Learning how to cut garlic is a near-necessary step for any budding home chef. Many different cuisines and cultures use garlic to add flavor to dishes, and while prepping cloves isn’t inherently difficult, it does take a certain amount of skill with a knife—and a tolerance for sticky, fragrant fingers and cutting boards. Forget figuring out how to get rid of garlic breath—getting the smell of garlic off your hands is its own challenge.
Of course, the alternative to chopping garlic with a knife is using a garlic press or something else entirely: the GarlicZoom. On this week’s episode of Like It or Leave It, two Real Simple editors test the Chef’n GarlicZoom (To buy: $13; amazon.com), which chops and minces peeled garlic cloves with a few quick rolls, against the traditional method of mincing garlic with a knife. The goal was to see if this palm-sized kitchen gadget is worth the money—and if it really gets the job done.
To buy: Chef’n GarlicZoom, $13; amazon.com.
It really depends on how skilled you are with a knife. The GarlicZoom does a fine mince easily; it can technically chop garlic, but it would take careful use to get larger pieces of garlic. It doesn’t really do a garlic paste like a press would, but it’s also much less messy (and easier to use) than a garlic press. The GarlicZoom really shines for those who struggle to mince garlic into small pieces; if mincing with a knife takes a lot of time, this gadget makes the job much, much easier. It also makes fingers and cutting boards less sticky and smelly—though home chefs will have to peel the garlic, so it doesn’t completely get rid of the garlicky hands issue—with the same quality mince as one might get with a knife.
The other perks of the GarlicZoom are that the pieces are dishwasher safe and the sharp blade is enclosed within the gadget, so accidental cuts are almost impossible. Kids could help with dinner prep using this kitchen gadget, though a grown-up would need to remove the minced garlic.
This gadget certainly falls among the ranks of cool kitchen gadgets because it definitely works—but if you can get a fine mince on your own, it may not be worth the purchase. For lesser mortals whose knifework isn’t quite up to the job? It may be worth the $13 price and minimal storage space—you’ll never get an unpleasantly large chunk of garlic in your sauce again.