We Tested The Viral Toothpick Trick For Juicing A Lemon. Does It Work?

Juicing a lemon may not seem like a task complicated enough to require a hack, but in the world of TikTok, no problem is too small to farm for content. Some viral food tips are useless or absurd, while a few TikTok food hacks are helpful and actually worth trying. However, most fall somewhere in between. They work as advertised, but the effort saved is barely worth changing how you actually cook.

This last category seems like the land where a lemon juicing hack will fall, considering that slicing a lemon and squeezing it is a pretty straightforward and simple kitchen task, though it can admittedly be a little messy. Enter TikToker Gerson Repreza, who has shared a viral lemon juicing hack that has the advantage of being both easy and quick, with the promise of making the arduous task of juicing a lemon a thing of the past. 

It simply calls for sticking a toothpick into the stem end of the lemon to make a hole and then squeezing the juice out, turning the lemon itself into a makeshift bottle of juice that squirts out cleanly and accurately. But does it actually work? The answer is: kind of. A lemon pierced with a toothpick will extrude some juice if squeezed, but it won't give off all its juice, and as the video also shows, it requires a much greater effort to squeeze the juice out than squeezing each piece of one that's been sliced. So, it does work, just not that well.

Juicing a lemon with a toothpick is cleaner but not much easier than cutting one

To test this lemon juicing toothpick hack, we used several test lemons and then compared the results to a control lemon that was juiced the standard way. All lemons were rolled first to make sure they were pliable, just like we would have done with any lemon, and they were all equally fresh and purchased at the same time. The first test lemon did shoot out some juice like the TikTok video shows, producing about a tablespoon of liquid before our squeezing stopped getting results. The second lemon we tried this on produced almost nothing, until it actually tore apart under the pressure of the squeeze, making quite a mess.

If you only needed a small amount of lemon juice to flavor a dish, the toothpick hack can be kind of useful, as it does keep your hands cleaner and stops seeds from popping out, but you won't get the most juice from your lemon, as French chef Jacques Pépin does with his cutting technique. Even the juicier first lemon only produced about a quarter of the liquid of a lemon juiced by the standard slicing and squeezing method. The issue is that squeezing a whole lemon just doesn't let you crush it the way slicing does, leaving a lot of juice still trapped inside. If running some water on your hands or slicing a lemon isn't something you want to deal with, the toothpick trick could be useful, but we'll stick with juicing the normal way to get the full 2 to 4 tablespoons of juice that most lemons contain.