Garlic Vinegar

When a dish needs a vibrant, last-minute flavor lift, reach for this Hanoi-style condiment. At the table, sprinkle it into noodle soup, pan-fried and stir-fried noodles, and fried rice. At the stove, splash it into sautéed or stir-fried greens.

Garlic Vinegar
Photo: Greg DuPree
Active Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
16 hrs 5 mins
Makes 3/4 cup


  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced or smashed

  • 2 large Thai chiles or 1 large serrano chile, split lengthwise (do not cut all the way through)


  1. Stir together all ingredients in an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before checking for flavor.

  2. Check for flavor: It should mainly taste of garlic, with chile playing a minor supporting role. If either flavor is harsh, add more vinegar and water, starting with a 1-to-2 ratio. Increase or decrease amount of garlic, depending on its pungency and your preference. For extra chile bite, double the quantity, and see what happens. Taste it 1 day after it’s made, and keep tinkering to get a formula you like.

Make Ahead

Refrigerate in an airtight container for months. When the vinegar runs out, add new ingredients to the jar. When things taste tired or off, start over.

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