If you’re in a baking mood and discover that your rolling pin has disappeared, is broken, or perhaps never existed at all, you don’t have to put your dessert dreams on hold.
Rolling pins are incredibly useful tools, but they’re also variable. Any kitchen gadget that doesn’t have to follow strict regulations for use can often be substituted for another tool.
What are the best rolling pin substitutes? When it comes to rolling pins, they can be substituted for nearly any sturdy, cylindrical object you can find in your home. The best substitutes include drinking glasses, wine bottles, flat-bottomed pans, and wooden dowels.
In this article, we’ll talk about what you should expect from a proper rolling pin and offer you 17 creative rolling pin substitutes.
Somewhere in your home is a rolling pin alternative just waiting to be cleaned and put to good use in your kitchen.
Rolling Pins 101
If you’ve ever done any kind of baking you’ve probably come across a rolling pin once or twice in your life. For a very simple baking tool, they can be surprisingly complex.
Rolling pins typically vary in length from approximately 8-18” with a width between 1.5-3.25”, though there are no hard and fast rules.
It’s common to find rolling pins made out of hardwood but they can also be made of aluminum or stainless steel, glass, ceramic, plastic, or silicone.
There’s even an option to have handles, no handles, or tapered ends.
The only real requirement or rule to a rolling pin is that it must be sturdy and cylindrical. The goal is to have an object that you can roll over dough with enough force to flatten it out evenly.
There is a lot of leeway to find the perfect tool for the job.
Types of Rolling Pins
Rolling pins come in many different shapes and sizes, as we’ve covered, but there are also several different types.
French rolling pins do not have handles but are tapered on each end, making it easier to maneuver and grip the pin.
Rolling pins that don’t have handles and aren’t tapered at the ends are nearly as popular, though they do exist. They’re typically made out of steel or glass and they’re more difficult to rotate.
Finally, the most traditional rolling pin, sometimes called a baker’s pin, has a cylindrical rod with handles on either side.
These are the most common style of rolling pin and also usually the least expensive, though of course there are many exceptions to this rule.
For special purposes, you can also find textured rolling pins. These have decorative surfaces that press designs into your dough as your roll.
They are typically used after the dough has been rolled to the ideal thickness and is simply in need of some decoration.
This handy guide from Chef Grace’s Place on YouTube is a concise guide to different types of rolling pins and what each one is best suited for, as well as the best way to clean and maintain your rolling pin.
Using a Rolling Pin
As mentioned, the primary purpose of a rolling pin is to roll out dough for baked goods. Whether you’re making cookies, pizza, pie, or pasta, a rolling pin will come in handy. They can also be used for many more purposes, however.
Here are some other great ways to use a rolling pin:
- Grinding Spices – If you don’t have a mortar and pestle or, if you do and don’t feel like using them, a rolling pin can but put to use to crush and crumble your whole spices. This method may be less traditional, but it can also be faster and easier. Simply place your spices between two sheets of parchment paper and roll your pin with force over top of them until they’re crushed to your liking.
- Crushing Fresh Herbs – Very similar to grinding spices, you can also smash fresh herbs. Crushing fresh herbs and roots like garlic helps to release the flavors and natural oils, and using your rolling pin to crush a collection of them at once is fast and easy. If you smash the herbs between layers of parchment paper, it’s also easy to clean up.
- Making Crumbs – Whenever you need to bread meat or vegetables, crumbs come in handy and making your own is more fun and economical than buying pre-made breadcrumbs. You can use a rolling pin to crush old dry bread, or you can get even more creative by making crumbs out of chips, cornflakes, or even toasted nuts.
Some people also use their rolling pins to tenderize meat, This can be effective, but a meat mallet really does do a better job.
Suggested: Nasnaioll Silicone Rolling Pin
If you’re willing to use a creative rolling pin substitute today but want a more permanent solution to your rolling pin needs for future baking projects, we suggest taking a look at this silicone rolling pin with wooden handles.
Silicone is incredibly durable and non-stick. No matter what you’re baking, it’s not going to stick or cling to this rolling pin.
Silicone will also work well with any temperature, from very cold to straight out of the oven, if you can think of a reason to use it in either of these applications.
It won’t stain or absorb odors and it’s simple to clean. There is no reason this basic rolling pin can’t last your lifetime which is a pretty impressive investment.
17 Creative Rolling Pin Substitutes
If you don’t have a rolling pin and have no interest in buying one, there are plenty of creative rolling pin substitutes that you can probably find around your house within the next 5 minutes.
We’ve got 17 useful rolling pin alternatives for you to consider.
All of these suggestions are designed to help you roll dough, not smash or crush, though in some cases you can certainly use your best judgment if that’s what you need taken care of.
