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Cooking twine, also known as butcher's twine or kitchen twine, is a versatile kitchen tool. The durable thread is commonly used to truss poultry before roasting, to help an expensive cut of meat or pork hold its shape and cook evenly, or for tying together an herbal bouquet garni to flavor soups and stews. It can also be used around the house for arts and crafts or even as a rustic way to tie together place settings on a holiday table.
Twine comes in a variety of materials: cotton, linen, jute, hemp, and polyester/cotton blends. Versatile and affordable, cotton twine is safe for use in the oven since it won’t burn or fall apart in your food. Cotton is often used for the iconic striped baker's twine that adorns bakery boxes. Linen twine is also durable and oven-safe but is harder to find and pricey. Hemp and jute twine are purely ornamental and best for crafting.
Here are the best cooking twines for all your kitchen needs.
Best Overall: Regency Wraps Natural Cooking Twine
Since it’s the most versatile, natural cotton twine is a must-have for any cook. From trussing a turkey to tying tamales to bundling recyclables, Regency Wraps' 100 percent cotton twine is up to almost any kitchen task.
The 1-pound cone spool is about 1,200 feet of unbleached cotton twine. It's 16-ply, which means it’s strong enough to not cut into meat when used for tying together a roast or holding a chicken’s drumsticks in place. This professional-grade twine is safe for use in an oven, though it should be kept away from direct flames. The spool does fit perfectly on Regency Wraps' twine dispenser, which is sold separately.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: OXO Good Grips 100% Natural Cotton Twine
OXO is known for its high-quality products and its twine is no different. This cone spool of twine is produced from 100 percent natural cotton and is strong enough to hold a crown of lamb. The spool contains 300 feet of twine that doesn’t fray or begin separating after cutting. It is made to fit OXO’s twine dispenser that has a removable twine cutter and is sold separately.
Best Budget: Norpro Cotton Twine
Smaller lengths of cooking twine come in small balls instead of cone spools, like this pull ball from Norpro. The whole ball is made from 100 percent 18-ply cotton twine and contains 220 feet of unbleached twine. Because it releases from the center, the twine should not tangle, and due to its tiny size, it’s easier to store in a drawer or cabinet than a cone spool. The twine is safe for use in the oven or on the grill, but it should be kept away from open flame. If you don't use twine often, this is a perfect size.
Best Linen: Berard Replacement French Linen Twine
Linen is made from flax plants and produces strong, durable twine. Berard’s spool of linen twine is great for fancier meal presentations of stuffed meats and filet mignon or to bind together small, loose vegetables like carrots or asparagus.
All 1,300 feet is made from high-quality French linen and is free of chemicals. Linen twine stretches less than cotton and holds knots together better, which makes it good for hanging meats to cure.
Best Baker's Twine: Tenn Well Red and White Twine
Baker's twine is used primarily for decoration and crafting, as it’s not typically strong enough for trussing and sometimes has polyester in the blend. Tenn Well’s spool of red and white twine is your signature baker's twine.
All 656 feet is made from 100 percent food-grade cotton that won’t fray after cutting. The twine is also biodegradable, making it eco-friendly, and comes in additional color schemes: black and white; green and white; and red, green, and white. Though it's perfect for decorative purposes, it's also one of the rare baker's twines that can be used in the oven. One reviewer used it with no issues at 400 degrees.
Best With Holder: Norpro Stainless Steel Holder with Cotton Cooking Twine
Since twine is produced as an uncovered spool, it can get dirty when stored or be quickly unraveled by a playful house cat. To protect against this, it’s best to stash away a ball of twine in a holder, like this one from Norpro.
Made from stainless steel, this holder measures 3.25 x 3.25 x 3.25 inches and has an opening in the lid for twine to be threaded through. It holds Norpro’s pull ball of natural cotton twine, which is included, perfectly. Should anything messy get into the holder, it can be easily cleaned.
To effectively use loose twine, you'll need to master the butcher's knot. However, there are options to get around tying together twine, which include rubber band–like twine ties and silicone bands.
Best Twine Ties: Butcher’s Code Rotisserie Elastic and Cotton Blend Cooking Ties
Trussing a chicken or wrapping a roast requires making sure you cut enough twine and tie the proper knots so nothing falls apart in the oven. One shortcut around this is to use elastic ties.
This pack of 50 twine ties from Butcher’s Code is excellent for helping in the kitchen. The 7-inch, food-grade ties can stretch to 25 inches, an increase of 360 percent in size. They can stand up to 500 degrees, making them safe for ovens, rotisseries, grills, and fryers.
Best Silicone Bands: Architec Stretch Cooking Band
Silicone bands are another kitchen alternative to cotton butcher's twine. Architec’s multicolored set of 25 bands, each made from 100 percent medical-grade silicone, are a great reusable option. These 2-inch bands can stretch to fit a small roast or trussing poultry, and they can handle up to 600 degrees. This makes them safe for use in ovens, microwaves, deep fryers, rotisseries, grills, and dishwashers.
The package comes with five different colors, which can be used to indicate particulars like doneness or spiciness.
If you have a few jobs in mind, you can't go wrong with Regency Wraps' natural cooking twine (available at Amazon). It's professional-grade, all-natural twine that's strong enough for just about any cooking task you assign it. If you don't expect to use twine often, consider Norpro's ball of cotton twine (available at Amazon). It's less than a quarter of the size of the Regency Wraps roll but just as effective, and it takes up less kitchen cabinet real estate.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Siobhan Wallace has written about food, which includes two cookbooks, for over a decade, in addition to doing a stint as a baker. She has yet to master the butcher's knot.