How to Peel Garlic

By Charlotte King

Garlic is a favorite ingredient used in kitchens across the world. From pasta sauces to salad dressings, garlic is an irreplaceable ingredient that packs a flavor punch. Garlic is actually a part of the onion family and grows underground, similar to onions. One of the reasons for garlic’s popularity is its many health benefits. Garlic contains components that can reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, cancer risk and also has anti-fungal properties. However, peeling garlic can be a labor-intensive task, especially when cooking for people eagerly waiting to enjoy their meal! Luckily, there are different techniques you can use to peel garlic cloves in seconds easily!

This article will show you different ways to easily peel garlic cloves without spending precious time picking at their stubborn skin! Each technique uses a different hack to make this job easier. So read on to find out twitch method works best for you!

Separate the Garlic Bulb

When picking out garlic to peel, choose garlic bulbs that are large and dry. Avoid any bulbs that are mushy or have brown spots on them.

In each of the techniques below, the process describes how to peel garlic cloves. But to get to the garlic cloves, you first need to open the garlic bulb to separate the cloves, which can be quite a task in itself.

One of the simplest ways to separate the cloves is to use a large ziplock bag and a stable cutting board.

  1. Place the cutting board on your countertop and your garlic bulb in your ziplock bag. The point behind using the ziplock bag is to control the movement and mess that the garlic cloves will make when separated. If you want to forego the ziplock bag, you can skip it and continue with the same technique.
  2. Place your garlic-loaded ziplock bag on the cutting board so that the root end of the garlic is acting as the base and the tip of the garlic is pointing upwards.
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the garlic and lean into it. You can use both of your hands to increase the pressure. Your body weight will help you in breaking the bulb into cloves easily.

Now that your cloves are all separated, you are ready to peel them!

The Traditional Knife Method

  1. Place the garlic clove on your cutting board, and using the wide flat part of your knife, press down on the clove firmly but gently.
  2. You will hear the sound of the peel releasing from the flesh and separating as you apply pressure. Just take care that you don’t apply too much pressure because you will end up squashing the garlic completely that way.

This is one of the easiest and no-fuss ways to peel the garlic, and best if you only have a few cloves to peel. However, you might find it a bit taxing if you need to peel a big batch of garlic. 

The Shake and Peel Method

This method has recently become quite popular. The science behind it is that the shaking causes friction between the garlic cloves, causing their skins to loosen and eventually come off completely.

  1. For this method, you need a large steel bowl that will hold all your garlic cloves comfortably and either a lid for the bowl or another bowl that you can use to cover it.
  2. Transfer all the garlic cloves into the bowl and cover it. Now using both hands, hold the bowl shut and shake it vigorously for at least 20 seconds. It’s like a mini workout!
  3. At the end of 20 seconds, you will notice that most of the garlic cloves have lost their peel completely, and maybe a few still are holding on to it. For the garlic cloves that still have their peels, rub them gently with your fingers, and in most cases, the peel will come off easily. If a few are still stubbornly holding on to the peel, give them another shake for 10 – 15 seconds.

This method is a great little hack for peeling a bunch of garlic cloves fast. If your garlic cloves are dry, you will notice that 20 seconds are enough to peel them. But if your garlic skins still have a bit of moisture in them, you might need to shake the bowl for additional time. You can also substitute the bowl with a large jar for convenience.

The Microwave Method

How to Peel Garlic

Many techniques out there will tell you to put the garlic bulb in the microwave directly to peel the garlic cloves. But an entire bulb of garlic requires an extended period in the microwave for the skin to loosen. At which point your garlic is already half cooked! So, the method below is a variation of the original microwave method that is much more effective.

  1. Take two paper towels and layer them. Sprinkle some water on the paper towels until they are damp.
  2. Place all your garlic cloves on these damp paper towels and wrap them to make a nice package.
  3. Next, you need to blast the wrapped garlic cloves in the microwave for 15 – 20 seconds maximum. Don’t go any longer than this because it will cause your garlic cloves to soften.
  4. Remove the garlic cloves from the microwave and unwrap them. Let the garlic cloves cool down before you handle them. Using the paper towel, you can rub the cloves gently, and you will notice the skin comes off really easily.

The Hot Water Method

This is another simple technique to peel your garlic cloves that works. The only drawback of this method is that you need to wait a while for your garlic cloves to be ready.

  1. In a large bowl, add some warm water. Add your garlic cloves to the water and let them soak for up to 10 minutes.
  2. Again with this method, you want to ensure that you don’t use boiling water because it will cause the garlic cloves to soften. At the end of 10 minutes, drain the water and wait until the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle.
  3. Once you can handle the garlic cloves, you will notice that all you need to do is rub the cloves with your finger slightly for the skin to peel off.

The Cut and Peel Method

This method is quick and easy if you aren’t concerned with keeping your garlic cloves whole and will be dicing them up.

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut your garlic bulb into two parts around the center. One half will have the root end and the other the top.
  2. Next, using the flat end of your knife, apply some pressure on each half so that the garlic cloves separate.
  3. Using a small paring knife or even your fingers, you will easily be able to peel the individual garlic cloves.

How to Peel Roasted Garlic

Peel Garlic

There are two ways you can try out peeling roasted garlic. If you have whole roasted garlic clubs, go with the first method since it is more time-effective.

Method #1: Peeling the Whole Garlic

This is one of the simplest methods you can use to peel whole roasted garlic. Simply cut your roasted garlic in half at its widest point. You will end with two halves one half will have the root end of the garlic bulb and the other the tip end. Since the roasting has already softened the garlic flesh considerably, you can simply squeeze each half of the garlic into a bowl to release all its meat.

Method #2: Peeling Garlic Cloves

If you have roasted garlic cloves, use a small paring knife to cut into the garlic’s skin. Then, using a spoon, fork, or even your fingers, simply scoop out or squeeze out the flesh of the roasted garlic into a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Peeling Garlic

How to store peeled garlic?

If you have an excess of peeled garlic on your hands, don’t worry. You can store the peeled garlic in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator for 5 – 7 days. If you have whole garlic cloves that you want to store, the best place to store them is in your pantry in a cool and dark space. You can also store them with your onions!

How do I remove the garlic smell from my hands?

In your hand, take one teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of baking soda. Add a few drops of water or enough to make a paste. Rub your hands with this paste for 15 – 30 seconds. Rinse it off, and then wash your hands with soap and water, and you won’t have the garlicky smell on your hands anymore!

Do I need to peel the garlic if I am using a garlic press?

No! The best part about the garlic press is that you can eliminate the peeling process completely. Once you have your garlic cloves separated, simply add them to the garlic press and squeeze! The pressure you apply will cause the minced garlic to be released while the skin will be held back. Just rinse the garlic press under some flowing water to clean it, and you are ready to use it again!



Garlic is a versatile ingredient that elevates every dish it is added to and provides a multitude of health benefits. The only reason we end up skipping it is that it seems like such a hassle to peel it. Well, no more! This post has introduced you to several hacks that you can use to peel your garlic easily with minimum effort. Give these techniques a try, and you are bound to find one that works perfectly for you!

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