How To Prepare Garlic and Shallots

Lastest Updated April 22, 2024
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Knowing how to prepare garlic and shallots is an essential culinary skill you need to bring out the full aromatic potential of your meals. This article peels back the layers, providing you with knowledge, tools, and ingredients that can turn your cooking into an experience.

Discover the finesse of preparing these flavorful bulbs, absorb expert tips and tricks to enhance your meals, and learn the ideal ways to store them for longer freshness. Not only that, but you’ll also explore some of the tantalizing Vietnamese dishes where garlic and shallots take center stage.

Prepare Garlic and Shallots

Why Knowing The Correct Methods To Prepare Garlic And Shallots Is Important?

Here are 5 reasons why it’s important to know the correct methods for preparing garlic and shallots:

  • Flavor Boost: Knowing how to properly prepare garlic and shallots can significantly enhance the flavor of your dishes. These ingredients are flavor powerhouses, and correct preparation lets you maximize their potential.
  • Efficiency: Understanding the correct way to prepare these ingredients can save you much time in the kitchen. Once you master the techniques, you can peel and chop quickly and efficiently.
  • Safety: Knowing how to handle and cut these small, slippery items can help prevent kitchen accidents like cuts and nicks.
  • Preserving Nutrients: Garlic and shallots are packed with health benefits. Correct preparation ensures you get the most out of these nutrient-rich foods.
  • Versatility: Garlic and shallots can be used in different ways in cooking. Knowing how to prepare them properly gives you the flexibility to use them in various dishes.

What Are The Recommended Tools For Preparing Garlic and Shallots?

The essential tools for preparing garlic and shallots are:

Cutting Board and Knife
  • Cutting Board: You should go for one that is non-slip for safety purposes. A wooden cutting board can be a great choice because it’s durable and doesn’t dull your knives quickly.
  • Knife: A knife with a broad, sharp blade is essential for mincing garlic and dicing shallots. For peeling and precision cuts, use a small paring knife. Keep knives sharp for precise, safe cutting. Stainless steel knives, easy to clean and durable, are generally recommended.

What Are The Ingredients To Prepare Garlic and Shallots?

Let’s delve straight into the fundamental ingredients necessary to prepare garlic and shallots.

  • Shallots: Feel free to choose from a variety of shallots. Their sizes, from medium to small, can all be useful for different dishes and cooking styles. I use a popular type of shallots from Asia, particularly favored in Vietnam.
  • Garlic: Garlic comes in many shapes and sizes, each with its own special flavor, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. Today, I’ll be using a kind of garlic with big cloves. Not only do these pack a punch in flavor, but they’re also easier to peel because the skin isn’t as tightly attached compared to the ones with smaller cloves.
Shallots and Garlic

How To Prepare Garlic and Shallots?

You can get creative with preparing shallots and garlic for your meals, depending on how you like to use them. For instance, you can slice them into neat, thin pieces or mince them. You can also crush and chop the garlic.

It’s really easy to get these flavorful ingredients ready for your dishes. Just follow these steps to prepare garlic and shallots properly!

How To Prepare Garlic?

To prepare garlic effectively and safely, you will need to follow 3 main steps. These include removing the garlic skin, chopping the garlic, and finally mincing the garlic.

Step 1: Remove The Garlic Skin

Use your hands to peel each clove separately from the bulb, according to the quantity you need for your recipe.

Next, you cut off the base (the hard part) of the garlic with a knife. And use the flat side of the knife to crush the garlic clove. By doing so, you can easily remove the garlic skin.

Remove The Garlic Skin

Step 2: Chop The Garlic

After removing the skin, you hold the garlic with your fingertips, specifically extending your middle finger a bit further out to feel the blade of the knife during the slicing process.

Then you move the knife blade downwards, ensuring that the knife’s motion is gentle and steady to avoid cutting your finger!

Chop The Garlic

Step 3: Mince The Garlic

After you’ve chopped your garlic, proceed to mince it for your recipe. Use the index and middle fingers of your non-dominant hand to lightly hold the tip of the knife, then use your knife-holding hand to move in a downward direction with a steady force.

Mince The Garlic

Repeat this process until the garlic is minced to your desired consistency.

Garlic is Minced

How To Prepare Shallots?

To prepare shallots properly, you will need to undertake 3 primary steps below:

Step 1: Peel The Shallots Skin

The skin of the shallots adheres tightly to the inside, so you won’t be able to use the crushing method like with garlic. Therefore, you will use a knife to gently peel off the outer skin!

Use and combine your index finger to skillfully peel from top to bottom, and don’t rush to cut off the root. Because the spicy and pungent flavor from the root can quickly make your eyes sting. So you need to remove all the skin first, then cut off the end of the onion root.

Peel The Shallots Skin

Step 2: Chop The Shallots

After you have removed the skin, use your fingertips to hold the shallot bulb, similar to the procedure for cutting garlic.

Next, you cut a few slits lengthwise from top to bottom. After that, place your hand down and use your fingertips to hold the onion bulb tightly. Use a knife to make a few horizontal cuts in the shallots. Remember, you will not cut it off completely, as this can make your cutting more slippery.

