Love garlic, hate peeling it? Four hacks to get the job done quickly and easily

Simple tips to make light work of prepping this flavour-packed veg

09 July 2020 - 00:00
Eating raw garlic is thought to help boost your immune system.
Eating raw garlic is thought to help boost your immune system.
Image: 123RF/Evgeniya Kramar

Whether you're cooking up an Italian, Indian or Asian dish, chances are your recipe calls for a clove or two of garlic. While this vegetable add bags of flavour to food, its papery skin and pungent flesh can make it a pain to peel.

Here are some hacks to take the hard work out of doing so:


The quickest way to peel a clove of garlic is using the side of a wide-bladed knife. Place the clove on a chopping board and, using the heel of your hand, press down on the knife blade — see video below.

Don’t apply too much pressure: the idea isn’t to squash the clove, but rather to crack the skin making it easy to peel it off.

WATCH | How to peel garlic using the side of a wide-bladed knife

I often place a couple of cloves in a pestle and mortar and use the pestle to crack the skins before peeling them. Then I return them to the mortar and add a sprinkling of coarse salt, which acts as an abrasive, before crushing them into a paste.


If you need to peel loads of garlic, try the two-metal-bowl trick: place a head of garlic that's been broken apart in a metal bowl and cover it with another metal bowl of the same size. Dance around the kitchen doing the “shakey shakey” and the friction of the shaking will release the skins.

You could try the same trick using a cocktail shaker — but only if you're not planning on using it to mix up drinks any time soon!


Gadget lovers are forever looking for inventions to make light work of kitchen prep. In the case of peeling garlic, the answer is a silicone cylinder: you place a clove inside the cylinder, the roll it backwards and forwards across your chopping board, which releases the skin.

If you fancy the sound of this, you can make your own cylinder at home using a new pair of rubber dishwashing gloves. Here, celeb chef Jamie Oliver shows you how:

WATCH | How to make a cylinder to peel garlic from a rubber dishwashing glove


Place the garlic in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Allow to stand until you see the skins loosening. Drain, pour over some cold water and slip the skins off the cloves.