Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Everyone loves garlic, and this humble allium is also great for your health (if not your breath). However, it’s hard to find a cook who loves the tedious task of peeling and prepping the tiny, sticky cloves. The good news is that there’s no need to cut garlic out of your life altogether.
Instead of torturing yourself with the labor of love that garlic requires, outfit your kitchen with a good-quality garlic press, and you’ll never have to struggle with tiny inner cloves. Garlic presses come in several different shapes, sizes, and materials. But our favorite gadgets all do one job very well: they mince, mash, or otherwise break down whole garlic cloves so you can put away the knife and cutting board altogether.
We looked at how each press works along with how it’s cleaned, durability, and capacity. It's time (possibly against the wishes of your family members) to enjoy delicious garlic-infused bites in every meal, starting with our favorite shrimp scampi. To help you find the right tool for your needs, here are the best garlic presses to have in your kitchen drawer.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press
What We Like: Ergonomic handle, room for three cloves at once, self-cleaning
What We Don't Like: Heavier and bulkier than other models
What makes this the best garlic press? For starters, you can skip the dreaded task of peeling individual garlic cloves. No more papery skins littered around your kitchen or hands that reek of garlic for days. Instead, pop the whole cloves, skin and all, into the press, and clamp down. Out comes paper-free garlic pulp. OXO's garlic press does create more of a paste than minced pieces, which will easily dissolve into vinaigrettes, sauces, soups, and more.
You can fit up to three small or two large cloves in this spacious press, making this the ideal gadget for true garlic lovers. When you’re done, cleaning is straightforward and easy. Simply flip the press inside out. A rubber grid fits into the holes to press out the skin and anything else left inside. Then rinse the tool underwater before popping it into the dishwasher.
Length: 7 inches | Material: Die-cast zinc and plastic | Type: Flip-handle with garlic chamber | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Budget: YouYou Garlic Press
What We Like: Easy to use, lightweight
What We Don't Like: Aluminum handle isn’t as comfortable as rubber, small garlic chamber can get clogged
The YouYou compact no-frills garlic press is great for the occasional home cook and kitchens with limited storage space. It is easy to use and reliably presses individual garlic cloves into a uniform paste making it great for prepping chimichurri sauce. The tool is lightweight and fits easily in even little hands if you’re looking for a task to keep young helpers busy during dinner prep.
The simple mechanical design means that there’s no learning curve with this tool. Simply fill the chamber with your cloves, flip the handle, and press. You’ll have uniformly minced garlic every time. While this press may not fit multiple cloves or clean itself, you can’t beat a tool that does its job with precision and reliability. As a bonus, you can use the YouYou press to make quick work of fresh ginger too.
Length: 6 inches | Material: Aluminum alloy | Type: Flip-handle with garlic chamber | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Rocker: Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker
What We Like: Single-piece design, dishwasher-safe
What We Don't Like: Requires more work than flip-handle presses, requires a cutting surface
When you don’t want to mash your garlic into a paste, a rocker offers a new way to cut garlic that’s just as simple. This sleek, minimalist rocker garlic press from Joseph Joseph does the job well every time.
It’s made entirely from stainless steel, which helps eliminate the garlic smell from your hands and doesn’t react with the cut garlic. Unlike the more common flip-handle presses, rockers require both a cutting surface of some kind (ideally a cutting board) and a little bit more elbow grease since you have to both push down the press and scoop out the garlic.
Length: 3.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Type: Rocker | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Related: The Best Cutting Boards
Best Stainless Steel: Williams Sonoma Stainless-Steel Garlic Press
What We Like: Durable, modern design, ergonomic
What We Don't Like: Pricey
This sleek all-stainless press from Williams Sonoma not only looks great but also works like a charm. The sturdy ergonomic handles make pressing your cloves easier and rest assured, all the garlic will make it through.
It's made of nonreactive 18/10 stainless steel and weighted for balance. It presses whole unpeeled cloves into the finest mince and can be thrown into the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Reviewers mention that these presses, while pricey, last for years.
