How to crush garlic is one of the first questions many people new to garlic will ask, although what they usually really mean is: “Is there a trick to quickly crush garlic so it doesn’t take forever to peel and prepare?”
Yes, yes there is. And we’ll do you one better and teach you how to crush garlic quickly several different ways!
First things first, let’s clear up a little terminology. Mincing and chopping garlic are the same thing but crushing is different from mincing/chopping.
Individual pieces are visible in chopped or minced garlic, while crushing turns garlic into a gooey paste.
A garlic press can only crush garlic while a knife can chop/mince or crush garlic, depending on how it is used.
How to Crush Garlic Quickly: a Garlic Press
A garlic press is likely your best bet if you want crushed garlic for a recipe with a minimal amount of effort.
Well-made garlic presses such as the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean take most of the hard work out of crushing garlic — unlike cheaper garlic presses that are nearly impossible to use or clean.
Good garlic presses will effortless crush garlic with a minimal amount of pressure needed and are designed with cleaning in mind.
Aside from cost and the fact that a garlic press is a single-use tool that only does one thing, clean-up is often the biggest drawback as it can be impossible with some presses to clean all the pieces of garlic out after crushing garlic.
How to crush garlic with a press is simple: insert cloves and crush them. High-quality garlic presses can even crush unpeeled cloves, speeding up the garlic preparation process even more.
How to Crush Garlic with a Knife
You don’t need a garlic press to crush garlic, as the same chef’s knife you use to chop or mince garlic can easily produce crushed garlic as well.
The technique is simple: mince your garlic as you normally would but periodically scrape it together and crush it with the flat of the blade.
Face the sharp edge of the knife away from you and press down with the flat of your hand, using firm, steady pressure to rock the blade down on the garlic.
Alternate between mincing and crushing until your garlic is a sticky, spreadable paste.
This method takes a little practice but in the end many feel it is actually faster than using a garlic press as it requires very little clean-up time when you’re done.
How to Crush garlic with a Mortar and Pestle
Your third option to crush garlic is by using a mortar and pestle. Peel and mince garlic normally but then add it to the mortar and pestle to crush it down into a paste.
It’s up to you as far as how finely you mince before crushing it; a finer mince will crush faster but a mortar and pestle can handle fairly large pieces of garlic in short order.
Adding a dash of sea salt can also speed up crushing as it gives the mortar and pestle some grit to grab onto when crushing the garlic.
A mortar and pestle can also be very handy when making pesto, which is a favorite way for many garlic lovers to get their garlicky fix.