We Tested 12 Garlic Presses—Two Smashed the Competition

Our top pick is the OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press.

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a collection of 12 different garlic presses on a counter

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Straight to the Point

Our favorite garlic press was the OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press, which had a large capacity, wide screen holes, and a comfortable grip for good leverage. For people who want a self-cleaning garlic press, the Dreamfarm Garject Garlic Press had a fully mechanized hinge system that scraped and ejected spent garlic skins in a single motion.

Garlic presses have a controversial history. While they’ve been maligned for producing a harsher and more intense raw garlic flavor, our testing showed that, once cooked, pressed garlic was only slightly stronger than knife-minced garlic. And even then, in longer braises and stews, there might be no discernible difference whatsoever.

“When I'm cooking with garlic, I'm pulling out the press nine times out of 10, because even though it's slightly fussy to clean, it's still faster and easier to use than chopping fresh garlic on a board,” says J. Kenji Lopez-Alt in our unitaskers round-up. We're with Kenji: pressing garlic can be a big timesaver for recipes that require multiple cloves, but only if the garlic press has a large capacity and is easy to clean, allowing you to reset quickly after each press.

Most garlic presses have a few key parts: the hopper that holds the clove, the plunger that pushes against it, and the screen that the clove is forced through to mince it. But there are other designs (some promising, some silly), so we put 12 garlic presses to the test to figure out which one belongs in your utensil drawer. 

Editor's Note: Our favorite garlic press from OXO is currently out of stock, but should be returning soon. OXO has also released another garlic press model that we have not tested yet, but it is not slotted to be a replacement for our winner.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Garlic Press: OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press

The Oxo Good Grips Garlic Press

A heavyweight press with a large capacity and comfortable handles, this model swiftly minced garlic time and time again. Its self-cleaning attachment helped poke skins clear for easy removal, and its wide-set screen produced the best-tasting and most-consistent results.

The Best Self-Cleaning Garlic Press: Dreamfarm Garject Garlic Press

Dreamfarm Garjet

With its scrape, loosen, and eject system, the Dreamfarm press made continuous pressing a breeze. It also features a larger capacity with bigger screen holes for less-harsh raw garlic.

The Tests

  • Mince Test: We pressed two to three cloves of garlic in each press (depending on the capacity), and compared the size and consistency of the results to a knife-minced clove. We also noted how much force each press needed at max capacity. 
  • Raw Taste Test: We tasted a small amount of garlic (from a single clove) pressed through each garlic press and rated the flavor based on sweetness, pungency, odor, and intensity. We compared our tasting notes to knife-minced garlic.
  • Unpeeled Clove Test: We pressed one unpeeled cloves through each garlic press that claimed it could handle unpeeled cloves and ranked each based on quality of mince, total yield, and how much force was needed. 
  • Usability and Cleanup Tests: Throughout testing, we evaluated how comfortable the presses were to hold and use. We also examined the cleaning tools that came with each garlic press and noted how well they removed the garlic skins without getting garlic juice on our fingers. We looked for places where garlic might get trapped in each press, and we cleaned each press thoroughly by hand. 

What We Learned

Large Holes Produced the Best Tasting Garlic

a close up of the screen of a garlic press next to a pile of minced garlic

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

When the cellular walls of garlic are compressed, two enzymes come into contact with each other and form a compound known as allicin. This is what gives garlic its pungent aroma. Garlic presses with a coarser screen seemingly created less cellular wall damage, and were slightly less intense than presses with finer holes. Don’t get us wrong: all of the raw garlic we pressed was extremely intense with a palate-ripping burn, and we wouldn’t recommend eating it raw. But if you are looking for a slightly toned down bite, the OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press was much less harsh than its cousin, the OXO Steel Garlic Press, whose holes were so fine, they produced stringy ribbons of mashed garlic. 

Hinge Orientation Was Necessary for Leverage

a close up of the hinge of a garlic press
The forward hinge orientation on the Dreamfarm Garject garlic press provided plenty of leverage.

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

In the best presses,  the plunger rested against the screen when fully closed, creating squeezable tension even without garlic in the hopper. These presses had hinges oriented for extra leverage, making it much easier to press through multiple cloves one-handed. Other presses, like the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press, could close fully without any tension between the plunger and screen. We found these models required extra effort and sometimes even two hands to get started.

Most Presses Were Messy and Hard to Clean

a close up of a garlic clove mashed into the screen and hinges of a garlic press
Even with a swing-out hinge, the Kuhn Rikon garlic press was difficult to clean.

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Because pressed garlic has such a strong odor, it was disappointing that most presses required removing the leftover garlic remnants by hand. While some presses had self-cleaning tools and brushes, they were still prone to mashed garlic squeezing out around the plunger and ending up in the hinges. Other presses with moveable screens still required the mashed garlic to be hand-plucked to clear them. Even then, deep hoppers, like on the Joseph Joseph Helix Garlic Press Mincer made it difficult to reach the spent cloves. Some of the presses took so long to clean that it would have just been faster to mince a clove with a knife, and relinquishing speed felt like a garlic press dealbreaker. 

Comfortable Handles Were Appreciated

a hand holds a garlic press, showcasing the comfortable handles

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Both the OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press and the OXO Steel Garlic Press featured curved handles that fit snugly in your palm, and they also had silicone grips that kept them from slipping. While it didn’t change the effectiveness of the press, a comfortable handle made prolonged use much more bearable that models like the Orblue Garlic Press, which had slippery, cylindrical stainless handles.

