When I try to make garlic bread or, in general, something where the garlic is not in a liquid, it sometimes turns green while cooking! It's worth noting that the taste doesn't seem to really be "off", but the color certainly isn't appetizing. Without doing a ton of experiments myself, does anyone happen to know what causes this?

What I'm doing for garlic bread is as simple as slicing the bread, buttering it, putting crushed garlic on it, and baking. Is there something I'm doing wrong, or perhaps something I should be doing to prevent it?

  • 4
    Embrace the greenness. Call it green garlic bread :-)
    – HenningJ
    Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 8:38
  • 1
    Just make it for St Patricks day, nobody will complain.
    – ManiacZX
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 17:42
  • 1
    Yes, I preserved garlic with some vinegar. It turned the most vibrant cyan-green color... It's harmless but the color is weird.
    – SF.
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 5:43

4 Answers 4


As far as I'm aware there are a few possible reasons for this to occur.

  • Young garlic can turn green when the presence of an acid, in this case the butter.
  • As a possible chemical reaction between the garlic and certain types of cooking utensil, such as cast iron or copper.
  • It will sometimes change colour if it has prolonged exposure to bright sunlight.

The most important worry can be dismissed, it's not harmful :)


Garlic contains a sulphur compound and an enzyme that when "mixed together" by cutting or crushing garlic create allicin which will turn green or blue when it comes in contact with an acid, such as vinegar or tomato sauce. It also happens when it comes into contact with trace minerals found in water or minerals found in certain metals(ie:knife or cooking vessel).

The environment in which the garlic is grown and/or stored, as well as the age of the garlic can also contribute to garlic turning green or blue.

It is completely safe to eat, and some cultures even prize colored garlic.


Just add ginger paste along with garlic. NO color change of blue or green. I successfully tried this. The ginger will not allow the garlic to change color.

  • 1
    I'm not convinced that this is a solution given that there is a similar question regarding blue ginger. That aside, it's difficult to imagine garlic bread tasting as garlic bread should once ginger paste has been introduced. Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 19:15

My pressed garlic always turns green once it sits for a bit open to the air. If I plant it in oil as soon as I press it, it stays within normal color range. It seems to me, that whatever causes the change is in the air....not other stuff. I have used green garlic and I feel that once it is green it tastes sharper with little or no sweetness to balance it. I feel I have to alter other ingredients to accommodate this change.

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Unfortunately, this is an anecdote, not an answer. Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 22:47
  • 2
    @DanielGriscom Actually, it is an answer - suggesting an preventive measure. Whether you agree with it or consider it a good answer is up to you.
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 8:56

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