Length: 6.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Type: Flip-handle with garlic chamber | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Most Ergonomic: Vettora Garlic Press Rocker
What We Like: Finely minces; comfortable anti-slip handle; comes with a garlic peeler tube and a cleaning brush
What We Don't Like: Requires a cutting board; can only cut one peeled clove at a time
Unlike the other presses on this list, our top ergonomic pic works as a rocker, rather than a traditional flip-press. If you’re looking for the most comfortable press, this rocker-style gadget is designed to meet the natural contours of your hands. It’s even more straightforward to use, though you do need a cutting surface, which isn’t necessary for the hand-held presses.
To use this comfortable stainless steel press, place a peeled garlic clove on a cutting surface. Smash the garlic with the rocker, then roll it back and forth to finely mince the garlic. Use a knife to scrape the garlic off of the press. This rocker garlic press does come with a peeler tube where you place the unpeeled clove into the tube and roll it back and forth to peel the garlic.
To clean, simply rinse any stuck-on garlic bits under running water and pop the tool into the dishwasher.
Length: 4.25 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Type: Rocker | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Related: The Best Knife Sets
Best Compartment: Joie MSC Garlic Dicer
What We Like: Minces garlic. stainless steel cutting surface
What We Don't Like: Not dishwasher-safe, multiple parts may be misplaced
This garlic dicer limits mess and cleanly cuts whole cloves into a uniform mince, while a container compartment under the press captures the garlic for mess-free work.
The stainless steel cutting surface makes quick work of large cloves, though you do need to peel the garlic before use. When the garlic goes through the grate, it lands in a clear plastic container, so there’s no sticky garlic mess on your cutting board or hands. A plastic grid ensures that all of the garlic gets pushed clean through the cutting surface without clogging.
Length: 3 inches | Material: Stainless steel, BPA-free plastic | Type: Compartment | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best Lightweight: Zyliss Susi 3 Garlic Press
What We Like: Crushes and peels whole cloves, comes with a cleaning tool
What We Don't Like: Aluminum finish may degrade over time with washing
The Zyliss Susi press is surprisingly lightweight, weighing less than one ounce, but can press even the largest garlic cloves with ease. This well-designed garlic press can easily handle multiple garlic cloves at once.
When you’re done cooking, inside the press handle find a handy red cleaning tool. Simply insert the tool into the cutting grates to remove any remaining garlic pulp. Then, you can pop the device in the dishwasher though handwashing is recommended to maintain the aluminum. It is backed with a 5-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
Length: 6.4 inches | Material: Aluminum | Type: Flip handle | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended
We still love the comfortable and durable OXO Good Grips garlic press (view at Amazon). If you're looking for a single-piece press, the ergonomic Vettora Garlic Press Rocker (view at Amazon) is simply designed and straightforward to use.
What to Look for When Buying A Garlic Press
Most garlic presses are made from stainless steel, aluminum alloy, or plastic. It’s best to choose a press with a stainless steel cutting surface for a few reasons. First, metal cuts the garlic better than a softer material such as plastic. In addition, stainless steel is a non-reactive metal, meaning it won't interact with the acidic compounds in the garlic and create both an odd flavor and a strange color. If you’ve ever seen your garlic or onions turn green when cooked in an aluminum or cast-iron skillet or mixed in an aluminum bowl, you’ve seen this in action. It’s not unsafe to eat, but it doesn’t make for the prettiest presentation.
The best garlic press is comfortable in your hand. And in most cases, this means lightweight. However, there’s a balance here. If your press is too light, your garlic won’t smash or mince properly. The presses we recommend fall between 2.4 and 12.8 ounces, which is a good range for comfort without losing crushing power. Smaller hands may prefer a smaller, lighter tool.
Do yourself a favor and opt for an easy-to-clean garlic press. All of the presses we recommend, and most on the market, are dishwasher-safe. However, even dishwasher-safe garlic presses can get clogged with sticky garlic paste. Our favorite models are easy to scrape clean, and our top choice OXO press even has a built-in self-cleaner to eject any garlic residue.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
This article was written by Lizzy Briskin, a chef, freelance food writer, and recipe developer who loves putting popular kitchen gear to the test, especially when the experiments end with something tasty (preferably ice cream).
Read Next: The Best Slow Cookers