How to use a garlic press

The humble garlic clove is one of the most popular ingredients around the world, packed with unique flavours and aromas that can be unleashed with a garlic press or mincer.

Whether you’re sautéing, roasting, or eating it raw, this small but mighty allium can be a delicious addition to any savoury recipe. However, it can also be fiddly and messy to prepare. While the garlicky fragrance might be well suited to a soup or sauce, the lingering smell on your hands is generally less welcome.

A garlic press is a useful tool that can make the preparation of this punchy ingredient quicker, cleaner and more enjoyable.

Are garlic presses worth it?

person chopping garlic with a knife not a garlic press

Some schools of thought suggest preparing garlic by hand with a knife is better than using a garlic press. However, as you’ll see below, pressing garlic provides a different flavour and texture to chopping, and each method may be suited to varying types of cuisine.

Using a garlic press can also speed up your meal preparation. Finely slicing, dicing or chopping garlic with a knife can be tedious and time-consuming. Uniform and consistent chopping is a key factor in even cooking. But, learning this skill often takes a lot of practice and requires high-quality tools. Using a knife also increases your chance of injury from cuts and nicks. Garlic presses have handles and encased pressing panels to keep your fingers safely away from the crusher.

Advantages of garlic pressers

Some garlic presses can process multiple cloves at once. This capacity not only makes food prep quicker but also minimises waste. The entirety of each clove is utilised effectively.

If you frequently use garlic in your cooking, are short on time, or have big batches to prepare, then a garlic press can be a really worthwhile investment. With correct usage and care, these robust gadgets can be a long-lasting solution — in fact, the Zyliss Easy Release Garlic Press comes with a 5-year guarantee. Heavy-duty zinc alloy ensures this press is strong and durable yet lightweight and comfortable to use.

Is using a garlic presser the same as mincing?

how to use a garlic press example with zyliss garlic press

You can prepare garlic in a variety of ways, and each method produces different results.

Mincing is the term given to finely cutting up or grinding an ingredient. You can mince garlic by hand, using a sharp knife, or you can use a specially-designed mincing tool. These handy gadgets feature cross-cutting teeth that grind the garlic into small pieces. The amount you twist affects how coarsely or finely the garlic is minced. Mincing tools are also useful for chopping shallots, ginger, and other roots that can be tricky to cut with a knife! 

Knife-mincing can be a lengthy process and, generally, a lot of practice is needed to get consistent results. A garlic press, on the other hand, quickly crushes the entire clove through a grid of small, uniform holes for a smooth, even result.

Did you know that the way you chop your garlic will also affect its flavour and texture?

It’s all to do with the number of garlic cells that are ruptured in the process. The more cells that rupture, the more potent the garlic will be. Pressed garlic, for example, produces a much stronger flavour than garlic chopped with a knife. Whole or thickly sliced garlic is extremely mild in flavour and scent. Depending on the type of cuisine you’re preparing, and your personal taste preferences, you might like to tailor your garlic preparation to your specific recipe.

Pressing garlic also releases more oils and moisture, giving it a soft pureed texture that’s ideal for mixing into dishes during the cooking process. This will blend nicely into soups and sauces, for example. Garlic minced with a knife has a drier consistency and gives a different texture when cooked. 

How do you use a garlic press?

Garlic presses are really easy to use and can help prevent garlicky fingertips! 

You simply pop the garlic in the chamber and squeeze the handle. The garlic clove will be crushed against the pressing plate grid so that a fine pulp comes out the other side. You can press the garlic directly over a pan or into your dish. Any remaining garlic caught on the surface can be scraped away using the blunt edge of a knife.

how to use a garlic press by removing waste garlic with a blunt knife

If you’re using a press capable of crushing multiple cloves at once, then you can put as many cloves as required in the chamber, though it may need a little bit more of a squeeze. Finding a garlic press with an ergonomic handle will make the job far more comfortable.

The fine grid on the pressing plate ensures you’ll get perfect results every time, with a more even consistency than mincing with a knife. 

Do you need to peel garlic before using a garlic press?

Peeling garlic before chopping can be a bit of a pain. Getting initial purchase on the skin to peel it away is tricky and often results in that sneaky garlic fragrance trapping itself beneath your fingernails!

Using a garlic press can help with this particular predicament as you can leave the skin on throughout the process. It’s not necessary to peel the clove before placing it in the pressing chamber. After use, you can remove the garlic skin from the chamber in one piece, and clean the press.

For fuss-free maintenance, the Zyliss 3 Garlic Press comes with a handy cleaning tool. The ingenious brush gets into all the little holes on the pressing plate, removing any trapped garlic before it dries. The cleaning tool neatly slots into the presser’s handle, so it won’t get lost. 

Most garlic presses are best washed by hand so you can get into all those grooves. However, if you are short on time or prefer using a machine, look for a garlic press that’s dishwasher safe. The Zyliss Easy Clean Garlic Press has an innovative design. There’s no need to worry about scrubbing - the top handle detaches, and the entire unit is suitable for machine washing.

So, whether you’re hankering after some garlic bread or want to marinade some chicken or paneer, a garlic press can speed up the process - and give you tastier results!


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