Knowing how to peel garlic will up your cooking game. I’ve got the easiest and quickest ways to get fresh garlic into your meal.

Learn how to peel garlic the easy way. These two simple techniques are a surefire success!

Before you know it, you’re going to be a total pro in the kitchen, no special tools required. Try one of these easy methods and see what works best for you.

Garlic cloves laid out on a marble surface.
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The fresh and potent flavor that fresh garlic infuses into a dish really can’t be beat. However, those pesky paper skins can be a deterrent from using fresh garlic… and while I’m always a fan of the pre-minced garlic in the produce section of the store, sometimes you want the real deal!

It can actually be really easy to peel garlic, so don’t let that get in the way of the great flavor that garlic can add to dishes.

Today, we are going to teach you how to peel garlic, with these two simple kitchen methods. No special kitchen tools required.

Let’s learn how to peel garlic in the most effortless way possible!

A bulb of garlic on a marble surface

What is Garlic?

Garlic grows in papery clusters called a head, or bulb. Fresh garlic is usually sold by the head. Inside the head of garlic are numerous cloves, about 10 or so. All of the cloves attach at a stem at the top of the head.

The head and all of the cloves are each surrounded by a paper-like skin that isn’t edible. Once removed, the flesh of the garlic is really easy to work with – grate, mince, chop, slice, smash, or even keep them whole.

Garlic has an intense flavor that adds depth to so many dishes. You can definitely buy minced garlic in a jar, but the flavor isn’t as fresh. To really get the powerful kick that garlic is supposed to have, fresh garlic is the way to go.

A head of fresh garlic will store in a cool, dark place for a few months, so it is really easy to always have some of hand.

How to Peel Garlic

There are so many different methods for peeling garlic. Sure, you could individually peel each skin off of each clove, but that would take a while.

Here are a couple of methods that work well, depending on how many cloves you need to peel and what it is being used for.

Hands pressing down on a bulb of garlic

All you’ll need it a head of garlic. Use your favorite chef’s knife for both methods, and a small jar with a lid for the shake method.

Knife Method

This is my favorite method because it is so fast and uses a utensil I already have out for meal prep – my chef’s knife.

  1. Take a clove of garlic and put it on a cutting board.
  2. Place the flat side of the knife on the garlic and then put pressure on the knife where it covers the garlic. A hand pressing a large knife on top of a bulb of garlic
  3. You can give a quick tap or just push. When you lift your knife you will see that the skin has separated from the garlic. Just grab the skin and discard it.
  4. Your garlic is a little smashed, so it is perfect for mincing or chopping. This method works well when you’re just doing a couple of cloves.
A hand cutting a bulb of garlic on a wooden cutting board

Shake Method

This is a method that seems almost unbelievable, but it really works. It is especially convenient and fast for peeling a whole head of garlic at once.

  1. Hit the head of garlic against your counter to loosen the cloves. A bulb of garlic laid out in cloves on a marble surface
  2. Then slice the stem off of the head and all of the cloves should easily separate. A hand cutting a bulb of garlic on a wooden cutting board
  3. Place the cloves in the bottom of a glass jar or any hard container with a lid. Put the lid on the jar or bowl and start shaking. A hand holding garlic cloves, with more cloves in a clear glass bowl.
  4. The cloves will rub against each other and after a few seconds of vigorous shaking, the cloves will be free from their skin.
A hand holding a single garlic clove, with more cloves in a clear glass bowl.

Tips

  • Don’t forget to trim off the hard ends of each clove with a knife before you begin mincing. The ends won’t soften like the rest of the garlic, no matter which peeling method you choose.
  • One garlic clove equals approximately ½ teaspoon of garlic paste, or 1 full teaspoon of minced garlic.
  • Read more about Garlic Conversions here.
  • Need to learn how to mince garlic or how to make roasted garlic next? We’ve got a guide for that, too!
  • Top your chopped garlic, minced garlic, or garlic paste with a thin layer of olive oil before refrigerating, which helps preserve it for longer.
Two heads of garlic on a white marble countertop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to peel garlic before you can mince it?

If you are chopping or mincing by hand, you’ll need to peel it first. You can’t work around the skin. If you are using a garlic press, you may be able to put a clove in – peel and all – and squeeze the garlic pulp out. The skin will remain in the press and you’ll need to clean it out before you can press another clove.

How do I get rid of the garlic smell on my hands?

You can try a couple of ways. One way is to rub salt, baking soda, and water on your hands to absorb the smell. Another way is to rub your hands on something made of stainless steel – a spoon or your sink!

How do I know if garlic has gone bad?

For garlic that still has the skin on, the skin will become darker and you might see little green sprouts growing out of it. That means it is old and you should get fresh garlic to replace it. If you’ve already peeled and minced it, you should use it within a week. Definitely throw it out if it smells weird or has mold.

A bulb of garlic laid out in cloves on a marble surface

How to Store Peeled Garlic

  • Refrigerator – If you end up with extra peeled garlic bulbs, you can always store it in the refrigerator. Place it in a container for up to a week once it has been peeled.
  • Freezer – Chop your peeled cloves however you desire, freezing in a layer inside small plastic bags. When you’re ready to use, simply break off as many cloves as you need.

You can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. You will want to double bag it and keep it away from ice cream and other foods that might not taste good if a little garlic aroma seeps through.

Garlic cloves laid out on a marble surface.

The Best Garlic Recipes

Garlic cloves laid out on a marble surface.
5 from 1 vote

How to Peel Garlic

Knowing how to peel garlic will up your cooking game. I’ve got the easiest and quickest ways to get fresh garlic into your meal.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients  

  • 1 head of garlic fresh

Instructions 

Knife Method

  • Take a clove of garlic and put it on a cutting board.
  • Place the flat side of the knife on the garlic and then put pressure on the knife where it covers the garlic.
  • You can give a quick tap or just push. When you lift your knife you will see that the skin has separated from the garlic. Just grab the skin and discard it.
  • Your garlic is a little smashed, so it is perfect for mincing or chopping. This method works well when you’re just doing a couple of cloves.

Shake Method

  • Hit the head of garlic against your counter to loosen the cloves.
  • Then slice the stem off of the head and all of the cloves should easily separate.
  • Place the cloves in the bottom of a glass jar or any hard container with a lid. Put the lid on the jar or bowl and start shaking.
  • The cloves will rub against each other and after a few seconds of vigorous shaking, the cloves will be free from their skin.

Julie’s Tips

How to Store Peeled Garlic

  • Refrigerator – If you end up with extra peeled garlic bulbs, you can always store it in the refrigerator. Place it in a container for up to a week once it has been peeled.
  • Freezer – Chop your peeled cloves however you desire, freezing in a layer inside small plastic bags. When you’re ready to use, simply break off as many cloves as you need.
Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.1g | Protein: 0.02g | Fat: 0.001g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 0.1mg | Potassium: 2mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 0.004g | Vitamin A: 0.03IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.01mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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