Easiest Way to Peel Garlic

by Morgan O'Connor ; Updated September 28, 2017

Remove the outer skin from the head of garlic to reveal the cloves.

garlic image by koko300 from Fotolia.com

Garlic might offer several health benefits, notably reducing blood pressure and the risk of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. Garlic’s intense and distinctive flavor works well in a wide variety of recipes including pasta sauce and roasted potatoes. One of the downfalls of using garlic can be its layers of papery skin. The inner layer of each clove can cling stubbornly to the garlic, making the process of peeling garlic an exercise in frustration.

Rub the head of garlic between your hands over a trash can to remove the outer papery layers covering all of the individual cloves.

Place the partially peeled head of garlic on its side on the cutting board. Cut off the bottom of the head with your knife. This should expose the bottom of each clove of garlic, and will probably cause the cloves to separate from each other. If not, separate the cloves manually.

Select one of the large cloves. Lay it flat on its side on the cutting board, then cut off the top. Both the top and bottom of the clove of garlic should now be exposed.

Place the side of the knife blade against the clove of garlic, then place the heel of your hand onto the other side of the knife blade and push down firmly to crush the clove of garlic. You might need to lean on the knife. Set the knife aside and pick up the crushed clove. The skin should peel off easily. If you do not wish to crush the clove quite this much, place the side of the knife blade against the clove of garlic and give the opposite side of the knife one solid, hard hit with your hand. This will accomplish a similar result without completely smashing the clove.

Repeat this step for each clove of garlic you need.


  • If you need whole cloves of garlic, do not crush the garlic with the side of the knife. Instead, use a small, sharp knife to make a shallow slit from the top to the bottom of the clove. This takes slightly more work than crushing the clove, but leaves you with a more intact final result. If you are only using a few cloves of garlic, do not cut the bottom off of the entire head of garlic. Instead, separate the cloves and only slice the tops and bottoms off of the cloves you wish to use.

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About the Author

Morgan O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2005. Her experience includes articles on various aspects of the health-insurance industry for health-care newsletters distributed to hospitals as well as articles on both international and domestic travel.