Does Microwaving Garlic Make for Easier Peeling?

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Sheela Fiorenzo)

Confession: I go through at least a head of garlic a week. Pretty much any dish that’s made in my kitchen starts with peeling and chopping a couple cloves. So when I learned about a tip to make peeling garlic cloves easier, I was intrigued. Would it become a game-changer for my cooking routine?

The Original Tip

We wrote about the original tip when it gained popularity a few years ago. The premise is that you toss a whole head of garlic in the microwave, heat it for 20 seconds, and the skins will easily pull right off the individual cloves of garlic, making it a painless, mess-free process.

The Testing Method

I watched the video from the original tip and followed it to a T. I placed my head of garlic in the microwave, shut the door, and heated it for 20 seconds at high power. Then, since the garlic was hot, I used a oven mitt to transfer it to the counter to have at the cloves.

(Image credit: Sheela Fiorenzo)

The Results

To be honest, I found the process to be more hassle than it was worth. Even after letting the head of garlic cool for a few minutes, the cloves were hot and a little uncomfortable to handle, especially as I made my way to the inner cloves.

I also found that some of the smaller cloves had already started to partially cook, looking barley translucent in spots. While this isn’t a big issue if you intend to cook immediately with these cloves, I only needed a couple for the dish I was making.

Saving the partially cooked cloves I didn’t need was also not entirely successful. I wrapped them and kept them in the fridge for a couple of days but when I went to use them, I felt that their pungency had reduced.

Verdict: Not worth the effort.

Final Notes

If I tried this again, I’d probably try reducing the heat time to 15 seconds, since I do think 20 seconds was too much given my microwave’s power.

Regardless, I personally don’t find peeling a few cloves of garlic for a recipe that much of a hassle — and I put garlic in practically everything! So I likely won’t be re-visiting this tip in the future.

Have you tried this method? Do you have any other tricks for making garlic easier to peel?