Is Garlic a Spice

If you are a garlic lover, you may be wondering is garlic a spice or is it something else. This is a commonly asked question, as people are not sure what exactly garlic is even though they use it as a spice.

Garlic is one of those vague types of products that don’t seem to fit into the majority of categories. It doesn’t look like a spice, but it has a very strong and potent taste that can only be used as a spice.

Because of this, you may not know exactly what to call garlic or what category it fits into. And this is something you may want to understand better if you find yourself frequently reaching for garlic in your kitchen.

Keep reading to find out is garlic a spice and how exactly garlic is used, whether it is a spice or not.

Garlic Is Not a Spice

If you find yourself often using garlic in your cooking, you may be wondering is garlic a spice or something else. Something that may surprise people is that garlic is not actually a spice, it is considered to be a vegetable.

This is a type of food that can be quite confusing as it is used in a very specific way. The majority of people use garlic as a spice because it is so potent and has so much flavor.

It would be impossible to use garlic as anything else but a spice because it is so full of flavor. If you were to use it too generously like you would a vegetable, it would become very overwhelming and far too garlicky.


Garlic is just one of several types of vegetables that are used, like spices. In fact, some of your favorite spices may not actually be spices at all.

Is It a Herb or Vegetable?

Now that you know that garlic is not a spice, you may be wondering what exactly it is. Some people may assume that garlic is a herb if it is not a spice since it could also be used as an herb in food.

Surprisingly, garlic is not an herb either, and it’s considered to be a vegetable. This is something that most people would be surprised by since garlic is never used as a vegetable.

Not only is garlic considered to be a vegetable, but it is also considered to be a root vegetable. This is because the actual garlic that is eaten is the root part that grows beneath the ground.

Though it is worth mentioning that the green part of garlic can also be eaten as these are tender and have a light garlic flavor. Many people who grow garlic will also eat the garlic greens as well as the actual root.

Despite being a root vegetable, garlic is considered to be too flavorful to enjoy on its own, like other vegetables. That is why garlic has always been used as a type of spice for seasoning other kinds of food.

Garlic Is Used More as a Spice

Although garlic is a root vegetable, you are not usually going to see it used as a vegetable. Much like onions, garlic has a very strong flavor that could easily overpower any dish that you add it to if you aren’t careful.

Garlic Is Not a Spice

It has a very potent and acrid flavor that is most enjoyable in small amounts in your food. As you cook it down, the flavors become more mellow, but it is still very potent and overwhelming in some dishes.

So even though garlic is a vegetable, it is best to use it as a spice. This is how the majority of people have always used garlic as it is a great flavoring agent that can really elevate different dishes.

You can add garlic to just about anything, but there is a variety of dishes that you will usually see garlic in.


Bread is a very common dish that you will find garlic in, specifically garlic bread. Bread is a very mild dish that often doesn’t have much flavor on its own.

Many traditional recipes call for garlic to be added to bread to give it a deliciously savory flavor. This is most common in Italian foods, but there are other cultures that have different types of garlic bread.



Pasta is a very common vessel to find garlic in as garlic is such a complementary flavor. Not only will you find garlic and traditional red pasta sauce, you will find it and a variety of other types of pasta.

Garlic makes the perfect savory addition to different pasta sauces to elevate the flavor and give them more umami. You would most likely notice that something was missing if you were to eat pasta that had no garlic in it.

Garlic is also an important part of other types of noodle dishes that are not necessarily pasta. Many oriental noodle dishes call for garlic for additional flavor for the overall dish.


Garlic is also a very common seasoning that is added to meat. If you add raw garlic to meat, it is able to act as a mild meat tenderizer from the chemicals in the raw garlic.

Garlic is very complementary to the majority of types of meat but is very commonly found on steak and chicken. This is a great way to give your meat a boost of flavor if you find it difficult to create flavorful meat dishes.

Overall, you can use garlic in a huge variety of different types of foods, there is really no limit to this.