Why is garlic sticky?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “why is garlic sticky,” and discuss when does garlic become sticky, and can you use sticky garlic for cooking purposes.

Why is garlic sticky?

The garlic is sticky because it is full of taste and is fresh.

This sticky feeling is entirely normal, and it’s nothing to worry about! There are a few things at play here, but the bottom line is that this stickiness indicates that your garlic is fresh and full of flavor.

When does garlic become sticky?

The reason why garlic cloves become sticky is that the mercaptans, a sulfur-containing compound, in the garlic react to the other sulfur-containing compounds, like cysteine and methionine, that are found in your skin, nails, and hair.

When the mercaptans and cysteine or methionine come into contact with each other, they form a chemical bond, called a disulfide bridge. This chemical reaction causes the stickiness you feel on your skin.

While many people think sticky garlic is garlic that has gone bad, this isn’t true, the stickiness is merely an indication that the garlic is fresh and full of flavor. Next time you cut up some garlic for supper, embrace its freshness as it becomes sticky!

What is the sticky part of garlic?

Not all garlic is sticky. Whole, uncut garlic is not sticky. However, a pungent liquid is released from a clove of garlic when you start chopping and crushing, and cutting into the bulbous flowering plant, which is the sticky part of garlic.

When you crush, chop, or dice garlic, you’re not just making it easier to cook with. You’re also exposing a sticky substance that is released when the bulbous plant is crushed.

If you’ve ever chopped garlic, chances are you’ve experienced the stickiness of its juices. The pungent liquid is released when the bulb is crushed and causes the resulting garlic to be sticky to the touch.

Is sticky garlic bad?

Sticky garlic is absolutely not bad. In fact, it’s the best kind of garlic!

When garlic cloves are wrapped tightly in their paper-like outer covering, they tend to be sticky on the outside, which is a sign of freshness.

If you’re peeling your own garlic and find that it’s sticky or tacky, it’s just because there’s some moisture in the air and a little bit of that moisture has adhered to the clove. This doesn’t mean your garlic isn’t fresh, in fact, it means the opposite! Fresh garlic is going to have a little bit more moisture than dried-out, older garlic will.

If you find that you don’t like handling sticky garlic skin with your fingers, you can always use a fork or spoon to remove the skin that way instead of pulling at it with your fingers.

How to cut sticky garlic?

Sticky garlic is not bad, although it does take a little bit more work to peel. To peel sticky garlic, you will need:

A knife

A cutting board

A small bowl

Olive oil


  1. Skin the garlic clove by slicing off the very tip of the clove where it was attached to the bulb. This will allow you to easily peel off the skin. If you don’t want to use all of the clove, cut it in half and only peel as much as you need.
  1. Put the peeled cloves in a small bowl and cover with olive oil. This will make peeling even easier!

How to make garlic less sticky?

If you’re having trouble with garlic sticking to your fingers and other surfaces, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Get yourself a garlic peeler. These are inexpensive and are found in most kitchen stores. A garlic peeler will help you get the outer skin off of the clove.
  1. If you don’t have one, you could use a sharp knife to cut off the top of the clove before peeling, which will make it easier to peel it manually.
  1. You can also soak the cloves in water for about 10 minutes, which will loosen the skin.
  1. If you need to use garlic that has already been peeled and chopped up (for example, from a jar or can), try wetting your fingers or the surface first so that it doesn’t stick as easily.
  2. You could also scrape off any excess liquid that’s left on top of what you’re working with by using something like parchment paper or foil to protect yourself from getting burned while scraping!

Can you use sticky garlic for cooking purposes?

Yes, you can use sticky garlic for cooking purposes.

Any dish that calls for fresh garlic can be made using sticky garlic instead. Simply break off the sprout portion of the clove (or cut it off) and then use the clove in your recipe as usual. You may find that you need to use fewer cloves since the flavor will be stronger and more concentrated.

Other FAQs about Garlic that you may be interested in.

What is the substitute for black garlic?

Can garlic go in the fridge?

What is 1 clove of garlic?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “why is garlic sticky,” and other questions related to the subject, such as when does garlic become sticky, and can you use sticky garlic for cooking purposes.