size of the jar. Conveniently, those are the temperatures you get with 10PSI to 15PSI pressure cookers. This recipe pressure cooks the jars for 2 hours, so there’s no way botulism can survive. After the jar is opened, the garlic keeps for a month in the refrigerator.
*From what I could find, 3 minutes at 250°F kills the botulism spores. But it takes 20 to 100 minutes to be sure that temperature reaches the center of the jar, depending on the size.

Enough scary, but neccesary, food safety tips. This recipe couldn’t be simpler if you own a pressure cooker and canning jars; the only hard part is peeling all that garlic. I’m already addicted to having a jar of roasted garlic in the refrigerator, ready whenever I want it.
*I used the technique shown here – [Youtube via]. It took multiple rounds of shaking to get all the cloves peeled. Don’t be gentle – shake as hard as you can. Or, If there is a good Asian market nearby, keep an eye out for pre-peeled garlic, which makes this recipe much easier.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Garlic Confit

Adapted From: Modernist Cuisine at Home

Cooking time: 120 minutes


  • Pressure Cooker (I used my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)
  • 16oz canning jar


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 50 cloves garlic, peeled (4 large heads)
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 1 bay leaf


1. Fill the jars
Put everything in the canning jar, wipe the rim of the jar clean with a wet paper towel, then tighten down the lid finger tight.

2. Pressure cook the garlic
Put a rack in the pressure cooker pot and add 1 inch of water. (For my nine inch diameter cooker, this is about a quart of water.) Put the jar on the rack, lock the lid, and bring the cooker up to high pressure. Pressure cook on high for 2 hours. Let the pressure come down naturally. Carefully remove the jar from the PC, using tongs (or, even better a canning jar lifter). The jar will still be dangerously hot, with bubbling oil inside – let it cool to room temperature before handling. The sealed jar will last for a year at room temperature; refrigerate after opening, and the garlic will last for a month.


  • I used my electric pressure cooker, which made it very easy – turn the timer to two hours, and walk away. But any pressure cooker will do, as long as it can get to 10 PSI.
  • The recipe doubles easily…as long as you can live with peeling all that garlic.
  • Bonus recipe: Braised Kale with Garlic Confit and Oil. Strip the leaves from the stems of a large bunch of kale, and rough chop the leaves. Put four cloves of garlic confit plus two tablespoons of the garlic oil into a large pot. Add the kale, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, then toss to coat with the oil. Add a half cup of water, put the pot over medium-high heat, and cover. When steam starts escaping from under the lid, turn the heat down to medium-low and steam the kale for 20 minutes.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Adapted from:

Modernist Cuisine at Home

*Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner using the RSS or Email options on the right, link to this post from your blog, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, or buy something from through the links on this site. Thank you.


  1. jacklance /

    Yuck,,,i dont like garlic stuff.

  2. Debbie Fox /

    I am in the market for a pressure cooker and would like your recommendation for which one to purchase. I have a smooth top electric range, and would also like to do a small amount of pressure canning.

  3. For both pressure cooking and canning, I recommend the Fagor Duo 10 quart pressure cooker and canner, with the Fagor Home Canning Kit. (Though, if you already have a regular canning setup, you have most of the tools in the canning kit – funnel, jar lifter, that kind of thing.)

  4. Is that to be disclaimed with *unless you have the cash for a Kuhn-Rikon. ?

  5. While K-R cookers will work for pressure canning, the Fagor is the best combination of price and performance. Of course, if you CAN afford the $400 12 quart K-R, you should get it…

  6. Great post, can’t wait to try it. What herbs do you suggest, should I use fresh or dried? If I use fresh baisil will it turn black and mucky….

  7. Brian O. /

    2 hours? Isn’t the clove well-cooked after a much shorter time, like 30 minutes? I know that back in the lab we’d autoclave (sterilize under pressure at high temp.) media volumes larger than these jars for 30 minutes maximum, so I don’t think 120 minutes is necessary to kill the spores either.

  8. In the original, they used fresh herbs – thyme and rosemary, a sprig of each per jar. I’d use whatever you like, or have on hand. (And yes, basil will probably turn black.)

  9. Two hours does seem like a long time. I think the NCHFP’s range of cooking times to kill botulism go from 20 minutes to 100 minutes because they are covering half-pint to quart jars. Since this recipe uses a pint jar, it’s probably safe well before the 2 hour mark.

    But, we’re not just cooking it to kill the spores; we want the high heat of the pressure cooker to roast the cloves in the jar. The long cooking time gave me garlic cloves that spread like butter, which is what I was hoping for.

    I have noticed that the Modernist Cuisine pressure cooker times are longer than I’m used to, especially for things like stock. One of these days, I’m going to cook a recipe with my usual timings and the longer M-C timings to see how the two compare; but until then, I’m going to stick with MC’s timings for their recipes.

  10. Brian O. /

    Got it. BTW, thanks for this post! Ever since I read Adam Perry’s Lang’s recipe for cooking cloves in oil (“Serious Barbecue”) I’ve been wanting to try something like that, this is definitely another good take.

