How to Peel Garlic

Here are five different techniques depending on how much garlic you need to peel.

Garlic and other members of the allium family contain compounds <a target="_blank" href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25586902/">linked to cancer prevention</a>. 
So bring on the garlic breath and add raw or cooked garlic to sauces, soups, marinades and roasted and sautéed vegetables.

Garlic

Garlic and other members of the allium family contain compounds linked to cancer prevention. So bring on the garlic breath and add raw or cooked garlic to sauces, soups, marinades and roasted and sautéed vegetables.

Photo by: Robert Daly; Getty Images

Robert Daly; Getty Images

By Leah Brickley for Food Network Kitchen

Leah is a senior culinary editor at Food Network.

Freshly peeled garlic is 100% worth it, whether you’re making pasta, pesto or pizza. Taking the time to free those pungent cloves from their papery jackets — instead of buying the jar of pre-chopped garlic — can make all the difference in the flavor of a recipe. But garlic knows it’s that good and can be stubborn about coming out of its peels. Thankfully, there are several peeling hacks that can save you tons of time. Here are some of our favorite ways to make peeling less of a hassle.

How to Peel Garlic By Hand

When to Use this Technique

This method is great for preparing small amounts (read: one or two cloves) of whole or sliced garlic.

What to Do

1: Use a small paring knife to cut off the root end of a clove.

2: Working from the stem end, use your fingers to peel away the skin.

Woman using a knife and her hands to peel fresh garlic cloves. First person perspective.

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Woman using a knife and her hands to peel fresh garlic cloves. First person perspective.

Photo by: Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images

Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images

How to Peel Garlic By Smashing It

When to Use this Technique

If a recipe calls for a small amount of chopped or minced garlic, then a chef’s knife is the perfect tool. This method is also great if you need some smashed whole cloves for a sauce or braise.

What to Do

1: Lay a clove of garlic on a cutting board and slice off the stem end.

2: Place the flat side of the knife on top of it, push down and apply pressure until you feel the clove smush. The skin will split apart around the clove of garlic.

3: Pluck the skin off the garlic — it’ll come off in big, satisfying pieces.

Big Batch Garlic Peeling
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How to Peel Garlic with Two Bowls

When to Use this Technique

This method is a great party trick because it allows you to peel a large amount of garlic all at once.

What to Do

1: Break a head of garlic apart into individual cloves. Slice off their root ends with a knife.

2: Transfer the garlic to one of the bowls.

3: Invert the other bowl onto the garlic-filled one so the rims are touching.

4: Hold both the bottom and top bowl firmly together and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Most, if not all of the garlic should have magically slipped out of their skins.

5: Give any stubborn cloves another shake.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

How to Peel Garlic with a Cocktail Shaker

When to Use this Technique

Very similar to the two-bowl method, a cocktail shaker is a quick way to peel a small amount of garlic.

What to Do

1: Add several cloves to the cocktail shaker and snap on the lid (you don’t need the strainer).

2: Shake vigorously (like you are making a martini) and open to reveal peeled garlic.

3: (Wash and rinse your cocktail shaker and wipe the inside with distilled vinegar; no one wants a garlic-infused Manhattan.)

Peeling Garlic to make a cooking sauce - close up

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Peeling Garlic to make a cooking sauce - close up

Photo by: sebastianosecondi/Getty Images

sebastianosecondi/Getty Images

How to Peel Garlic with a Microwave

When to Use this Technique

Your microwave can do more than make popcorn or reheat coffee: it can make peeling an entire head of garlic in just moments possible.

What to Do

1: Remove any excess papery skin from the head.

2: Take a thin slice of the top off to reveal the cloves.

3: Transfer the whole head to a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 20 seconds.

4: Let the head cool until you can easily handle it.

5: Pick up each clove and pop it out of its skin like you’re removing a jacket. The cloves will be so easy to peel they’ll practically fly out of their skin.

How to Store Peeled Garlic

Refrigerate peeled garlic cloves in an airtight container for up to a week.

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