The Best Way to Easily Peel Garlic: A Step-By-Step Guide

This method for peeling garlic is as quick, easy, and efficient as it comes.

Wondering how to peel garlic easily? Then, you've come to the right place. The good news is that you don't need any special tools or skills. This simple method is tried and true and will have you mincing and chopping your garlic in no time.

Since fresh garlic is used in so many dishes, it's extremely useful to know how to peel the cloves quickly — with the smallest amount of mess possible. But first, let's go over what to look for when shopping for garlic.

How to Pick Garlic

Leave the skin on roast garlic to keep in from drying out in the oven.

Choose garlic bulbs that are plump and relatively heavy with unblemished skin. Avoid those with dark, damp spots or broken skin. Sprouts aren't necessarily harmful, but they're a good indication that the garlic isn't as fresh.

How to Peel Garlic

1. First, separate the garlic cloves from the bulb. Tip: Roll and press the bulb with your palm to loosen the individual cloves first. You can also (carefully) use a knife tip to pop the cloves off. In some countries, the garlic bulb is called a garlic foot. That said, remove as many garlic toes as needed for your recipe, and set them aside.

100849184_Peeling Garlic_Photo by Meredith
Photo by Meredith.

2. Next, place the flat side of a knife on one garlic clove. Hit the knife with your palm with a quick and somewhat firm chop. Only whack hard enough so the skin is loosened from the garlic and easy to remove. You want the clove to maintain its shape. Crushing the garlic will make it more challenging to work with (and sticky), oxidize faster, and take on a bitter flavor.

102046989_Peeling Garlic_Photo by Meredith
Photo by Meredith.

3. Lastly, peel and discard the skin, then use a knife to cut the root off the clove. The garlic is now ready for chopping, pressing, or adding to a recipe whole.

102046990_Peeling Garlic_Photo by Meredith

There are other quick hacks for peeling garlic — like microwaving the entire bulb for 20 seconds so that the skins almost slip off the cloves. Or, there's the shake-like-you-mean-it method for larger quantities of cloves:

  • Place the cloves in a bowl.
  • Cover with another bowl or a plate.
  • Shake vigorously for 20 seconds.

Of course, you can also buy gadgets, like silicone rollers and stainless-steel or wooden crushers. But the knife trick is hard to beat for ease and simplicity.

How to Store Peeled Garlic

peeled garlic cloves
Melanie Hobson/EyeEm/Getty Images

Store unpeeled garlic at room temperature in a dry, dark place away from moisture and humidity. Store peeled garlic cloves in the fridge, tightly sealed in an airtight container. Though they may start to lose pungency after a few days, they'll be fine to use for up to a week.

How to Use Fresh Garlic

Chicken with 20 Cloves of Garlic
Chicken with 20 Cloves of Garlic | Photo by Millie. Millie

Now that you're a garlic-peeling pro, it's time to cook! Try your hand at some of our favorite recipes that make good use of this flavorful ingredient:

Hungry for more? Try one of our best Garlic Chicken Thigh Dinners and explore our entire collection of Garlic Recipes.

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