How To Peel Garlic - Skillful Cook
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How To Peel Garlic

Fresh garlic is the starting point of countless savory recipes. Check out our favorite ways to peel garlic using the crush and shake methods. Super easy and perfect for a variety of meals!

Few pieces of garlic with the heading "How to peel Garlic".

This is the first post in a series of our favorite cooking tips + tricks in the kitchen!

Fresh garlic is the starting point of countless savory recipes. From pasta sauces to soups, it’s always a good idea to keep a stash of garlic in the kitchen. Knowing how to peel fresh garlic will get you cooking in no time. Here are two ways to peel garlic quickly and easily.

Watch How To Peel Garlic

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How To Peel Garlic: Crush Method

Crushing garlic is quick and can be incorporated into your normal cooking prep seamlessly. All you need is garlic and a chef's knife.

Step 1: Loosen up the head of garlic. Separate the cloves and pull aside however many cloves you need.

How to peel garlic represented in a photo.Step 2: Place one clove on the cutting board.

A piece of garlic is being pressed with a knife and pressured by a hand.Step 3: Position the flat side of your knife on top of the clove of garlic, holding the handle tightly. Place the heel of your other hand on the flat side of the knife and push down firmly until you hear a crunch.

Smashing Garlic with a knife.Step 4: Pull of the loosened skin of the garlic clove and discard. Slice, chop, or mince the garlic as needed. You can also use a garlic press if you want to make it easy on yourself. Repeat with remaining garlic cloves.

A photo showing how to peel garlic.This crush method of peeling garlic is quick and perfect for when you need just a few cloves of peeled garlic.

Garlic sitting on a white marbled surface.
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How To Peel Garlic: Shake Method

Shaking garlic is surprisingly effective and uses a standard quart-size mason jar.

Step 1: Loosen up the head of garlic and place all the cloves into a quart size mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly.

Cloves of garlic being peeled.

A person pouring out of a jar.Step 2: Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. Take a look at the garlic to see if most of the cloves have been peeled. Shake for a few more seconds if necessary.

A hand holds a jar of garlic cloves.

Garlic peels in a mason jar.Step 3: Unscrew the lid and pour garlic cloves onto cutting board. Separate the skins for the cloves. Chop, mince, slice garlic as needed.

Cut garlic on a white surface.This shake method of peeling garlic is a quick way to peel large amounts of garlic all at one time.

Cloves of peeled garlic on a surface.
Pieces of minced garlic on a white surface.

How To Store Peeled Garlic:

Peeled garlic can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3-5 days. Check for signs of spoilage before using.

For longer storage, spread garlic on a sheet pan and freeze for 1 hour. Transfer frozen cloves to an airtight container for up to 6 months. Note: Freezing garlic can change the texture of the garlic.

How To Remove Garlic Smell From Hands:

Garlic tastes amazing, but can leave your hands smelling pretty pungent. To remove garlic smell from your hands, wet your hands and rub them on a stainless steel surface. This can be the inside of a sink, a big stainless steel pot, or even a stainless steel bar of soap made especially for this purpose.

Garlic Press - We love our garlic press! Makes perfectly minced garlic, sans smelly hands.

Cutting Board - This is our all-time favorite go-to cutting board in the kitchen.

Mason Jar - If you're going the shake method route! Also useful for about a million other things in the kitchen.

Stainless Steel Soap Bar - For when you love the smell of garlic but just not on your hands. 🤗

Recipes For Garlic Lovers:

Basic Garlic Butter Tomato Sauce

A spoon reaches into a tomato sauce.

Garlic Herb Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs

Garlic herb spaghetti and meatballs in a pan.

Sheet Pan Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

Sheet Pan Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli in a clear container.

Chili Garlic Instant Pot Noodles

Chili Garlic Instant Pot Noodles in a bowl.

Garlic Butter Capellini Pomodoro with Shrimp

A bowl full of Garlic Butter Capellini Pomodoro with Shrimp.

Spring Roll Bowls with Sweet Garlic Lime Sauce

Spring roll bowl with noodles, cucumbers, avocados, and pepper.

Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Butter Sauce

Garlic basic chicken, spaghetti and sauce in a bowl with a fork.

Spicy Shrimp with Cauliflower Mash and Garlic Kale

Perfectly cooked tail on shrimp with kale, and cauliflower mash in a large dark bowl.
Filed Under: All Recipes How-Tos

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    To me every meal must have either onion or garlic. And my father in law can’t stand any of them… so I can’t cook anything but desserts for him to eat. Luckily we share meals only for special occasions.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    garlic pro tip: let’s admit it, most people find peeling garlic to be a serious hassle. Here is a way around that. Buy a large bag of peeled garlic. Costco has I think 3 pound bags for around nine dollars. Pour all in a large tall sided lasagna type baking pan. Glug in about a cup and a half of cheap olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast at about 375 for an hour or so, turning every 15 minutes. Try not to let them burn on the bottom. When they get soft and mushy, poor off the all of oil and save it, you have amazing garlic flavored oil to cook with. Take the garlic, And press it into an old ice cube tray or Styrofoam egg crate or some other kind of small mold, and freeze them. Now you have frozen golf ball sized hunks of frozen garlic that you can put it in just about anything That needs garlic.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    20 sec’ in the microwave will do the trick also.. easy peeling after a little cool down..

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    My father is a cook and it’s one of the first things he showed me as a teenager when I started cooking. A friend recently came over to my house (we’re almost 30) and said she hated peeling garlic and that it was her least favourite part of cooking…which really surprised me, until I realised this wasn’t common knowledge! So I showed her the crushing technique and changed her life haha

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a great post! When I first saw the title I thought I know how to peel garlic, so in my pride I was just going to past over you post. I so happy I didn’t because I would’t have learned something new today. I did not know about the mason jar and shaking method. I ferment garlic cloves, usually 8-10 heads at a time, so this new method will save me so much time. I love your blog and recipes, so many of them have become family favorites.
    Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences and knowledge on your blog.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      When I came back to this post to see if I had any replies I noticed the garlic press note under “related tools”–“We love our garlic press!” Huh? If so, why all the angst about how to peel garlic? Just use your paring knife to cut off the hard top of the clove and pull down/off a strip of the peel, put the clove peeled side down into the press, and . . . press. You do have to clean out the press after each clove or two, but that’s pretty easy. If you want a big batch of roasted garlic, then of course you don’t peel it until afterwards, when you just squish out the roasted garlic between your fingers. So . . . I’m very puzzled!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Garlic isn’t always ideal in paste form after being crushed. Sometimes you dice it, chop it, use a whole clove to infuse oil, microplane… if you only use garlic after pressing it, you’re not using garlic to it’s full potential.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I find that just putting my hands under cold running water, finger tips down, without rubbing them, is enough to remove the garlic smell. The “not rubbing” part is key here 😉

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    These 2 methods of peeling garlic are very interesting. I have tried the Crush method of peeling garlic and it makes the work in kitchen very easy. The second method is found to be very interesting. I would like to give it a try.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Finally, I know how to do it. I always stuck at this thing, you save so much of my time and prevent me from my Mom’s scolding. Thanks

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am so loving the mason jar method for peeling large amounts of garlic at once. Most certainly will try that. I also learned from one of my Caribbean friends to just put some garlic in your hands and rub them together and it’s quick and easy and peels right off and I have not noticed any smell.