Large Capacity Was Key for Easy Squeezing

the hopper of a garlic press with two cloves inside of it

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Most presses struggled to fit two large garlic cloves in the hopper, which pushed the handles further apart and added extra resistance to the press. The presses that did have a larger hopper made it much easier to press and clear, even if you were just pressing a single clove. A larger hopper also meant that a utensil like a fork could easily reach in and clear out any remaining bits of garlic, making the process quick and efficient. 

Always Peel Your Cloves

the inside of a garlic press with mashed unpeeled cloves leaving lots of residue

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Many presses advertised that they could handle an unpeeled clove, and while that was true, it also created twice the mess. Unpeeled garlic was more likely to be smashed backwards and gum up the hinges, and the overall yield was much lower, leaving about 1/3 of each clove still stuck in the press. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Garlic Press 

A graphic showing off the parts that make a great garlic press

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

The best garlic presses had large capacities, wide press holes, and self-cleaning features that kept your hands clean. They also featured handles that gave firm leverage and were easy to reset, making them a great timesaver for recipes that call for a lot of garlic.

The Best Garlic Press: OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press

The Oxo Good Grips Garlic Press

What we liked: With its comfortable handles, self-cleaning grid, and large capacity, we were able to press cloves back-to-back with almost no downtime. The angle of the plunger against the screen also helped create easy leverage, and this press required the least effort out of all the models we tested. With the largest screen holes out of the competition, it won the raw taste test, exhibiting more sweetness and a milder odor, overall only slightly more intense than the knife-minced clove. 

What we didn’t like: This model was heavy, and the hinge swings freely. If you’re not careful, it might flip back and rap your knuckles. The cleaning grid is also fairly shallow, meaning it still required a fork or other implement to fully clean it. 

Price at time of publish: $25.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Zinc, plastic, silicone
  • Capacity: 3 medium-sized cloves
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
the OXO Good Grips garlic press resting on a counter

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

The Best Self-Cleaning Garlic Press: Dreamfarm Garject Garlic Press

Dreamfarm Garjet

What we liked: This press from Dreamfarm also had a large hopper with wide holes in its screen, but what was really impressive was the scrape, loosen, and eject system built into the hinges. After you press your cloves, reversing the handles triggers a spring driven wedge that scrapes the pressed garlic off of the screen. Continue in that direction, and a cleaning grid pushes the remnants  through, loading them onto a spring driven lever that lets you pop the spent skins out. It’s a truly clever system that keeps your hands clean, and the wider-than-tall hopper design also makes it easier to load cloves side-by-side, making the most of its capacity. 

a mashed garlic clove popping out of a garlic press

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

What we didn’t like: While the scraper worked like a charm every time, the eject lever struggled to pop every skin out perfectly, only loosening them slightly and requiring one to pick them out by hand. The wider hopper also put cloves closer to the hinges and required more cleaning after pressing. We also found the longer handles were hard to get a grip on with smaller hands. It’s pricey at more than twice the cost of our top pick. 

Price at time of publish: $55.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Zinc, plastic
  • Capacity: 2 cloves
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe
the Dreamfarm Garject garlic press resting on a counter

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

The Competition

  • Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press: This press smashed garlic around the edge of the plunger, making clean up a longer process than most.
  • OXO Steel Garlic Press: With smaller holes on the screen, the mince from this press was repulsively pungent. The smaller holes clogged easily and were hard to clean. 
  • Williams Sonoma Stainless Steel Garlic Press: The hinged screen on this press flipped back for easier access, but without a self-cleaning tool, the skins needed too much prying to pull free. 
  • Vantic Garlic Press Rocker: It was difficult to reach the high-levels of force needed to roll this press over the garlic, leaving the garlic mostly half-smashed and not minced. 
  • Orblue Garlic Press: A deep but small-capacity hopper meant garlic was smashed into the hinges and skins were tough to remove. 
  • Alpha Grillers Garlic Press and Peeler Set: This press was identical to the Orblue model with all the same hang ups. 
  • Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker: The holes on this rocker press were extra-wide, meaning what did get pressed was more of a chop than a mince. Plus, it left over half of each clove unpressed and required too much force. 
  • Joseph Joseph Helix Garlic Press Mincer: With a very deep hopper and plastic handles that flexed, it was really hard to clean the screen and find enough leverage to mince the garlic. 
  • Zyliss Susi 3 Garlic Press: This press worked well, but its cleaning tool dislodged frequently and its smaller capacity kept it from being a top pick. 
  • Amco Garlic Press and Slicer: The addition of a slicer on this model made it unwieldy, and the slicer itself was less efficient than using a knife. 

FAQs

What does a garlic press do to the garlic?

Garlic presses use a plunger to press the garlic through a screen into a mince-like texture. Because it applies pressure to the garlic, the flavor tends to be more pungent and intense than a clove that was minced by a knife. 

Is a garlic press better than chopping?

While a garlic press can save time, the results are more intense than if it’s cut or minced by hand. For recipes that use raw garlic, a knife-mince will provide a sweeter taste and milder odor. Garlic that’s cooked, however, loses some of its intensity, and a garlic press can be a great timesaver. 

Do I need to peel garlic when using garlic press? 

Some garlic presses are powerful enough to push through unpeeled cloves, though in our testing, this created more mess and yielded much less garlic than a peeled clove. We recommend always peeling your garlic cloves before pressing, to save time and get more out of your garlic.