Kitchn Love Letters

Yes, Everyone Needs a Garlic Peeler — And This One Is the Best

published Jan 25, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Every time I saw a recipe for chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, I used to do the two following things:

  1. Drool.
  2. Sigh and turn the page.

Why not at least dog-ear it to cook later? Well, because I’m way too impatient to peel that much garlic. Painstakingly removing the sticky, papery skin off a garlic clove is so frustratingly tedious that it makes me want to scream. I’d rather watch paint dry — not to be dramatic, or anything. 

Don’t get me wrong — I cook with a decent amount of garlic. However, I simply take a clove and do a Hulk-like smash with the side of my knife, which makes the skin crack and come right off. Usually I just need a few cloves each night, so this method is pretty manageable. Also worth noting: As soon as you break the garlic’s cell walls, the flavor gets intense, hot, and sharp. So you can’t go smashing garlic cloves when you want them to cook up sweet and mild. For that, you need to keep them whole.

I could cook the cloves in their skins and squish them out after, but the thought of digging around in the hot braising liquid is only slightly less appealing than removing the skins in the first place. And, yes, I could also buy pre-peeled garlic, but I worry about its freshness. So, for years, a simple, comforting pot of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic was relegated to deal-breaker status. It was one of those recipes, like a from-scratch Turducken, that I’d never make.

And then I got a garlic peeler, which looks like a silicone cannoli. I took one look and thought, Yeah, right. But this thing really works!

To use it, you stuff the peeler with a few cloves, press down, and rub it back and forth on the counter. You can hear the papery skins crackling under the friction and coming off. It’s so satisfying! Tip everything out and the garlic emerges totally peeled. Sometimes there’s a stubborn clove or two, but I just put it back in the tube and rub it back and forth again. 

Credit: Amazon
It's shaped like a cannoli, but it works like a charm for removing papery garlic skins.

Unlike most other one-use tools, I don’t mind making room for this garlic peeler in one of my kitchen drawers — especially because it doesn’t take up much space. And now that I’ve discovered how handy it is, I use it to pre-peel garlic for the week so I have a tub of fresh cloves on hand. And that chicken with 40 cloves of garlic recipe? It’s gone from deal-breaker to dinnertime staple.