The Hot Water Trick Is the Latest Garlic-Peeling Hack Sweeping the Internet

updated May 26, 2020
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Garlic and peeled garlic cloves on a wooden cutting board
Credit: chrisboy2004/Getty Images

There are at least as many tricks and hacks to peeling garlic out there on the internet as there are days in the year. But like other repetitive, common tasks, it just always seems like there must be a better way — something more efficient, more effective — to get large numbers of garlic cloves peeled. So when we started watching Nadiya’s Time to Eat, the new Netflix show from Great British Baking Show winner Nadiya Hussain, and saw her touting her own garlic-peeling tip nine minutes into the first episode, it was time to give it a try.

In that first episode, Nadiya shows busy mom Kim how to make a paste as a base for instant noodles, and it requires two heads of garlic. “Rather than spending loads of time peeling them individually,” she says, “let’s stick some boiling water [in a bowl with the garlic], and [in] one minute, they should come off really easily.” She and Kim describe what they’re doing as “effortless.”

Credit: Naomi Tomky

I Tried Nadiya Hussain’s Garlic-Peeling Trick

First, I busted out some garlic and boiled some water. After breaking the garlic into individual cloves, I poured the water over the garlic and waited a minute. The first clove slipped right out, and I thought that maybe it really was that good of a hack. But not all of the cloves worked so well: while the boiling water helped loosen the skin, I still had to use a fingernail to break the skin and get it started. And as I did more and more cloves, my fingernails softened from pulling the cloves out of the hot water and couldn’t do it anymore, so I had to use a knife anyway.

Still, they definitely came off more easily, and if I were already boiling water for cooking, I might use this to make my life easier. After all, that’s what all of these garlic peeling hacks — the microwave, the cocktail shaker, the two bowls — are about: using them when it makes your life just a little easier. That one perfect miracle garlic hack still doesn’t exist.