Kitchn Love Letters

The Wacky-Looking Garlic Tool I Unexpectedly Fell in Love With

updated Jun 13, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Chef'n garlic press in hand.
Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani
See? Wacky-looking.

I’m not usually a fan of single-purpose tools. Not only do I lack the kitchen storage space for them, but also the will to wash them. As I see it, if I’m already using a knife and it can get the job done, why would I want to get another thing dirty? Of course, some gadgets really do take the drudgery out of prep work, making things faster and easier. I just didn’t think garlic presses fit this bill. They’re a pain to clean, and they mash garlic instead of finely mincing it. Plus, I always cook with more than one clove, and I can smash, peel and chop several cloves in about the same time it would take to use a press.

Still, when I got an assignment to test several kinds of garlic presses, I secretly hoped there would be one that would win me over. I wanted one that was effortless to clean and wouldn’t turn my garlic into juice. Turns out, there was one! And it definitely wasn’t the gadget I expected.

The Chef’n Garlic Zoom looked so laughable, it was the very definition of a “gadget.” Plastic, round, and sporting little wheels, it had none of the stainless-steel seriousness of the other presses. The blades inside seemed thin and flimsy, too. I popped one clove in, rolled the Zoom back and forth on my counter, and checked out the results — a poor, uneven chop. Pffff. 

Then, I glanced at the instructions again and saw it recommended two to three cloves, aka the minimum I cook with. So I tucked three cloves in, rolled it back and forth, and ta-da! A whole bunch of perfectly minced garlic in seconds — definitely faster than I could’ve done with my knife. And because they were actually minced, not crushed, the flavor wasn’t too hot or intense (if you’ve ever rubbed too much garlic on your bruschetta or made aioli in a food processor with more than one clove, you know what I mean).

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani
Unlike other garlic presses, the Garlic Zoom has a top opening you place cloves into.

I have since become besotted with the thing. I love how it can quickly mince several cloves at once, how I can get most of the garlic out with a few taps or a quick swipe with my finger, and how easy it is to clean (just run it under hot water). I also use it to mince shallots, which are essential to my vinaigrettes, but painful for my eyes. I’ll cut one into quarters, drop them in the Zoom, and have perfectly even bits within seconds — and without any tears.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani
All you do is roll it around for perfectly minced garlic (and shallots!).

One of my most favorite things about the Chef’n Garlic Zoom is its inclusivity. It would have been a godsend for my grandma, who had terrible arthritis. When my kids were little, they would have liked using it to help me with dinner (provided they weren’t the ones clearing the minced garlic from the blade chamber). For anyone who might have trouble gripping a knife or a garlic press, the Garlic Zoom is invaluable. It’s a point of entry rather than a barrier, and that’s always a good thing.