We have a theory about why some people don’t like garlic. They aren’t mincing it fine enough and as a result their food is peppered with large nuggets of overpowering garlic. Chopped garlic is also much more likely to burn and turn acrid. Mince garlic properly into a fine consistency with our step by step guide—you'll soon see that prepping aromatic ingredients thoughtfully brings out the best in your dish.

What You'll Learn

How to Mince Garlic

1. Trim off root end of clove, then crush clove gently between side of chef’s knife and cutting board to loosen papery skin. Skin should fall away from garlic.
2. Using two‐handed chopping motion, run knife over garlic repeatedly to mince it. Keep one hand on top of blade and make sure to rock blade back and forth as you move it across pile of garlic.
3. Mincing garlic to a smooth paste is a good idea in many recipes (such as sauces or dressings). Sprinkle salt, preferably kosher, over chopped garlic. Coarse grains of salt help break down garlic faster.
4. Continue to mince garlic and alternate with scraping motion. Turn knife on its side and scrape blade back and forth over garlic to form sticky, smooth paste.

Why You Should Invest in a Garlic Press

Garlic Press

In our experience, a garlic press can break down cloves more finely and evenly—and quickly—than the average cook wielding a knife. Plus, with a good garlic press, you don't have to stop and peel the cloves. (If you don't own a garlic press, our technique for mincing garlic by hand is the next best thing.)

→ Buy our favorite garlic press: Kuhn Rikon Stainless Steel Epicurean Garlic Press

→ Read our review of garlic presses

The Difference Between Minced and Pressed Garlic

We recommend the use of minced or pressed garlic in our recipes. In various recipes, our tasters couldn't tell the difference between properly minced garlic and pressed garlic. While chefs may well be able to produce piles of perfectly minced garlic in no time flat, we've found that home cooks often don't mince garlic as finely as many recipes require. A garlic press produces not only a very fine mince (almost a puree) but an evenly fine mince, which ensures even distribution of flavor throughout the dish.

Garlic Dos and Don'ts

How garlic is handled can have a dramatic impact on flavor.

Prepping Garlic

DON'T bother removing any green shoots from cloves before chopping. The sharp taste of older garlic comes from the clove, not the sprout.

DO pay attention to how fine you chop garlic. The finer the mince, the stronger the flavor.

DON'T chop garlic in advance. The longer cut garlic sits, the harsher its flavor.

Cooking Garlic

DO wait to add garlic to the pan until other aromatics or ingredients have softened (push these to the perimeter) to avoid browning and the creation of bitter compounds.

DON'T cook garlic over high heat for much longer than 30 seconds; you want to cook it only until it turns fragrant. And make sure to stir constantly.

DO add garlic to a cold pan when it is the only flavoring and cook it over low to medium heat to give it time to release its flavors and keep it from burning.

Kitchen Hack: Syncing Garlic and Herb Chopping

When you are making a recipe that calls for both garlic and herbs, you can combine the tasks and make both of them easier. When chopping garlic by itself, the garlic often sticks to the knife, riding up on the sides of the blade. If you chop the garlic and herbs together, the garlic sticks to the herbs, rather than to the knife.

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