What is Black Garlic? How Do I Use It?

Garlic is a staple ingredient in many kitchens. It’s commonly called for in recipes, is versatile, and can elevate nearly any dish when used properly. 

If you like garlic, you’re going to love black garlic. This unique spice is the perfect addition to your pantry, and is sure to become your new favorite ingredient. Keep reading to find out more about black garlic, and how you can incorporate it into your food at home. 

What is It?

Black garlic is standard garlic that’s undergone a chemical reaction. This reaction gives it a new color and flavor. As the name suggests, it’s black in color, and it has a distinct new flavour from that of standard garlic. 

The chemical reaction takes place while the garlic is still in bulbs, so peeled black garlic can be used just like standard garlic. 

What Makes It Unique? 

Though similar to standard garlic, there are key differences that make black garlic so unique. It has been aged for weeks, making it distinct from standard garlic. 

The chemical reaction that happens is called a Maillard reaction, which is similar to caramelization. It happens under low heat, and it changes the flavour of food, as well as the colour, giving black garlic its dark hue and totally new flavour.

It’s also different from standard garlic in taste and texture. It’s not as pungent, and it’s a lot softer than raw garlic. 

Flavour Profile 

Black garlic’s flavor profile is much different than standard garlic. Its texture is similar to that of a date, making it soft and a little tacky. It is both sweet and earthy, and has a wonderful umami flavour.

Health Benefits

Not only is this spice tasty, just like standard garlic, it’s got a lot of health benefits, making it even more appealing to eat. 

Researchers have found that consuming it can help regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. Some studies have also shown it to fight cancer. 

During the process the spice undergoes to become black garlic, it becomes full of antioxidants, which are good for your body for various reasons. The spice is also great for your heart and brain health, as well as your liver. Cooking with it will improve both the taste of your food and your bodily health. 


One of the best things about black garlic is its versatility. Like standard garlic, it can be peeled, minced, puréed, chopped, or ground, and it can be used in nearly any food imaginable. As mentioned, you can use black garlic just the same as you use standard garlic. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:

  • Paste

Garlic paste is a delicious way to use the bulb, and it’s even tastier using black garlic. Pop the peeled cloves into a blender, add your favorite oil (avocado and olive are great choices), and blend until smooth. You’ll be left with a paste that can be spread on bread, incorporated into pasta, or used to make a salad dressing. Its striking dark colour will instantly make your dish more appealing, and it’ll add tons of flavour. 


  • Rub

If you love experimenting with meats, try using peeled black garlic in your next rub. Mince it and mix it with your other favorite spices, and you’ll be impressed with how much more flavor your meat has. The umami of the black garlic will pair so well with that of the meat, making for an incredibly savory bite that you’re sure to love. 


  • Garlic Substitute

Peeled black garlic is also incredibly tasty in your regular recipes. Because it can be used in place of standard garlic, you don’t need to find special recipes that call for it. Just substitute black garlic, and enjoy your favorite meals in a brand new way.


  • Roasted

A quick, easy way to use peeled black garlic is by roasting it. It can be roasted on its own to be used in pastes or rubs, or to make a flavorsome confit, or it can be roasted alongside meat and vegetables to give a simple sheet pan meal new depths of flavour. 


  • Garnish

Black garlic also makes a wonderful garnish, especially given its beautiful hue. Slice it and place it atop your dish, or leave it in cloves. Either way, it’ll add a pop of color and flavour. 


Remember, the kitchen is a place to experiment, and with a tasty, unique spice like black garlic, the possibilities are endless. Give black garlic a try however you think you’d like it. You’ll be totally impressed with this spice and be excited to cook again.