16 Rolling Pin Substitutes to Get That Dough Flat Now
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
A rolling pin is a fundamental tool in any kitchen. With its various uses in cooking and baking, it's a key utensil in every household. That's why knowing about these rolling pin substitutes is a must as well.
So, what would you do if you can’t find one? Fret not, there plenty of items in your home that you can use as a rolling pin substitute. And who knows, you might even find one of these more to your liking than a traditional rolling pin.
16 Rolling Pin Substitutes
Upwards of 750,000 rolling pins are manufactured in the USA alone every year, yet every time we need one they're nowhere to be found. Here are a few items that you can easily find at home to use as a substitute for a rolling pin. What to use instead of a rolling pin, you may be asking. Let's enjoy the answers.
Full, half full, or empty, either way, a wine bottle works perfectly as a rolling pin substitute. In fact, the long narrow neck of the bottle can even act as a handle.
The glass surface is also easy to clean, and you can just dust some flour on top to make this DIY rolling pin non-sticky.
A full bottle can be ideal as the added weight of the wine/water, means that you don’t have to apply more pressure to flatten your dough.
If you have any metal or glass water bottles without any ridges on the sides, they can also easily replace a rolling pin.
Just fill it with enough water to add the amount of weight you want your rolling pin to be. Be sure to fasten the cap tightly to avoid the water leaking onto your dough.
Plastic water bottles might work too if they have no ridges. Just try not to apply too much pressure as they could get crushed.
Look around the house and you might just find a vase that is shaped perfectly to use as a rolling pin. A tall, smooth, cylindrical vase can work really well.
Most vases, based on the material, might even be heavy enough to apply the right amount of pressure you need for your dough. Just clean it well and sprinkle some flour on the surface so it doesn’t stick onto the dough.
You might just have a perfectly cylindrical container lying around at home. It could be a storage container, mason jar, a can of Pringles, a mayonnaise jar, or any other canned item like beans can be great choices.
Just make sure that the containers have no ridges or texture on the surface, clean it well (and cover with parchment paper if necessary) and you’re good to go. Clean rolling pin substitutes create happy food.
Similarly, any cardboard tube should work as well. It could be from kitchen rolls, tennis ball sets, or even shipping tubes.
As you can’t just wash cardboard tubes with water, use the parchment paper trick on this one as well. Just don't think you can put the parchment paper in a toaster oven or otherwise.
A tall, cylindrical, drinking glass can be a perfect replacement for a rolling pin. Needless to say, clean it well before use. To avoid the dough from sticking onto the surface of the glass, just dust some flour and roll gently.
A lot of types of drinking glasses tend to be thinner towards the mouth of the glass, so try not to apply too much pressure on those areas to avoid breaking the glass.
A lot of insulated mugs or Thermos have the right shape and size to replace a rolling pin. If it’s too light, just fill it up with water.
If your mug has one of those lids that stick out, you can use it without the lid. Again, be sure that it’s clean and used parchment paper to cover it if needed.
Not many households might have a tortilla press to make their own custom types of tortillas, but if your house is among the ones that do, then you’re in luck because you have a great DIY rolling pin on hand.
Just place your dough at the center of the press, and press down partially to flatten it to the desired thickness.
Look in your garage for PVC piping leftover from plumbing projects and you might just find one of the perfect length and thickness to replace your rolling pin. You could even cut a longer one to the size you need.
PVC pipe is light and hollow, so add some weight if you can. If you have caps for the pipe ends, then just fill the pipe with water or sand and close it within the pipe.
You could even fill a plastic bag with rice or grains and place it in the pipe. Don’t forget to clean the pipe surface well before using it on your dough. These are very ideal rolling pin substitutes if you have some PVC laying about.
Similar to PVC pipes, dowels are also long and cylindrical making them ideal as a rolling pin substitute. Just rock it back and forth, adjusting the pressure and you’ve got a perfect, makeshift rolling pin.
You might have some wooden dowels left from some furniture, plastic dowels from cake supports or even some metal dowels from toys or gym equipment. As they come in a variety of thicknesses, you might just find the right size you need.
