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Garlic is a staple ingredient in many recipes, but many cooks find mincing garlic a chore—but not because it's particularly strenuous. Rather, it’s hard to mince a few cloves quickly and easily when bits of garlic cling to the knife blade and need to be removed repeatedly, or when you risk getting garlic-scented fingers in the process. This is where a garlic press comes in handy. Besides being ideal for small quantities of garlic, many of them can be used without peeling the cloves first.
Garlic presses come in a number of styles, shapes, and even colors. To help you figure out which one is right for your needs, we tested them side by side and evaluated each on its design, performance, versatility, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Dozens of garlic cloves were minced, as well as other items, like ginger, mint, and more, to make sure they are truly the best.
Here are the best garlic presses, according to our testing.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press
Large enough for multiple cloves
Reverse handle loosens peels from press
Soft, non-slip grip handles
Yield was lower than expected
This press is designed for hand comfort, with soft, non-slip handles that absorb pressure. Our tester found that pushing through a garlic clove took moderate pressure, but it didn’t leave her hand cramped afterward. The large-capacity chamber can hold a couple of cloves at a time. OXO says the hole pattern is designed to get the maximum amount of usable garlic with the least effort, but our tester found that both peeled and unpeeled cloves left a fair amount of garlic behind.
When you’re done, you can flip the handles in the opposite direction, and a built-in cleaner loosens the peels. Those peels can then be removed completely by gently knocking the press against a cutting board or prying them out with a small knife. The press is dishwasher-safe. Some customers have reported that the press can snap in half after long-term use, but our reviewer had no such issues during the testing window.
Material: Die-cast zinc, plastic | Dimensions: 2 x 1 x 7 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"This press is comfortable to hold, and it takes moderate pressure to push through a garlic clove, working best with a bit of additional pressure at the end. The mince size is quite fine."
Best Press and Peeler Kit: Alpha Grillers Garlic Press and Peeler Set
Includes a peeler tube
Produces a fine mincs
Did not produce as much as others
The Alpha Grillers garlic press is made from heavy-duty stainless steel, so it’s strong enough to crush unpeeled garlic and won’t stain, rust, or retain odors. The handles are designed for comfort, making it easy to squeeze, and when it’s time for cleaning, the press is dishwasher-safe.
Our tester tried pressing peeled cloves, too, prepping them with the included peeler tube. Inserting a clove of garlic at a time and rolling the tube on the counter removed the peels with a few motions, but it may tire your hand to peel a pile of cloves from a full head of garlic.
The manufacturer says this press is capable of crushing ginger and nuts, as well, but our tester was disappointed with these results. The press mostly turned ginger to juice and jammed up the chamber with peanut solids, so it’s best reserved for garlic cloves.
Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Dimensions: 7.5 x 2.6 inches x 1.4 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"The garlic is finely minced, but the yield is 25 percent of that of some other tested presses for an unpeeled clove and half their yield for a peeled one. Almost as much additional garlic squeezes up over the plunger and gets caught in the top handle."
Best Rocker: Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker
Turns garlic to mince instead of paste
Requires minimal storage space
Must press several times for fine mince
Unlike a standard garlic press, the garlic rocker doesn’t have any moving parts. That makes it ideal for folks who prefer to not squeeze the handles of a press, and it's even better for those who lack storage space. All you need to do is put a garlic clove on your work surface, place the press on top, and while applying a little pressure, rock it back and forth to squeeze the garlic through the holes. Then, just scoop the garlic out to use in recipes.
Our tester liked this press for peeled garlic and even oversized whole cloves. The large square holes produced a mince more typical of knife-cut garlic, but repeating the process gives a finer mince with the same high yield. This stainless steel tool is dishwasher safe, but our tester found it easy to hand wash. As a bonus, the stainless steel helped remove the garlic scent from her hands as she cleaned the press.
Material: Stainless Steel | Dimensions: 7.3 x 2 x 1 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"I tested peeled and unpeeled garlic, since the instructions didn’t specify. The skin tends to work through the holes, so I recommend peeling, and the garlic pushes entirely into the holes, so the final yield is higher than that of the tested squeeze-style presses. The mince comes free with a small spoon."
Best High-End: Dreamfarm Garject Self-Cleaning Garlic Press with Peel Eject
Elegant design with color options
Dreamfarm loves to come up with creative mash-up names for its cooking tools. In this case, Garject is a mashup of garlic and eject. Our tester liked the innovative features of this press. The integrated scraper tool rubs across the face of the press to neatly scrape the garlic off, so there’s no need to use a knife to retrieve the last bits of garlicky goodness. Then, with the press opened fully, little silicone nubs clean the press’s holes and prep the skins for ejection using a little lever that flips them away.
The ejector was in the way during cleaning, trapping remaining garlic pieces under the ejector and in the chamber corners, but the device is dishwasher safe. It is made from metal and is available with red or black accents. The Garject Lite has a slightly smaller bowl to hold the garlic cloves and is made from plastic rather than metal.
Material: Chrome-plated zinc and plastic | Dimensions: 7.6 x 2 x 2 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"This press requires the least amount of pressure among the tested models. It has a similar yield for both peeled and unpeeled garlic with an even mince size, and the built-in scraper pushes all of the minced garlic free in one sweep."
Best Twisting Press: NexTrend 3rd Generation Clear Garlic Twist
Great for garlic, ginger, shallots, and more
Clear polycarbonate for easy viewing
Manufacturer lifetime warranty
Single cloves get stuck in cutting teeth
This model made entirely from clear polycarbonate uses a twisting action. You simply place peeled garlic in the bowl, put the top on, and twist back and forth to crush and mince the garlic as much as you like. Since the vessel is clear, you can see how coarse or fine the garlic is without opening it. Our tester needed a little practice to get the minced garlic to gather into neat triangles free of the cutting teeth; it was easiest to do this with two or more cloves in the device.
