Ask the Chef: how to peel garlic easily

Before I met Danny, I sort of hated to peel garlic. Oh, I liked turning the flat of my knife onto the clove of garlic and smashing down. It’s good therapy at the end of a hard day. However, afterwards, there was all the clingy, sticky detritus of garlic peels in my fingers.

Sure, there are tougher problems. Much tougher. But I know that little sensory displeasures like peeling garlic can stop people from cooking.

Danny and I both want people to cook. It’s too much joy and sustenance to let garlic peels stop you.

And so, in this video, Danny is showing you a chef trick, something he learned long ago in a restaurant. Do this and you can have a whole head of peeled garlic cloves ready whenever you need to cook.

24 comments on “Ask the Chef: how to peel garlic easily

  1. Christina

    Cool! I also heard about another way on NPR. I haven’t tried it yet because I rarely need an entire head of garlic, but it *sounded* cool. You take a full head of garlic and break it into individual cloves and put it into a metal mixing bowl. Place a another mixing bowl inside of the bowl with the garlic cloves in it. While slightly pressing the inner bowl into the outer, lift the bowl upside down and shake for 10 seconds. The friction between the two bowls causes the peels to slide off.

  2. Kjerstiye

    Ive peeled garlic the way that Christina suggested- totally works and SUPER FUN!

    I am a big garlic fan and always looking for ways to make cooking with it easier, but I worry that pouring boiling water over the garlic would cook it a little and change the flavour. Does it??

  3. ibee crazie

    Here is another way of making it easier also and it really does work:

    I however, actually like peeling garlic. I know, I know, I’m weird (thank you, very much!). I love how the smell lingers on my hands for hours afterward. Mmmmmm. Oh how I love that smell. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for the tip, I just might give it a whirl!

  4. Teri Nolan

    Hi! Thank you for your post on the garlic! Hope you don’t mind I re-posted on my blogsite, with reference to your site! Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚

  5. Bodi

    Fantastic! I’m going to try the bowl trick, too.

    I love coming to this site, please, keep doing what you’re doing, both of you πŸ™‚


  6. Carol

    Great tip! What is the best way to store the peeled garic if you don’t use it all at one time?

  7. Maggi

    Ha! Awesome!

    I felt the same away about getting the skins off of hazelnuts until I was told about the hot water and baking soda trick. πŸ™‚

  8. Kate

    This video and the video of cutting an onion has made my life so much easier. I make a lot of curries, so these ingredients are key.

  9. Cal

    This is awesome πŸ™‚ so going to have to cook something with Garlic now, just to practice it πŸ™‚ thanks you guys!

  10. Debbie

    This is fabulous! You have made my life easier. Thank you.

    Can we get some tips on how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs? I raise chickens, and when I hard boil their eggs they never peel, even after I keep them for a couple weeks (I have heard that fresh eggs do not peel well). Help??

  11. Ella

    Fantastic! I love garlic, and frequently peel half or whole heads of garlic.

    The video editing got rid of the Chef”s quirks though! It made me sad. I liked the way he talked about food in previous videos.

    1. Ella

      Hrm. Rewatching, the quirks are still there, but the music and style have a very different feel from his fun descriptions and jokes. It kind of undermined his personality, which is always fun to see.

  12. Anna

    Yay! Peeled about 10 heads of garlic in minutes like this just now, thanks for the tip! Carol, I was peeling all this garlic to freeze it (in a zip type bag, extra air pressed out) so it’s all ready to throw a handful in with a tray of whatever I want to roast. Kjerstiye, I don’t find that either the brief hot water treatment or the freezing has much effect on the garlic’s taste or texture when cooked, certainly not a negative one – a little mellower maybe. Supermarket garlic is generally dried anyway, and harsher tasting than fresh, so a little rehydration can’t hurt πŸ™‚

  13. Maria

    Thanks for the great tip! Never heard about this when I went to culinary school. For sure it’s a keeper. Also sharing.

  14. jill brock

    I work with food everyday ( in my job I mean) and have to peel lots of garlic. You’re right the flat side of a knife sort of works but then you have all the sticky stuff afterwards. Thanks for this I’m going to try it today .

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