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The Best Whole Cloves

Last updated on October 26, 2022
Best Whole Cloves

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Whole Cloves

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

VAHDAM Lab-Tested Gluten Free Whole Cloves, 11-Ounce

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Lab-Tested Gluten Free Whole Cloves, 11-Ounce

Did you know whole cloves are full of antioxidants? Grab this resealable bag and enjoy pure cloves that are handpicked in India. Use the cloves in your favorite recipes, or create an aromatic potpourri to fill your house with a pleasant scent.

Overall Take

Organic OptionThese non-GMO whole cloves are certified organic and free of any gluten.

 Runner Up

Ceylon Flavors Organic Sun-Dried Sri Lankan Whole Cloves, 3.5-Ounce

Ceylon Flavors

Organic Sun-Dried Sri Lankan Whole Cloves, 3.5-Ounce

These whole cloves are sun-dried to retain a higher oil content for more flavor. They're also hand-selected in central Sri Lanka so that 90% still include the clove head. This 3.5-ounce resealable bag contains organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and non-irradiated cloves.

Overall Take

Higher Oil ContentThese hand-picked, sun-dried cloves have a higher oil content to boost both scent and flavor.

 We Also Like

Happy Belly Kosher Certified Whole Cloves, 2-Ounce

Happy Belly

Kosher Certified Whole Cloves, 2-Ounce

You'll get a convenient plastic shaker bottle of 2 ounces of whole cloves with this affordable Amazon-branded product. This product is both gluten free and kosher. You can also order them as a set with cinnamon sticks if your recipe calls for both.

Overall Take

Handy PickThese Amazon-branded cloves were packed in the U.S. and are sure to make your home smell wonderful.

 Strong Contender

Spicy World Premium Bulk Whole Cloves, 14-Ounce

Spicy World

Premium Bulk Whole Cloves, 14-Ounce

These whole cloves are hand-selected early in the budding process, then dried to reach the optimum woody texture. You'll get a full pound of U.S.-packed whole cloves inside a resealable bag, which is perfect if you use them for your food, beverages or even insect control.

Overall Take

Useful PackagingIf you use your cloves in many different ways, this big resealable bag of cloves is a great option.

Buying Guide

If you regularly cook meals that include cloves as an ingredient, you probably realize how important the spice can be in a recipe. The flavor stands out so much, even a slight change in brand or quality can make a big difference.

What are cloves? They’re made from the leaves of the clove tree, an evergreen that grows as tall as 40 feet. Typically found in warmer tropical climates, the tree is native to Indonesia but has been planted across the globe to produce the popular spice.

Cloves are a pungent spice, found in recipes for spicy dishes and beverages, as well as some sweet ones. For dessert usage, they’re perhaps best known for being combined with cinnamon and nutmeg in pumpkin pie. You’ll also see them in spicy drinks like cider and chai.

When shopping for cloves, it’s important to look at the oil concentration. Cloves with a high level of oil concentration are both spicier and more aromatic. Your recipes will soar with the right cloves to help them along.

Another consideration is the nutrition content. Cloves are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C and eugenol, so they’re a great addition to your diet. But you may also want to look for cloves that are organic, gluten-free and non-GMO.

What to Look For

  • Cloves should be stored in a cool, dry place between uses. No refrigeration is required.
  • Your cloves should have an expiration date on them, but this is typically a date well into the future. Once they’re ground, though, be aware that this shortens their lifespan. You might want to keep your cloves in whole form until just before you’re ready to use them.
  • A change in color with your spices will typically tell you whether they’re still fresh or not. As the color of your cloves start to lighten, take a whiff and see if they’re also starting to lose their fragrance. While the spice will still be fine to use, it may not have the potency it once did.
  • Cloves come in resealable bags as well as spice bottles. A resealable bag can keep air and moisture from getting in, making it ideal for larger quantities.
  • Cloves can be served in a variety of ways. You can grind them or toss them into your recipes and beverages whole. In a pinch, you can substitute nutmeg, allspice or cardamom for cloves in some recipes.
  • Where your cloves are sourced from is important. You’ll find some from the U.S., but it’s preferable if they come from a country where clove trees are more common and harvesting them is a normal practice.

More to Explore

It may seem odd to imagine today, but cloves were once used as a breath freshener. Ancient Chinese cultures called the spice “chicken tongue fragrance” and used it to remove mouth odors.

In fact, one Han dynasty official reportedly once impressed his boss when he showed up for work sucking on cloves. That boss spread the word and soon other prominent officials and nobility began using cloves as a breath freshener as well. Records from 200 B.C. indicate that courtiers kept cloves in their mouths when speaking to the emperor so as not to offend him with foul breath.

Before you dismiss clove-sucking as something that doesn’t work as well as modern-day options, it might not be such a bad idea to give it a try. Cloves can help fight off the bad bacteria that reside in the mouth, potentially causing cavities.

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