How to mince garlic

5 from 3 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

The best way to mince garlic takes this task from nuisance to getting it done the easy way! That means more fresh garlic flavor for our recipes.

A head of garlic in a small white containter with a metal lid
Want to save this recipe?
Type your email below and I’ll send it to you! As a bonus, you’ll receive recipes, shop specials, and more.

Oh garlic, this little post given to you hardly seems adequate in light of how much you give to us. What dish do we not want to inhale that includes the word ‘garlicky’ in its title?! Is there a better scent than that of raw garlic cooking in butter or olive oil and releasing its scent for all the world to swoon over? More garlic bread, easier vinaigrettes, you name it for more depth of flavor when prepping garlic is made easy.

It used to be that I disliked prepping garlic so much that I took to mincing it with the skin still on it in my steel crusher (or worse, purchasing lackluster minced garlic). No doubt I have thrown away far more garlic than I’ve actually used, when you consider how much garlic gets tossed with the mincing tool this way.

Ever since I learned a simpler way, prepping garlic has taken on actual pleasure for me, something I thought I’d never say! I now use much, much more of this essential ingredient as a flavor maker in my cooking.

How to peel garlic

There are bags of peeled garlic readily available, and these can be a real help especially when you use lots of garlic. But nothing beats a fresh, firm bulb of garlic in season especially. Here’s how to peel them.

Step 1. Loosen the cloves from the bulb of fresh garlic by making cuts with a knife between the cloves and pulling them free, discarding the outer papery skin.

Step 2. On a chopping board, lay the flat side of your chef’s knife over the whole, uncut clove. With your dominant hand on the handle of the knife and the palm of your hand pressing down on the flat side of the knife against the garlic, push down with pressure. The garlic skin or peel is now easily pulled off.

garlic under a large chefs knife with a blue bowl and green towel off to the side

How to peel lots of garlic cloves

You can peel a whole head of garlic more quickly this way:

Step 1. Loosen the cloves from the head by crushing the whole head with your hand on the counter, or by pulling or cutting away the cloves.

Step 2. Have two large bowls (metal bowls work well) that are the same size at the ready. Transfer the whole bundle into a large bowl; don’t worry about separating out the thin papery outer layers at this point.

Step 3. Put the second bowl facing down over the bowl of garlic. Now shake! Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds to loosen the garlic skins from the cloves. Remove the cloves from the bowl, easily slipping any attached skins from the cloves. Discard the skins.

peeled garlic cloves next to a metal bowl full of garlic peels

How to mince garlic

There are a couple of standard methods to mince whole garlic cloves, including with a garlic press, in a mortar and pestle, and by chopping with a sharp knife. 

With a garlic press

Simply place your clove, peeled or not, into the press and press it through. Drawback: Much of a clove of garlic is left behind in the press. This can be removed and chopped, but now you’re unnecessarily using two steps to mince. 

In a mortar and pestle

Use a little coarse salt with the cloves of garlic to mitigate the dampness and make it easier to get a grip on pounding the garlic to a paste. This ancient method works well but does take some elbow grease.  

garlic in a white mortar and pestal with salt on the side

Knife-minced garlic

Chop the peeled clove with a sharp chef’s knife, again using a dash of coarse salt to help keep things moving amid the dampness of the garlic. This method is easier with a couple of cloves so you can have more of a mound of the garlic to work with as you first chop, then mince with the blade using a rocking motion. The garlic paste does want to stick to the flat side of your knife as you chop…which can irritate some cooks (like me).

Head of garlic on a red plaid towel with a microplane grater

What’s the best way to mince garlic?

I find the very easiest way, with the best results, is to mince garlic is with a grater (a microplane grater or rasp grater). Simply set the grater over a bowl or cutting board to collect the grated garlic, or hold the grater with your non-dominant hand over your pot of pasta sauce as the case may be!. Hold the top of the clove with your free hand with the stem or root end facing up and the pointed end of the clove against the grater, and rub back and forth. Take care not to run your finger against the grater as the garlic clove finishes grating. Grated garlic is such a fine consistency, the garlic melts away in both raw and cooked preparations.

a clove of garlic rubbed over a microplane grater with two fingers holding the garlic, over a glass dish

Grated garlic is for individual cloves; for larger quantities, read on…

How to mince a lot of garlic

To mince a larger number of cloves, use a small prep food processor. Larger processors can work but you need a good 2 cups of cloves. This will prevent all of the garlic from getting caught under the blades. Another option: blenders. A standard blender again requires a lot of garlic, and some liquid such as lemon juice to get the blender moving through the garlic. A stick blender in a tall container also can work, with a little liquid such as lemon juice or oil in the mix.

How much minced garlic does one clove make?

Garlic cloves are various sizes throughout the head. The larger cloves can yield a teaspoon or more of minced garlic. 

How to store minced garlic

It is best to store minced garlic in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for at least a week.

Recipes for Garlic Lovers

My Toum Recipe is makes easier, successful work out of making this traditional Lebanese garlic sauce. It is SO delicious on everything (try it with Chicken Shawarma and Shish Tawook) and a spoonful replaces minced garlic in your cooking.

Garlic Knots with Za’atar are a savory, delicious twist on garlic knots. Fun to shape and bake!

I love to jazz up lentil soup with garlic, as in my Lebanese Lentil Soup, Rushta.

