How to Peel Garlic Quickly, Like a Pro (We Tested 4 Popular Methods)


Garlic lovers around the world don’t let its stink issues get in the way of using this nature’s bounty. Garlic is one of the most revered medicinal plants across the globe. If difficulty peeling fresh garlic is keeping you from joining the garlic brigade, read on for some foolproof solutions.

A pro at fighting infections, keeping gas and bloating at bay and detoxing your body, garlic is one ingredient you should always keep stocked in your kitchen. It is also a well-loved condiment among foodies. You can give a host of recipes a boost just by adding a few garlic cloves.

Ways to peel garlic quickly
4 popular ways to peel garlic quickly

But peeling garlic can be quite tedious, messy and time consuming. Its papery skin refuses to let go of the clove without persistent effort. And when you finally manage to pull the skin loose from the flesh, it tends to scurry every which way, creating a mess in your well-kept kitchen.

You can leave the horrors of peeling garlic behind using some simple hacks. With no additional expense involved, you can easily cut down on the time and mess involved in peeling garlic.

Here are four simple methods to peel garlic quickly, like a pro.

Method 1: Water

A little soaking time in hot water is the best way to peel garlic quickly. The hot water breaks the bond between the skin and the flesh. Moist garlic skins also cut down on the mess compared to dry, papery skins and easily slip off the cloves.

Step 1. Chop off the root of the garlic

Cut the root of the garlic to peel the garlic
Cut the root of the garlic
  • Cut off the root end of the garlic bulb with a knife.

Step 2. Soak the garlic cloves in hot water

Soak the garlic pods in hot water
Soak the garlic pods in hot water
  • Fill a bowl with hot water.
  • Separate the cloves of the garlic bulb, dropping them in the water as you go.
  • Let them soak for 5 minutes.

Step 3. Peel off the moist skin

Peel the skin of the garlic to peel the garlic
Peel the skin of the garlic
  • Peel off the moist garlic skin for a mess-free result.
Peeled garlic using water to peel garlic
Peeled garlic using water

Method 2: Microwave

Nuking fresh garlic is a great way of cutting down the time and mess when you need to peel lots of garlic. A short time in microwave allows the garlic to heat up, generating enough steam to break the bond between the papery skin and the flesh. This is even easier than baking potatoes in a microwave.

Step 1. Microwave the garlic for 20 to 30 seconds

Microwave the garlic bulbs to peel the garlic
Microwave the garlic bulbs
  • Chop off the root of the garlic bulbs with a knife.
  • Pop the garlic bulbs into the microwave for about 20 seconds on high power. You can microwave 2 or 3 medium-sized garlic bulbs at one time. If you’re nuking 4 or 5 bulbs, you may need to heat them for about 30 seconds.
  • Take the garlic out of the microwave, and let it stand for about 1 minute.

Step 2. Squeeze the garlic out of its slippery skin

Squeeze out the garlic from its skin to peel the garlic
Squeeze out the garlic from its skin
  • Simply hold a garlic bulb from the shoot side and squeeze it to make the cloves pop out of their skins. It’s as easy as that!
  • Repeat the same with each bulb.
Peeled garlic using microwave to peel garlic
Peeled garlic using microwave

Method 3: Mason Jar

This is probably the most fun way to peel garlic quickly. You can use any lidded jar for this purpose. In a pinch, a bowl with a lid or two bowls held together will also do.

Be sure to pick a container with a hard surface like hard plastic, ceramic or glass. The cloves need to knock against the surface to crack open their papery skins.

Crushing the bulbs before shaking them in a jar helps cut down on time and labor. When crushing the bulb, force should be evenly distributed. This helps crack open the garlic skin but prevents the garlic from getting smashed.

Things you’ll need:

Things you'll need to peel garlic

  • Garlic
  • Mason jar

Step 1. Crush the garlic cloves

Crush the garlic cloves to peel the garlic
Crush the garlic cloves
  • Remove the outer skin of the bulb to separate the cloves.
  • Crush the cloves with the base of a hard bowl or plate.

Step 2. Shake the cloves in a Mason jar

Shake the crushed garlic cloves in a mason jar to peel the skin
Shake the crushed garlic cloves in a mason jar
  • Put the crushed garlic cloves into a Mason jar.
  • Screw on the lid and shake the jar vigorously for about 15 seconds to separate the skin from the garlic.

Step 3. Pick out the cloves from the separated skin

Pick out the peeled cloves to peel the garlic
Pick out the peeled cloves
  • Pour the garlic cloves out of the jar.
  • Pick out the peeled cloves from the heap of papery skins.
Use mason jar to peel garlic
Use mason jar to peel garlic

Method 4: Chef’s Knife

This method, while not as fancy as the others, should do well to speed up the peeling process. However, be careful while smacking down the chef’s knife to avoid any potential injury. If you’re considered clumsy and accident-prone, you better stick to the other methods.

Things you’ll need:

Things you'll need to peel garlic

  • Garlic
  • Chef’s knife

Step 1. Crush the garlic bulb with the flat end of the chef’s knife

Smash the knife’s flat side against the garlic bulb to tear open the outer skin to peel the garlic
Smash the knife’s flat side against the garlic bulb to tear open the outer skin
  • Place the garlic bulb on a flat surface with its shoot side facing upward.
  • Place the wide, flat end of the chef’s knife over the garlic, so that it is closer to the handle than the tip of the knife.
  • Smack it down with the heel of your palm or your fist to smash the knife’s flat side against the garlic bulb to tear open the outer skin. This should also crack open the skin of the cloves.

Step 2. Remove the remaining skin from the cloves

Peel off the remaining skin from the cloves to peel the garlic
Peel off the remaining skin from the cloves
  • Peel off the remaining skin from the cloves. The cracked, papery skin should be very easy to remove.
Peeled garlic using Chef's knife
Peeled garlic using Chef’s knife

Tips

  • Choose the method that fits your needs to peel garlic quickly. For example, nuking may not be ideal for sauces, salads and chutneys that require raw garlic.
  • Too much time in the microwave will not only cook the garlic, but the sticky juices will also make it difficult to peel off the skin.
  • In the microwave method, test the temperature of the garlic before attempting to squeeze the cloves out of their skins.
  • If you’re shaking the garlic in a jar, you can have your kids help out and learn a little bit about working with raw garlic. Just be sure to use a nonbreakable container with a screw-on lid.

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