Garlic literally brings world cuisine to your kitchen. We use this sulfurous, potent ingredient in almost any dish to instantly conjure up a deep flavor and fragrant aroma.
Apart from the unique fragrance and flavor, garlic also offers a bunch of health benefits. That’s why the papery skin always sits on our countertops and kitchen cabinets, ready to chop and be part of any recipe.
There’s a fascinating secret behind leveraging garlic’s potent flavors – mince the garlic instead of adding the whole clove to the pan.
Learning how to cut garlic is essential since uncut cloves have no aroma, but just as you mince it, a sulfurous, strong aroma appears. We believe our tutorials on how to mince garlic are straightforward enough for cooks of all levels to follow. Let’s check it out!
How to Mince Garlic Cloves? Step-By-Step Guide
Before jumping to the major topic, here is a helpful tip for you.
When buying a garlic bulb, look for those that are plump, firm, and have dry skins. You should find them stored in the produce department’s dry open-aired section.
How To Peel Garlic
How to peel garlic quickly?
To quickly peel a bulb, use 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. You need to use the side of the kitchen knife press firmly down on the cloves to loosen the clove from the peel.
How To Mince
In this section, we’ll focus on some different ways of how to mince garlic, including hand-chopping, garlic press, mortar and pestle, knife-blade pureeing, and microplane.
Hand-Minced With a Knife
Using a knife is the most basic method to mince garlic.
Manually mince garlic with a knife! This is the technique housewives use most often is to pass the knife repeatedly over the garlic until it’s been reduced to a pile of fine bits.
Simply cut your garlic and make thin slices crosswise to mince garlic into small pieces.
While tiny, the knife-minced garlic has the largest and most discrete pieces than any of the other methods.
It’s also the driest—hand mincing doesn’t break open and release the fluids of as many cells as the other methods.
As for taste, the hand-minced garlic is relatively mild (relatively is a key term here). It has a nice garlicky flavor that, even after chewing, remains on the mellow side.
A subtle burn eventually kicks in, but it’s slow and never really hits unpleasant levels.
A garlic press is very handy for delivering tiny pieces of minced garlic.
The garlic press has gotten a pretty bad rap, and a lot of cooks would be ashamed to be caught with one (others have come to its defense). It honestly isn’t bad and isn’t great either. The peeled cloves come out in a pile of irregular squiggles, and juice sprays as you squeeze the handles.
The flavor is more aggressive than the hand-minced cloves and will start to burn your tongue after about five seconds. Here’s one notable word from our tasting notes: “farty”. Still, a good garlic press isn’t the abomination some folks have claimed it to be.
Mortar and Pestle
If you have a mortar and pestle set, use it!
Use a mortar and pestle set to mince garlic! We’re bracing for a really intense garlic flavor from the mortar and pestle, given how thoroughly you can pulverize garlic in it. And surprisingly, it isn’t much more aggressive than the garlic press.
Smash and Destroy
A quicker way of using a knife to mince garlic is to smash.
Smashing stuff is fun! Ask any six year-old. But it’s also a great way to avoid spending too much time chopping garlic.
When you don’t care about completely pulverizing garlic, simply position the flat side of your chef’s knife over a peeled clove and then give it a good thwack with your palm or side of your fist.
Smashing the cloves thoroughly is key here. You’re breaking up the cell walls that contain all that irresistibly sticky, stinky garlic flavor in one deft motion.
Once the clove is good and flattened, you can just run your chef’s knife through the garlic repeatedly to break it all up, producing a rough but ready-to-fall-apart-in-hot-oil paste.
Knife pureeing is quite a hard technique to learn.
This isn’t the easiest technique to learn regarding how to mince garlic, but with a little practice, anyone can excel in it.
To start, first, roughly mince the garlic. Then, with the side of the blade’s edge, you push down to crush the little bits into a puree.
Try to smash too much under the blade at once, and it becomes incredibly difficult if not impossible. Normally, we sprinkle salt on top of the chopped garlic, which acts as grit to break the garlic down. But for this method, we leave salt out to keep it similar to the other samples.
Microplane is also a recommended method.
Mince garlic with a microplane. Our favorite way to transform whole fresh garlic cloves into a perfect paste doesn’t even involve a knife.
With a Microplane—basically just a very sharp zester with tiny teeth—you can just grate garlic the same way you’d grate cheese or citrus zest.
Using a Microplane will give you that fresh garlic flavor without having to 1) use a knife or 2) encounter any large, uncooked pieces of garlic in your dinner.
This method is especially clutch when you’re putting together a quick salad dressing or other uncooked sauce that involves a garlic clove.
How Do Cloves of Garlic Minced Taste When Cooked?
How to mince garlic – done! Now, you want to know how the flavor of each method changes when exposed to high heat for a short amount of time. You can cook one clove garlic minced of each type of garlic in one tablespoon of melted butter over high heat.
Here’s what we found:
- Knife-Minced: Once again mild, with a little bit of chewable garlic clove that is tender and sweet.
- Garlic Press: Stronger overall flavor than the knife minced, with a medium burn in the throat. It’s a little sweet but also a little harsh.
- Mortar and Pestle: Quite sweet with tender mashed chunks. Pretty tasty, with a very mild burn that sets in late in the back of the mouth.
- Knife Pureed: The baby bear—neither too sweet nor too harsh, too mild nor too strong.
- Smash and Destroy: The garlic clove emits some sulfur notes, but it also has a sweetness to it, with a not-too-strong burn.
- Microplane: The burn sets in faster than the others, with a slightly acrid taste, but not nearly as bad as raw. Unpleasant bitter aftertaste hangs in the mouth, but it’s not severe.
What we think is important here are the broad-stroke observations: heat appears to tame the strength of the raw garlic in all cases.
But those aggressive allicins (and whatever compounds they turn into overtime and when exposed to heat) are still stronger with more finely minced and pressed garlic.
Meanwhile, the microplane sample continues to stand out as the strongest of them all, though not nearly as much as when it was raw.
Tips For Prepping and Cooking Garlic
- Don’t chop garlic in advance. The longer cut garlic sits, the harsher its flavor.
- Pay attention to how fine you mince the garlic. The finer the mince, the stronger the flavor.
- When cooking with minced garlic, add after all other vegetables have been softened. You don’t want to burn it.
- Don’t cook garlic over high heat for more than 30 seconds. Stir it constantly until it releases its flavor and fragrance.
- Use the minced garlic immediately, or within 1 hour of mincing.
- If you don’t use it right away, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 6 hours.
- We find that one medium minced garlic to clove gives about ½ to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. Therefore three to four medium minced garlic to cloves yield about 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.
Everything seems to be better with minced garlic, indeed. Nothing smells better than 1 clove of garlic minced cooking on the stove.
Garlic is a crucial ingredient in almost any stirred food, elevating our recipes and giving them extra flavoring that is so delicious.
Knowing how to mince garlic is the first knife skill to master your own kitchen.
We hope our fantastic methods help turn mincing garlic an effortless task for you. Let’s practice!