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The love for skewered food is universal. Whether you are walking on the cobblestone streets of Prague and eating a crisp bramborové spirály (potato spirals) from a skewer or grabbing a juicy chicken satay glistening with a thick marinade in Indonesia or Malaysia, skewers make an enjoyable and portable treat. Food on a stick is just more fun. It’s something you can cook when out camping or on a picnic or while entertaining friends and family in your own backyard, grilling food to perfection.
The choices of foods to cook on a skewer are as vast and diverse as the type of skewers you would use to cook them on. From grilling an assortment of vegetables to making shish kebabs, brochettes of lamb, or chicken yakitori, skewers make the prepping, sorting, and cooking of the foods a breeze.
In order to find the best skewers for all types of foods, we sent an assortment to our experienced tester, who fired up the grill and used them to cook everything from chicken, beef, and shrimp to an assortment of veggies. Each set of skewers was evaluated on material, design, strength, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
Whether you need just one type of skewer for grilling or want to grab a combination of these skewers for all your grilling needs this season, here are the best skewers—tested and approved.
Best Overall: Timeless Steel Stainless Steel Lula Kebab Skewers, 10 Pieces
Nonslip ring for better grip
Too long for indoor use/may be too long for certain grills
What do buyers say? 40+ Etsy reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
These skewers are handcrafted from stainless steel to stand up to rigorous use on a BBQ grill, and their versatility and performance during testing earned them the top spot on this list. They are rust-resistant and will stand up to washing and air-drying. The convenient metal nonslip ring provides a good hold for turning and controlling the skewers and for hanging them when not in use.
The skewers are flat and wide. Using the width of the skewer, our tester was able to make ground meat Adana kebabs. The meat stayed on throughout the cooking process and did not break or fall. Our tester skewered chunks of meat and vegetables and the skewers held on to them through the cooking process and even while turning the skewers.
At 26 inches, they are slightly long to be used on smaller outdoor BBQ grills and are too long for indoor use in the oven. One thing our tester noted was that the pointy and angled tips were not all made equal. Some of the skewers had really sharp tips while some struggled with food like mushrooms.
Overall, our tester was able to load up a good amount of food on these skewers and they held on strong without bending. The best part was that food stayed on—no matter how the skewers were turned.
Washing these was a bit of a maneuver (because of their length) but was easy enough, and they did not stain even when they weren't completely dried off after use.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 26 inches | Number of Pieces: 10 | Dishwasher Safe: No
"The meats and vegetables stayed put throughout cooking without falling or rotating."
Best Budget: Norpro Stainless Steel 14-Inch Skewers
If you have ever used small, thin, and rounded steel skewers, you know and understand the frustration of food spinning on the skewers. The food loses moisture, protein contracts with heat and starts to move away from the skewer, and when you want to turn the food over, it spins. The Norpro Stainless Steel Skewers are flat and wide and prevent that frustration—at a great price.
Our tester found that these skewers have really sharp tips that went through vegetables like corn and sweet potato without much trouble. Threading in small or large chunks of meat was also fuss-free, and while cooking, she found that the skewers did a great job of keeping the food from spinning around. The heat distribution was consistent, and the food cooked evenly. These skewers are an economical choice if you make a lot of kebabs for a crowd and need reusable skewers.
Our tester noticed that these skewers bent a little when loaded with heavier or chunkier ingredients and they were not as good at controlling the spinning of food when used with larger cuts. They produced the best results when used with smaller cuts.
You can put these in the top rack of your dishwasher to clean so they are easy as far as maintenance goes.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 14 inches | Number of Pieces: 6 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"These are a great budget option for everyday grilling in the summer. The skewers have sharp tips so I was able to skewer in corn and potatoes with just a slight effort."
Best for Vegetables: Williams Sonoma Stainless Steel Skewers
Comes with a sliding disk
Good size for indoor or outdoor use
Handles stay hot for a long time
Usable length is only 10 inches
The pointed and slanted tips on these skewers make it really easy to skewer hearty vegetables. The prong is flat and square, which prevents the food from spinning around. Our tester found the tapered round handles were comfortable to hold and added to the overall balance of the skewers. Once the food cooked, the included sliding disk came in handy to push food onto the plate for serving. In addition to vegetables, our tester also used these skewers for cubes of meat and chicken. The tips are sharp and go through the meat without any snags.
These skewers are just the right length where you can use them indoors or outdoors, which means your kebab-making prowess doesn’t have to be weather dependent—you can make them when you want. The overall length of the skewers is 17.75 inches, of which 10 inches can be used to skewer food on; the rest of it is the handles and the space you would want to leave at the top. They come as a set of four so you may need to buy an extra set for a larger cookout.