  11. Mike, I just got a hand me down pressure cooker and I’ve never used it before. Can you recommend a good pressure cooker cook book for someone who is just starting out?

  12. Jammerer /

    Mike, will one inch of water at the bottom last through 2 hours of pressure cooking at high temperature?

  13. It should – my PC doesn’t vent steam unless it is over pressurized. All the liquid stays trapped in the cooker.

  14. But that’s not how the Fagor units operate, right? Do you recommend using more water in those style units?

  15. If you’re worried, run a test. Put 4 cups of water in your cooker, bring it up to pressure, and keep it at high pressure for an hour.
    Let the pressure come down naturally, then pour the water into a measuring cup, to see how much is left.

  16. Chris, your Fagor pressure cooker only reaches 9psi at high pressure.



  17. Fantastic, Mike! I would add a warning that the contents of the jars are pressurized until the contents have completely cooled – nothing like spraying super heated oil around the kitchen and yourself because to sneak a taste!



  18. Good safety tip – careful, everyone!

  19. Brian, laboratory and hospital autoclaves generally operate at over 30psi (tough this is selectable). The lower the psi, the longer the time needed to zap everything. As Mike noted, if you get below a certain psi no amount of time will kill the baddies because the minimum temperature threshold for inactivation is never met.

    Since the book recommends storing the garlic in the refrigerator, and consuming within a month – 100% sterilization is not expected or required.



  20. Food nerd /

    Really the refrigerator part is not needed until you open the jar. With 120min @250f you have killed all of the Botulinum spores several times over. Food nerd part: (ok you can never have a 100% kill, but you have >12-log reduction you are well over the level required in a FDA or USDA plant and > than the 12d requirement in the EU <1 spore in 10,000 cans.). Thanks for the great idea and while not needed for food safety it will reduce oxidation to keep the jars in the fridge.

  21. Out of curiosity, does the oil have a longer shelf life than the garlic after the jar is open?

  22. No – both the garlic and oil are good for about a month.

  23. What kind of rack is that in your Instant Pot? It looks different from (and superior to) the one mine came with.

  24. If it’s not the same one that came with the Instant Pot, it probably came from my Cuisinart electric pressure cooker. But I’m guessing, based on the size (the pot for both units are roughly the same diameter). I have accumulated a small collection of racks over the years, and I just grab whichever one looks like it will fit.

  25. Thanks! One more question — have you ever used your Instant Pot for canning chicken broth? InstantPot’s website says it can be used for canning, but I haven’t found any instructions for that yet (your garlic confit recipe is the closest I’ve come!).

  26. No, I haven’t used the instant pot for canning anything but this garlic. I use the instant pot to make chicken broth all the time, but then I freeze it in 2 cup and 1 quart containers.

  27. I just finished making my second batch of three mason jars. Some of the oil leaked out through the tops and into the water below. However, the safety button on all three mason jars did end up getting sucked in (concave), whereas I had started my cooking with them pushed outward (convex). Does this mean I’ve got a good seal and can keep them in the pantry until opening?

  28. Yes, concave lids means they’re good. Until the vacuum forms and seals the lid, some of the oil leaks out – it’s a by-product of the process.

  29. Awesome, thanks!

  30. ePressureCooker /

    Mike, I’ve seen that recipe, just re-checked it, and you left out an important part of the instructions. (Pardon me, but I want people to be safe, and some may not be aware of this.) After tightening the lid, you’re supposed to loosen it a quarter of a turn. Actually, let me give you the quote that explains:

    “Always leave at least 1.3 cm / ½ in of headspace when filling the jars. The jars should also never touch the bottom of the cooker. Set them on a metal rack or trivet – or, in a pinch, on crumpled sheets of aluminum foil. Add enough water to cover the rack so that the pressure cooker can build up steam. After fully tightening the lids of the jars, loosen them a quarter of a turn; otherwise, the pressure may crack the jars or
    blow their lids off inside the cooker. After using a jar for pressure-cooking, inspect the glass for cracks before cooking with it again.” (p. 33 of Modernist Cuisine at Home)

  31. So your recipe is a great idea and you quote the NCHFP, however they nor, Ball or others have a “validated” recipe. By that I mean you are correct that you are likely to kill Botulism, but are you sure? has it been validated by putting garlic with botulism in them (inoculated) then processed with various times and altitude ranges and pressures then tested to make sure that the Botulism spores are killed? That is what NCHFP, Ball and other do. Canning is not cooking….canning must be based on science or people can die.

    • Mike B /

      Lin, Canning is science and cooking is science. The same science to keep any food from making you sick or killing you is used in both. Canning requires aboslutes in order to be safe from the worst, botulism. Yet anyone who cooks with an immersion circulator knows the science behind it and cooks with that in mind. Modernist cuisines uses 2 hours at 15psi to provide the largest safety margin based on science of the bacteria which is well documented information available to anyone. You argument is no different than the 165 for cooking it. It the dumb persons safety number for the most common food borne pathogens to be killed instantly, just like uht for milk. If the margin of safety is 4 times what it would take to kill the bacteria then one can expect that it is safe barring that you followed all the other procedures and prerequisites like 15psi!