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Have a recipe that calls for crushed garlic, but you don’t have a press?
Is it even possible to crush garlic without a press?
While having a garlic press (one of these nifty things) does make the whole thing a little easier, it’s certainly not essential: it’s just a gadget.
And like most gadgets, there are other ways around it if you’re willing to get creative.
Before we talk about how to crush garlic without a crusher, let’s talk about why some recipes call for crushed garlic.
It’s extremely popular in Italian cooking, and for good reason: the flavor it gives your dish is much more nuanced than minced garlic can be.
Upon crushing, the garlic actually releases an enzyme that can affect flavor, along with oils that add great depth to your dish.
This flavor is slightly different than that of minced or chopped garlic, where you don’t release as many of those enzymes.
Crushed garlic can also be a little easier to cook with, as it’s not as sensitive to burning as minced garlic.
So how do you crush garlic easy when you don’t have a garlic press?
Here are 9 ways to press garlic without a press so you can show off your cooking skills even if you don’t have the flashy tools.
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1. Use a mortar and pestle
Got a mortar and pestle hanging around?
If you want to know how to smash garlic without a press, then look no further.
Maybe you have it for other things in the kitchen or use it for medicines, but whatever the reason, put your garlic into this age-old contraption and get crushing.
You can put the garlic in whole, skin on, as the skin will easily separate from the rest of the garlic to be removed (this goes for any of the methods below).
Instead of smashing it continually, grind it up with a firm pressure and you’ll get the same results as a garlic press.
2. Crush it with the side of a knife
Is a garlic press necessary?
Most chefs don’t think so!
In fact, most use this method!
What you want is a larger knife, like a chef’s knife.
Put the garlic down on a chopping board, close to the edge, and then press the side of your knife firmly down into the garlic (you may want a bit of a smashing sensation here, rather than a constant press).
The garlic will smash, you can remove the skin, and scrape the crushed garlic off of the cutting board and wallah!
3. Use the bottom of a glass
Scared to use a knife, but have a glass around?
You can also use a cup or glass to do this method, but you’re not going to slam it down over the garlic if it’s a fragile glass!
Get a strong, sturdy glass (not your thinnest wine glass, hello, no) and put the garlic down on a chopping board.
You can either smash it down with the bottom of the grass with intense pressure, or you can actually roll the glass over it to achieve the crushing.
4. Try a spoon to crush garlic
While this is a bit more of a difficult method to press garlic by hand, it is possible.
Take any spoon (metal, not plastic), and use the backside of the spoon to grind the garlic into the cutting board (some people prefer wooden, but plastic or wooden will be fine).
This can also be a bit easier if you put the garlic into something small, like a small bowl, so you’re sort of creating a makeshift mortar and pestle.
5. Whack the garlic with a pot
Got a heavy pot in the kitchen?
Pop that garlic on the cutting board and whack it a few times with the heavy pot, really grinding it in on the final round.
It should smash all the way down, and then remove the skin and you have amazing fresh crushed garlic.
You can also then use the pot for cooking!
6. Use a stone to crush garlic
This is getting a bit more medieval, but hey, who needs a garlic press when you’ve got mother nature?
Get a stone from the backyard and wrap it in a thin layer of saran wrap (or really give it a good wash).
With the garlic clove on the cutting board, put a heavy pressure onto it with the stone in hand, and you’ll soon have crushed garlic.
A larger stone will be much easier to use: pebbles and smaller rocks won’t work.
7. Try a microplane grater
Yes, you can grate garlic! Many people swear by the use of a microplane grater, like this, when you want crushed garlic.
It is a similar technique to crushing that is going to help release those enzymes and give you those flavors of crushed garlic that are distinct from that of chopped garlic.
Just be careful with your fingers because as you get to the end of the garlic, it can get a bit close.
For this method, you do need to remove the skin from the garlic before grating.
8. Use the bottom of a tin can
Got a can of beans or tomatoes in the pantry?
You can easily use the bottom of the can to crush garlic. It happens just like you would imagine it would: put the garlic under either of the flat ends of the can, and smush down!
You can also then use the side of the can to roll it over to really make sure you’ve crushed it completely.
9. Put cloves in a bowl and put a smaller bowl on top
Still wondering how to press garlic without a garlic press? Here’s a 9th way.
Grab a bowl from the cupboard and put the garlic cloves in it.
Then, put a smaller bowl on top of it.
Press down and really grind down, and you’ll have easily crushed garlic without a press.
This is actually one of the better methods if you have multiple cloves of garlic to get through.
Hey! Want more food prep hacks? Check more tips out here!