Garlic is bit of a pain to prepare, let’s be honest – that’s why there are so many preserved alternatives on the shelves. But we say, choose fresh if you want that full flavour.
When buying garlic, always look for unblemished bulbs with a light, papery skin. When you smell the bulb there should be no hint of that distinctive smell – any whiffs and the cloves are already past their best. Then, keep them dry and in the dark – never store fresh garlic in the fridge.
When it’s time to crush, take a tiny nip of the end of a clove and peel the papery skin before popping in your press. But this really isn’t essential if you’re rushed – all of the models we choose for our final round up could cope with whole, intact bulbs.
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The best garlic presses to buy
Stellar soft touch garlic press
Our favourite of the bunch, this garlic press had a generous, round reservoir chamber, which was far better for fitting in fat cloves side-by-side for an even press. Softer handles made it comfortable to squeeze and the no-frills design made thorough cleaning easy, too, using the short spikes on the outer casing to press through and clear the holes of residue. This one’s great quality for the price and is set to become a well-used piece of our kitchen kit.
Brabantia TASTY+ garlic press
Best for looks
In a cool shade of terracotta pink, this easy-to-clean garlic press looks the business, so we appreciated the handle loops for hook hanging. We loved the styling but the performance stood up too, with a firm, even crush and not much residue left in it after squeezing. The square cage also detaches for an easier clean. This is our pick of the most stylish of garlic crushing tools.
Kuhn Rikon tabletop garlic press
Best for ease of use
This solid-looking garlic crusher may not be the choice if you have limited drawer space, but worry not, as it looks good enough to be left out on display. It’s such a simple design, with the upper steel casing hooking onto a smooth, maple wood base. Just place cloves on the grooves (we managed four) and use your weight to press down on the smooth, rounded end to crush. It’s great for anyone who may struggle to squeeze the usual kind of press together. Once wet, rub the stainless steel end to banish garlicky hand smells. Genius!
Available from Kuhn Rikon (£39.95)
Cuisipro dual rasp grater
Best for batch cooking
This dual-gauge grater in combination with the Cuisipro cut resistant glove (£6.69) was perfect for a large batch cook. We could whizz through the prep of multiple garlic cloves in a trice, with no squeezing, cleaning or injuries. The cut-resistant glove meant we could power through with protected fingers, and with no lingering garlic smells either. Good thing too – this long grater is razor sharp. With both fine and coarse blades, it covers all bases.
Chef’n FreshForce garlic press
Best for less waste
Chef’n claim that the patented gears on the FreshForce choice make it 25 per cent more efficient than conventional garlic presses. Though we’re sceptical, considering the great job some far less expensive presses did, we do concede this is a great kitchen tool. There was a minimum of garlic waste at the end of prep and the pressing plate swings out to allow a good scrub of the nicely-weighted casing. Built to last, it’s a good choice if you need a sturdy crusher.
Lakeland Garlic Slice and Dice
Best for slicing
This ingenious garlic crusher also gives cooks the option to slice bulbs, which can be useful for dishes like slow-cooked lamb or dauphinoise potatoes, when the garlic will soften and mellow in larger pieces. Choose your insert, then press down on the hinged top and the finely chopped or sliced bulb will drop down into the transparent ‘drawer’ below for use later in the day. Nifty.
Available from Lakeland (£9.99)
Mason Cash innovative kitchen garlic store
Best for storage
Stash your garlic bulbs then grate on the underside of the lid on this cute lidded jar. Reminding us of the ceramic garlic grating plates you’ll see in Spanish kitchens, the surface has small spikes that are just pronounced enough to whittle down fresh garlic cloves into a lovely paste, just right for spreading on garlic bread. These ceramic peaks made it a bit tricky to transfer into the pan without using fingers – we used a silicone spatula – but we loved its simplicity and the benefit of its dry storage.
Microplane Professional Series fine grater
Best for fine mincing
A Microplane grater is a kitchen kit staple. Top quality, uber-sharp blades will make light work of anything you’d care to grate and this fine-grade version is just the ticket for minced garlic. A few careful sweeps results in a paste sitting on the back of the grater which can easily be swiped straight into the pan. We’ve used this model for parmesan and nutmeg too – it’s a must-have product.
Available from Knives and Tools (£24.90)
OXO Good Grips garlic press
Best for sturdiness
A classic zinc garlic press that’s long been a favourite in UK kitchens, this OXO crusher hasn’t lost any of its appeal. Generous in size, there’s plenty of room to stuff in three cloves at a time. It’s the weightiest of the bunch we tried, so there’s a bit of heft behind the press to get everything through the squared holes cleanly. The red spikes on the reverse pushed leftovers out nicely and the cage is easy to remove for clean up, too.
ProCook garlic press
Best for easy cleaning
This stainless steel garlic press is in three parts that swing apart for loading and cleaning. The chamber on this was slightly narrower than others, but still deep enough to fit a couple of big cloves in comfortably. Every last bit of garlicky goodness was squeezed out, with cleaning simple and those chunky loops making it easy to hang up and have to hand when needed.
What to look for in a garlic press
Consider how you normally use garlic. In a rush and chucking straight to the pot? Go for a model efficient enough to work well with one hand while you scrape the press down with the other. If you’re more of a kitchen ‘potterer’ who loves the prep, or preparing lots of veg and spices at once, try a larger-capacity type of press or get to grips with a fine grater for chef-worthy garlic purée.
Where will you keep it? The bulkier models may get your utensil drawers in a jam, so consider if you’d like holes on the handles for easy hanging instead.
How we tested garlic presses
Into the kitchen we went with a huge selection of garlic presses, to see which would make light work of prep. Tackling a selection of dishes that needed this essential base ingredient in its different forms, we looked for great design, good looks and an easy clean up afterwards.
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This review was last updated in February 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a garlic gadget you can’t live without, or do you prefer a manual approach? Let us know in the comments below…