1. A Tall Drinking Glass
Nearly every kitchen has a set of glass drinking glasses, and you can turn the tallest of them into a rolling pin in a pinch. Just make sure the glass is clean and dry before you get started, so it doesn’t stick to your dough.
Of course, when you’re choosing your drinking glass, look for one that has straight sides and isn’t tapered or textured.
The height of your glass is going to somewhat limit how big a piece of dough you can roll out, because it will cause a crease in the dough where the glass ends, especially on the open end.
You may have to work out a few lines as you go if you want a larger piece of dough.
As with all rolling pins, concentrate your force in the center of the glass and avoid putting too much pressure towards the end of the glass. You’ll have to be more gentle, as a drinking glass isn’t nearly as sturdy as a traditional rolling pin.
2. A Wine Bottle
Wine bottles work extremely well as a substitute rolling pin if you happen to have one laying around. They are approximately the same width and hardy enough to use pressure on denser doughs.
The shape of most bottles creates a natural one-sided handle, making it a bit easier to maneuver, however, it also decreases the total length you have to work with.
You will want to be sure you wash your bottle well and remove the label so your dough doesn’t pick up any stray dye or paper pieces as you’re working.
Many wine bottles also have ridges or decorative embellishments embedded into the bottle, so you’ll want to be aware of any surfaces that aren’t smooth and may create unwanted texture in your dough.
While wine bottles are sturdier than glasses, you’ll still want to be careful that you don’t use so much pressure that it breaks.
3. A Flat-Bottom Pan
If you have a large skillet or pan with a nice flat bottom, you can use it to press your dough, similar to a panini press.
This is not the most effective solution, but it can work to get your dough roughly into the shape and size of the bottom of your pan, which is convenient if you’re making flatbread, for example, and plan to fry it in the pan next.
Work your dough into a round shape and flatten it with your hands as much as possible. Cover it with parchment paper, wax paper, or a silicone baking mat.
Press the skillet on top of your dough, using a rolling motion starting at the center of your pan and working outwards.
Once it’s as thin as you can get it based on the size of your pan, use your fingers to smooth out any grooves along the edges.
This method works relatively well for pizza dough, as it doesn’t matter if you have a bit of a chubby round edge. That will just develop into a nice thick crust as it bakes.
4. A Hardback Textbook or Dictionary
This one’s for the college students. We’re sure you have a huge, heavy textbook or dictionary laying around somewhere that you can put to good use in the kitchen.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to get it all dirty. Just press your dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper, set your book on top of it, and press away until your dough is nice and flat.
5. A Flat Board
Similar to using a textbook, a board, large plastic storage lid, or anything else large and flat will do the trick. If you can get a long and heavy board, you’ll be able to get more leverage by pressing down on each side.
It’s harder to get an evenly flat surface for your dough this way, but it’s better than some other options.
6. Two Baking Sheets
If you need your dough to be larger than the bottom of your largest pan, you can use two lightweight baking sheets instead.
Place parchment paper, wax paper, or silicone baking mats on the bottom of each baking sheet and sandwich your dough between them.
Using pressure, work your hands in circular motions to smooth out your dough. This method takes practice but is surprisingly effective.
7. A Reusable Water Bottle
Most of us have reusable stainless steel or glass water bottles. They aren’t usually as long as a conventional rolling pin, but they are a nice cylindrical shape and are sturdy enough to roll dough effectively.
As with all our other suggestions, you will want to make sure you clean the outer edges of your water bottle first and make sure it is perfectly dry before it gets near your dough.
You may find that your dough sticks to the bottle, so consider placing the bottle in your freezer for a few minutes before you need it, as this will keep your dough from sticking.
8. A Glass Oil or Vinegar Bottle
You can take a look in your pantry cupboard to see if you have any suitable oil or vinegar jars that might work as a stand-in for a rolling pin.
Ideally, you’ll find a refillable glass bottle with smooth sides and no labels or embossed decorations. It will also need to either be empty or have a lid that seals very well.
9. A Condiment Jar
If nothing has come to mind yet, open your fridge and take a look at the options you may have inside there.
Often, condiment jars are a nice cylindrical shape and, if they’re tall enough, they can work well as a rolling pin substitute, though you might have to do some strategic turns.
If you’re going to use a condiment jar, make sure the lid seals very tightly so you don’t end up with a mess and condiment flavored dough.
You may also want to work your dough as flat as you can with your hands first and then cover it with either a sheet of parchment paper, wax paper, or a silicone baking mat.
This will protect your dough from the outside of the condiment jar itself and save you from having to wash the label off a bottle that is probably still in use.
10. A Straight Tumbler Thermos
There are also a wide variety of straight edge tumblers and thermoses that can work well as a substitute for a rolling pin.
