How to Mince Garlic
Learn how the pros quickly and easily mince garlic
Be sure to use a sharp knife when mincing garlic, to avoid injuries.
Garlic is at the base of many delicious recipes, but the small size of the cloves can make them difficult to mince. Make mincing garlic easy with this technique. First, trim the root end of the clove of garlic and discard it. Be sure that you don’t remove too much from the clove of garlic.
You’ll also need to remove the papery skin from the outside of the clove of garlic before you can slice it. The easiest way to do this is to place the clove of garlic under the blade of your knife and, with the flat side of the blade against the clove, press down until the paper skin starts to crack. Then, simply peel the outer skin away from the clove and discard it.
Next, slice into the garlic holding the blade of your knife parallel to the cutting board. Be sure you don’t cut all the way back; the pieces of garlic should remain attached.
Then, with the blade of your knife perpendicular to the cutting board, make cuts along the top of the clove, again, being careful to keep each piece attached.
Finally, with your fingertips tucked back to avoid injury, carefully slice through the clove of garlic crosswise, mincing it. Continue cutting at even intervals for uniform pieces.
Julie Ruggirello is The Daily Meal's Recipe Editor. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
Grab a cutting board and knife ($39.99 for four, amazon.com) with a nice wide blade. Once you&aposve removed the cloves you need from the head of garlic, mincing requires just three simple steps: trim, smash, rock. First, use the knife to trim the root end of each clove. Second, place each clove (or a couple of cloves at a time, after you&aposre feeling confident) under the flat side of the knife and apply pressure with the heel of your hand to peel it. You need to press only hard enough to split the skin so you can peel it away, but don&apost worry if you splinter the clove itself—it&aposs getting chopped anyway. (In fact, if you have very large cloves, it can be helpful to smash them a little so the general height of your cloves is roughly even.) Lastly, rock the blade of the knife over the peeled garlic until the pieces are the size you want—likely very fine. Make sure that whatever the size, they&aposre relatively even so they will cook evenly when added to your dish.
Unless your recipe specifies a size, you should think in terms of flavor. The rule of thumb is this: The finer the garlic, the bolder the flavor. Because chopping garlic ruptures its cells, the more you mince, the more you release the compound that gives garlic its signature scent and flavor, called allicin.
Whole or slightly smashed garlic cloves deliver a gentle garlic flavor to your dish. Big chunks or slices of garlic will deliver a stronger but still mild flavor. Minced garlic will have a bolder flavor, and pressed or grated garlic will have the strongest flavor. Small pieces will also burn more quickly, so consider at what step you&aposre adding the garlic to the dish and what heat you&aposre cooking over. It&aposs best to cook garlic over low heat if you can&apost, keep high-heat cooking to 30 seconds or less and be sure to scrape and stir the garlic constantly.
How to Mince Garlic
Garlic is a wondrous thing in so many ways but it also has its downsides — it can be a pain in the butt to peel and mince.
Never fear, however, as there are some simple tips and techniques that can teach you to mince garlic like a pro and save a ton of time in the kitchen.
Keep in mind, too, that there’s really no right or wrong way to mince garlic. As long as you accomplish your end goal — cutting up your garlic to use with your dish — you’re good to go, even if it takes you a little longer to get there in the end.
If you’re low on time or motivation you can always use a garlic press but this article will teach you to mince garlic with a chef’s knife.
A good 8 inch chef’s knife is indispensable in the kitchen and should be your tool of choice when it comes to chopping or mincing garlic.
How to Mince Garlic
The classic 8 inch Henckels chef’s knife is one of the best all-purpose choices for mincing, slicing, and dicing.
Food Network Shows How to Crush, Slice and Mince Garlic
Food Network teaches how to crush, slice and mince garlic. Peel off some of the papery skin from the garlic and then smash the head of garlic with the heel of your hand to loosen the cloves if you only need a few cloves, leave the head intact and pull some off. Separate the cloves. To peel a clove, cut away the root end with your knife. Lay the flat side of the knife over the clove while holding the knife handle, then with the heel of your free hand carefully whack the knife against the garlic to separate the skin from the clove. To crush the peeled garlic, lay the flat side of the knife over the clove and smash it again. To slice peeled garlic, lay the clove flat on the cutting board and hold it with the fingertips of one hand, keeping them curled under. Using a rocking motion with the knife, make thin slices by moving the knife slowly across the clove. To mince peeled garlic, lay the flat side of a knife over the clove and smash it. Roughly chop the clove then move your free hand flat across the tip of the knife and use a rocking motion to chop the garlic until it’s finely minced.
Yes! If you’re lucky enough to own a good garlic press it can mince the garlic into a much more fine, consistent-sized mince compared to hand chopping. Some garlic presses don’t even need the skin to be removed which is a nice feature.
No! Chopped garlic is coarser, about ⅛-inch or larger, and has more of a bite compared to minced garlic. Chopped is good for flavoring stews, soups braises, or just for flavoring oil in dishes like pan-seared lamb chops.
