How to Use a Garlic Press

Here's how to use a garlic press and how to use it for more than just garlic, everything from olives to spices and more. Plus how to prepare the press. 

What is a Garlic Press

A garlic press, sometimes called a crusher, is a kitchen gadget that is like a nutcracker but for garlic. A lot of kitchen gadgets are best left at the store but the garlic press is an invaluable tool in the kitchen. It quickly and easily turns cloves of garlic into minced garlic. 

It’s quicker than using a microplane, grater, and definitely your chef’s knife. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a good one. Some not only mince garlic but have the option to slice it too. 

Best Way to Use a Garlic Press

The garlic press was made for amateur cooks. You don’t need a lot of skill to use one and it saves so much time. Here is how to get the most out of your gadget. 

Prepare the Garlic

You don’t have to peel the cloves before pressing them but you do have to break off a fresh clove from the bulb. See below on how to store garlic in all its formats once you do this. If you prefer to peel it beforehand, try one of my hand peeling garlic food hacks.

Prepare the Press

Once you have your garlic clove ready to press, or garlic cloves ready, get the press ready. Now, you can simply use the press as is but future you will be happy if you spray the chamber with a little cooking spray beforehand. This makes dislodging the press garlic and peel much easier. 

Press the Garlic

The way the garlic is pressed through the chamber not only minces the garlic but releases oils stored within the clove. Some chefs hate presses for this reason. As someone that typically doubles the garlic in any recipe, I say bring it! 

Because the press will express both the garlic and oils, be sure to use the device over a bowl, large cutting board, or pan to catch the crushed garlic and the oils. Then simply press down on the press. If you have the hand strength for it, you can even press a few at a time. 

Take a butter knife and scrape away any garlic stuck to the outside of the press. 

Cleaning a Garlic Press

Most presses are dishwasher-safe or you can hand wash it. You can easily dislodge the pressed clove using a fork before washing. If you used cooking spray, you’ll be happy you did. 

Garlic Press Hacks

The thing that makes the garlic press such a necessary kitchen gadget is that you can use it for more than just garlic. So much more. Here are items you can chop using a garlic press:

  • Ginger
  • Shallots
  • Chile peppers
  • Radishes
  • Olives
  • Spices

How to Store Garlic

Keep whole garlic bulbs in a cool, dark, dry place, but not in the fridge. Stored this way, bulbs can keep fresh for months. Once you break the seal, peeled garlic cloves can be kept in white vinegar in the fridge for months. Or you can mince it and freeze it in olive oil. Do not store fresh garlic in olive oil either in the fridge or on the counter.