Mincing garlic sounds simple enough but there is an art to it. Spend some time learning to do it and increase your kitchen and knife skills. Reduce prep time and then find yourself with a pile of garlic that’s ready to go. That’s a win in our books–and garlic-loving bellies.

Cover of The Tahini Table Cookbook.
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“It feels a little silly to describe the process, which is simple and takes only a few minutes, but here goes.” Thus begins the section of The Tahini Table by Amy Zitelman that goes into simple, practical, yet essential detail about how to finely chop garlic. In an age when everything is video, sometimes it’s nice to be told in simple written words and how-to photos exactly how to do something that you can refer back to and not have to rewind something. So whether you’re new to cooking or simply want to refine your technique, collect your garlic cloves, your chef’s knife and cutting board, and your curiosity and read on to learn.—LC Editors

Smash the garlic

A person smashing a clove of garlic on a cutting board.

Place whole cloves on a cutting board. Place the flat side of a broad knife or a heavy skillet on top and whack with the side of your fist. This will crack the papery skin and flatten the garlic a little.

Peel the garlic

A person peeling a clove of garlic over a cutting board with a knife, garlic, and salt on it.

Slip the paper peels off and compost or throw into stock.

Thinly slice the garlic

A person mincing a clove of garlic on a cutting board with garlic and a bowl of salt on it.

Thinly slice the flattened cloves lengthwise, then slice down the lengths into thin pieces. Scrape the garlic pieces into a pile so that all of the lengths are roughly parallel, then slice across the lengths into pieces of roughly the same size. Scrape into a pile again.

Mince the garlic

A cutting board with minced garlic, a partial head of garlic, a knife, and a dish of salt.

Sprinkle a large pinch of coarse sea salt over the pile. Chop through the garlic in any direction. The salt will help break down the garlic, and its grit will make the garlic easier to chop. As the pieces spread out, scrape them back into a pile and keep chopping until the garlic pieces are small enough to begin to clump up.

About Amy Zitelman

Amy Zitelman is CEO of Philadelphia-based Soom Foods, the leading purveyor of tahini and tahini products in the American market, which she cofounded in 2013. Soom was named the best tahini according to industry experts by New York magazine in 2019, and has been featured in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and other publications. She was named to Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” class of 2018.

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