Is There A Difference Between Chopped And Minced Garlic?

Garlic is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking in cuisines worldwide. From Italian sauces to Chinese bean curd with garlic sauce, the pungent root adds flavor and a mouthwatering smell that appeals to so many people.

Allicin is the compound that gives garlic its intense flavor and unmistakable aroma. An uncut piece of garlic will have a mild flavor without the pungent smell of cut garlic because the allicin has not been released. Cutting garlic allows the compound to be freed, and the smaller the pieces, the stronger the flavor (per America's Test Kitchen). A gram of minced raw garlic contains 2.5-4.5 milligrams of allicin. You'd have to use three times that amount of whole roasted cloves to get that much allicin (per Nutrition Therapy Institute).

But does it really matter whether garlic is minced or chopped? Why do some recipes call for one when others instruct you to use the other?

Chopped vs. minced garlic

To understand the difference between chopped and minced garlic, it helps to know how to prepare it for a recipe. You start by removing the cloves from the head. Cut off the root end of the clove and, using a chef's knife held on its side, use the heel of your hand to crush the garlic on a cutting board. Now that it's flattened, it will be easy to mince or chop.

Once your garlic is ready to be cut, you need to know the difference between the knife cuts — minced and chopped. With chopping, there is no need to be precise. Just cut the cloves into small pieces and you're finished (per No More To-Go).

However, according to Spice Cravings, a mince cut is smaller than a chopped cut, so if a recipe calls for minced garlic, roughly chop the cloves and then keep chopping or use a garlic press. This handy little kitchen tool will do the job effectively and cut the pieces into the perfect size, which MasterClass says should only be as big as "a pearl of couscous."

Use fresh garlic whenever possible

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has a tip on how to efficiently mince garlic using salt to keep the clove from slipping as you're cutting it. However, if you have a lot of garlic to cut, use a mini food processor to do the work. The advantage of using a food processor is that you can use the pulse feature to control the size of the cut. Pulse a couple of times to chop or keep going for a finer mince (via KitchenAid).

For the freshest taste, avoid using jarred garlic. The convenience makes using it tempting, but the flavor is not the same. Of course, you can use pre-minced garlic, especially if you are short on time or have difficulty using a knife due to a health condition, but nothing comes close to being as tasty as fresh garlic.

Are you ready to whip up some garlicky recipes? Try out your knife skills or break out the food processor to make this recipe for Garlic Rolls that calls for a whopping tablespoon of minced garlic.