What Does Black Garlic Taste Like?


Whenever the topic of food comes up, people always have different opinions about what they consider tasty. Some people prefer to taste sweetness, sourness, bitterness, or saltiness above the others, and the way your brain interprets those flavors can differ from how other people interpret them. Savoriness is also considered a taste. So, what makes taste, taste?

Taste is a sensation that you feel in the mouth when a substance reacts with the cells in your taste buds known as receptor cells. The taste buds on your tongue are visible to the naked eye. They’re all those little bumps.

What does Black Garlic taste like

All the above tastes have very different sensations in the mouth. When the molecules of a substance bind to G protein-coupled receptors that are located on the cell membrane of the taste buds, the taste that you experience can be sweet, savory, or bitter. When an alkali metal or ions of hydrogen find their way onto your taste buds, the taste in your mouth will be sour or salty.

How would it taste to have a mixture of all these sensations firing from one substance? Black garlic is the perfect way to answer this question. A sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory substance is likely to be captivatingly delicious, and that’s what black garlic is. Most people compare it to caramel, though it’s not quite as sweet as candy.

Of course, garlic is naturally white in color, so what is black garlic ? How is it made and why does it have all the existing tastes?

Black Garlic?

Yes. Black garlic is basically aged white garlic bulbs that have undergone heating for several weeks and then left to oxidize for a few weeks. It was first prepared in Korea and has gained popularity over the years. White garlic is heated under a strict humidity-controlled environment with temperatures between 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit for about 14 to 30 days, left free to oxidize, and in about 60 to 90 days, a black clove with a sticky, date-like texture forms. The texture is also said to resemble that of the marshmallow as the black garlic cloves are soft and spongy.

It is important to note that the formation of black garlic involves a form of fermentation. The process involves the breakdown of the white garlic enzymes through a process known as the Maillard reaction. When amino acids and sugars found in food are subjected to heat, they break down to form complex molecules. The molecules formed produce more molecules, making it a chain with hundreds of molecules, which is known as the Maillard reaction. As a result of the Maillard reaction producing many molecules, the black garlic consists of many flavors.

Additionally, there are no additives or preservatives added to the white garlic in order for it to become black garlic. The transformation does not involve any burning either. Studies have shown that people that are not well versed with the black garlic think that it is burnt garlic or rotten garlic, which is not the case.

After the heating and oxidization process, black garlic is ready for consumption.

The Sensation of Eating Black Garlic

If told to chew a full clove of raw garlic, most people would frown because the odor and taste would be too strong. But with black garlic, you could eat up to ten raw cloves at once and still ask for more. Why is this?

First, black garlic doesn’t have much of an odor. Second, it has a very complex but very delicious flavor , as we described above. It has a mysterious taste, meaning that it is familiar and yet strange at the same time. With the soft texture of a chewy dry fruit or roasted garlic, black garlic has the sweetness of aged balsamic, chocolate, or even aniseed. It has the smoky flavor of the black cardamom. You can also detect the sweet and sour flavor of tamarind when you eat black garlic. Its similarity to a fig or a pear when you consume its cloves like grapes is another property that makes its taste very complex.

What makes the flavor of the black garlic so distinct and captivating?

Why is Taste of Black Garlic so Complex?

With so many flavors found in black garlic, it can be very informative to learn how these flavors all come to be in this one substance.

As mentioned earlier, the formation of black garlic involves the Malliard reaction, which breaks down the enzymes that make the white garlic into many molecules. Since there is no burning or crushing involved in the Malliard reaction, the components of the white garlic are not lost; they are only enhanced. The sugars and amino acids found in garlic are broken down into melanoidin, a substance with a higher level of fructose and glucose content. This explains the sweet, molasses-like taste of black garlic.

The major component of garlic, however, is known as allicin. This component is found in white garlic bulbs and is responsible for the taste, smell, and some beneficial properties of the garlic. It is usually found in large quantities in fresh garlic, and when the Malliard reaction is initiated via the heat of the fermentation process, the allicin is broken down into antioxidants, such as alkaloids.

The breakdown of allicin completely gets rid of the smell and the strong taste of white garlic, leading to the formation of black garlic, which has no smell and has a delicious flavor. Although the allicin levels are reduced in the garlic during the Malliard reaction, it is broken down to more useful substances and its performance is enhanced. For instance, it is broken down into S-Allycysteine, a water soluble compound that upon consumption is easily absorbed into the body.

White garlic generally consists of antioxidant compounds that make it very beneficial to the human body. Some of these antioxidants include polyphenols and flavonoids among others. Some of these antioxidants are said to be important in curing or preventing some types of cancer. When the white garlic is subjected to the Malliard reaction, these antioxidants increase in number, become more concentrated, and therefore completely change the texture, appearance, and the taste of the black garlic compared to the original white garlic. This means that the black garlic is a more enhanced form of garlic, not only in terms of flavor, but also in terms of its benefits to the body.

Using the Flavor of Black Garlic

The captivating flavor of black garlic has rapidly become popular all over the world since its introduction in Korea . The health benefits of this delicacy are widespread and therefore, in addition to being eaten as raw cloves, black garlic can be used in many other ways .

Black garlic is a natural flavor enhancer. For this reason, it is used to add sweetness to different foods. It is used as a sweetener in salads, pizza, and also in pasta. It is also added to energy drinks to give them a unique taste and can also be used to make garlic chocolate. Others warm black garlic and use it as a topping for ice cream instead of fudge or caramel. Generally, black garlic can be used in many cuisines to give it a subtle taste.

Making Your Own Black Garlic

If you want to grow garlic and turn it into black garlic as a flavor enhancer, you’ll want to know where the flavor of the black garlic comes from. This flavor of black garlic is highly dependent on the type of white garlic used to make it. If the white garlic converted to black garlic had a high sugar content to begin with, then the back garlic produced will have a more caramel-like flavor, while white garlic with low sugar content will lead to a black garlic with high levels of acidity, and the taste will be more like that of a tomato paste.

Another factor in preparing your black garlic is how long you allow it to ferment and at what temperature. Keeping a constant temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 weeks will generally produce tastier black garlic than when fermented at higher temperatures in less time.

The taste, however, is a bonus to the health benefits of black garlic because you can enjoy eating the garlic while improving your health at the same time. The antioxidants present in black garlic serve many functions in the body, such as protecting your cells from damage, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatic arthritis, and other chronic disorders. Black garlic has also been proven to have anti-aging properties.


In summary, it is evident that black garlic has more benefits than white garlic in that it not only tastes sweeter, but has more antioxidants and, has no odor. It is also easily tolerated by the digestive system because it is easily absorbed in the body and has a softer texture.

However, it is not entirely good to forget the white garlic because it also has some benefits. It has a higher concentration of allicin compared to black garlic, and allicin has antimicrobial properties, which are significantly lost when it is converted to black garlic. For this reason, they are both important. If you grow your own garlic, we recommend keeping some cloves as white garlic while converting the rest to black.

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