What is a Rolling Pin Used For? PLUS, Alternative Ways to Use Your Rolling Pin

What is a Rolling Pin Used For? PLUS, Alternative Ways to Use Your Rolling Pin

Cooking is an art as well as a science. Whether you are a novice cook or an experienced culinary professional, knowing your way around a kitchen is an essential skill that everyone should learn how to master. And just like any worthy endeavor, cooking also has many tools and utensils that you can learn to master skillfully, much like a researcher wields scientific equipment and an artist wields a brush. These tools help make your cooking process more efficient, easier, and hassle-free, and if used correctly, can help you multitask by aiding you with various tasks. One such tool is the rolling pin. But what is a rolling pin used for?

In this article, we shall be learning about various regular and alternative rolling pin uses, along with understanding some challenges faced while using a rolling pin, and some tips on dealing with those challenges. So let us explore various uses for rolling pins, and how they can help you save money, time, and effort by helping you execute several kitchen tasks.

What is a Rolling Pin?

A rolling pin is a basic kitchen utensil or tool that is used to flatten and shape dough. A rolling pin comprises a long cylinder that is made of a variety of materials like plastic, wood, metal, etc. Rolling pins are some of the oldest kitchen tools that have existed for centuries, and have been used for cooking and baking, and often used to be passed down in families like heirlooms. Mastering a rolling pin is not always an easy endeavor, and these pins come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the specific needs, but they all essentially have the same purpose.

What is a Rolling Pin Used for?

Ideally, a rolling pin has one purpose: rolling out dough. Doughs of all kinds, whether it’s shortcrust pastry dough, cookie dough, bread or flatbread dough, pasta dough, or even sheeted Indian sweets, all achieve that perfect uniform thickness and shape through effective rolling pin usage. You can use a rolling pin by lightly flouring it and the work surface and rolling the pin over the dough to apply even amounts of pressure. This rolling motion evenly distributes the amount of force you are exerting and helps to gradually even out the dough into a uniform consistency.

Challenges Faced While Using a Rolling Pin

  • Uneven Thickness: A lot of individuals are not able to use the rolling pin properly and find it challenging to get a consistent thickness in their dough, which may result in uneven cooking while baking or on the stove.
  • Sticking to the Surface: Dough often tends to be sticky due to gluten content or high starch levels, and hence may stick a lot onto the rolling pin or the work surface, making it difficult to handle.
  • Uneven Shapes: As many people are not able to gain mastery over the rolling pin, they find it difficult to roll out items like rotis or tortillas into uniform round shapes, or shape out pie or pastry dough.
  • Time-Consuming: Rolling out dough from scratch is often a very cumbersome and strenuous task. It takes up a lot of time, which may prove to be disadvantageous when you are in a time crunch or have multiple food items to prepare.

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Tips on How to Use a Rolling Pin Properly

If you are struggling to use your rolling pin, here are some helpful tips and tricks you can keep in mind to make using this kitchen utensil easier!

  • Using the Right Techniques: To ensure even thickness and shape, always start rolling the dough from the center and work your way to the edges in a rotating motion.
  • Flour all Surfaces: Always dust with the rolling pin and the work surface with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to either surface. You can even place parchment paper between the dough and the rolling pin to minimize contact or roll out the dough on a silicon mat to prevent sticking.
  • Apply Even Pressure: Make sure that you are exerting an even amount of pressure while rolling the dough to avoid uneven, rolled-out dough.
  • Roll in Different Directions: Always keep rotating the dough and roll out the dough both horizontally and vertically to get a more uniform shape.
  • Chill Dough if Necessary: Sometimes, when working with laminated dough or dough with a high moisture content, the dough can be very sticky or difficult to work with. In these scenarios, it is advisable to chill the dough for brief periods to make it more manageable. 
  • Practice Makes Perfect: A cook’s best virtue is patience and perseverance. Do not get disheartened just because you couldn't roll out the dough perfectly the first few times! Practice makes perfect, and the more you repeat the process, the better you'll get at it.
  • Invest in Quality Tools: Always invest in a good quality rolling pin, made of easy-to-clean materials like marble, wood, or silicone, which will give you consistent results and help make the cooking process easier.

Alternative Uses for Rolling Pins

Apart from rolling out dough, what is a rolling pin used for? Surprisingly, a rolling pin can have a multitude of uses, and can even help you replace some other kitchen tools, which will save you some precious counter space and some money! Some alternative rolling pin uses are listed below:

  1. Use it to Make Crumbs: Rather than use a food processor and get extra utensils dirty, just use your rolling pin to make crumbs! Wrap the food you wish to crumb in a dry kitchen towel or seal it in a zip-lock bag, like toast or crackers, and either roll the rolling pin over it or use it to smash the food into smaller pieces.
  2. Use it to Embellish Pastries: Several rolling pins have textured or laser-cut surfaces, which make them ideal for adding patterns and designs to cookie and short-crust pastry dough, along with fondant. These designs help add an extra artistic element to your desserts and bakery products.
  3. Use it as a Meat Tenderizer: Just like when making crumbs, you can use your rolling pin as a meat tenderizer. You can use it to flatten or pound the meat to make it more manageable, and you can even use a rolling pin to roll out the meat and stretch it once flattened. Why spend money on a meat tenderizer when you can use your rolling pin instead?
  4. Use it to Grind Spices: As mentioned above, you can even place whole spices between two sheets of parchment paper of in a zip lock bag and roll your rolling pin over them to smash or grind them into coarse powders. Helps you avoid doing extra dishes by avoiding using a mortar and pestle!
  5. Making Tortillas or Flatbreads: You can use your rolling pin to make flatbreads like rotis, parathas, or tortillas, rather than just use it to roll out larger quantities of pastry or bread dough.

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Learn More


1. Can I use a rolling pin for pie crusts?

Yes, you can! Rolling pins are ideally made for rolling out pie dough to get an even crust for your pies.

2. How do I clean my rolling pin?

It all depends on the material! If you own a wooden rolling pin, clean it with a damp cloth and air dry. If you own a metal or marble rolling pin, you can wash it with warm water and soap, and then air dry and towel dry it.

3. Can I use a rolling pin for fondant?

Of course, you can! Fondant is a kind of sugar dough, and it needs to be rolled out evenly before it is used to cover cakes like a sheet. Just dust your work surface and rolling pin with icing sugar, refined flour, or cornstarch before starting to work on the fondant.

4. Can I use a rolling pin on hot dough?

Never use a rolling pin on any hot dough, as the hot dough can be sticky and unmanageable. Chill your dough, or at least get it to room temperature, before rolling it out with a rolling pin.

5. How can I prevent dough from sticking to my rolling pin?

Always lightly flour your rolling pin, your hands, and your work surface before rolling out your dough to prevent sticking. Additionally, you can roll out your dough between sheets of parchment paper or cling film to prevent sticking to the rolling pin.

6. How to store a rolling pin?

You can store your rolling pins in a bin, or a pull-away drawer or cupboard. Always store your rolling pin after drying it thoroughly and in a dry place to increase its life and maintain quality.