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Clove vs. Garlic: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Janet White || Updated on May 22, 2024
Clove is a small, aromatic spice from the flower buds of a tree, while garlic is a bulbous plant used for its pungent cloves in cooking and medicine.

Key Differences

Clove, derived from the flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, is primarily used as a spice due to its strong, sweet, and aromatic flavor. Garlic, on the other hand, comes from the bulb of the Allium sativum plant and is known for its pungent taste and extensive use in culinary and medicinal applications.
Clove is often utilized in its dried form and is commonly incorporated into dishes such as baked goods, marinades, and beverages for its warm flavor. Garlic, while also used in dried forms like powders and flakes, is predominantly used fresh, crushed, or chopped to add a sharp and savory taste to a variety of dishes.
In terms of health benefits, clove contains eugenol, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for dental health and pain relief. Garlic is rich in allicin, known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, contributing to cardiovascular health and immune support.
Clove is typically found in small quantities within spice mixes and flavorings, where its potency can enhance the overall taste. Garlic, conversely, is often a foundational ingredient in many recipes, providing a significant base flavor and depth to dishes.
Culinary uses for clove are more specific, often linked to traditional or festive recipes, whereas garlic is a staple in everyday cooking across various cuisines due to its versatility and robust flavor profile.

Comparison Chart


Flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum tree
Bulb of Allium sativum plant

Flavor Profile

Strong, sweet, aromatic
Pungent, sharp, savory

Common Forms

Dried whole, ground
Fresh, dried, powdered, minced

Health Benefits

Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory
Antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal

Culinary Uses

Baked goods, marinades, beverages
Savory dishes, soups, sauces, condiments

Clove and Garlic Definitions


Often used in mulled wines and hot beverages.
The mulled wine was spiced with clove and cinnamon.


Used fresh, dried, or powdered in various cuisines.
The recipe required two cloves of garlic, finely chopped.


An ingredient in spice blends like garam masala.
The curry recipe called for a teaspoon of ground clove.


A bulbous plant used widely in cooking for its pungent flavor.
She minced the garlic cloves to add to the pasta sauce.


A small, dried, aromatic flower bud used as a spice.
She added a pinch of clove to the apple pie for extra warmth.


Known for its health benefits, including boosting immunity.
Garlic supplements are popular for their health benefits.


Known for its medicinal properties, especially in dental care.
Clove oil can be used to relieve toothache.


A staple ingredient in Mediterranean and Asian cooking.
Garlic is essential in the preparation of traditional aioli.


An evergreen tree (Syzygium aromaticum) native to the Moluccas and widely cultivated as a source of oil and for its aromatic dried flower buds.


An onionlike plant (Allium sativum) of southern Europe having a bulb that breaks up into separable cloves with a strong distinctive odor and flavor.


A flower bud of this plant, used whole or ground as a spice.


The bulb of this plant.


One of the small sections of a separable bulb, as that of garlic.


To season or flavor (a food) with garlic.


A past tense of cleave1.


A plant, Allium sativum, related to the onion, having a pungent bulb much used in cooking.


(Archaic)A past participle of cleave1.


(uncountable) A preparation from Allium sativum used as a food ingredient or the flavor or other characteristics of such an ingredient.


A past tense of cleave2.


To flavour with garlic


A very pungent aromatic spice, the unexpanded flower bud of the clove tree.


A plant of the genus Allium (A. sativum is the cultivated variety), having a bulbous root, a very strong smell, and an acrid, pungent taste. Each root is composed of several lesser bulbs, called cloves of garlic, inclosed in a common membranous coat, and easily separable.


(countable) A clove tree, of the species Syzygium aromaticum (syn. Caryophyllus aromaticus), native to the Moluccas (Indonesian islands), which produces the spice.


A kind of jig or farce.


(countable) An old English measure of weight, containing 7 pounds (3.2 kg), i.e. half a stone. is this under the correct etymology?


Bulbous herb of southern Europe widely naturalized; bulb breaks up into separate strong-flavored cloves


One of the small bulbs formed in the axils of the scales of a large bulb.
Clove of garlic, garlic clove, clove of a sea-onion, clove of shallot, cloves of bulbs


Aromatic bulb used as seasoning




Often roasted to bring out a sweeter, milder flavor.
The roasted garlic spread added a mellow flavor to the bread.


A cleft; a gap; a ravine; - rarely used except as part of a proper name; as, Kaaterskill Clove; Stone Clove.


A very pungent aromatic spice, the unexpanded flower bud of the clove tree (Eugenia aromatica syn. Caryophullus aromatica), a native of the Molucca Isles.


One of the small bulbs developed in the axils of the scales of a large bulb, as in the case of garlic.
Developing, in the axils of its skales, new bulbs, of what gardeners call cloves.


A weight. A clove of cheese is about eight pounds, of wool, about seven pounds.


Aromatic flower bud of a clove tree; yields a spice


Moderate sized very symmetrical red-flowered evergreen widely cultivated in the tropics for its flower buds which are source of cloves


One of the small bulblets that can be split off of the axis of a larger garlic bulb


Spice from dried unopened flower bud of the clove tree; used whole or ground


Found in both whole and ground forms in spice racks.
He sprinkled some ground clove into the gingerbread dough.


Can clove and garlic be used interchangeably in recipes?

No, they have distinct flavors and are used differently in cooking.

Can garlic be used in its raw form?

Yes, raw garlic is often used in salads, dressings, and sauces.

What is the main difference between clove and garlic?

Clove is a spice from the flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, while garlic is a bulbous plant from the Allium sativum species.

What are the health benefits of clove?

Clove has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties.

What health benefits does garlic offer?

Garlic is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, and supports cardiovascular health.

Does clove have any medicinal uses?

Yes, clove oil is often used to relieve toothache and as an antiseptic.

Is clove used in traditional medicine?

Yes, clove has been used in traditional medicine for its health benefits.

Is garlic considered a superfood?

Yes, due to its numerous health benefits and nutrient profile.

Can clove be used in beverages?

Yes, clove is often used in mulled wines and hot beverages.

What are common culinary uses for garlic?

Garlic is used in savory dishes, soups, sauces, and condiments for its robust flavor.

How is clove typically used in cooking?

Clove is used in small amounts to flavor baked goods, marinades, and beverages.

What is the flavor profile of clove?

Clove has a strong, sweet, and aromatic flavor.

Does garlic have antifungal properties?

Yes, garlic has natural antifungal properties.

What is the flavor profile of garlic?

Garlic has a pungent, sharp, and savory flavor.

Is garlic used in sweet dishes?

Rarely, as garlic's strong flavor is more suited to savory dishes.

Does garlic need to be cooked before eating?

Not necessarily, garlic can be eaten raw or cooked.

Is clove commonly used in everyday cooking?

Less so than garlic, which is a staple in many kitchens.

Are clove and garlic both available in powdered form?

Yes, both can be found as powders in spice racks.

Can clove help with dental pain?

Yes, clove oil is known for its pain-relieving properties.

Can clove be used in savory dishes?

Yes, but it is more commonly used in sweet and spiced dishes.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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