The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic

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Wondering how to peel garlic? This is the Easiest Way to Peel Garlic--for now :). How do YOU peel garlic?

All true garlic lovers need an easy way to peel garlic.

I love the flavor of garlic and of course, everyone’s read about all of the great health benefits that garlic has, but it’s a pain to peel.

What a great thing to be able to add something that tastes great and is great for you to your everyday meals!

But the peels – now that’s another thing.

For years I’ve been flustered about how to peel garlic without ending up wanting to pull my hair out. Or worse.

I’ve tried cooking with garlic in lots of ways:

  • peeling cloves with my fingers (ouch!)
  • peeling with a garlic peeler (those rubber rolls that look like toilet paper rolls [messy, messy, messy]).  My kids loved doing it (for awhile), but the novelty soon wore off and those little garlic peelings were all over the place :-(!
  • using pre-peeled garlic.  I’d buy a large container of pre-peeled garlic and would freeze it in small bags (to see the bags and clips that I use, check out my posts on How and Why to Store Prepared Beans or 6 Super Tips for Cilantro).
  • Smashing cloves with the flat side of my knife (thanks to the reader who reminded me of this) – but the cloves easily slipped out from under my knife and I always felt like I was at risk of impaling myself — all for the love of garlic!
  • Using granulated garlic or garlic powder (or homemade garlic powder)

Clearly, the easiest method is to use granulated garlic or garlic powder, but I felt so much better using whole garlic cloves due to the health benefits of garlic and the fresher taste, so I gravitated towards the frozen pre-peeled.

That is, however, until I did some research and talked with a garlic expert on the phone who told me that the nutritional benefits of garlic are almost nil once you freeze garlic.  Ugh!  Back to the drawing board!

So I got out my silly rubbery garlic peeler again and had those pesky garlic peelings all over the place again.

And I pretty much dreaded making any recipe that had garlic in it!

Then – one day – I got an idea and I tried it.  And guess what?  My garlic peeling nightmares are over.  And now yours are too :-)!

So if you’ve been wondering how to peel garlic without losing your mind, you are in the right place.

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Does Garlic Lose Health Benefits When Cooked?

This is an important fact to know and a tip that can help you retain garlic’s benefits in your cooked dishes.

Garlic is loaded with tons of health benefits, but heat will destroy them.

Letting the cut or chopped garlic sit for 10-15 minutes before eating or adding to a dish will maximize the benefits. The cutting or chopping breaks the garlic cells and releases enzymes from the cells that react with oxygen in the air. That reaction triggers healthy sulfide compounds, such as allicin (the most well known beneficial component of garlic), to form.

However, it’s important to not cook garlic for too long or you will destroy some of those benefits. It’s best to add garlic to your hot dish near the end of cooking. Of course it will taste a lot stronger, however, so that’s the trade off.

Some sources say that letting the garlic sit for 10-15 minutes prior to cooking makes the allicin form and that it’s pretty heat stable, but that seems to be up for debate.

garlic cloves in bowl on top of natural placemat with text saying the easiest way to peel garlic.
peeled garlic in glass bowl on natural woven placemat

Easiest Way to Peel Garlic

Once you try this easiest way to peel garlic, you'll never go back to messy presses and garlic rollers again!
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  • Remove one clove from the garlic head.
  • Cut clove in half, through the peel.
  • At this point, typically each half clove will come out easily from the peel.  Sometimes, like in this photo, the halves just fall out of the peel on their own!  (Occasionally, a half clove will prove to be a bit stubborn and you will have to cut off the thick end of the clove that is adhered to the peel.  Just slice through it quickly with your knife.)
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!
Garlic Recipe

Well, there you have it!  An easy way to peel garlic–simple and painless!

Need more kitchen tips?  Out of time as much as I am?  How about:

The Easiest Way to Store Tomatoes
The Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs
– The Easiest Way to Freeze and Store Berries
Easiest Almond Milk Ever
Easiest Coconut Milk
Easiest Baby Wipes

How do you usually peel garlic?

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  1. I’m embarrassed that a solution so easy never came to mind. Thanks so much for the awesome garlic tip!