The skewers are made of stainless steel and can be washed in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. There were no stains on them, and they washed clean in our testing.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 17.75 inches | Number of Pieces: 4 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"They look beautiful and worked really well for vegetables and smaller cuts of meat and poultry. Taking food off these skewers with the sliding disk was fun and easy."
Best for Meat: + Hom Kabob 1-Inch Wide Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel Skewers
Comes with a carrying case
Easy to wash
Learning curve to use
Too long for indoor use
The design of the + Hom skewers is well-suited for meat. Our tester liked the fact that they have no handles. They are flat all through and that helped with the overall balance of the skewers when shaping ground meat on them. Plus, the skewers are thick, which ensures a uniform spread of heat.
Our tester was able to shape ground meat seekh kebabs and kabab koobideh on the skewers with ease. The meat stayed on the skewers right from the start. She also cooked some kebabs on a skewer rack (like this one) to see if the skewers would stay afloat and cook meat from all sides. The skewers stayed on the rack, and she was able to turn the meat to cook on all sides.
The angled tip helped load up the skewers with larger chunks of meat, whole tomatoes, whole peppers, and big chunks of fruits. The amount of time it took for the end of the skewers to cool down was faster than the other skewers we tested. Our tester noted that using smaller mittens and tongs to turn these was more efficient than using tongs alone.
Even though they aren't dishwasher safe, cleaning the skewers is easy and a quick scrub with soap and water is all they need. The only downside to these skewers is that they are 1 inch wide. This made them too wide to be used on any smaller cuts of meats or vegetables. Our tester also said there is a bit of a learning curve. Releasing ground meat kebabs from the skewers took some practice and had to be done immediately after cooking finished.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 23.25 inches | Number of Pieces: 6 | Dishwasher Safe: No
"Even when I forgot to turn the skewer as often as I should for grilling ground meat kebabs, the meat stayed put on the skewers."
Best for Shrimp: Proud Grill Slide & Serve BBQ Skewers
Easy to turn
Evenly spaced food
These skewers come in two fun motifs—fish and steer—and are a fun conversation starter, in addition to being perfect for shrimp. The skewers are constructed as small pointy branches jutting out from the length of the spine. During testing, our reviewer found that grilling shrimp on these skewers was so easy. The prongs held onto the shrimp, and they stayed put throughout the grilling.
You have to be careful when turning any seafood on skewers as it tends to fall off or spin—but not with these skewers. The shrimp, whether coated in a thick marinade or simply tossed into some seasonings, stayed on the skewer during testing.
Turning these skewers needed slight maneuvering and learning as the skewer itself is small, and once loaded, the weight concentrates. In the absence of handles, our tester found that using a sturdy pair of tongs did the job nicely. She also found it convenient to make a skewer with meat on one side and veggies on the other so that anything that cooked faster could be removed and then the skewer put back on the grill to complete cooking.
One thing to note is that it is somewhat difficult to load up food on these because you are going with a sideways force. Our tester found it easier to load the skewers from the top, and if using two kinds of ingredients, fared better with threading lighter items on first.
They are dishwasher safe and get completely cleaned in a regular dishwashing cycle.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 12 inches | Number of Pieces: 4 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"These skewers kept the shrimp and seafood flat and in contact with the grill grates at all times."
Best Wooden: HOPELF Natural Bamboo Skewers
Available in many lengths
These bamboo skewers are meant for fun food on sticks and food that you want to make portable. These sturdy 4-millimeter-thick skewers can be used to make candied apples, fruit kebabs, or a Caprese salad. If there is a food you want on a skewer, these skewers will make that happen.
The tips of these skewers are pointed and sharpened to a 45-degree angle, and our tester found that she could easily thread meat and vegetables on them. The skewers and the ends are polished and smooth. Our tester was able to thread on cubes of meat and vegetables for grilling with no problems.
With things like beef tenderloin kebabs, the skewers performed well as the time required to cook these was less than when the skewers were used to make a chicken kebab. For anything that required time, the skewers charred a lot and larger pieces of food also started to spin. In our testing, these performed the best when used with meats that needed less time to cook and meats and vegetables cut into smaller sizes.
They are available in a variety of sizes, and while disposable, the price is inexpensive enough to make them a good value.
Material: Bamboo| Length: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 inches | Number of Pieces: 100 | Dishwasher Safe: No
"For someone looking to use disposable skewers for large gatherings and events, these skewers will work well. For cooking things like chicken that require more cooking time, the skewer ends charred, but for most things, the skewers stayed intact."
