How to Cut Garlic Like a Professional

Yes, there is a right and wrong way.

  • Team Made In
  • Jul 28, 2022
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Who doesn't love the unmistakable aroma and bold flavor of garlic? Whether sauteed with onions in a pasta sauce, smeared on toasted bread as a confit, or incorporated into a soup, there's really no wrong place to use garlic in your everyday dishes. And while you can always buy jars of pre-minced garlic at your local grocery store, the truth is that there is no substitute for the taste of garlic when it's been freshly minced.

By knowing how to properly cut garlic, you can take your favorite dishes to new levels of flavor.

How to Properly Cut Garlic

If you've never worked with fresh garlic before, it may seem easier to reach for the jar in your fridge than to mess with a bulb and cloves. Don't fret—simply follow these steps and you'll be on your way to perfectly minced garlic in no time, that tastes much better than any jar bought at the store.

Step 1: Loosen the Cloves

If you're working with a whole bulb of garlic, you'll want to start by loosening the individual cloves so that they're easier to separate. You can do this by carefully pressing the root side of the bulb down onto a Butcher Block and pressing down gently with your palm.

Step 2: Separate the Cloves

Once you've loosened the cloves loose from each other, you should have an easy time using your fingers to separate the cloves from the root of the bulb. The number of cloves in a bulb of garlic will vary depending on size, but most bulbs will separate into around 10 individual cloves.

Step 3: Trim the Root Ends

Next, you'll want to remove the root ends from each bulb to make sure you get the best flavor possible. This can be done by simply cutting them away with a sharp Knife.

Step 4: Crush the Cloves

You'll have an easier time removing the skin from each clove of garlic if you crush it first. The best way to do this (and the way you've probably seen in cooking shows) is to use the flat side of a Chef's Knife to gently and carefully press the clove into the cutting board.

Step 5: Peel the Skin

Next, you should have an easy time removing the skin from each clove with your fingers. Yes, your fingers are going to smell like garlic for a bit after this (sorry, not sorry).

Step 6: Cut, Chop, and Mince

Finally, use your Knife to cut each garlic clove into thin slices. Then, follow up by chopping each slice into even smaller, diced-up pieces. The final step is to mince the garlic, which you can do by rocking your knife up and down, back and forth within your pile of chopped garlic.

The result should be very small pieces of minced garlic that you can use in any recipe, from pasta sauce to garlic butter.

When to Use Fresh Garlic

While you can always purchase jars of minced garlic at the grocery store, there are times when it's worth it to mince your own garlic. Don't believe us? Give it a try and compare the taste for yourself. Chances are, you won't want to go back to jarred minced garlic—even if it may be a little more convenient.

Generally, it's best to peel and mince garlic no more than an hour before you plan to add it to a dish. This will ensure the freshest flavor. After about an hour, minced garlic will begin to break down and release enzymes that can cause the flavor to become bitter or overpowering.

How to Store Cut Garlic

If you have leftover minced garlic, you can store it for short periods of time. The best way to store it to preserve flavor is to place it in a small, airtight container in the refrigerator. Ideally, you'll want to use it same-day—but it can last for a day or two in the fridge when properly stored.

The next time you cook with garlic, treat yourself to a fresh bulb and mince it yourself. You'll get your hands dirty, but the flavor will be more than worth the extra time and effort. And with a little help from our Knives, you can get a perfect cut every time.

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