When chopping dinner ingredients, I typically reach for a large knife. My knife skills adequately cut garlic, onions, and peppers down to size without risking my fingers—so it surprised me when, after testing garlic presses, I wanted to keep the stainless steel Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker among my everyday kitchen tools.
Joseph Joseph Stainless Steel Garlic Rocker
Turns garlic to mince instead of paste
Requires minimal storage space
Doesn't require much hand strength or force
Must press several times for fine mince
I find the rocker’s design and shape pleasing: small and simple, made of smooth, seamless stainless steel. It nestles comfortably between an ice cream scoop and pastry brush in one of my two (yes, just two) kitchen drawers. Although its honeycomb center quickly minces a garlic clove with a couple of rocking motions, it lacks exposed sharp surfaces that could nick my fingers when I reach for it (and I reach for it more often than I expected).
The Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker looks nothing like a standard garlic press; there’s no basket, handle, or plunger. Instead, you set a garlic clove on a work surface, set the rocker on top, and push down, first on one smooth end and then the other, until the garlic pops up through the rocker’s holes. The result looks more like knife-minced garlic than the juicy mess released by a press, although I sometimes rock across the garlic a second time for a finer mince.
Here’s another reason to admire this rocker’s design: With no moving parts, there are no joints to rust or wear out and no awkward, hard-to-clean corners. I prefer the texture of minced garlic even for garlic bread and shrimp skewers, in which pressed garlic smells and tastes too intense, or a vegetable sauté, in which pressed garlic burns quickly.
The lack of a basket has other advantages. First, I’m not as limited in the size and shape of what I press. I grow hard-neck garlic, and one variety produces four to six huge cloves in heads that can be the size of my fist. A single clove is too big to fit inside many garlic presses, but can sit beneath the silver, all-stainless steel version of the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker. (The company makes a less expensive model with a stainless steel center set in a colorful plastic shell that seems less sturdy.)
As briefly mentioned above, it’s easy to remove the garlic and clean the rocker, even after pressing multiple cloves. I just run a small spoon across the top surface to scoop out the pieces. Knocking it gently against a cutting board frees most of what remains, and the rest comes out under hot running water, although the rocker is dishwasher safe, too.
Initially, I hesitated to keep the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker because, like a garlic press, it seemed like a single-use tool. So, I began to experiment and discovered it can quickly break up a lot of small foods—not just garlic.
Soft roasted garlic becomes a paste when pressed by the rocker. Pitted Kalamata olives and capers push through easily. It even handles peeled shallot and ginger, and the layer of skin or fibers left behind easily scrapes off the underside. Now I grab this rocker, along with a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, to make salad dressings.
It has also become my preferred tool to mince canned chipotles in adobo. The soft chilies, with seeds and membranes intact, still have enough capsaicin to burn my skin. By using the rocker instead of a knife, my fingers never touch the spicy pepper. I transfer a chili from the can to a cutting board with a spoon, gently press it into a mince with the rocker, and then use the spoon to scoop out the result. The same trick works for anchovies, keeping the fish smell and oil off my fingers.
I have a guilty-pleasure use for this tool too: pickled deviled eggs. I became hooked on pickled eggs when I wrote my cookbook, using everything from mustard to blackberries to turn them colorful and flavorful. A jar or two has become standard in my fridge, giving me a ready supply of hard-boiled eggs.
Still, deviled eggs always seem like party food and too decadent to eat alone. It turns out that egg yolks press easily through the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker, creating soft spirals that mix smoothly with a little yogurt and prepared mustard for a creamy deviled egg filling that offsets the tang of pickled eggs. So if I crave deviled eggs, I make a couple just for me, relishing their rich flavor—and that I don't need to clean the house for guests.
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 7.3 x 2 x 1 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
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Julie Laing has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years and is the author of the weekly newspaper column and food blog, Twice as Tasty. Every kitchen tool and gadget must earn its place in her 500-square-foot home as she bakes, preserves, ferments, grills, and eats well year-round. Julie published her first cookbook, "The Complete Guide to Pickling," in 2020.