I love nothing more than random kitchen gadgets, and so whenever I go to Bed, Bath & Beyond, I spend at least 10 minutes in the kitchen section, looking at all the little tools I want but probably don’t need. Occasionally, I let myself buy one—that’s how I came to own the GarlicZoom, a small but mighty product that totally changed the way I cook.
What is the GarlicZoom?
The Chef’n GarlicZoom kind of looks like a toy, but this strange green contraption is actually designed to chop garlic. The device has two wheels attached to gears, and the gears spin a number of little blades in the main compartment, which is where you put your garlic cloves. So when you roll the GarlicZoom along your countertop, it spins the blades, which cut up the cloves.
The GarlicZoom drew me in immediately because I have (or more accurately, used to have) a love-hate relationship with garlic. On one hand, I love putting fresh garlic in any dish I cook, and I generally add more than the recipe calls for—my fellow garlic lovers will understand.
However, I don’t love chopping up garlic by hand. My knife skills are OK, at best, and so it will take me around 10 minutes to mince two or three cloves. Plus, if you touch it, your hands get all sticky, and I hate that. Because it’s such a time suck, I used to just opt for pre-minced garlic most of the time, which is convenient but doesn’t give you the same flavor. With this in mind, I was more than happy to spend $10 on a product that promised to make garlic prep much easier.
Does the GarlicZoom work well?
The short answer here is a resounding, “Yes!”
The GarlicZoom is a perfect example of a simple product that’s incredibly effective. You can easily drop two or three garlic cloves into the gadget, and then all you have to do is roll it back and forth a few times on a hard surface. It delivers the same results as chopping, but in around 20 to 30 seconds—and no sticky (or stinky) hands or dirty knives!
If you want finer pieces, you can just continue rolling the Garlic Zoom back and forth over the chopped bits. I’ve found that sometimes the garlic will stick to the top of the compartment, out of reach of the blades, but all it takes is a few taps on the counter to knock it loose again.
Once you’ve sufficiently minced your garlic, you can open the GarlicZoom from the middle, remove the blade, and scoop out all of the contents that didn't fall out. This simple step saves you from having to pick pieces out from around the blade and gets things ready to be cleaned at the same time.
The regular-sized GarlicZoom can fit a few cloves at a time, and they also have an XL version for the truly garlic-obsessed (it's only $10.72 on Amazon).
How do you clean the GarlicZoom?
We’ve already established that chopped garlic is quite sticky, which begs the question of how you should clean this device. Personally, I find it easy to just wipe down the inner compartment with soapy water and clean off the blades (carefully) with a sponge.
However, if it ever gets particularly dirty or if you detest hand-washing your dishes, you can put the GarlicZoom in the top rack of your dishwasher. Whenever I’ve done this, I just put the blade portion in the silverware holder, and it works like a charm.
Can you use it with other ingredients?
Honestly, I would be fine if I could just use the GarlicZoom on garlic—it would still be worth it in my book. However, I have found a few additional uses for this product that make me love it even more.
In my experience, the GarlicZoom is also great for mincing:
- Fresh ginger
- Shallots and other small onions
- Small peppers like jalapenos
Though I haven’t tried it yet, I imagine you could also use it on fresh horseradish—it seems to work well on many types of root ingredients.
Should you buy the Chef’n GarlicZoom?
I heartily recommend this cool kitchen gadget to just about everyone, especially those who love garlic but hate chopping it. The GarlicZoom is inexpensive, straightforward, and effective, and it makes dinnertime prep faster, even if your knife skills are on fleek. And since the blades are covered, it'd even be a great task to give your kids and get the whole family involved in cooking dinner.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Here are some noteworthy online reviews of the product:
- “The most amazing kitchen gadget hands down! I had used one at a friend’s house and had to buy myself one! The best, safest way to chop garlic in a hurry!”
- “LOVE LOVE LOVE! This tool has changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it really has.”
- “This looks like a goofy throw-away kitchen gadget that ends up in the back of the drawer. IT IS NOT! I use this almost every day for mincing garlic and ginger. It works like a champ.”
Seriously, it'll be the best $10 you'll have spent in a while!
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.