How to Peel Garlic 5 Ways

Wondering how to peel garlic without getting sticky, stinky fingers? We've got all the hacks.

We’ve become pros at finding the easiest cooking hacks, like how to cut a bell pepper, juicing a lemon without using a knife and even shucking corn in the microwave! Much like these other ingredients, garlic can be just as tricky—especially when it comes to peeling the bulb. I started out simply trying to peel the skin off, which left my hands sticky, my garlic papery and the whole kitchen a mess.

To make it easier, we’ve collected all the garlic peeling methods you’ll ever need. These tricks are perfect for newbies—or even seasoned chefs looking to learn a thing or two in the kitchen!

1. Use Two Metal Bowls

peeling garlic between two metal bowlsTaste of Home

This is one of our favorite methods for peeling garlic! First, smash the bulb into individual cloves using the bottom of a metal bowl. Then, take the cloves and toss them into the bowl. Set another metal bowl upside down over the top of the first one, grab both and shake! After about 10 seconds, all the garlic cloves should be peeled.

You can also peel garlic in a mason jar. Just drop ’em in, seal it and shake for about 30-60 seconds.

2. Soak Your Garlic Bulbs

unpeeled garlic in a small bowl of waterTMB Studio

Similar to Julia Child’s garlic peeling hack, this hack recommends dropping the garlic bulb in a bowl of water. Rather than boiling the water first, you toss the bowl into a microwave for 30 seconds, then take the bulb out, cut a section and peel. Voila! You’ve got fully peeled cloves.

Be warned: when we tried Ms. Child’s hack, the cloves were a little squishy; though it didn’t impact the flavor.

3. Microwave Your Garlic Bulbs

You can also skip the water and just go straight to the microwave! This hack shows you how to peel garlic in the microwave. Just grab a few cloves, cut off the tops, pop ’em in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and take ’em out. The skin should pop off—and if not, wait for them to cool down, then peel. It might still take some work, but the skin should come off easier!

4. Smash It with a Knife

hands using a knife to press down on a clove of garlic on a wooden cutting boardTMB Studio

This one is my personal favorite, and an easy one to use when you only want to use a few cloves of garlic instead of the whole bulb. Just break off however many cloves you want to use and then smash each clove with the flat side of your knife. Peel the skin off, discard it and start mincing garlic for your recipe.

5. Use a Garlic Peeler

Tohcom23 Pu6007 Dr 03 17 5b Garlic Peeling HacksTMB Studio

This one isn’t exactly a hack, but it does make peeling garlic easier! This simple little garlic peeler can save you tons of time in the kitchen—and it costs less than $10. All you have to do is pop a garlic clove in, lay it horizontally on the counter and roll. The clove will pop right out of its skin!

Up Next: Learn if you can eat garlic clove skin.

Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.