Everyone loves garlic. 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.
To see how garlic presses stacked up against each other, we tested how each press worked along with how it’s cleaned, durability, and capacity. The tests included, well, pressing garlic. If a manufacturer said to use unpeeled garlic cloves, that's what our tester popped into the chamber. For fun, we also pressed fresh ginger root and noted our findings.
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 for your next weeknight dinner.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press
What We Love: Ergonomic handle, room for three cloves at once, self-cleaning
What We Don't Love: Heavier and bulkier than other models
This heavy-duty garlic press adds another tool to OXO’s highly reliable kitchen line. The package delivered clear instructions on use for garlic press novices and the heft when it was unpackaged promised sturdy pressing. It has a comfortable, ergonomically designed, non-slip handle that requires little pressure to press multiple cloves.
The large chamber easily accommodates multiple cloves, and you don’t even need to peel them. When tested with three unpeeled cloves, it yielded an ample amount of garlic pulp with little residual clove left in the chamber. It made sheet pan chicken dinner sing with flavor.
And it’s versatile—when tested with ginger root, a similar yield resulted. The red cleaner grid removes any skin or residue seamlessly, without having to get your hands garlicky. The bonus is you just throw it in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. The 7-inch size fits nicely in our tester's gadget drawer, ready for its next clove.
Price at time of publish: $19
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 Love: Easy to use, lightweight
What We Don't Love: Aluminum handle isn’t as comfortable as rubber, small garlic chamber can get clogged
This petite press feels fragile when unpackaged, but performs remarkably well when put to use. It doesn’t come with instructions, but the straightforward design makes it easy to use. One large, peeled garlic clove presses almost fully through the grid with little residue left behind.
And if you have small hands, the diminutive handle fits comfortably. The mince is small, almost paste-like, and uniform, just what you need for chimichurri sauce. It performed well on our tests with fresh ginger root as well, adding to its versatility.
The manufacturer warrants this product is dishwasher safe, but after the first test wash, the aluminum began to bubble on the handle. You should definitely hand wash this tool to preserve its utility. Its slim 6-inch design fits easily in any gadget drawer, and if you want to get kids involved in the kitchen, this is an affordable, fun tool to start with.
Price at time of publish: $10
Length: 6 inches | Material: Aluminum alloy | Type: Flip-handle with garlic chamber | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best Rocker: Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker
What We Love: Single-piece design, dishwasher-safe
What We Don't Love: Requires more work than flip-handle presses, requires a cutting surface
The sleek, modern design of this tool makes it an attractive addition to any gadget drawer. It comes with clear, illustrated instructions on the package to walk you through using a garlic rocker. There is no handle to press, but you do need a fair amount of pressure to get it rocking. You also need a surface to work on, like a cutting board.
The stainless steel stunner delivers a larger dice than handheld presses. It yielded an ample amount in multiple tests and worked equally well with ginger when tested. And it is a cinch to clean—just throw it in the dishwasher. Our tester found it came out as pristine as it was when first unpackaged.
Price at time of publish: $24
Length: 3.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Type: Rocker | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
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Best Stainless Steel: Williams Sonoma Stainless-Steel Garlic Press
What We Love: Durable, modern design, ergonomic
What We Don't Love: Pricey
Crafted from 18/10 stainless steel, this press is stunning and sturdy. The weighted, ergonomically designed handles are comfortable, and take very little effort to press. In multiple tests, it reliably pressed almost the entire clove of garlic with very little leftover pulp. The manufacturer warrants it presses unpeeled garlic cloves, but across three tests the tool had to be opened and the tester had to remove the skin to push the clove through. Once the skin was removed the yield was great, and the mince was a small, uniform size.
Though on the pricey side, this durable press held up to multiple tests with multiple garlic cloves, and fresh ginger root. The large chamber easily fits 2 large cloves or 4 small cloves. It is also dishwasher safe, making cleanup a cinch.
Price at time of publish: $55
Length: 6.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Type: Flip-handle with garlic chamber | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
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Best Compartment: Joie MSC Garlic Dicer
What We Love: Minces garlic, stainless steel cutting surface
What We Don't Love: Not dishwasher-safe, multiple parts may be misplaced
There is a lot to love about this little tool. It’s compact. It presses full cloves of garlic cleanly. And the bottom compartment to catch and store processed garlic is so convenient. The Joie does not look like a traditional garlic press, but the detailed, clear instructions on the packaging make it easy to use.
It does require a little extra pressure to get the lid to close on the clove, but the performance was unmatched in testing. It consistently pressed the entire clove of garlic with no residue across three tests. The only bummer was that garlic must be peeled before pressing. The bonus storage compartment held the pressed garlic until it was time to make some homemade spaghetti sauce.
And it’s versatile. The Joie made quick work of fresh ginger root, pressing it into uniform, paste-like mince. A cleaning grid is provided to grab any leftover bits, but our tester did not even have to use it since everything came out cleanly with no clogging. This model is not dishwasher safe, but it disassembles easily and can be hand washed in minutes.
Price at time of publish: $17
Length: 3 inches | Material: Stainless steel, BPA-free plastic | Type: Compartment | Dishwasher Safe: No
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Best Lightweight: Zyliss Susi 3 Garlic Press
What We Love: Crushes and peels whole cloves, comes with a cleaning tool
What We Don't Love: Aluminum finish may degrade over time with washing
This aluminum-crafted garlic press is super lightweight but has a generous chamber for pressing garlic cloves. During testing, it easily pressed two large garlic cloves at a time, and no need to peel because it does it for you. The yield was the same with peeled and unpeeled cloves across four tests.
This model required little pressure to perform the pressing, and the ergonomically-designed handle fits comfortably in even small hands. And it easily tackled fresh ginger in the same manner as garlic. The clear instructions explain how to use the press, but also how to use the included red cleaning brush hidden in the handle. The handy cleaning brush neatly removes the minimal garlic debris left from pressing, and then you can run it through the dishwasher for simple cleanup. The durable aluminum frame is dishwasher safe, but the manufacturer does recommend hand washing to preserve the finish.
Price at time of publish: $23
Length: 6.4 inches | Material: Aluminum | Type: Flip handle | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended
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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 Joseph Joseph Garlic 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.
How should you use a garlic press?
Garlic presses can be used anytime a recipe calls for minced garlic or garlic paste. "Place a garlic clove in the press, close the handle and apply pressure to push the clove through," says Crystal Reinwald, culinary instructor and private chef. "Most garlic presses can handle pressing a garlic clove that still has the paper on it. However, you must clean out the paper before pressing another clove."
Can you use a garlic press for ginger or other small ingredients?
"Some garlic presses can be used for peeled ginger and other small ingredients," says Reinwald. "Make sure to look for one that specifically states that it presses ginger or you might end up with a big mess." Checking first is the best route, otherwise, you won’t accomplish much.
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).
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bisphenol A (BPA) factsheet.