How to Mince Garlic

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Mincing garlic with chef knife

It seems like 9 out of 10 savory recipes call for chopped, minced, or sliced garlic. And that’s because garlic is the best. Garlic is one of the most important ingredients in many cultures’ cooking, and it’s one of the pantry staples I can never run out of.

How you are using the garlic in your recipe affects how you want to cut it up. When you are cooking with garlic, you don’t usually need to chop it super-fine because when it cooks, it will soften and mellow and blend into the dish. But if you are using garlic in an uncooked dish or a recipe where the garlic really needs to kind of dissolve itself into the dish — whether it be a marinade or a sauce or a rub — you usually do want a pretty fine mince. 

Here is how to chop and mince garlic for any recipe!

Finely minced garlic and knife

Peeling Garlic

Whichever way you are chopping your garlic, you need to get it out of the papery skin first. A head of garlic will contain between 10 and 15 cloves of varying sizes. Separate the cloves from the base of the garlic bulb. Slice the very bottom of the garlic clove off the root end, exposing the garlic beneath the papery skin. Place them on a cutting board. Smash the garlic: place the side or a chef’s knife, or other large, heavy knife, on each clove. Use the side of your fist to carefully give a firm thwack right on the side of the blade to crush the garlic. Slip off the papery skin.

How to Mince Garlic: The best, fastest and easiest ways to chop and mince garlic for every recipe!

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Smashing fresh garlic cloves with knife

How to Chop Garlic With a Knife

Place the peeled garlic on a cutting board. Start slicing or chopping the cloves with a chef’s knife or a large, heavy sharp knife. As you start to chop it finer, add a pinch or so of kosher or sea salt, and keep chopping until it reaches the consistency you like. The salt acts as an abrasive so that the garlic gets minced more quickly and breaks down a bit as the knife rubs the salt into it. 

Use your non-dominant hand to add some leverage to the top of the knife, which will help make the chopping go faster. Stop when the garlic is as finely minced as desired, and remember that there is already some salt mixed in, so use a lighter hand when you season the finished dish.

Chopping fresh garlic with chef knife

How to Finely Mince Garlic 

It can be unpleasant to bite into a big chunk of raw garlic in a dressing, salad, or what have you, so this easy mincing technique will show you how to get the garlic as finely chopped as you want.

Start to chop the garlic as above. Every once in a while, use the side of the knife to smear the garlic against the cutting board, then scrape it back up and keep mincing. You can even hear the salt crunching under the blade of the knife as it works to help pulverize the garlic.

Mincing garlic with chef knife

The video shows you how to mince garlic very finely. If you keep going, you’ll make it into a paste, which will pretty much dissolve into whatever you are mixing it with.

How to Mince Garlic With a Microplane or Rasp 

Microplane is the most popular brand name for a rasp or rasp grater. It is usually a long thin or rectangular piece of metal with tiny little jagged holes punched in it. When you rub a garlic clove over the surface, the garlic almost becomes a paste. Just watch your fingers towards the end of the clove!

Grating fresh garlic clove

This is a great way to get your garlic minced super fine so that it can blend right into recipes like marinades, sauces, and salad dressings. 

There are rasps and Microplanes with different-sized holes, so pick the one that suits you.

Freshly grated garlic on Microplane

Also, check out how to make roasted garlic…another fabulous way to incorporate garlic into all kinds of dishes.

Recipes With Minced Garlic

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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