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Food & Recipes

Martha Stewart Has a Trick for Peeling Garlic in 10 Seconds — But Does It Really Work?


I use garlic in pretty much every dish I make. If a recipe calls for three cloves, I’ll double it — maybe even triple it. That’s how much I love garlic. What I don’t love, however, is how difficult it can be to peel each delicious portion once they’re off the bulb. Not to mention the odor it leaves on your hands. Sure, I love smelling the enticing aroma in my meals, but it’s not exactly the best personal fragrance. So when I stumbled upon Martha Stewart’s trick for getting the job done in just 10 seconds without having to scrape away at the cloves with my fingers, I was definitely intrigued.

Stewart shared her garlic peeling tip on the TODAY show while promoting her cookbook, Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker ($14.90, Amazon). According to her, all you need is a couple of bowls and some upper arm strength to peel garlic in a snap. You start by placing the separated cloves in one bowl, then cover that with a bowl of the same size, grip them both tightly, and give them a good hard shake for about 10 seconds. Seems easy, right? Well, I decided to give it a shot myself to see if it actually works. 

Stewart claims the trick works on 20 cloves, but I went for about 12. 

peeling garlic

(Photo Credit:

If you’re wondering about the peels in the photo, they’re from detaching the cloves from the bulb itself. This hack unfortunately doesn’t get you completely out of touching the pungent pieces, but at least limits the amount of exposure your skin might have to them. In theory, that can certainly help cut down on any lingering aroma.

Here’s my results after giving them a vigorous shake:

garlic peeling trick

(Photo Credit:

Sadly, barely any of the peels made their way off my cloves despite my best efforts. Had it worked, I was going to celebrate with some garlic roasted potatoes. Unfortunately, not even one single clove lost its peel entirely. Before giving in, I decided to try again. This time, I shook them even harder and for a few seconds longer to make sure I was really giving it a good test. 

Here’s the results of my second attempt: 

how to peel garlic

(Photo Credit:

And I ended up with exactly the same results — just a few portions of the peels fell off. (I discarded the first batch, these were freshly fallen peels.) As much as I hate to besmirch someone Stewart’s stature and her methods, this was a big ol’ fail for me. I was bummed, but it didn’t stop me from peeling a few of the cloves the way I usually do and tossing in with some potatoes anyway. 

Here’s hoping the perfect peeling trick is still out there waiting for me to find and make all of my garlic dreams come true.

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