The Garlic Twist can be used for peeled ginger or shallots, small peppers, and more. Our tester doesn’t recommend it for herbs, which it tended to rip apart and crush, but found it made neat work of ginger and peanuts. This is the fourth generation of this design, so improvements have been made over the original, making it even better at mincing garlic evenly. It is also dishwasher safe.
Material: Polycarbonate plastic | Dimensions: 3.5 x 2 x 3.5 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"This press is restricted to peeled cloves, but gives the highest yield of all tested options. Multiple cloves work best, spinning neatly into triangles offset from the cutting teeth that are easy to spoon out."
Best for Kids Helping: Chef'n GarlicZoom Garlic Chopper
Can be used one-handed
Simple for kids to use
Chops more than just garlic
Not recommended for unpeeled garlic
Not technically a press, this tool is still in the garlic-prep family and the results can be similar. This has spinning blades that chop and mince the garlic. It operates by rolling the wheels back and forth on your work surface, and since the blades are completely enclosed during use, kids can use this to help with cooking. The more rolling, the finer the garlic is chopped. Even better, leafy herbs, like mint, can be tossed in and chopped.
Our tester liked how gently tapping the chopper against a countertop drops almost all of the garlic on the hinged doors, where it’s easy to scrape out with a spoon and avoid brushing your fingers against the blades. With the blades vertically aligned (faint impressions on the clear plastic show the placement), the roller base pops out so that you can tap it again to remove the remaining bits. Everything is top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 2.25 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"Getting the chopper started is less about applying heavy pressure and more about giving it a running start, like a pullback motor in a toy car. The chopper seemed like it could handle other small aromatics, so I tested it on chives and mint. The chives just become twisted in the blades, so I don’t recommend it for fibrous herbs, but it does a neat job with leafy herbs, like mint."
How We Tested
We sent seven garlic presses to our experienced home chef and product tester, who tried each out with peeled and unpeeled garlic cloves as well as other items, including ginger, mint, soft nuts, and more. Each garlic press was rated on design and comfort of the handle, versatility, performance, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our tester then offered additional insights on each garlic press' strengths and weaknesses.
What to Look for in a Garlic Press
Most garlic presses push garlic through holes by squeezing together two handles, which can require a fair amount of hand strength depending on the press and often works best with two hands. Other versions let you use both hands to rock or twist the tool and mince the garlic. From there, garlic-prep options move closer to a single-hand chopper with blades that cut the garlic to the desired size.
The overall size of a garlic press can affect where you store it, but specific parts of the press matter, too. The chamber size determines whether you can press one or more cloves of garlic at a time: The larger the chamber, the more cloves it can hold and the more pressure you may need to start squeezing. The hole size and shape dictate what the pressed garlic looks like. Small round holes tend to make a coarse garlic paste. Large square holes create more of a mince.
Knife vs. Press
A sharp stainless or carbon steel chef’s knife does a good job of crushing and mincing garlic: Smash the garlic with the side of the knife, and then turn the knife to its normal angle and use a rocking motion with one hand on top of the knife to cut the pieces to the size you want. If your knives are ceramic, dull, or too small to use the rocking technique, mincing garlic with a knife can be a pain.
A press makes quick work of a clove or two of garlic at a time, and most presses actually work best if you don’t spend time peeling the garlic first. Often, you can squeeze the garlic straight into your prep bowl or pan, and the best ones easily release the peel and remaining garlic. That squeezing action also releases loads of alliinase, which can make pressed garlic finer in size, but sharper in flavor than knife-chopped garlic.
How do you use a garlic press?
With the squeeze design of many garlic presses, squeezing the handles together causes the press’s hinge to close and a plunger to extrude the garlic in the chamber through a screen of holes. Then, you scrape the pressed garlic free, open the handles, and remove the remaining peel and skin. Other presses may have you rock, twist, or roll the device to push the garlic through the device’s holes or blades.
“I think that people get frustrated with using a garlic press because they often make the mistake of using peeled garlic cloves, which tend to get stuck in the little holes and make the press harder to clean," says Kristen Hartke, food writer, recipe developer, and culinary producer for Carla Hall. The trick is to use unpeeled garlic cloves. The skin is thin enough to allow the garlic flesh to press through, but the skin also still stays intact.”
What else can you use a garlic press for?
Some garlic presses and choppers have the strength or versatility to mince other foods, like ginger, leafy herbs, chilies, seeds, and soft nuts. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific uses to avoid gumming up your press.
Ginger is a common secondary use for a garlic press. It often works best to peel the ginger and cut it into small pieces before you put it in the press, though. The more fibrous the ginger, the more likely you are to get pungent pulp and juice instead of finely minced pieces.
How do you clean a garlic press?
The quicker you clean a press after using it, the easier it will be to remove remaining garlic skin and flesh. A few dunks in a bowl of soapy water and a rinse under a running faucet typically does the trick. A short soak and dish scrubber can remove leftover garlic bits and juice later on. Many presses are dishwasher safe, too.
Stainless steel presses have an added advantage: The metal binds with the garlic’s sharp-smelling molecules, so as you rub your hands over the stainless steel parts, it reduces the garlic odor on your fingers.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Julie Laing has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years and published her first cookbook, "The Complete Guide to Pickling," in 2020. She puts garlic in almost everything, from pickles and salsas to hummus and pear preserves. Julie personally tested all seven of the garlic presses in this roundup.
Kristen Hartke is a food writer, recipe developer, and culinary producer for Carla Hall.