CategoryHerbs and spices

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Cloves are the aromatic dried buds of a tree native to Indonesia,[1] used as a spice in virtually all the world's cuisine.



The whole spice is shaped something like a woody nail, with both a head and a stem.[2] The flavor comes primarily from eugenol, which is highly abundant and gives the spice a very strong and warming character.[3][4][5] Interestingly, like cinnamon, it has a subtle sweetening effect on dishes.[6][7]

Selection and storage


Cloves are available both whole and ground.[8] High-quality whole cloves can be ascertained by pressing a nail or other sharp item into the stem to see if the essential oil comes out.[6] Though whole spices last longer and can be ground at home, you won't want to grind cloves in anything that has plastic parts—the oil is corrosive and lingering, and this will ruin the equipment.[4]

Like all spices, store cloves at room temperature in an airtight container, sequestered from light, heat, and moisture.

Clove can be used in cooking, both in savory and sweet recipes.[1] In savory recipes, it goes particularly well with red meats such as lamb or beef, as well as with onions.[4][8] In desserts, it goes well with fruits, such as apple and pumpkin. It also pairs well with other eugenol-containing and warming ingredients like basil, cinnamon, vanilla, and wine.[3][4][6] Due to its very strong flavor, clove should be used sparingly.[4][8]




  1. a b Friberg, Bo (2016-09-13). The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-46629-2.
  2. Wolke, Robert L. (2011-01-12). What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-07982-1.
  3. a b Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  4. a b c d e "Spice Hunting: Cloves". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  5. Van Wyk, Ben-Erik (2014-09-26). Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-09183-9.
  6. a b c Farrimond, Dr Stuart (2018-11-06). The Science of Spice: Understand Flavor Connections and Revolutionize Your Cooking. National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-1-4654-7557-2.
  7. Labensky, Sarah; Martel, Priscilla; Damme, Eddy Van (2015-01-06). On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, Updated Edition. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-13-388675-7.
  8. a b c Thaler, Maximus; Safferstein, Dayna (2014-09). A Curious Harvest: The Practical Art of Cooking Everything. Quarry Books. ISBN 978-1-59253-928-4. {{cite book}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)