How to Easily Peel Garlic

Speed up your prep! The Taste of Home Test Kitchen shares tips on how to peel garlic quickly and easily. Learn to peel by shaking, crushing and even microwaving.

By Elizabeth Harris, Contributing Editor and Peggy Woodward, Food Editor

A whole unpeeled head of garlic and three peeled cloves.

How to Peel Garlic by Shaking

It sounds hacky, but it really works.

1. Smash head of garlic: Place the head of garlic in one bowl and smash with the bottom of a similar-sized bowl. You can also smash between two cutting boards.

Preparing to smash a head of garlic between two bowls before peeling.

2. Put a lid on it: Put the whole crushed bulb in a hard-sided bowl with a similar-sized bowl over the top. Metal is best, but you can use glass or even a firm plastic food storage container with a lid. A jar works too, but it takes longer to shake.

Covering a bowl containing smashed garlic with another bowl to shake.

3. Shake!: Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds to separate the papery outer layer from the garlic clove.

Removing garlic’s outer layer by shaking inside two bowls.

4. Separate cloves from peel: The cloves are peeled and the skin can be easily discarded.

Separating garlic cloves from the peel.

Expert Tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen

  • You don’t have to smash the bulb first, but it will take less shaking if you do.
  • You can also do this with just a few garlic cloves and not the whole bulb, but it will require more shaking to get the peels off.
  • Metal bowls work best because they are hard-sided, lightweight for easier shaking and won’t break if you lose your grip on the bowls.

How to Peel Garlic in the Microwave

A quick but slightly risky method for peeling garlic: Microwave it on high for 15-20 seconds and the skin will peel away without much effort. Be careful not to overcook, though, or you’ll end up with cloves that are unpleasantly squishy.

How to Peel Garlic with a Chef's Knife

A tried-and-true technique: Using the blade of a chef’s knife, crush garlic clove. Peel away skin.

Smashing garlic cloves with a chef’s knife before peeling.