Chop The Shallots

Step 3: Mince The Shallots

At this point, you will chop and mince the shallots with a similar procedure to garlic, and you can chop or mince it until it is done according to your preference!

Mince The Shallots
Chop and Mince The Shallots

What Tips And Tricks Can I Use To Prepare Garlic and Shallots?

This section provides comprehensive advice on the best tips for preparing garlic and shallots. Additionally, it extends to tips on storing minced garlic and shallots. Lastly, you can explore the various dishes where these aromatic ingredients play a pivotal role.

Now it’s time to learn about some useful tips for preparing garlic and shallots:

  • You should use a good quality cutting board that is not rough to avoid getting wooden splinters mixed into your onions and garlic when chopping.
  • If the cutting board moves around, becomes slippery, and causes difficulties, place a towel underneath it. This will secure your cutting board in place, facilitating a much smoother operation.
  • For purple onions, you should not cut off the root too soon, as the pungent spiciness can make your eyes tear up more easily.

How To Store Minced Garlic and Shallots?

Here’s a quick guide on how to store minced garlic and shallots:

  • In the fridge: After mincing, you can store minced garlic and shallots in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for about a week.
  • In the freezer: For longer storage, place the minced garlic in an ice cube tray, cover with olive oil, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored this way for up to 6 months.

To freeze chopped shallots. Put them in a tight container or strong bag. After freezing, they become soft and are good for cooking. They stay fresh for one year in the freezer, but you can use them even after that.

Remember to always keep the storage container clean and dry to avoid contamination.

What Vietnamese Dishes Use Garlic and Shallots?

Below are some Vietnamese dishes that use garlic and shallots:

Simplify Your Cooking Experience with Garlic and Shallots

You’ve now unlocked the secrets of working with garlic and shallots, the unsung heroes of many dishes. Armed with these tips, you can add depth and flavor to your dishes in ways you never thought possible.

Remember, the kitchen is your canvas, and these are your new colors to play with. If this piece has added value to your cooking experience, please like, share, and drop a comment about your cooking exploits.

How To Prepare Garlic and Shallots

How To Prepare Garlic and Shallots

Discover the art of preparing garlic and shallots with our easy-to-follow guide. Learn how to peel, chop, and mince these essential ingredients to enhance the flavor of your favorite dishes.
5 from 1 vote
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Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 90kcal


  • A garlic bulb
  • 10 shallots


Prepare the Garlic:

  • First, break off the cloves you need from the garlic bulb.
    Then, use a knife to slice off the hard bottom of each clove. Use the flat side of the knife to give the clove a gentle smash to make the skin slip off easily.
    Remove The Garlic Skin
  • Once you've got the skin off, hold the garlic with your fingertips, sticking out your middle finger a little more so it can feel the knife's edge as you cut.
    Bring the knife down carefully, keeping your movements soft and steady so you don't nick your finger!
    Chop The Garlic
  • Now, it's time to mince the garlic. Hold the knife's tip lightly with the index and middle fingers of your non-knife hand.
    With your knife-wielding hand, move the blade down in a controlled motion. Keep repeating this until your garlic is as finely chopped as you need it to be for your recipe.
    Mince The Garlic

Prepare the Shallots:

  • Use a knife to peel off the outer layer.
    Peel The Shallots Skin
  • Using your finger, gently work your way from top to bottom to peel off the skin.
    Don’t cut off the root at this stage. If you do, it will release a strong aroma that might make your eyes water. So, get rid of all the skin first, then snip off the root end.
    With the skin gone, it's time to chop the shallots. Hold the bulb like you would when slicing garlic, using your fingertips for a firm grip.
    Start by making a few vertical cuts from top to bottom, but don't slice all the way through.
    Next, lay your hand flat on the onion, still holding it tightly with your fingertips, and make a few horizontal cuts.
    Chop The Shallots
  • Remember not to cut it completely, as it might slip while you're chopping.
    Mince The Shallots
  • For the last step, mince the shallots until it reaches your preferred texture.
    Chop and Mince The Shallots



  • Be sure to prepare garlic and shallots on a nice, smooth cutting board. You wouldn’t want any tiny bits of wood mixing with your onions and garlic.
  • If your board keeps sliding or giving you trouble, try tucking a towel under it. It’ll stay still, then, making your chopping much easier.
  • When dealing with purple onions, hold off on chopping off the root. It’s got a strong kick that can easily make your eyes water.


Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg


Content Writer


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Food Styling, Food Photography, Cooking-video Maker, Beverage Evaluation Expert


Saigon Culinary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Program: Diploma in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Vietnamese and Asian cuisines with intensive training and hands-on approach.

Vietnam Australia Vocational School (VAAC), Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Program: Bartender
  • Focus: Basic knowledge on how to store, preserve and select ingredients, and practice cocktails, mocktails, hot and cold drinks.

Richie, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is a dynamic Content Writer with a talent for capturing the essence of culinary art.

Richie specializes in creating visually appealing and tasty content, offering a new angle on Vietnamese and other culinary traditions. With a background in graphic design and a love for food styling and photography, he expertly combines beauty with food narratives, encouraging his audience to discover the culinary world through his imaginative perspective.

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