Minced garlic is finer, around the size of small grains of couscous, or less than 1/16-inches. Minced is better for sauces, dressings, or a dish that is sauteed and cooked quickly so that you don’t have large pieces lingering, like stir-fries.
How to Peel Garlic
To quickly peel a bulb using the shake method:
- Firmly pound the bulb on the counter and separate all of the cloves
- Place all of the cloves in a jar with a lid.
- Shake vigorously for 20 seconds. The cloves will slide right out of their peels.
- Pick out all of the cloves.
If you just need a few cloves, simply remove the desired number from the larger bulb. Using the side of the kitchen knife press firmly down on the cloves to loosen the clove from the peel.
How to Mince Garlic
I use garlic pretty frequently, and chances are you do to. And given how much we use garlic, it pays to get good at prepping it…breaking up the blubs, removing the skin, and mincing it.
In this cooking video, I show you my technique for mincing a garlic clove. Most people I know use one of those hand presses, but frankly I don’t love them. First, I think it’s slower than my technique, but in addition to that, it’s another piece of equipment you have to clean. And they are not all that easy to clean either.
My technique for mincing garlic uses just your chef knife and a bit of salt. Check out the video here.
To mince garlic
- Peel a garlic clove and place it on your cutting board
- Use a wide bladed knife (I prefer a chef knife) to crush the clove. Place the knife flat over the clove and with your other hand, give it a whack to crush the clove
- Coarsely chop through the garlic clove a few times with the knife, and then sprinkle it with about a teaspoon of salt
- Then use your knife to grind the clove and salt against cutting board. Holding the knife in your dominant hand, use your other hand to hold the tip against the cutting board, and the knife angled at about 30 degrees, nearly flat against the cutting board
- Use a sweeping motion to grind the clove against the board repeatedly
- The abrasive salt will grind up the garlic and get it beautifully minced. The longer you grind, the more the garlic with turn to a paste, and you can vary the consistency depending on the recipe
With a bit of practice you can get to a point where you can mince multiple cloves in just about a minute – saving time and effort.
Homemade Minced Garlic
Homemade minced garlic is easy to make and only takes three ingredients – garlic, oil and salt. All you need to do it throw the fresh, peeled garlic, salt and oil into a food processor and give it a short buzz. All done!
The oil and salt are needed as they help preserve the garlic. I use a light olive or avocado oil, though you could use any oil of your choice. Keep in mind, that because you are adding salt to the minced garlic, you will need to decrease the amount of salt (or not use any) in the dishes you make when you use this homemade minced garlic.
How to Store Whole Garlic Heads
Keep the bulb intact for as long as possible. Again, once you start peeling, your garlic’s lifespan decreases much more rapidly.
The best place for a whole head of garlic is somewhere cool, dry, and dark. Sound like the fridge? Think again. Instead of the fridge, opt for somewhere closer to room temperature. Ideally, garlic would be stored somewhere between 60° and 65°, but that’s not realistic for most households. Just use your best judgment. For most people, the pantry is the safest spot.
Also, if you can, choose somewhere that gets decent ventilation. Don’t close your garlic in a small drawer or seal it up in a bag. If you must bag it up, paper or mesh materials are much more breathable than plastic.
How to Store Peeled Garlic
Peeled garlic is a different story. Whether you’ve separated and peeled the whole thing or you just a few exposed cloves, refrigeration is going to be your best bet. Seal it up in an airtight container or zip-top bag, then toss it in the fridge. Though it may start losing pungency after only a few days, it’ll be fine to use for about a week.
How to Store Chopped or Minced Garlic
Did you accidentally chop more garlic than you needed for a given recipe? You can toss it in a bit of olive oil, seal it in an airtight container, and stick it in the fridge to use within a day or two. Don’t try to keep it for longer than that: Fresh garlic in oil could develop botulism over time, according to the USDA (the pre-minced garlic you buy at the grocery store has been treated with preservatives that keep it safe-to-eat for longer).
When a recipe calls for minced or chopped garlic, can I use a garlic press&sbquo or bottled pre-chopped garlic?
First, the difference between minced and chopped garlic can have a big impact on your cooked dish. A "mince" is finer than a "chop", and here&aposs why it matters. If you use chopped garlic, which is bigger, in a dish that calls for minced and doesn&apost cook very long, you will likely be eating raw and pungent garlic.
A garlic press makes a paste of the garlic with more of the garlic oils released. Very finely chopped, or minced garlic is less than 1/16 inch in diameter, like course cornmeal. Chopped garlic is typically no more than an 1/8 inch.
The good news is that many grocery stores now sell bottled minced and chopped garlic. While nothing beats fresh, when the garlic is a seasoning and not a major source of the flavor of the dish, the bottled makes a decent short-cut. Just be sure to read labels and look for the brand with little or no added ingredients.