Similar to the tall drinking glass, tumblers are more likely to create a line or ridge near the open mouth end, so be careful to put very little pressure near the edges and move your tumbler around more instead, as needed.
Many coffee and cold drink reusable cups have tapered edges, which do not work as well for rolling out dough but could be used as a last resort if none of the other options on this list are accessible to you.
11. A Cylindrical Snack or Storage Container
If you are a Pringles fan, you may have some tall, cylindrical cardboard containers in your pantry that can be used as a rolling pin in a pinch.
Full, unsealed cans will work best, as they will have the added benefit of air pressure inside.
You will still want to be careful not to press too hard, as you’re rolling because you don’t want to damage the precious cargo inside the container either.
Similar to our suggestions for the condiment jars, it will be easier to work the dough as flat, as you can and cover it with parchment paper, wax paper, or a silicone baking mat before you start to roll the dough.
You don’t want to try to wash cardboard, but you also don’t want any contaminants in your baked goods.
If you enjoy buying bulk food, there’s a good chance you may also have some nice tall glass storage containers either displayed nicely on your counter or hiding in your cupboard. One of these might work as a rolling pin for you.
Glass storage containers will usually be much wider than a rolling pin, which will make this option more awkward to work with, but they’re sturdy and easy to clean before and after you roll your dough.
Just be sure the lid seals well if there is any food currently being stored inside.
12. A Tall Can
Also, if you have a tall beverage can, such as from a tall energy drink, beer, or even some cold coffee beverages, you can try to use this as well.
Aluminum isn’t nearly as sturdy as glass, of course, so you’ll have to be gentle with the can to avoid crushing or denting it as you roll out your dough.
A full, unopened tall beverage can will work best, but be careful about opening it afterwards, especially if it’s carbonated.
13. A Wooden Dowel
If you or someone in your household is a crafter or woodworker, you may have a wooden dowel nearby that will work perfectly as a handle-free rolling pin.
Though it won’t have tapered ends, it will work much like a tapered rolling pin.
If you’re going to use this substitute, you will want to be very sure your dowel is well cleaned. Wet wood can stick to dough as well, so you may have to roll over a buffer, like wax paper or a silicone baking mat.
14. A PVC Pipe
Similar to the wooden dowel option above, if you have some PVC pipe with a diameter of a few inches and a length appropriate for your baking needs, you can use it as a rolling pin substitute.
As with all the options on this list, you will want to make sure your pipe is very well cleaned before you introduce it to your dough because you don’t want any contaminants in your baking.
PVC pipe is plastic, so it’s easy to clean and dry before and after you use it.
15. A Clean Craft Roller
If you’re a crafter you may also have a craft roller. These are used for various types of clay or ceramic work and can come in handy as a makeshift rolling pin if you have one.
They’re not usually as long as a rolling pin, so you will have to be careful not to crease your dough at the edges of your roller, but it’s a very convenient design that allows you to work with very little effort or pressure.
Because of the design of craft rollers, these will work best if you’re shaping rectangular dough rather than round dough.
As always, make sure you clean and dry it well before using it.
15. Kid’s Toys
If your kids happen to like to imitate their parent’s lives, there’s a good chance your little one may have their very own plastic rolling pin in their collection.
If not, they may have some other form of cylindrical wooden or plastic toy that can be put to use in your baking adventure.
Raid your child’s toybox and make sure you give the toy of your choice a good wash before using it. Your child will probably want to help, so this solution can even cut down – or potentially add to – your workload.
16. A Ziploc Bag
If all else fails and you have gotten to this point on the list of creative rolling pin substitutes and still have found nothing suitable in your home to get the job done, find the biggest Ziploc bag you have in your house and put your dough inside it.
Seal the bag and use your hands to press down on the dough until it flattens out to the shape and size of the Ziploc bag.
You will have to remove air as you go, but you should end up with a smooth, flat, rectangular shape. You can easily rip the sides of the Ziploc bag open to release your dough.
This will work best for dough that you’re going to be shaping with cookie cutters or if you’re ok with a rectangular shape rather than a circle.
What Can You Do With Old Rolling Pins?
If you’re still in a creative mood but your problem isn’t that you don’t have a rolling pin to use but perhaps that you have an old one that you don’t know what to do with any longer, consider one of these creative repurposing projects:
- Mount it under a counter or island with space underneath and use it as a dishtowel holder
- Hang one or more horizontally in your bedroom or bathroom and use it to showcase jewellery
- Cut your rolling pin(s) in half and mount each side to a base, using the handle as a hook for aprons, kitchen towels, or knapsacks and hats by the entryway
- Paint and use as garden markers
- Remove one handle, place the newly flat end of the rolling pin on a sturdy mount, and use it to keep your unused canning lids collected in your pantry
We hope this article has been helpful to you in your baking journey. Let us know how your substitute of choice works for you!