Can You Put Toothpicks In An Air Fryer? (read this first)

There are certain recipes that call for ingredients being held together using a toothpick. Appetisers like mini cheeseburgers, bacon wrapped shrimp, stuffed mushrooms and bacon wrapped water chestnuts all require cooking using toothpicks to hold the ingredients together.

If you’re cooking a toasted sandwich in the air fryer, you might need a few toothpicks to hold the top slice of bread and prevent it from getting blown around by the air fryer’s fan.

But is it safe to use toothpicks in an air fryer? In this article we answer this and other questions. If you want to know whether you can use toothpicks in your air fryer, keep reading.

Is It Safe To Put Toothpicks In An Air Fryer?

Yes, it is safe to put toothpicks in an air fryer as long as you do the following;

  • Only use wooden toothpicks
    You should only use wooden toothpicks in an air fryer because wooden toothpicks have an ignition point of around 260 to 315 C (500 to 600 F). Plastic toothpicks on the other hand will melt if subjected to even relatively low temperatures in an air fryer.
  • Never use damaged toothpicks
    Inspect the toothpicks before use and never use any that are splintered or broken. Splintered or broken toothpicks could cause choking etc.
  • Never use decorative toothpicks
    Decorative toothpicks are designed for use after the food is cooked. The paints and dyes used on decorative toothpicks aren’t always food safe if subjected to high temperatures.
  • Never use toothpicks soaked in any flammables
    Only ever use toothpicks that have not been exposed to any oils or other flammable materials. If the toothpick has been exposed to any flammable substance, it will have a far lower ignition point and could cause a fire.
  • Soak the toothpicks first
    Before using toothpicks in the air fryer, you should soak them in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes. This will prevent the wood from drying out and catching fire prematurely.
  • Don’t use too many toothpicks
    Only use the bare minimum number of toothpicks necessary to do the job. The more wooden toothpicks in the air fryer, the more potential fire risks.
  • Keep an eye on the toothpicks
    As the food is being cooked in the air fryer, the toothpicks are being exposed to the same amount of heat. You will need to keep an eye on the toothpicks to ensure they are not getting too charred. The charring is a sign that the wood is close to its ignition point. Remove and replace any toothpicks that appear to be charring. You should check on the toothpicks every 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time.
  • Ensure they are secure
    The toothpicks need to be firmly embedded into the food to prevent the powerful fan from forcing the toothpicks around the air fryer where they could potentially cause damage.
  • Handle with care
    Remember that after the food is finished cooking, the toothpicks will be extremely hot. Always use oven gloves or tongs when handling toothpicks taken from the air fryer.

Are There Any Alternatives To Using Toothpicks In An Air Fryer?

If you don’t have any wooden toothpicks, or you don’t feel comfortable using them, below we’ve listed some alternatives. These include;

  • Wooden Skewers
    Wooden skewers are really just extra large wooden toothpicks. They should be treated in the same way; Soak in water before use, never use if splintered, never use if exposed to any flammable substance and always wear oven gloves when handling.
  • Bamboo Skewers
    Bamboo skewers should be treated in the same way as wooden skewers.
  • Metal Skewers
    Metal skewers are safer in as much as they will not catch fire. However, they will hold far more heat than wooden skewers so extra care will be needed when handling hot metal skewers.
  • Uncooked Spaghetti
    Uncooked long spaghetti makes an excellent alternative to wooden toothpicks. You should break the uncooked long spaghetti into pieces roughly toothpick size and use in the same way. They are safe to use and shouldn’t catch fire.
  • Cocktail Sticks
    If you don’t have any wooden toothpicks, wooden cocktail sticks can be used instead. You could also use metal cocktail pins but beware they are likely to become extremely hot in the air fryer.

Are There Any Toothpicks That Can’t Be Used In An Air Fryer?

In the interests of safety there are certain toothpicks that should never be used in an air fryer. These include;

Plastic Toothpicks

You should never use plastic toothpicks or plastic coated toothpicks in an air fryer. Plastic has a relatively low melting point 148 C (300 F) which means they would definitely melt in the air fryer.

This will ruin your food and produce harmful chemicals which could make you and your guests seriously ill.

Decorative Toothpicks

You can buy wooden toothpicks in various colours which can be used on cold buffets etc. However, decorative toothpicks should never be used in an air fryer because the dyes used could release potentially toxic chemicals if exposed to high temperatures.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I air fry something with a toothpick?

You can use a wooden toothpick to hold something down in the air fryer basket.

Can wooden cocktail sticks go in an air fryer?

You can put wooden cocktail sticks in the air fryer to hold certain foods down. As long as you soak the cocktail sticks in cold water for around 30 minutes first. 

Are toothpicks safe to cook with in an air fryer?

Toothpicks are safe to cook with in an air fryer as long as they are wooden, undecorated, have not been exposed to any flammable chemicals, are not splintered and have been soaked in cold water for at least 15 minutes before use.

What can I use instead of toothpicks for cooking in an air fryer?

There are several alternatives to toothpicks that can be used for cooking in an air fryer. These include; Wooden skewers, metal skewers, bamboo skewers, wooden cocktail sticks and uncooked long spaghetti.

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