Of course, garlic is a key ingredient in many salad vinaigrettes, especially Fattoush Salad, Lebanese Salad (Salata), and Creamy Yogurt Cucumber Salad.

a clove of garlic rubbed over a microplane grater with two fingers holding the garlic, over a glass dish
Tap the stars to rate this recipe!
5 from 3 votes

How to Mince Garlic

The best way to mince garlic takes this task from nuisance to getting it done the easy way! That means more fresh garlic flavor for our recipes.
Prep: 2 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 head garlic
Save This Recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, and as a bonus, you’ll receive recipes, shop specials, and more.

Instructions 

  • First, peel the garlic. Loosen the cloves from the bulb of fresh garlic by making cuts with a knife between the cloves and pulling them free, discarding the outer papery skin. On a chopping board, lay the flat side of your chef’s knife over the whole, uncut clove. With your dominant hand on the handle of the knife and the palm of your hand pressing down on the flat side of the knife against the garlic, push down with pressure. The garlic skin or peel is now easily pulled off. Peel lots of cloves at once by placing all of the cloves in a large metal bowl and placing another bowl of the same size facing down on top of the bowl with the cloves. Shake vigorously to loosen the skins for easy removal.
  • With a Grater (Microplane or rasp):
    Simply set the grater over a bowl or cutting board to collect the grated garlic, or hold the grater with your non-dominant hand over your pot of pasta sauce as the case may be!. Hold the top of the clove with your free hand with the stem or root end facing up and the pointed end of the clove against the grater, and rub back and forth. Take care not to run your finger against the grater as the garlic clove finishes grating. Grated garlic is such a fine consistency, the garlic melts away in both raw and cooked preparations.
  • To mince with a garlic press:
    Simply place your clove, peeled or not, into the press and press it through. Drawback: Much of a clove of garlic is left behind in the press. This can be removed and chopped, but now you're unnecessarily using two steps to mince. 
    Use a little coarse salt with the cloves of garlic to mitigate the dampness and make it easier to get a grip on pounding the garlic to a paste. This ancient method works well but does take some elbow grease.  
  • In a mortar and pestle:
    Use a little coarse salt with the cloves of garlic to mitigate the dampness and make it easier to get a grip on pounding the garlic to a paste. This ancient method works well but does take some elbow grease.  
  • Knife-minced garlic:
    Chop the peeled clove with a sharp chef's knife, again using a dash of coarse salt to help keep things moving amid the dampness of the garlic. This method is easier with a couple of cloves so you can have more of a mound of the garlic to work with as you first chop, then mince with the blade using a rocking motion. The garlic paste does want to stick to the flat side of your knife as you chop…which can irritate some cooks (like me).
  • To mince a larger number of cloves, use a small prep food processor. Larger processors can work but you need a good 2 cups of cloves to prevent all of the garlic from getting caught under the blades. Another option: blenders. A standard blender again requires a lot of garlic, and some liquid such as lemon juice to get the blender moving through the garlic. A stick blender in a tall container also can work, with a little liquid such as lemon juice or oil in the mix.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!
(Visited 1,908 times, 1 visits today)

You May Also Like...


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

10 Comments

  1. PMETROS says:

    5 stars
    THANK YOU MAUREEN FOR THIS ARTICLE ON GARLIC
    I USE ALOT OF GARLIC IN RECIPES AND AFTER TRYING DIFFERENT METHODS
    MY FAVORITE IS THE SMALL FOOD PROCESSOR THAT I HAVE. IT CHOPS AND
    GRATES NICELY.

    ALSO THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT RECIPES.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      LOVE a mini-processor for all kinds of tasks, including a big handful of garlic cloves! Thank you!

  2. Selene Schulz says:

    Do you have any helpful hints on storing garlic before and after slicing or mincing? I read somewhere, sometime, it is not safe to store peeled garlic in oil in the refrigerator. Is that true? Thanks for your more than helpful and yet entertaining site.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Great question Selene! Yes, garlic stored in oil presents a risk of botulism so it’s best not to. There is no substitute for the flavor of freshly sliced or minced garlic–that is the way to go. If you must prepare in advance, you can freeze the garlic wrapped in plastic and stored in a freezer bag. Whole cloves become a little soft/mushy this way but it is a safe route.

  3. Greg Carpenter says:

    Forget premarital counseling, all mates must pass The Garlic Test. If a potential beau or belle does not partake in the sweet ecstasy of suateed garlic they should get the same treatment as the germ.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      The Garlic Test would no doubt prevent many a marital break-down!!!!! Thanks for making my day, Greg!!

  4. Diane Nassir says:

    Lovely!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      I thank you!

  5. Jerry Wakeen says:

    While visiting home (in Wisconsin) a former restaurant owner was making hummus for a party. He is usually heavy on the garlic so we told him to make two batches, one with less garlic. He started by throwing into a food processor ALL the fresh garlic we had peeled and then dumped in “pre-peeled, lackluster cloves” from a LARGE bulk package purchased at a discount store. This more than half filled the food processor tank. He blended the garlic first, then added the chic peas and other ingredients. That first batch was, of course, “with” a lot of garlic. The second batch had less and was the one most people used. I tried that first batch and didn’t know that garlic, in sufficient quantity, can actually have a burning sensation, like mild peppers. Next day when I visited a relative, that had been at the party, I jokingly said, as I walked into her office, “hey it smells like garlic in here”. She didn’t realize I was joking, at first.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      O Lordy that’s funny, Jerry!