How to Cook Garlic Without Smelling Like Garlic!

Ahh, garlic, garlic, garlic.

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Beautiful garlic bulbs

I’m such a big fan of garlic but one thing I worry about (I bet all of you do too) is the garlic smell that is produced by garlic when I cook and use it in my recipes.

I completely pledge my allegiance to garlic and it will always remain among my top three favorite ingredients (together with onions and rice). If you like them too, check out my posts on 6 Easy Ways to Use Onions in Your Meals, as well as 4 Easy Ways to Use Garlic in Your Meals, and Rice and the Many Ways to Cook it).

I have a couple of issues with cooking with garlic though.

My fingers and hands stink of garlic for at least the next two days after I cut and chop this very pungent-smelling ingredient.  Every time I bring my fingers near my nose after cooking with garlic, I get reminded that I had used this ingredient a few days ago. Not exactly a very pleasant reminder. The other very common problem with eating garlic is that you get garlic breath, which kind of lasts for a least one whole day. Not romantic at all, and may sometimes lead to very curiously embarrassing situations, especially if you need to give a presentation or meet a client after.

cornbread in a cast iron skillet

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Chopping garlic makes your hands and fingers smell

So I did a little research to find out why garlic smells….

Apparently, according to this article from About.com, when garlic cells  release an enzyme called allinaise when they are ruptured by cutting or pressing. This enzyme chemically changes the inherent alliin into allicin, a sulfur-containing molecule, resulting in that heady, pungent garlic smell which is a mainstay in kitchens around the world. These sulphur molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream and lungs, escaping through exhaled air and perspiration. This results in the garlic breath. And, in some people who consume massive quantities, a noticeable garlicky bodily odor can result.

Thankfully, there are ways to get rid of the smell! (THANK GOD!)

1) Removing garlic smell from your hands

Let’s start with the easier problem first. To remove the garlic smell from your hands, the solution is pretty simple. All you need to do it rub your hands with something made of stainless steel material, such as a spoon or a pot, or even a stainless steel soap bar. This miracle happens because of oxido-reduction, a natural property of stainless steel. If you don’t have any stainless steel utensils available, just rub a little salt or baking soda on your hands and the smell should disappear.

Stainless steel soap bar to wash away garlic smell

2) Getting rid of garlic breath

Now, on to the more pungent and hard-to-get-rid-of problem of garlic breath.  Apparently, it’s really difficult to totally remove the garlic breath, but munching on some parsley after eating garlic may diffuse the smell a little. Some say that they only way to completely get rid of garlic breath is to stop eating this beautiful ingredient. But no way, we’re not going to cave in and cut garlic out of our lives just because of garlic breath!The most effective way to get rid of garlic breath would be to use mouthwash immediately after eating garlic, or to pop a breath mint every time the garlic breath returns.

Mouthwash & Breath Mints save the day!

Now we can go full on and eat all the garlic you want!

If you’ve read all the way till here, I assume you are a fan of garlic, or at least you like garlic enough to want to eat it without being masked in its smell. So, here are 4 Easy Ways to Use Garlic in Your Meals which you won’t regret!

Have a terrific garlic adventure!


    1. Thanks for dropping by.

      Difference in what sense? I suppose cutting will cause more rupture in the garlic, and perhaps the smell from cutting (or chopping or breaking in small pieces with a sharp edge) will be more pungent than the smell from pressing (using the side of a knife to flatten the garlic).

      Hope it answers your question!


  1. great tip about garlic hands. my boyfriend doesn’t mind eating my food, but he doesn’t like the smell of my hands after I cook lol

    1. I know! and I love eating garlic too but having it on my hands for at least a whole day after cooking is kinda gross!! hope you had a Happy thanksgiving!

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