Homemade: Ginger and Garlic Pastes

ginger garlic

When we moved here from India, I was very surprised as well as shocked to find jars of ginger garlic paste on the shelves of the stores. Making fresh pastes at home is something so basic and such an everyday kind of thing, that it was almost an incomprehensible concept for me to see these being bottled and sold. But I do understand how the ready-made jars might make life so much easier for busy people.

The good news is making the pastes at home is not as scary as it sound. They do not need to be done  right when you are cooking with them. They may be made in big batches and stored in the refrigerator for a while or even frozen for months. Indian cooking uses a lot of the ginger and garlic paste and it is always a handy thing to have it ready.

I am often asked by my readers why I do not use fresh ginger and garlic and I use a paste. I do use the fresh ginger and garlic and when I mention ginger or garlic paste in a recipe, this is what I refer to – homemade pastes made from fresh ginger and garlic. Some recipes call for one of the pastes and it cannot be substituted with sliced of chopped fresh ginger.

Often times in a recipe the ginger garlic paste is called for together in a single term (read “ginger garlic” ). It just means an equal combination of the ginger and garlic paste. However I do usually mention them as separate ingredients and also make the pastes separately. This way if the recipe calls only for the single one I can use it right away and also combine them if needed.

If I do not have the paste ready in the refrigerator, I peel the ginger and just use the zester to grate it up.This usually works for smaller amount and the texture with a  zester is fine and close to the paste. Another option would be to peel and roughly chop the ginger and pound the pieces in a big heavy duty mortar and pestle. Same goes for the garlic cloves to make the garlic paste.

ginger paste

Homemade: Ginger Paste

Ingredients: (makes approx. 2 cups)

  1. 1/2 lb fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  2. water, just enough to make a paste (if you use about 1/2 lb of ginger you will need approximately 1 cup water)


Add the water first in the blender (makes it easier to blend). Add the chopped ginger and blend it together in a blender until pureed and smooth.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days.

To freeze:

Use the cubed ice trays to freeze the paste. It is the easiest way to freeze and use; you can take out as many cubes as you would need for each use.  Or individual small packs of the paste may be stored in plastic/ziploc bags. The frozen paste will last for a few months.



Fresh ginger is found in the produce department of most supermarkets. Look for ginger with  brown skin (skin that show like ridges are okay, but not the wrinkled ones). The surface should be smooth and should feel heavy. The ginger which feels light and the ones which feel soft and you can press into are not good. Fresh ginger keeps well for a long time (few weeks) when kept loosely wrapped  in  the refrigerator’s vegetable bin (use the bin which has humidity control if you have one). The skin of the fresh ginger may be peeled easily with a peeler or a paring knife.


Homemade: Garlic Paste

Ingredients: (makes approx. 2 cups)

  1. 5 large heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  2. water, just enough to make a paste


If you are wondering how much time you would be spending peeling cloves of 5 heads of garlic, you have to see this Video: How to peel a head of Garlic (from Saveur). It is truly fantastic and it really works! I use no other way these days and have 5-6 heads of garlic cloves peel only in few minutes.

Add the water first in the blender (makes it easier to blend). Add the garlic cloves and blend it together in a blender until pureed and smooth.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days.

To freeze:

Use the cubed ice trays to freeze the paste. It is the easiest way to freeze and use; you can take out as many cubes as you would need for each use.  Or individual small packs of the paste may be stored in plastic/ziploc bags. The frozen paste will last for a few months.

home made garlic paste

Related Posts:

Chili Garlic Paste

Makhani Masala / Butter based Tomato Cream Sauce

Curry Sauce

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29 comments to Homemade: Ginger and Garlic Pastes

  • A fabulous condiment!



  • I do find that the garlic available here does not have the beautiful aroma the Indian variety has. I do make my Ginger Garlic paste at home and I add some vinegar to mellow down the garlic flavor. Do you find the odd flavor too?

  • I always grind my ginger-garlic paste and freeze half and refrigerate half of it. Mine turns green even when stored in the refrigerator. So, I add salt and turmeric to it before storing it.

    The food I cook with home made paste, tastes much better than the one cooked with store-bought, preservative-laden one.

  • anh

    I really need to start making these pastes myself. I am not a big fan of the jar version, which always have a bit of vinegar or some sour preservatives…

  • I always prepare fresh ginger garlic paste if it’s needed for he recipe,..beautiful pics

  • Without which we can live..Nice clicks.

  • Love the idea of freezing the pastes for easy later use!

  • This is exactly what my mom does too! freezing the paste so that it lasts longer 🙂 lovely pictures btw!

  • I will definately be freezing me some ginger this weekend.

