How Long Do You Soak Skewers – 3 Tips For Perfection

Soaking skewers before grilling your vegetables is a game-changer. It reduces the risk of the skewers burning or charring, ensuring a smooth grilling process. So, how long do you soak skewers? The recommended soak time is at least 30 minutes for wooden or bamboo skewers.

If you use the skewers for grilling over extremely high heat or for prolonged cooking periods, soak them for at least 1-2 hours or overnight. A longer soaking period allows the skewers to absorb more moisture, preventing breaking or splintering.

Why Soaking Skewers Matters

Soaking skewers enhances your overall grilling experience. Aside from preventing them from charring or burning when grilling, it promotes even cooking and prevents the food from sticking to the skewers. During the grilling process, the moisture in the soaked skewers vaporizes, creating a layer of steam that keeps the veggies tender and moist.

Soaking also prevents the skewers from splintering or breaking. Dry wooden skewers tend to be brittle. When exposed to intense heat during grilling, they become more brittle. As such, they tend to break and splinter more easily. Soaking ensures that the skewers remain intact.

grilling zucchini and peppers on bamboo skewers

Metal skewers don’t have to be soaked and don’t require any preparation before grilling kebabs. If you like, you can use a nonstick spray or oil on metal skewers before threading each vegetable to keep them from sticking to the skewer as you cook.

To prevent your metal skewers from getting too hot, lay aluminum foil strips on the grill to protect the ends.

Tips for Soaking Skewers

Below are tips for soaking skewers to ensure an enjoyable grilling experience.

Tip 1: Choose the Right Type of Skewers

The first step to ensuring that you have a great grilling experience using skewers is choosing the right type of skewers. The most common options are wooden and metallic skewers. Each has its pros, cons, and suitability criteria.

Most wooden skewers are made of bamboo. They are readily available and come at a very affordable cost. A bamboo skewer adds a natural and rustic feel to your grilling presentation. Wooden skewers make cleaning easy because they are disposable. Just toss them in the trash when you’re done!

Metal skewers threaded with veggies on a grill

On the downside, they are prone to splintering and charring. So, you need to ensure you soak your wood skewers thoroughly before grilling. They also are not reusable. Even though they are cheap, buying new wood skewers each time adds up, leading to an inefficiency in the cost breakdown.

On the other hand, metal skewers are often made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is heat-resistant and durable. It also has excellent heat conductivity, ensuring even cooking. Metal skewers are reusable. So, even though they are expensive to buy upfront, they save you the cost of regularly buying new skewers.

The main drawback of stainless steel skewers is their price. They are typically more expensive than wooden skewers and tend to get extremely hot. When you grill with metal skewers, it’s important to exercise caution when handling them and wear heat-resistant mitts or kitchen gloves.

Comparatively, wood skewers are more suitable for delicate and smaller veggies, while metal skewers are a great option for larger and heavier vegetables because they are sturdier and more durable.

Tip 2: Determine the Ideal Soaking Time

Allow ample soaking time for your skewers. The ideal soaking time depends on the type of skewers, thickness, the type of ingredients used, the cooking time, and the temperature.

The minimum recommended soaking time for wooden skewers is 30 minutes. For best results, you want to soak them for 1-2 hours or even overnight if you can. Thicker skewers benefit from longer soaking times.

Again, metal skewers don’t have to be soaked, but when placing them onto the grill, make sure the ends hang off safely so they don’t get too hot and are easier to handle.

Tip 3: Properly Soak Skewers for Optimal Results

The process of soaking skewers really is easy. However, there are a few pointers I feel you should have before you get started.

Start by making sure all the wood skewers you plan to use are fully submerged in the water. I find it best to use a deep or wide container. If you leave some parts out of the water, they tend to burn faster or break during grilling.

Water is the most commonly used soaking liquid for skewers. However, if you like, you can soak them with flavored liquids such as broth, lemon water, beer, or wine to infuse additional flavors into the vegetables. However, remember that highly acidic liquids can affect the texture of the wood.

How to Check if the Skewers Are Adequately Soaked

You can perform a simple test to determine if the skewers are adequately soaked. Remove the skewers from the water. Pick one out and hold each end with your right and left fingers. Gently bend the skewer.

You should notice that it flexes without breaking or splintering when you bend it. Repeat this test for all the skewers, and you are ready to start adding your favorite veggies.


Soaking your skewers before grilling is essential for achieving your desired results and enhancing the flavor and texture of your vegetables. It prevents the skewers from burning, charring, splintering, or breaking during grilling. It also enables even cooking and easy handling of the ingredients when grilling.

The recommended soaking time is 30 minutes up to overnight for wooden skewers. Soak in cold or warm water rather than hot water to avoid oversaturation and retain the structural integrity of the skewers. Make sure all your skewers are fully submerged in the water so that they are evenly soaked.


There really is no set temperature at which you should have your water when soaking your skewers. However, many recommend soaking skewers in warm water for at least thirty minutes. The warm water lets the skewers absorb moisture effectively while maintaining the structural integrity of the skewers so they don’t warp or splinter during grilling.

When soaking your skewers, avoid hot water. When soaked in hot water, they absorb moisture too quickly and may end up with excessive water content. Additionally, the high heat makes them more prone to breakage and splintering.

Yes, it is possible to soak skewers for too long. If you soak the skewers for extended periods, they become oversaturated with moisture. As a result, they take much longer to dry during the grilling process. It also means more moisture is transferred to the vegetables, resulting in longer or uneven cooking periods.

If you don’t soak the skewers, they will likely break, splinter, char, or burn during grilling. The vegetables are more likely to stick to the skewer and cook unevenly. It can make a pleasant grilling experience go south quickly as you struggle to keep your veggies intact.

You can reuse metal skewers but not wooden skewers that have been soaked. Soaking and using them for grilling weakens their structure.

Inspired? Pin it!

how long do you soak skewers - Pinterest image