Best Metal: Grapevine Forge Metal Shish Kabob Skewer Set
Good length for indoor or outdoor use
Metal skewers spread heat evenly for uniform cooking. When in doubt, always use a flat square-shaped metal skewer for kebabs, like these, which performed well in testing. Plus, these elegant skewers are designed to be shown off. They received top marks by our tester for being so presentable. Simply lift them off the grill and take them straight to a platter to present the food.
The elegantly designed handles helped with gripping the skewer to lift or turn. While the metal used in the skewer is thinner to make it versatile for both vegetables and meats, our tester found that it is strong enough to hold on to thick cuts of steak without collapsing. The square shape of the prong in these skewers helped keep food on the skewer without moving around.
Our tester hand-washed them, and they need to be dried immediately. Otherwise, they rust and stain, as our tester found out the hard way when she just left them in the sink.
Material: Carbon steel | Length: 15 inches | Number of Pieces: 4 or 6 | Dishwasher Safe: No
"These skewers are sharp at the tip and make threading in food so much faster. The square shape helps keep food from spinning around."
Best for Marshmallows: Aoocan Marshmallow Roasting Sticks
Comes with a storage bag
Sitting around a campfire or a backyard fire pit and telling stories under starry skies while roasting marshmallows is what summer nights are all about. To keep these nights fun and safe, long-pronged skewers like the Aoocan Marshmallow Roasting Sticks come in quite handy. These skewers extend to 45 inches, which allows a safe distance from the firepit.
Our reviewer appreciated the telescopic extension because some of the children that were invited for testing were comfortable only from the longest distance while other children chose smaller lengths. This gave all the children an opportunity to join in safely. The children also loved that they could pick the colors they liked and choose whether to toast one marshmallow or two at the same time.
The grip on the heat-resistant handles was comfortable for children and adults alike. The skewers feature a double-pronged design to hold on to marshmallows as they puff up while roasting, and the tips can be covered with two mini safety caps when the skewers are not in use. While roasting marshmallows, the marshmallows stayed on the skewer even after getting toasty and melty. No marshmallows were lost to the firepit during testing. These also worked well with hot dogs.
The skewers are cleaned easily with some water. Our tester ran them through the dishwasher multiple times and the colors on the handles did not show any signs of wear.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 14 inches | Number of Pieces: 6 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"Kids loved the fun colors and the fact that they could extend the sticks."
The Timeless Steel Lula Kebab Skewers are our top pick. These stainless steel skewers are sturdy, rust-resistant, and performed well in testing no matter what foods were grilled. If you're looking for an everyday option that won't break the bank, the Norpro Stainless Steel 14-Inch Skewers are a solid choice.
How We Tested
We scoured the market and rounded up top-rated skewers in a variety of materials and designs and at a variety of price points and sent them to our home tester to be evaluated side by side. The skewers were used to grill meat, veggies, and seafood—and one set we tested with marshmallows. Each set of skewers was rated on its material, design, strength, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our tester gave additional insights into the skewers' strengths and weaknesses and what they are best suited for at your next backyard BBQ.
What to Look for in Skewers for Grilling
What you like to cook will somewhat determine how you shop for these grilling essentials. If you like to grill mostly vegetables or make kebabs infrequently, you might find that a set of bamboo skewers is sufficient for your use. However, if you grill a lot of meats, you might find that a set of metal skewers would better suit your needs and be better able to handle the weight of the food. Finally, if you're going to serve foods as an appetizer, you'll want ones that are shorter, so they fit more easily on a plate.
Do you need the skewers to be dishwasher safe? Are you okay with them being disposable, or doing a little hand-washing if need be? Keep in mind, too, that metal skewers do much better over very high heat, and flat metal skewers can handle heavier pieces of meat more easily.
You want a skewer that will support the weight of the food without rolling around on the grill and that won't lose any food once you turn it. Does it feel balanced once you put meat and other ingredients on it? Is it long enough and sturdy enough to maintain a balance without ingredients falling off onto the grill?
Are skewers for grilling worth it?
If you do a lot of grilling, it's definitely worth the small investment to get a set of skewers that are designed for the grill. It makes the process a lot easier to manage and helps to ensure even cooking and easy retrieval of your food from the grill.
What happens if you don't soak wooden skewers?
Wooden skewers need to be soaked for 20 to 30 minutes before using them so that when you put them on the grill, loaded with food, they don't catch on fire. If they're waterlogged, they won't become a fire hazard.
Should you oil skewers before using them?
It's a great idea to use a little bit of cooking oil (not extra-virgin olive oil) or a nonstick cooking spray on your skewers before loading them up. This way, ingredients won't stick to them when it's time to remove them.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Renu Dhar is a culinary instructor, personal chef, food writer, and product tester. She has tested dozens of products for The Spruce Eats, including several grills, and she personally tested every item on this list.