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Easy Way to Peel Garlic – Peel a Whole Head of Garlic in Just Seconds!

Peeling Garlic is one of those chores that makes you say “oh no! All those tiny things again?”  But it does not have to be hard.  This easy way to peel garlic cooking trick will peel an entire head of garlic in just seconds.

How to peel a head of garlic in less than one minute

I once saw an idea similar to this used on the show Top Chef a few years ago, when they had a quick challenge.

The task was to peel garlic quickly and one contestant placed all of the cloves on one cutting board and smashed then with another cutting board to release the peels.Garlic cloves on a cutting board This smashing garlic technique worked well, but there was still the task of removing the peels which had remained stuck to the garlic . Also, the cloves were damaged in the process and not whole.

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Don't spend time peeling cloves of garlic individually! With two metal bowls and a bit of elbow grease, you can peel an entire head of garlic in just seconds. Find out how at The Gardening Cook. Share on X

The easy way to peel garlic

In this quick food hack, the peels come away completely, making it easier to remove just the cloves.

The best way to peel garlic quickly is by using 2 metal bowls of the same size and a head of garlic.

Place the garlic in one metal bowl and place the other bowl on top.  You’ll end up with a large round orb.

Shake the two bowls with the garlic inside very quickly for about 30 seconds. While you are shaking the bowls and garlic, the skins will separate from the cloves.

When you dump out the contents of the bowl, you will see that the cloves and skins are totally separate. You can store the cloves to use later in recipes.

Food hack- how to peel garlicI used organic garlic for my test.  The entire head of garlic was peeled in less than 30 seconds.  It was just amazing, and took so much less work than peeling each clove individually.

The bonus is that the cloves are not cut in any way, as they might have been if you tried to smash and peel them, so they will last longer in storage.

You can use the garlic in recipes without the chore of peeling them at cooking time. If you would like to watch the process in action, here is a YouTube video from Martha Stewart showing the same technique described above. It really does work!

If your garlic is organic, you can even use it to grow new heads of garlic outdoors.   See my tips for growing, planting and harvesting garlic here.

What do you do if your garlic has already sprouted?  Don’t throw it away!  Plant it.  See how to grow garlic greens here.

Tips for storing garlic cloves that have been peeled

Once the skins have been removed from the garlic, it will start to degrade quickly. Individual cloves that have been peeled will last for about a week in the fridge. Chopped cloves will only last about a day.

For this reason, storing peeled garlic takes a few extra steps to keep it fresh.
Peeled cloves of garlic

To keep the peeled garlic fresh for longer, store it in some sort of liquid. Olive oil is often used. Place the peeled garlic cloves in a small jar with an air tight lid. Add olive oil to cover the garlic and seal tightly. 

Garlic will keep this way in the fridge for up to 3 months. You may need to replenish the oil to keep the garlic covered.

You can also store peeled garlic cloves in vodka. This will infuse the cloves with the alcohol and you can then use them for garlicky cocktails.

Another way to store peeled garlic is to freeze it. Just peel the cloves and place them into zip lock freezer bags. Remove and mince as normal when you want to use them.

Garlic will keep in the freezer for 10-12 months.

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Would you like a reminder of this garlic peeling tip?  Pin this image to one of your cooking boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.The easy way to peel garlic: How to peel an entire head of garlic in seconds

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in May of 2013. I have updated the post to add new images, and a printable project card as well as some tips for storing garlic.

Yield: Remove those skins easily!

How to Peel an entire head of Garlic in seconds

Use crushed garlic and vinegar to deter squirrels

Don't take the time to peel each clove of garlic individually. Use this food hack to peel and entire head of garlic in just seconds.

Active Time 30 seconds
Total Time 30 seconds
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $0


  • 2 metal bowls the same size
  • 1 head of garlic


  • Some elbow grease!


  1. Take your whole head of garlic and place it in a large metal bowl.
  2. Place another bowl the same size on top of the first bowl so that you have an orb shape.
  3. Shake the two bowls very hard for about 30 seconds.
  4. As you are shaking, the whole clove will come apart and the skins will separate from the cloves
  5. Dump everything out and you will see that the cloves and skins have separated.
  6. Use them in recipes or store the cloves in olive oil to use later

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Sunday 5th of May 2013

now why wasn't I ever taught this before.........

Elaine Mcd

Sunday 5th of May 2013

This is not true. This will only separate all the cloves from the head. You will still have to peel each and every clove. Nice try but so sad for you.

Wednesday 26th of June 2013

It does work...Elaine try again..hit it really hard and shake good.


Sunday 5th of May 2013

Did you read the part about shaking the container of cloves and skins? That is what separates them. It is more than just pounding them. It is the shaking them that does the trick.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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