  • Beautiful pics Soma 🙂

    I must admit that I did use the bottled jars a few times when I was pregnant and could not stand the smell of garlic :(…I was very unhappy with the vinegar and oil in the bottles and then a friend suggested about the minced ginger and garlic packs available at the asian stores. Now these ones are made from 100% ginger and garlic without any preservatives and they come in small cubes. I still use these sometimes when I run out of my own paste and have to cook in a hurry. 🙂

  • readymade paste is common in stores in india too, surprised to see them. i make my own ginger garlic paste everytime and nothing beats fresh, i dont add water though. a heavy stone mortar-pestle is my best buddy 😀 thanks for the tips soma 😉

  • Wow – this looks amazing! Thank you for posting this recipe. I am excited to try it out this weekend when my entire family comes to visit for a family reunion. So, I will be sure to have everyone try it.

    Thanks again,

    Grandma Kat

  • I have to confess I’ve sometimes just the garlic paste from a jar… But you’re right. It is really simple and quick to make your own. Love the clicks too!

  • Hi, I found your blog through Jungle Frog Cooking and I’m so glad I did. Look forward to seeing your updates in my inbox. 🙂

  • you never saw those ginger garlic bottles in India ? I always used those bottles only until now when I just grate those fresh whenever I need them 🙂

  • This looks very yummy n delicious..loved it


  • Kusum

    I’m surprised you never saw Ginger garlic paste bottles in India. My mom has been using them for over 20 years….!!! Maybe you should do some research before writing something. Your very first sentence gives the impression that Ginger garlic paste never exists in India which is so not true. Other than that, nice tips on freezing them.

    Thanks Kusum. To tell you the truth, again, no I have never seen ready made bottles of ginger garlic pastes in India – not when I was growing up. I never wrote in the post that ginger garlic paste does not exist in India. It does and more than anyplace else in the world I suppose. Only they are (or were) made more at home. Now with more nuclear families and of course the ease reaching home as it is here, they might sell them. I moved to this country almost 20 years back, in mid 90’s and until then, I never saw a packed bottle on the shelf. At least not in the everyday bazaars and grocery stores we visited. I grew up in India, so I experienced it first hand. There was no research needed here.

  • […] 2.5 inch fresh ginger paste, […]

  • Angel

    Thanks for the recipies! I’m in Europe and I’m very frustrated. I just can’t blend the pastes until smooth. I’ve tried my chopper and smoothie blender (these ones http://amzn.com/B00EQ8NQT4) as well as my hand held blender, and the pastes always end up chunky.

    Any tips? Thank you!!!!

  • Thayne

    so happy to find this information!! I’ve begun making chai tea latte at home and need the ginger for that. Since I am doing it early in the morning, it helps to have the ginger ready and the paste in the tube in the cooler section of the grocery store costs $5!! I am pretty sure I can make my own for less. Going to give it a try today. Thanks so much. Love your blog which is beautiful as well as informative!

  • I had no idea you could freeze the paste… so how do I get the smell out of my frodge after leaving Tupperware open accidentally?

  • vbela

    I accidently found your website (as I was looking for a Dosa recipe),and I am so thankful that I have found you! Thank you for your great information.
    Can you tell me if there is a difference between using fresh garlic or ginger instead of the pastes? Since you mention that you do use either one whenever the recipe calls for it.
    It is not that I do not want to do the paste. I have done it in the past. I just want to know if it calms down the harshness of the raw form or something else. Or what would make me decide to use one or the other.
    A grateful reader and fan of your site.

    The difference would be the texture. In a paste you do not get to feel the pieces of ginger or garlic.Besides in many curries, adding the paste adds volume to the curry base. The paste in the called for recipes also cook well along with tomatoes and spices etc rather than using just slices of them. Not that the flavors reduce or are any less than whole ginger or garlic. If you want a fried garlic flavor use sliced garlic … just an example. Here if you use the paste in the oil, the flavors will not be same as the paste will burn faster and stick to the pan. So it depends from one recipe to another on what is used.

  • Keith Broderick

    I live in Turkey where ginger is not readily available. Could you use ginger powder as a substitute

  • Bernadette

    I love this recipe tip! Thank you so much to a mommy of 3 little ones and a very hungry Indian Papa. 🙂 I will start making past fresh everyday but freezing it helps too… 🙂 I have been grinding it just never thought to freeze it. 🙂 Thanks so much! What are the other spices commonly used in the cooking? I am using diced tomatos and frying cumin & black mustard seed…adding Subja curry powder at end…but love more tips and recipes anytime..

    Thank you!! I am glad that you found it helpful. Here is a pretty good list of Spices I compiled. Not all of them, but pretty much the everyday ones used in different parts of the country. http://www.ecurry.com/blog/basics/the-most-commonly-used-indian-spices/

  • Pallavi Bohra

    Very good recipe

  • […] I have slightly adapted this recipe from E-Curry. […]

  • […] I have slightly adapted this recipe from E-Curry. […]

  • […] teaspoon ginger paste (or grated fresh […]

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