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10 Best Substitutes for Toothpicks in Cooking

Toothpicks are often used in cooking.

They can be used to hold food together, or to test for doneness by inserting the toothpick into the food and pulling it out.

  • But what if you don’t have a toothpick?
  • Or you’re trying to cut down on plastic waste?
substitute for toothpicks in cooking

The best substitute for toothpicks is wooden chopsticks.

Wooden chopsticks are made from wood, so they’re biodegradable and compostable, which means that you can use them for cooking and then throw them away when you’re done.

They’re also easy to find in most grocery stores, since they’re used in Asian cuisine.

So if you’ve got a recipe that calls for toothpicks, but you don’t have any on hand, grab some chopsticks instead!

Looking for more ideas?

Then keep reading!

10 Substitutes for Toothpicks in Cooking

Toothpicks in cooking

If you don’t have toothpicks on hand, don’t worry!

There’s plenty of other options to hold your food together and test for doneness.

Here are some great alternatives for toothpicks in cooking:

1. Wooden Chopsticks

Wooden Chopsticks

Wooden chopsticks are great substitutes for toothpicks.

They’re easy to find, they’re inexpensive, and they can be used in all kinds of ways.

You can use them to hold food together while cooking, or you can use them to test for doneness by inserting the chopstick into the food and pulling it out.

2. Dry Spaghetti

Dry Spaghetti

If you don’t have a toothpick, don’t worry. You can use dry spaghetti instead.

To test if food is done, insert a dry spaghetti into the food and pull it out.

If the spaghetti is sticking to the food, it’s not ready yet.

When it comes out clean and dry, that means your food is ready!

3. Bamboo Skewers

Bamboo Skewers

Bamboo skewers are a great alternative to toothpicks.

They’re disposable, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning them up later.

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They’re also flexible, which means they can be used in many different ways.

You can use bamboo skewers as toothpicks by inserting them into the food and pulling them out.

You can also use them as holders by pushing one end of the skewer through your food and leaving the other end sticking out, so it can hold onto things like marshmallows or other small foods that might fall off if they weren’t held together with something like this!

The best part about using bamboo skewers is that they’re reusable—just wash ’em off with warm water and dish soap when you’re done eating!

4. Popsicle Sticks

Popsicle Sticks

If you don’t have toothpicks on hand, try using popsicle sticks.

They’re just as effective as toothpicks and are cheaper!

Popsicle sticks are a great substitute for toothpicks because they’re typically made out of a non-splintering material that won’t cut your fingers or mouth.

Plus, they come in all different sizes, so you can find one that’s just right for the job.

To use a popsicle stick as a substitute for a toothpick, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the popsicle stick into the food where you want to test for doneness, or wherever you need help holding food together.
  2. Pull out the popsicle stick when done testing or holding!

5. Wooden Spoons

Wooden Spoon

If you don’t have a toothpick, try using a wooden spoon!

You can use the end of the spoon to test for doneness of your food by inserting it into your food and pulling it out.

If the end of the spoon is clean when you pull it out, your food is done.

6. Straws


Straws are a great substitute for toothpicks in cooking.

They’re long and thin, so they can be used to hold food together or to test for doneness in the same way that a toothpick would.

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You can even use them to pick up small pieces of food that might otherwise fall through the cracks.

Of course, straws have other uses, too—like drinking through!

But if you’re looking for an alternative to your usual toothpick, consider using a straw instead.

7. A Fork


You can also use a fork instead of a toothpick.

If your recipe calls for using a toothpick to poke holes in meat before cooking it, try using a fork instead.

You’ll still have the same effect: making sure juices don’t pool in one spot on the meat and burn instead of dripping down onto the pan where they belong.

8. A Pen Cap

Pen Caps

If you’re in a pinch and need something to hold your food together, or if you want to test whether your food is done cooking, here’s a great trick: use the cap of a pen!

Just make sure that there’s no ink on it—otherwise you’ll end up with a delicious-looking mess rather than delicious-tasting food.

9. Thin Metal Skewers

Thin Metal Skewers

Thin metal skewers are an easy substitution.

They’re already thin and metal, so they’ll do exactly what you need them to do: hold your food together as it cooks.

Plus, because they’re metal, you can use them to test for doneness in the same way that toothpicks can: just insert one into the center of the food until it’s deep enough that it won’t fall out when you pull it back out again.

10. Cake Testers

Cake testers are the perfect alternative to toothpicks.

They’re small, round, and made of metal, so you can use them to hold food together or test for doneness without having to worry about them melting or getting stuck in your mouth.

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Cake testers are usually made of metal and are shaped like a needle with a handle.

They’re available at most grocery stores, but if you can’t find any there’s always Amazon!

Bamboo Skewers

10 Best Substitutes for Toothpicks in Cooking

Toothpicks are the perfect way to keep food from falling apart (and more), but they can be a little messy.
So what are the best alternatives for toothpicks when you need to keep things together?
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 4 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 1 kcal


  • Wooden Chopsticks
  • Dry Spaghetti
  • Bamboo Skewers
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Wooden Spoons
  • Straws
  • A Fork
  • A Pen Cap
  • Thin Metal Skewers
  • Cake Testers


  • Pick a substitute from this list to replace your toothpicks.
  • Prepare the rest of your meal.
  • Be ready to munch in no time!
Keyword substitute for toothpicks in cooking


  • Jenny Hunter

    Jenny is a passionate entrepreneur and home chef who loves helping people. She is the proud owner of, an online platform for those who want to learn about and explore the delicious world of food. Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations. Jenny is a firm believer in the power of food to bring people together, and she is always looking for ways to expand her reach and share her love of cooking with a larger audience. She is an active member of the food blogging community, and she is passionate about helping others discover their own culinary talents.