A video demonstrating a super-fast way to peel a head of garlic is going viral. It shows someone with a paring knife in one hand and a head of garlic in the other. Watch how quickly peeled cloves fly into the bowl:

Clearly this takes some practice and technique. One common response to the video was a fear of ending up with lots of broken cloves. And some people worried that this method would leave them with stab wounds:

For a knife-free method, check out another quick-peel trick that uses two equal-sized bowls.

The bowl method

This video about how to peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds from Saveur made the rounds among some of my foodie friends a few years ago. I decided to give it a try and see what results I would get.

My results:

  • I couldn’t smash my head of garlic in one smash like Saveur magazine executive food editor Todd Coleman was able to. He’s probably more experienced and stronger than I am. I had to smash it and then break a few of the cloves apart from the bunch by hand.
  • I used two identical plastic Rubbermaid food containers because I don’t have the large metal bowls used in the video. I looked for something that was lightweight, wouldn’t break if one of them went flying out of my hand, and would be easy to fit together. Also, the little lips at the top of the containers made perfect little handles to hold the two containers together when I shook
  • I shook for about 10 seconds and all but one clove of garlic was unpeeled. I put that one clove back in again all by itself and shook the dickens out of it, but the peel on that one wouldn’t budge.
  • It took my less than half a minute to do the entire thing. Not the 10 seconds the video promises, but much less time than peeling each clove individually would have taken.
  • After having done the experiment, I’m wondering if just a container with a lid, and not two bowls or containers, would work just as well. I don’t have a second head of garlic in the house at the moment to test that idea.

I’m pretty excited about my newfound garlic peeling skills.

Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in October 2011.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Can you peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds?
Two viral videos demonstrate how to peel an entire head of garlic into cloves faster than you ever thought was possible.