Any types of pans you have that have a flat bottom can be used to smush dough. Thought you aren't necessarily rolling the dough, you can rock the pan around to flatten it out sufficiently well.
Just make sure to move the pan around. The best to use would be a baking sheet that covers a lot of surface area at once.
Soda cans also have a nice, smooth surface to use for rolling dough. Even though they’re much shorter than most of these other options, they can still work.
Don’t use empty cans though, as they could crush under pressure. Ideally, a full can should work perfectly. Just clean the surface and get rolling.
If you plan to drink the soda any time soon, let it sit upright for a couple of hours after using it as a rolling pin. Else, all the shaking around might just cause an explosion of soda while opening.
It doesn't have to be a textbook but those are usually big enough to act as rolling pin alternatives. If you have a coffee table style book, a large hardbound dictionary, or any other giant book, that will work too. Heck, as long as you insulate it from the heat, a coffee table or one of the coffee table alternatives will work, too.
If you're concerned about getting the book dirty, just cover it plastic wrap or one of the plastic wrap alternatives first. This will keep dough from sticking to the book.
Modeling Clay Rollers
If you’ve got toddlers at home, they probably have a Play-Doh or a similar modeling clay kit with some really handy tools. The tools usually include a roller to roll out and flatten the clay before putting them into the molds.
This rolling pin substitute can be ideal for your use as well. Clean these rollers well before using them on your food, as they could have modeling clay stuck on them.
Also, as these are made for kids, they will be a lot lighter than standard rolling pins. So you might want to put some additional pressure to flatten your dough.
If you’ve got a long melon in your pantry, just use that. Your regular types of watermelon you'll find at the grocery store have just the right size and shape to replace a rolling pin. Various types of cantaloupe are perfect, too.
Most types of melons are also heavy enough to put enough pressure and the added weight can be a great boon in flattening dough quickly and efficiently. Watch out you don't bust these rolling pin substitutes as you push down on them.
If all else fails, just use your hands. Just lay the dough flat on the table, and push it gently with your palms wide open. You come equipped with the perfect homemade rolling pin.
This can be a slow, tiresome process, but it still does the job. Apply as much pressure as needed to flatten your dough to the desired thickness. Never forget, your hands are the ever-equipped alternative to a rolling pin.
The Many Uses of a Rolling Pin
A rolling pin is a really resourceful tool to have on hand. It can be used for a lot of different purposes in the kitchen, usually to flatten the dough to a uniform thickness.
The first and foremost use of a rolling pin or any rolling pin alternative is to roll dough, usually for cookies, pastries, and pies.
It can also be used for crushing certain ingredients, like nuts, types of spices, and crackers. A lot of people even use it as an alternative to a meat tenderizer. If they can handle any types of pecans, they can handle nearly anything you'll be cooking with.
In such cases, the item (meat, nuts, crackers, etc.) is usually placed in a plastic bag, and the rolling pin is rolled on top of the bag, to keep the crushed items together within the bag.
The surface of rolling pins is also sometimes used as a mold, to shape cookies, taco shells, and other similar projects.
An Ideal Rolling Pin Substitute
Essentially, a rolling pin is a long cylinder with a little handle on each end. They usually have a little weight such that it can weigh down on the material you’re rolling.
Standard rolling pins are usually made of wood, plastic, marble, or metal. When looking for a rolling pin substitute, look for similar qualities.
Any smooth, even surfaced, cylindrical object that you might have around the home can help. Make sure that it has a little bit of weight, i.e., it should not be too lightweight, as you should be able to evenly add pressure to your dough using your rolling pin substitute.
Of course, be sure to clean the surface of your substitute rolling pin well, before using it on your food. If you can clean it well enough, just wrap it with a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper.
Rolling Pin Substitutes That Are Easy to Find
If you’ve really lost your rolling pin, you might just go buy yourself a new one. In the meantime, when you find yourself in need of a substitute rolling pin, get innovative.
There are loads of items at home to help you. Try the rolling pin substitutes mentioned above and see what works best.