This method for peeling garlic is as quick, easy, and efficient as they come.

By Allrecipes Staff and Corey Williams
Updated April 06, 2021

Wondering how to peel fresh garlic the best way? You've come to the right place.

Garlic is used in so many dishes it is extremely useful to be proficient at peeling it quickly and with the smallest amount of mess possible.

Here's what you need to know:

How to Pick Garlic

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

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

How to Peel Garlic

1. Remove a garlic clove from the bulb. Interestingly, in other countries the garlic bulb is called a foot. That said, remove as many garlic toes as needed for your recipe and set aside.

100849184_Peeling Garlic_Photo by Meredith
Photo by Meredith

2. Then, place the flat side of the knife on the garlic clove. With a quick and somewhat firm chop, hit the knife with your palm. Do not press so hard that the garlic is completely crushed. Only press hard enough that the skin is loosened from the garlic to allow you to easily remove the skin. The garlic should maintain its shape. Crushing the garlic completely will cause it to not only be difficult to work with and sticky, but to oxidize and take on a bitter flavor.

102046989_Peeling Garlic_Photo by Meredith
Photo by Meredith

3. Peel and discard the skin, then use a knife to cut the remaining root off of the garlic clove. This garlic is now perfect chopping or thrown into a stew whole.

102046990_Peeling Garlic_Photo by Meredith
Credit: Meredith

How to Store Peeled Garlic

peeled garlic cloves
Credit: Melanie Hobson/EyeEm/Getty Images

Unpeeled garlic can be stored at room temperature, but the fridge is your best bet for peeled cloves. Seal them tightly in an air-tight container, then throw them in the refrigerator. Though they may start losing pungency after only a few days, they'll be fine to use for about a week.  

How to Use Fresh Garlic

Chicken with 20 Cloves of Garlic
Chicken with 20 Cloves of Garlic | Photo by Millie
| Credit: Millie

Now that you're a pro at peeling garlic, it's time to get cooking! Try your hand at one of our favorite recipes that make good use of the flavorful ingredient:

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