Across countries and continents, our food culture may differ, but we can agree on three fundamental truths in the kitchen:
- Garlic is a pain to peel
- Onions make us cry
- Hot peppers burn if we accidentally touch our eyes or face
Hey, we are all human right? While the latter two may bring us physical pain, the first takes an astounding amount of patience and will be my focus for today.
5 Methods to Peel Garlic
Below are 5 tricks and tips on how to peel garlic. Each method has pros and cons depending on the type of cooking you are doing. We hope this helps you in your kitchen!
The Press/Squish/Crush Method
The press/squish/crush method is the simplest and quickest method for a few cloves. It is easy to incorporate into your kitchen and takes no time to learn!
Note: If you need full cloves of garlic completely intact (not crushed) skip down to a different method. This will cause the cloves to partially be squashed.
Step 1: Separate however many cloves you need from the head of the garlic and place on your cutting board.
Step 2: Lay the flat side of the knife directly on top of the garlic clove. Firmly grip the handle with one hand. With the heel of the other hand, firmly press down on the flat side of the knife. Do not grip the blade. Keep your palm open. (In the image below I curled my fingers around the back of the knife for support.) You should hear a crunch or snap when you press down.
Step 3: Peel of the loosened outer layer.
Step 4: Repeat with remaining cloves.
The Garlic Peeling Tool Method
My grandmother introduced us to this amazing (and cheap) garlic peeling tool! This tool is great for those wanting to keep the garlic clove fully intact and for those who do not want their hands to smell strongly like garlic.
I use this when roasting chicken as I like full roasted cloves to chomp on as well.
Step 1: Separate however many cloves you need from the head of the garlic.
Step 2: Place the garlic cloves inside the tube. (I put one or two cloves in at a time.)
Step 3: Roll the tube back and forth until the outer layer loosens and falls off. Do this gently so that you do not break the garlic into pieces. You should hear the crackling sound of the outer layer breaking.
Step 4: Peel the excess loosened outer layer. Repeat with remaining cloves.
The Shake Method
When needing to use a lot of garlic right away, I highly recommend the shake method. This can be used with any lidded container, but I like using a mason jar typically used for pickling!
Step 1: Separate however many cloves you need from the head of the garlic and place in a jar. Screw on the lid.
Step 2: Do a little jig, do a little dance. Shake, shake, shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Shake for a bit longer if necessary. The skins will break away.
Step 3: Dump out the garlic cloves and skin layers. Toss the outer layers aside and use the garlic as needed.
The Hot Water Method
If you watched Nadiya Hussain’s show Nadiya’s Time to Eat on Netflix, you will have seen this method featured (and yes, it actually works). I first became a fan during her time on The Great British Bake Off. Since then, she released some cookbooks and starred in this recent show! She is basically awesome.
Anyway, she featured this trick. I recommend doing this when needing to peel a large batch of garlic. Otherwise, it is not time-efficient. I like this method because it allows me to step away to tend to other tasks at the same time.
Step 1: Bring a pot or kettle to boil.
Step 2: Once boiling, turn off the heat. If using a pot, remove from the hot eye. If using a kettle, pour into a bowl.
Step 3: Place all garlic cloves into the hot water for approximately 1 minute. This will naturally loosen the outer layers.
Step 4: Drain and remove the skins. Use garlic as needed.
The Microwave Method
For the lazy chef, I recommend the microwave method. You can choose to break up the head of garlic or leave it whole. (This is my least favorite method because the garlic cooks slightly from the inside. If you care about that, skip this method. It does make a flavor difference!!!)
Step 1: You will need a whole head of garlic. Pop the garlic into the microwave.
Step 2: Heat for 15-20 seconds. Do not overheat! If you do, you can cook or burn the garlic.
Step 3: Take the garlic out of the microwave (careful it will be VERY HOT!) and remove the cloves from the skin.
…Or Don’t Peel Garlic At All
Finally, for those of you who really, really, really hate to peel garlic, I recommend heading over to your local Asian market. You can buy a HUGE bag of already peeled garlic for way less than at your local western chain grocery store (I do not recommend pre-minced/jarred garlic as it is much milder in flavor than fresh garlic).
If you don’t need that much garlic, no problem. Simply freeze the garlic cloves whole for later use. They will not have the crunchy texture of fresh garlic but will keep that strong flavor. Or, if you want, mince the garlic and freeze in an ice cube tray. This way, you have pre-minced individual servings that you can pop into the fry pan.
Recommended Products For Peeling Garlic
- We highly recommend the garlic peeling tool shown above. It is easy to use! It also comes in multiple colors.
- Our electric kettle is a Fellow Stagg. Out of all the electric kettles I have used, this is my absolute favorite! Isn’t it pretty as well? It is also perfect for pour over coffee. It comes in multiple different styles and colors.
- Sometimes you need a break from mincing. We all feel that way. I recommend the Oxo Good Grips garlic press (their products are great overall).
- We used mason jars for the shake method. They’re also great for canning, jarring, and pickling!
How Do You Peel Garlic?
There you have it! 5 simple and easy ways to peel garlic. How do you peel garlic at home? Let us know in the comments below.
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