Yes, you can safely put toothpicks in most ovens, but you need to observe a few precautions when cooking with them.
For instance, the material a toothpick is made of, the length of time you soak a toothpick in water, and the temperature you have the oven set.
Read on to learn more about ways to use toothpicks in the oven safely.
Why Would You Put Toothpicks in an Oven?
At first, you might think that there is no reason to bake with toothpicks, and you have a valid point.
But there are a few reasons why a cook would want to use toothpicks in dishes going into the oven.
The first thing that comes to mind is stuffed cabbage leaves or other rolled or stuffed dishes.
These don’t tend to hold together so well on their own, so many cooks use toothpicks to secure them while they bake.
This helps them cook more thoroughly because the food is evenly distributed in the baking dish.
Will Toothpicks Catch on Fire in the Oven?
No, toothpicks will not instantly catch on fire in a standard oven. However, when exposed to high heat for a long time, toothpicks can ignite.
The temperature at which wood immediately combusts is around 700 degrees Fahrenheit, which is beyond the capability of any home oven.
If your toothpicks are left in the oven for several hours at 450 F, they will slowly char and then catch fire.
Keep in mind most dishes don’t require hours of baking, but if you are still wary of the idea, let’s look at a few ways to cook with toothpicks safely.
How To Use Toothpicks in an Oven?
There are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to utilize toothpicks when cooking some dishes.
Can I Put Wooden Toothpicks in the Oven
Yes, plain wood toothpicks are oven safe and are the type you should be using. Stay away from the ones with the fancy frills on the end though as they are not suitable for oven use.
If the frills are made of paper, they may catch on fire, and may melt if they are made of cellophane or a similar material.
Neither of these is what you want for the food you’ve worked so hard on!
If you really want to add color to your dish with a fancy toothpick, carefully remove the plain toothpick after the food has finished cooking and then insert a frilled toothpick where the plain one was.
Another important tip when cooking with toothpicks is to soak them in cool water for about 20 minutes before putting them in the oven.
The risk of them catching on fire is slim, but making sure that they are thoroughly soaked before baking them drops it down even further.
Also, soaking the toothpick means that it is much less likely to darken during the cooking process.
There’s nothing wrong with the toothpick getting a little dark.
It most likely will not ignite, and it isn’t going to taint the food.
But it does look unattractive, and most people prefer their food to look pretty when it’s being served.
Can You Put Colored Toothpicks in the Oven
Don’t use colored toothpicks in an oven. The dyes used to color the toothpicks are non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry in that sense, but they may leach into the food as it’s cooking.
That doesn’t sound very appetizing to me!
What Can I Use Instead of Toothpicks in the Oven?
If you’re still not comfortable using wooden toothpicks in the oven, that’s fine. You certainly don’t have to!
There are other kitchen tools and hacks that can accomplish the same thing.
For instance, you could use small metal skewers instead of toothpicks. You don’t have to worry about those catching on fire at all.
Be careful removing them, as metal holds heat well, and the skewers will stay hotter much longer than the toothpicks.
They also won’t break off in your food, and wooden toothpicks have a habit of doing that sometimes.
If you don’t have metal skewers handy, you can straighten out clean paper clips and use them as substitute skewers.
Be sure only to use paper clips that do not have a colorful plastic coating!
If they have been hanging around your office for a while, it’s probably a good idea to boil them first to remove any debris you don’t want in your food.
You can also substitute pieces of uncooked spaghetti noodles for toothpicks when you want to hold your food together in a baking dish.
Spaghetti noodles are non-toxic and safe to eat. Make sure to soak them briefly before using them (in cold water, not hot, so that they don’t soften up too much), and do not use spaghetti noodles under the broiler.
Wrapping It Up…
Cooking with toothpicks is an easy task as long as you follow a few simple steps.
Make sure to use basic wooden toothpicks with no fancy colors.
Soak your toothpicks in cold water for about 20 minutes before cooking with them.
Now just wait for that timer to go off and enjoy your favorite appetizer, meal, dessert or all three!
What is your favorite food to bake that needs an assist in the oven with a toothpick? Let me know in the comments…