Until recently, I’ve been devoting an alarming amount of my time in the kitchen to peeling garlic. I love the ingredient so much, I rarely cook a meal that doesn’t include it in some shape or form. What I don’t love, though, is peeling garlic cloves. Their papers shed everywhere and peeling just one clove is enough to make my hands stink for the next 24 hours. If you caught a whiff of me, you’d probably think I was trying to ward off vampires.
In the past, I’ve tried to remedy this situation a couple of different ways that always involved using some kind of pre-prepped garlic product (like pre-peeled cloves or garlic paste). These options are definitely convenient, but I’ve found that they’re never as fresh or as tasty as I want them to be. I had kind of started to think that I was simply doomed to walk around with garlic hands forever, until I found this super simple trick that changed everything.
Below, you’ll find out exactly how to peel an entire head of garlic in less than a minute—no fingers involved. Use this trick and enjoy all the garlic you want without having to get your hands stinky. But your breath might be another story.
Here’s what you’ll need to peel a whole head of garlic.
For this trick you’ll need a plastic food storage container with a lid and a cutting board. Oh, and garlic of course!
Begin by smashing the head of garlic.
Set the head of garlic on your cutting board and use the heel of your palm to smash it until most of the cloves fall away. You should be able to do this in one swift motion. It should look like this:
Then, sweep the garlic into your plastic food storage container.
Make sure the container is tightly sealed with the lid and then shake the garlic up and down vigorously for 30 seconds to a minute. Alternatively, if you don’t have a food storage container with a lid, you can use two bowls. Make sure the bowls you use are the same size so that you can flip one over and use it as a cover, then shake the garlic between the two bowls. If you’re not sure what I mean, watch the video below.
Using bowls isn’t that stable (they could easily go flying), so I’d definitely recommend using a food storage container if you have one.
And that’s it!
When you remove the lid you’ll find that your garlic has completely shed its peels. Seriously, this works! There may be one or two cloves still hanging onto their peel, but they should easily come loose if you give them another shake. Remove the cloves from the food storage container, and toss the skins. Alternatively, you can hold onto those garlic skins and use them to add a mellow, garlicky flavor to veggie stocks or bone broths.
Use your peeled garlic in these recipes.
Stewed Garlic Kale and Chickpeas
Kale and chickpeas are fine as they are, but they can easily become the kind of cozy, warming, hygge-style food if you just stew them with garlic like this dish does. Get the recipe here.
Hardy Greens With Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette from Bon Appétit
A vibrant, flavorful lemon-garlic vinaigrette gives this bowl of hardy greens all the flavor that they need. Get the recipe here.
Tomato-Garlic Steamed Cod With Chard and Farro
Though fish dinners might seem difficult to make, this one is incredibly easy, packed with flavors like garlic and tomato, and super filling thanks to chard and farro. Get the recipe here.