Substitutes for kitchen twine

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Kitchen twine is cotton string used to hold food together when it's being cooked. Meat is usually the ingredient that needs to be trussed, although other food can be trussed as well. Twine has to be nontoxic for food safety and shouldn't impart any of its own flavour to the food.

For these two reasons, most kitchen twine is 100 per cent cotton.

Bamboo Skewers

Bamboo skewers can be used when you don't need to make a perfectly round roll. Bamboo skewers can be purchased at just about any supermarket. They're about 8 inches long, but you can snap or cut them to the length you need. Stab the skewer through the two edges of the meat to hold it together. This is most effective when the meat doesn't need to be 100 per cent sealed and you can cook it skewer side up.

Cooking Bands

Many speciality cooking and gourmet stores carry silicone cooking bands. You can also find them on the Internet. These bands look like wide, thick rubber bands and come in various colours and diameters. Simply wrap the bands around the rolled meat.


If you do not need to brown or crust the outside of your dish, cheesecloth can work for you. Cut the cheesecloth to a length that will wrap around the meat several times. Tie the sides shut with another strip of cheesecloth. This method works best with rolled or stuffed meat.

Cotton Thread

Sewing or embroidery thread that is 100 per cent cotton works fairly well in a pinch. You will need to use a lot of it because it is so thin. Use it just as you would kitchen twine. Do not use any type of natural twines such as jute or hemp; they are likely to fray and make a mess.