Is Garlic a Vegetable?

Discover the botanical classification and culinary versatility of garlic in this informative article about vegetables.


4/28/20242 min read

red green and yellow chili peppers and green chili peppers
red green and yellow chili peppers and green chili peppers

In the culinary world, garlic is a staple ingredient renowned for its pungent flavor and aromatic qualities. However, when it comes to categorizing garlic, the question arises: Is garlic a vegetable? In this article, we delve into the classification of garlic to determine its status as a vegetable or something else entirely.

To classify something as a vegetable, it must come from a plant and be edible. Vegetables are typically the edible parts of plants, such as roots (carrots), stems (celery), leaves (spinach), flowers (broccoli), or fruits (tomatoes). Additionally, vegetables are often rich in essential nutrients and are an important component of a balanced diet.

So, Is Garlic a Vegetable?

Yes, garlic is classified as a vegetable. Although it grows underground like a root vegetable, it belongs to the Allium genus, making it part of the onion family. As a vegetable, garlic is prized for its culinary versatility and health benefits, containing essential nutrients like vitamins C and B6, as well as antioxidants. Whether used as a flavor enhancer or a main ingredient in dishes, garlic adds depth and complexity to a wide range of cuisines worldwide.

Why Garlic Isn’t an Herb

Garlic is not considered an herb due to its classification as a member of the Allium genus, alongside onions, shallots, and leeks. While herbs typically refer to the leaves or green parts of plants used for culinary or medicinal purposes, garlic is derived from the bulbous root of the plant. Additionally, herbs are often valued for their aromatic properties, whereas garlic's pungent flavor comes from its sulfur-containing compounds. Despite its distinct taste and culinary uses similar to some herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, garlic's botanical characteristics align it more closely with vegetables rather than herbs.

We still keep our garlic with our herbs, however!

Using Other Parts of the Garlic Plant

Unlocking the full potential of the garlic plant extends beyond its flavorful cloves. The versatile garlic scape, the curly green shoot that emerges from the bulb, is a culinary gem, prized for its mild garlic flavor. These scapes can be chopped and added to salads, stir-fries, or pesto for a fresh and vibrant taste. Additionally, garlic greens, the tender leaves that sprout from the bulb, offer a milder garlic flavor and can be used as a garnish or incorporated into dishes like omelets, soups, or pasta. Embrace the abundance of the garlic plant for a truly infused living experience!


Is garlic a vegetable or herb?

Garlic is classified as a vegetable, belonging to the Allium genus, along with onions and leeks.

Why isn't garlic a fruit?

Garlic is not a fruit because it does not develop from the ovary of a flower after fertilization.

What type of vegetable is garlic?

Garlic is a bulbous vegetable, known for its distinct flavor and culinary versatility.

Are garlic and ginger spices?

No, garlic and ginger are not considered spices but rather aromatic vegetables, prized for their pungent flavors.