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Peeling Garlic - 3 Ways to Peel Garlic Like the Pros

Updated on January 29, 2015

Introduction to Peeling Garlic Like the Pros

Let’s face it, garlic is an essential part of many of our favorite recipes, but it can be a hassle to use fresh. I spent years struggling to peel cloves of garlic, both store bought and home grown, only to end up with sticky fingers and a counter covered in bits of garlic peel. Lucky for me (and you!), one night while cooking dinner for a group of friends I was shown how to peel garlic quickly without making a mess.

Below are my 3 favorite ways to peel garlic with easy to follow instructions. Each method has its own pros and cons as seen in the table below, but try all three and find the one that works best for your recipe.

Pros and Cons of Each Method

The "Smash & Grab"
quiet, minimal cleanup and effort
garlic must be minced
Silicone Garliic Rollers
bulk peeling, whole cloves, easy, quiet
more gadgets to store
"Shake it Off"
Bulk peeling, whole cloves, and fun with children
very loud

1. The "Smash & Grab"

By far, this is my favorite way to peel garlic. There are only three things you need to try this approach: your hand, a sharp knife, and a clove of garlic.

On a sturdy counter top or cutting board, place a single clove of garlic with the flattest edge facing down. Use a sharp knife to cut off the hard flat end of the clove. Using the hard base of your palm smash the clove against the counter top or cutting board. The clove should be squashed and the thin papery peel should be easy to remove from the little pile of garlic in 1 or 2 large pieces. Mince the garlic as needed.

Optionally, if you are using a wide chef’s knife, use the side of the blade as a buffer between the clove and your palm when you smash the garlic, this will prevent you from getting garlic juice on your palm. Be careful not to smash your palm against the blade by accident.

Asian-style cleavers work well and are fun to use for smashing garlic, the blades are so wide they work very well for moving vegetables between the cutting board and the pot.

2. Silicone Clove Rollers/Peeling Tubes

If you don’t already have one, this little kitchen gadget is one of the coolest tools you can get for under $10. Essentially, a silicone garlic roller is just a silicone tube. You place 1-5 cloves of garlic within the small silicone tube, and use one or both hands to roll the tube across the counter while applying even, direct pressure. Within 30 seconds all 5 cloves of garlic are clean of their papery covering and ready to slice, roast, or mince as needed.

I suggest checking out the garlic peeling tube below, for $5 and free shipping with Prime its hard to beat!

3. Shake it off!

If you have young children (or just love dancing to T Swift) this is a great way to include them in your kitchen activities and outsource your peeled garlic!

For this you will need two matching metal bowls or a metal pot with lid. Place as many cloves as you want into the first metal bowl, I recommend using less than 10 cloves. Place the second bowl upside down on top of the first bowl. Hold the two bowls together firmly and shake up and down for 10-20 seconds. Make sure you here the cloves bouncing around because as the cloves come in contact with the metal sides the papery covers will be knocked off. Check the cloves and repeat if necessary.

The Stinky Conclusion

Now that you know how to peel garlic likes the professionals, there’s no reason not to use it more often in all your favorite garlicky dishes! Cheers!


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