  2. Have you ever used the prechopped garlic in a jar? I wondered if the health benefits were lost with that garlic also.

  3. Pampered Chef makes a garlic peeler that smashes the garlic out and leaves the peel inside the crusher. Then you are need to use a pointy knife or toothpick to flick out the peel.
    I find it pretty easy to use and no smelly fingers ! lol

  4. try the best garlic press – very inexpensive and works better than any one I have tried, and I have tried quite a few. The best garlic press is from IKEA! Easy to use and super easy to clean…

    1. I know I’m 2 years late on this, but to any readers stopping by: no! I love me some IKEA, but their garlic press is absolute crap. I’m happy with my Pampered Chef version, and there are other well reviewed options on Amazon.

  5. For me, I find that using the side of a wide knife is the quickest and easiest. Hands down. And trust me, I use a lot of garlic. I then use a garlic press (re-pressing the remnants to try to get as much of the garlic). The key is using a wide enough knife (mine is approx. 1 1/2″). The wider the better. It’s the easiest thing in the world. I simply cut the tough end off with sharp knife and with that same knife, I lay the knife flat atop of the clove and whack it with the heal of my hand with just enough force to slightly split it. This releases the skin. Viola. I do all cloves for my recipe and then press all into a ramekin then set aside (covered) to prep the rest of my ingred. I’m all about prepping my ingred. (measuring, pressing, cutting, slicing) before hand for any recipe I make (unless it’s very simple and there’s no need for prepping). Using this method for your garlic, you really can’t hurt (impale) yourself. 🙂

  6. after 78 comments, what on earth could i tell you about garlic other than it is best to grow your own.. and then use a wide spatula to smash it…

    anyhow, since you build this whole conversations around it… Do come share it at our linky party!

  7. I’ve tried all of those gadgets too….I dislike the way the garlic press squeezes the oils out and I don’t like cleaning it either. I do just what you do!

  8. My husband and I just found a video…
    and we didn’t believe it, but then we tried it…
    peeling garlic in ten seconds flat!

    Basically, you take the head of garlic and smash it with your hand…
    Wipe the whole mess into a bowl. Take another bowl and shake the heck out of the garlic pieces..
    When you open the bowl…most if not all of the cloves will be peeled.

    1. I saw that too. I tried it but found it to be hard to get 2 bowls the same size…and it was LOUD. But I am glad it works for you and a lot of others. Thanks for sharing!!

      1. we just took out a pan with a lid and shook the heck out of it..
        it was loud..
        The dog went crazy! But it was fast for the 6 heads of garlic we were peeling!

  9. Great idea! I always used to dread trying to chop garlic finely too, so now I grate it into recipes. It works really well.

  10. I didn’t real through all the comments, so forgive me if these have been shared already, but I have a few garlic peeling suggestions to share.

    1 – gently squish the clove of garlic against the counter or cutting board with the heel of your hand (or the flat side of a knife blade) – skin should remove easily from the glove.

    2 – nuke the clove for a few seconds in the microwave – squeeze the clove out of the skin.

    3 – to peel lots of garlic, place many loose cloves in a bowl, cover tightly and shake, shake, shake – when you open the bowl, all the skins will be removed from the garlic cloves.

    I hope you find some of these tips helpful. Happy cooking!

    1. I tried that but the bowls needed to be exactly the same size and it was a racket. What was your experience?

      1. It works though. Just shake for 30 seconds and done. I use a press so I shove all the heads in the press and store in the fridge.

  11. WOW this is so helpful!! Thank you so much for publishing! I LOVE garlic so much, but I do hate preparing it!! I really love the concept of your blog.

  12. Hi Adrienne,
    This is great information for us! Hope you are having a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  13. I use the press now … I’ll have to give this a shot! Thanks for sharing with us at Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday!

  14. Great tip! I love garlic. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that if a recipe calls for 2 cloves of garlic, it must be a typo and mean 4 🙂

  15. Well, I would say that’s pretty brilliant! I also must add that I have a brilliant method too that never fails and is super easy: I make my husband do it. ;0)

    Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

    1. What a riot. I was speaking at a foodie meeting last night and it was mentioned that having others cook for you is the ultimate in time saving. It wasn’t my tip, but it was a good idea and I’ll have to start working w/ my oldest son….but he is special needs so I’m more likely to have it work with my husband and youngest. We’ll see :).