Percussive high-speed garlic-peeling made simple

Here's Todd Coleman, exec food editor for Saveur, explaining a 10-second percussive method for separating garlic peels from the cloves. Handy!

(Thanks, Fipi Lele)



  1. Long as you have crew to clean up after you that seems like a great idea.
    I’ll stick to squashing it with a knife.

    1. What do you mean, “clean up after you”?  This seems tidier (and infinitely more jaw-dropping) than how I normally do this…

  2. I tried this today with a medium sized plastic container and it still worked pretty well. (just in case you don’t have two large metal bowls)

  3. This woll ony work with garlic that has been too long in the supply chain.  Fresh garlic is to humid and the skin will stick no matter how much you shake it.

    Also, you’d think Todd would know how to pronouce ‘saveur’.

    1. Well, apparently he _does_ know how to pronounce it, for it is pretty much spot-on — except for the “r” which sounds slightly more American than French but I’m guessing that’s not intentional.

    2. I was wondering if there was something wrong with my garlic, because I have the problem that the skin always sticks. At least I can find consolation in the fact that I’ve got good fresh garlic. :)

    3. The word he really didn’t know how to pronounce properly was “voilà.”  Hearing it pronounced, “walla” drives me batshit-crazy.

      1. Go to France. It’s actually pronounced not too differently from “walla”. There’s obviously a bit more of a ‘v’ sound in the beginning, “vwalla,” but often even that is swallowed when people are talking fast.

        Why, how do you pronounce it?

      2. Dude (or dudette),

        his “voilà” was perfectly intelligible, even the stress and all the vowels were right. Yeah, the “v” could use a little bit of work, but pretty damn good for a (presumably) native English speaker.

  4. An excellent tip. 2 of those bowls from Sams costs less than the garlic press I bought (on recommendation of Cook’s Illustrated). You still have to cut off the little stem ends, though.

  5. Hmm…it appears to me that the clove of garlic featured at the very end (00:57) still has a piece of skin attached to the bottom of it.

  6. Even easier–Asian food stores often sell packages of already-peeled (but not yet crushed) garlic cloves.

      1. I don’t wash it but I don’t mix it with the skins either (the outside of the skins I mean). As I don’t cut an onion with the knife I’ve used to peel it, etc. These are basic hygiene rules.
        I’m not saying it’s very bad though, his kitchen is clean, it’s not a big deal, but still you’re not supposed to do that.  Pls excuse my English (3rd language).

        1. Do you use a different cutting board as well?  What do you pick up the peeled onions with?  The same hands that you peeled the onions with?  Do you wear gloves?  Do you change the gloves between peeling and cutting?

          If you’re cooking the onions or the garlic, does it really make a difference if you contaminate the fleshy part when chopping them?  Besides, onions and garlic have built-in anti-bacterial properties, even when they’re cooked.  It’s one of the many reasons you should add them to your diet.

  7. The thirteen-year-old is going to start wanting garlic in EVERYTHING now. Spaghetti sauce? Roast chicken? Breakfast cereal? Yeah, all of it… so long as she gets to peel.

  8. I learnt this off a Filipino cook on one of the ships I worked on. He used a massive amount of garlic every day, so he’d smash 5-10 heads into a custom made container, attach it to the bread kneader, turn it of for a a few minutes. The motion took the skins off.

  9. I’ve only watched one Jamie Oliver show, but must confess I learned a trick for garlic from him that I’ll use the rest of my life:

    Don’t peel the garlic at all.

    Cut the hard ends off the clove, put it into your garlic press, then squeeze. The soft bits burst out the front of the press, and when you lift up the plunger, all the papery skin lifts out easily as a little disk.

    1. Actually, if you have a good robust garlic press (say, a Zyliss), you don’t even cut the ends off.  Just drop, or force, the whole clove into the press and squeeze away.

  10. Garlic presses are an abomination, you lose all ability to control the flavor of the garlic. Cut it big and its sweeter and milder, cut it small and its harsher and stronger. The garlic press basically just mashes it into a paste, which is fine if you need paste.

    On another note the bowl thing works with just about any hard container with a cover. I typically use a stainless steel bowl and a large pot lid, but I’ve also done it in a variety of pots (also with their lids). And it does work on fresh garlic, just not quiet as well.

  11. Holy crap, what a useful tip!!!

    You’d think the first person to find this out was maybe an angry Sheff shaking a container of garlic at a helper in the kitchen…

  12. I used to have a little soft plastic tube, about 1″ diameter and 4″ long, which I’d roll cloves in for a couple of seconds; always got all the skin off.  My wife couldn’t see the point of it.

    But how can we be talking about garlic without mentioning roasting it?  That tastes so good I never get it as far as the table, I just eat it standing at the oven.  And you don’t need to peel it.

  13. Please, please don’t attempt step one if you’re trying to peel stiffneck garlic.  You will impale your hand.  I’m going to test this tonight as I need to make a batch of garlic powder and the peeling is the worst part.  

  14. I’m looking at the ~50 or so heads of garlic in my kitchen, and they are all very fresh, and all stiffnecked varieties.  Even if I didn’t impale my hand, and even if the skins were papery (meaning the garlic was old), and even if the cloves actually got peeled using this method, I’d still have cloves swimming in that papery sticky mess.

  15. False advertising–that was never 10 seconds. More like 20, and even without the explanation I don’t think it would be a bit under 12. I want my money back.

  16. On a different note, I saw that you can buy pre-chopped/diced garlic in the store in giant containers.  I guess you don’t get the super fresh aspect, but my god is it easier and faster.  (and sometimes cheaper.)

  17. Another garlic tip: Fondling stainless steel will take the lingering raw garlic odor off your fingers. Somebody makes a steel “soap bar” specifically for this purpose, but a sink or faucet will do the trick.

    1. Hey pal, what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business, but I think you may have posted to the wrong tab.

  18. Im pretty sure I love this man for showing me this…was planning on making baked spaghetti from scratch tonight and this just saved me about 30 minutes of garlic pealing!!!

  19. I’m surprised nobody has said that you can do a similar trick with individual cloves. Just clip the ends and roll it between your hands with a decent amount of pressure and speed… it’s a trick my mom showed me years ago.

  20. Awesome! As someone who goes through a literal bag of garlic a week I will have to give this a shot… I had usually used the smash and roll technique, but if this works it is going to save loads of time!

  21. Tried this with 30 clove and smallish bowls. Only 6 cloves completely peeled after 10 seconds. All were bruised and lost some oil. The bruises made it hard to clean the usual mars from the cloves.  After cleaning as best I could, I ran them through a processor for slicing. I’m going to stick to cutting off the pulpy root ends, rubbing the cloves between my hands, peeling, paring the mars, running through a food processor, and being thankful I don’t work in a restaurant.

  22. Just tried it.  Worked like magic.  I was totally expecting this to require some kind of finesse or at least a couple tries before I got it right.  This makes me obsolete in our household kitchen, in a good way.  One billion Internets are hereby awarded to everyone involved.  I’m sorry it didn’t work for some of you guys in the thread, and maybe my first time was a fluke, but still, I will kiss that chef!

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