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Two Easy Methods For Peeling An Entire Head Of Garlic In Seconds

Megan Willett

Peeling garlic is such a drag — it takes forever and makes your fingers smell like garlic for hours.

But garlic is also delicious and a cooking necessity.

Luckily, there are two easy kitchen hacks that can peel a head of garlic in seconds.

1. Microwave It

Microwave your head of garlic for 15-20 seconds, remove it, and peel the garlic with your hands — you’ll notice the cloves slip right out of the casings with ease.

peeling garlic GIF

CHOW/YouTube’s Executive Producer Jenny Stewart demonstrates how easy it is.

NPR’s The Salt reporter Allison Aubrey asked Gavin Sacks, an assistant professor in the department of food science at Cornell University, why this works. His best bet is that the heat causes the cells to rupture and the stems to break, separating the skins from the fleshy cloves.

He adds that microwaving garlic is akin to blanching it, so it may lose some of its pungent flavor. But Aubrey said she never noticed a difference, and neither have I whenever I’ve used this method. But for those who are concerned, you can always…

2. Smash It And Shake It

This tip has been known in restaurant kitchens for years as the quickest way to peel an entire head of garlic. What you’ll need are two hard metal bowls (metal or Pyrex) and a dry head of garlic. Note: this will not work as well with fresh garlic.

peeling garlic with bowls

SAVEUR/YouTube Executive Food Editor Todd Coleman demonstrates.

First, smash the head of garlic with the heel of your hand to open the white casing. Then throw the entire head into a bowl, put the other bowl on top, and shake hard for a few seconds. When you remove the top bowl, you’ll be greeted with a bunch of naked garlic cloves just waiting to be eaten.


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