How To Mince Garlic Without a Mincer

If you have limited kitchen gadgets, you might not have a garlic mincer on hand. Therefore, you may need the answer to, how to mince garlic without a mincer?

To mince garlic without a mincer use a chef’s knife or a grater, along with a cutting board, to finely mince garlic by hand. Using a four-sided grater, gently rub the garlic against the side with the smallest holes. In addition, a mini food processor can be used.

The rest of this article will guide you step-by-step on how to mince your garlic without a mincer. We’ll start with the head of garlic you bought from the store and guide you all the way to the finely minced pieces your recipe calls for.

How To Mince Garlic Without a Mincer

A head of garlic.
A head of garlic

Break the Garlic Head

When you buy garlic from the farmer’s market or grocery store, you get what is called a “head” of garlic, which holds several individual cloves. The average head of garlic will contain around 10 to 12 cloves.

The first thing you need to do is break the head apart and access the smaller chunks of garlic. How to break the garlic cloves?

To break the garlic cloves, take the head of garlic and place it face down on the cutting board. Place your palms on the bottom of the head and press down, leaning on the garlic. It should separate without too much effort. The cloves will free themselves completely or hang on which can easily be removed by hand. 

Remember, it is unlikely you will need the whole head of garlic for any one recipe. If you prepare all the garlic at once, you might regret it, as it can spoil quickly.  

Anywhere from one to six cloves is common for a single recipe, depending on the cuisine. You can remove what you need and leave any unneeded cloves still attached, then store them for another meal. Discard any remnants of the head that have broken off during this process.

How To Peel Garlic Cloves Easy

To peel garlic cloves easy follow these 8 steps:

  1. Peel one clove at a time.
  2. Place the first clove in the middle a cutting board and peel the flaky skin off of the garlic. 
  3. Start by cutting off the bottom of the clove. There might be a visible root where the cut is made. The seal of the clove’s skin will break with this cut, making it easier to proceed with the next step.
  4. Using a chef’s knife, turn the knife sideways so the wide, flat side of the blade rests on top of the garlic. 
  5. With a free hand, press your palm down on the top of the blade’s side. The garlic will gently crack beneath the blade. 
  6. The skin of the clove should be loose and easy to remove. 
  7. Discard the skin and set aside the freshly peeled garlic. 
  8. Repeat this process for the amount of garlic needed for a recipe. 

Keep in mind the fresher the garlic is, the more difficult this step will be. As the garlic gets older, the skin becomes drier and easier to remove.

How To Mince Garlic With a Knife 

Mincing garlic with a knife.
Mincing garlic with a knife

Now that you have prepared your cloves, it’s time to mince. 

You will need a sharp chef’s knife and a cutting board. To break the clove into smaller pieces:

  1. You can repeat the movement performed during the peeling. Turn the knife on its side, placing the flat part on top of the garlic, then press your weight down on top of the knife and crush the garlic below.
  2. Before making the first cut, the garlic will already be in much smaller pieces, which will help mince it completely. Organize the garlic, bringing it together, and begin to mince. 
  3. If you’re new to knife handling, bring the tip of the knife to the cutting board and rock the knife back and forth from the tip to the base1. As you perform this motion, move the knife along the length of your crushed garlic clove.

After the first pass over the garlic, you will have much smaller pieces than when you started. However, it might not be chopped finely enough to be considered minced. 

Remember, for mincing, you will want your pieces to be smaller than 1/16 of an inch (about 1.6 millimeters). If they are larger, they will be considered diced as opposed to minced. This could impact the time it takes for them to cook, and the ultimate flavor of your meal. 

To get your pieces small enough to be minced:

  1. Gather the garlic again. 
  2. Continue the rocking motion at a different angle with the knife. Once again move down the length of the garlic. Remember to wipe off any pieces that get stuck on the side of the knife and return them to the pile. 
  3. Continue this process until the garlic is finely minced. Repeat this process of crushing and mincing for each of the required garlic cloves.

Once you have all your garlic minced, there’s a good chance you’ll have more than you need. Check out my blog post on the best way to store garlic here, This Is The Guide To Store Garlic Properly For Best Results.

Other Ways To Mince Garlic Without a Mincer

Can You Mince Garlic With a Grater?

Garlic can be minced using a grater with small holes. A four-sided grater with different sized holes can be used but use the side with the smallest holes.

Be careful of your fingers using this method. Garlic cloves are usually small and making accidental contact with your fingers and the metal holes can be a painful experience2. 

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Can You Use a Food Processor To Mince Garlic?

A food processor can be used to mince garlic. Turn on the food processor and drop the peeled garlic through the tube. 

Check out some affordable food processors on Amazon, food processors.

Other Mincing Tips

If you want to mince your garlic to use as garlic paste, this can easily be done during the mincing process. Follow these steps to make a garlic paste:

  1. As you crush and cut your garlic, add a pinch of salt to your pieces. 
  2. Turn your knife on its side and use the wide surface of the blade to smash your garlic. 
  3. Press weight down on the blade’s flat edge and move it along the length of the sliced clove.
  4. Continue mashing the garlic.
  5. Regather the garlic into a pile and mash again until the desired paste is complete. 

Don’t be afraid to mash the garlic down hard into the cutting board, as you can easily gather it up after it’s been mashed down. The salt will help reduce the moisture of the garlic, helping you turn it into your own freshly made minced garlic paste.

As you mince garlic to perfection, the more you break down the garlic, the stronger the flavor it will emit into the dish. If you love the taste of fresh garlic, make sure to spend enough time breaking it down as much as possible. This allows more of its signature compounds to release and provide maximum flavor to your dish. 

If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

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  1. Kamikoto: The Expert Chef’s Guide to Knife Handling []
  2. Better Homes & Gardens: How to Mince Garlic 4 Ways []

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