What Does Garlic Taste Like?

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It seems like it’s in just about everything we eat for dinner, but what does garlic taste like? We’re getting into the details about taste and texture, raw garlic versus cooked garlic, recipe tips, hacks and more.


Let’s get started…

What Does Garlic Taste Like? 

Garlic is incredibly pungent. You can smell this before you even get close to it if it’s been chopped or minced, releasing powerful aromas.

The flavor of garlic can be described as spicy in a way, though not like chili peppers or peppercorns. It’s more that it produces such warmth that it comes across as spicy. There is also an earthiness in the flavor that’s difficult to translate—garlic is truly a unique flavor.

Garlic sweetens up a bit as it cooks. Roasted garlic is actually very sweet, almost like caramel with a gentle nuttiness.

Garlic Texture 

Garlic texture changes significantly from raw to cooked states. Raw garlic is dense but easy to cut into, and the fresher it is, the more moist, and even slightly crunchy (like a carrot) it will be.

Cooked garlic is soft and will mash easily if pressed. Roasted garlic is by far the softest, taking on a creamy, almost pulpy texture.

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What Does Raw Garlic Taste Like? 

Raw garlic is, to say the least, an experience. Garlic is strongest and most fiery in its raw state, which gives tons of flavor to a recipe but can also leave a long-lasting aftertaste. 

Adding some raw garlic to a salad or a raw recipe can be delightful, and many people take raw garlic for health reasons. However, eating it straight can produce burning in the stomach or even nausea if you haven’t eaten anything in a while. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but it’s a possibility.

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Is Garlic Better Raw or Cooked? 

The answer to this question comes down to what you enjoy more. Spicy or mellow? Pungent or sweet? If you want to get your money’s worth, so to speak, from the robust flavor, raw garlic can be used in very small quantities. You’d need a lot more cooked garlic to get a similar potency.

On the other hand, raw garlic can be a lot to handle. Cooked garlic makes it easier to eat for a lot of people, and it shouldn’t leave such a lingering aftertaste.

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How Do You Make Garlic Taste Stronger? 

If you’re opting for cooked garlic but you want it to taste stronger, there are tricks to turn up the volume on the flavor.

Mincing the garlic before you cook it will make it taste more flavorful. The finer the garlic, the more potent it is. Brave folks may even juice it. 

Another clever hack is to smash the garlic before adding it to the pan. To see how this is done, watch the first of the two videos linked below.

Garlic Chef Hacks

Now that we’ve talked about all these different ways to use garlic, you’re probably wondering what they look like. Check out the following videos for a couple of our favorites.

This video is going to demonstrate the smashed garlic technique. Just be sure to use the non-sharp part of your knife. 

Further Reading: What Does Ground Coriander Taste Like?

Roasting garlic is easy, and this video will help you roast garlic like a master chef. You’ll just need a garlic bulb, some oil, salt, pepper and aluminum foil.

Wrap Up

Garlic is one of the nicest flavors you can add to your meals. It’s spiciest when raw and sweetest when roasted, giving you diverse options for enjoying it. We suggest raw garlic for salad dressings, sauteed garlic for anything from pasta sauces, to casseroles, to stir-fries, and roasted garlic for roasted vegetable dishes, garlic bread with vegan butter and anything with jammy spreads. Delicious.