Quick Tips for Peeling Garlic and Onions

Quick Tips for Peeling Garlic and Onions

The ubiquitous pair garlic and onions form the base of countless cuisines. Some people use pre-chopped garlic from jars, but I never use anything that isn’t freshly chopped. The longer the garlic clove or onion has been out of its skin, the less beautiful flavor and aroma left to be infused into your food!

Peeling and chopping these aromatic bulbs can sometime be a time consuming and difficult process. I used to waste unnecessary minutes (and end up with garlic scented hands!) by attacking each garlic clove or onion head with my fingers and scrapping until I had gotten up every last scratch of skin. With these quick tips, you can have your garlic or onions ready and in the pan in under a minute!


  1. Break off as many cloves as your recipe calls for from the garlic head.
  2. If you have difficulty pulling off a clove, use a knife to make a slit between two cloves and lever the clove out.
  3. With a large chopping or butcher knife, cut off about an eighth of an inch from each end of the clove.
  4. With the middle (length-wise) of flat side of the knife over the clove, apply sharp downward pressure to squash the clove.
  5. Remove the skin, which should be together in one piece or two.
  6. Repeat with all of the cloves you are using, then line them up or place them on top of one another for chopping.


  1. Cut about 3/8 to half an inch from each end, making sure to cut through all layers and remove the entire head.
  2. Roll the onion on its side for a few seconds.
  3. Slice the onion in half lengthwise.
  4. Peel back a small corner on each remaining half and the whole skin should come off with it.
  5. Lie each piece on the flat side for chopping.
I know that I am still not the best at chopping, even though I have the peeling down to a science. Does anyone have some super-efficient chopping tips to share?

Photo by Muffet from Flickr.