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9 Substitutes: What To Use Instead of a Rolling Pin?

Cooking and baking can be intimidating, especially for beginners. You want to follow the recipe precisely for perfect results. Yet, sometimes you don’t have all the equipment needed. So, what to use instead of a rolling pin when the instructions say to roll out a dough as thin as possible?

A man in an apron is rolling dough on a wooden board using an alternative to a rolling pin.

A rolling pin is a versatile kitchen tool people use to roll dough for pastries, pizza, pasta, etc. Some even use it to tenderize meat. Luckily, many substitutes work just fine as a perfect rolling pin replacement, such as bottles, tubes, glasses, and others.

In this article, I’ll give you a few tips on the best rolling pin substitutes so you can still be effective at rolling dough even when your rolling pin goes MIA. When you’re done reading, jump over to learn about DIY coffee filters, so you can be prepared with all the backups you need!

1. A Wine Bottle

When looking for a cylindrical-shaped object, the first thing that comes to my mind is a bottle of wine. This shape of a bottle makes a great substitute for a rolling pin. Not only because it’s long and sturdy but also because it has an even width from top to bottom.

I recycle wine bottles and stash them in the pantry because they are handy for DIY centerpieces, bottling vinegar, and using them as a rolling pin.

While a wine bottle is great for rolling out sugar cookie dough, it won’t do very well to pound chilled croissant dough. Even though the glass is thick, there’s still a chance it could shatter. Keep this in mind and use it appropriately.

Clean the bottle and wrap it in cling film before use. This way, you keep both the bottle and the dough clean. Additionally, be careful when using such an object, as it might roll off the counter when you’re not looking.

2. A Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle or canteen makes an awesome substitute for a rolling pin. It’s an even better idea than a wine bottle since you don’t have to worry about it breaking.

Generally, most reusable water bottles are made of steel or aluminum. Even if the bottle you’re using falls, it won’t shatter into a million pieces and cause a mess. In addition, this type of bottle is quite easy to clean before and after use.

The only drawback you might face when using such an item as a rolling pin substitute is its shape. Many of these bottles come in uneven shapes for easy grip, which isn’t perfect for rolling pizza dough, pastry dough, or any other kind.

If the stainless steel water bottle is just tapered at the top, it might come in handy. However, you should avoid using it if it has a thinner middle area.

Many jars of pickles that can be used as an alternative to a rolling pin.

3. A Cylindrical Container

Look around the kitchen or home to find options for common household items with a cylindrical shape. Many products come in such shaped packaging and can replace a rolling pin.

A good substitute might be a storage container for flour or sugar. How about a mason jar, condiment jar, a can of Pringles or a can of soup, a plastic bottle, a soda can, or any other canned products? All these options make useful rolling pin alternatives. Just make sure the container has a smooth surface and doesn’t have any ridges or uneven textures.

Moreover, make sure to clean it properly before use. Then, cover it with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap sheets before rolling the dough on a flat surface.

4. A Vase

Step out of the kitchen for a moment and extend your searching parameter. Several household items can be useful if you let your imagination go wild.

Although most vases come in shapes that wouldn’t help, some might. If you have a cylindrical, even surfaced vase, it can make an amazing substitute for a rolling pin.

However, avoid using items of great value for such a job. After all, you don’t want to use an ancient heirloom for making pizza. Plus, not all vases are sturdy enough to use as a rolling pin alternative. They’re just made to be decorative pieces with flowers inside. 

So, if you find what you’re looking for in terms of shape, be careful, and don’t apply too much pressure because it might not be the strongest in terms of durability.

Gray surface with three rolls of white toilet paper.

5. A Cardboard Tube

It’s likely you already have these in your home. From wrapping paper to paper towels and more, many products come on cardboard tubes, which can be saved for rolling pin emergencies or crafts with your kids. Tubes are great for hiding ugly cords, organizing a home office, and turning into decorative storage cubbies.

They come in all lengths and always with the right shape and smooth sides. You’ll get good use out of extra thick long cylinder tubes. They are worth saving for multiple uses and can be a fantastic alternative to a traditional rolling pin.

Just like all the previously mentioned objects, you need to clean a cardboard tube before use. While you can easily wash some of them, others may not withstand water. So, your eye is a better judge for that.

Here are a few products that come with tubes:

  • Wrapping paper roll
  • Aluminum foil roll
  • Plastic wrap roll
  • Shipping tubes
  • Tennis ball set
  • Kitchen paper towels

6. A Tall Glass

A tall drinking glass works the same way as a wine bottle does. It’s just not as long. Otherwise, it’s sturdy and heavy enough to roll out your dough. Choose the largest water glass at home with smooth and straight sides for the best results.

For example, a classic pint glass can do the job perfectly if you put into consideration the slightly tapered bottom it has. This means you need to pay attention to the pressure you’re applying on the glass while rolling and adjust it to your favor.

Remember to clean the glass and dust it with flour before you use it. This way, you prevent the dough from sticking to the glass while you roll it.

Similarly, beer bottles are another good rolling pin substitute. Although, you might have an issue with the tapered neck. Even so, these bottles are strong glass and easy to work with.

7. A PVC Pipe

PVC pipes have a wide range of uses, from plumbing to construction. If you have a piece lying around your house, you have one of the best substitutes for a rolling pin. You might want to go check the tool shed or garage for one of those.

You can even cut a piece of PVC piping to your preferred size and keep it in the kitchen to reuse it. This type of pipe is quite strong, which makes it perfect for handling pressure. Thus, you can handle it firmly, drop it off the counter, and not have to worry about any damage.

Getting a piece of PVC pipe from the hardware store is also quite affordable. So if your budget prohibits purchasing a rolling pin, get pipe instead.

8. A Tortilla Press

If you have a tortilla press, it may be your lucky day. Such a tool can be a suitable alternative for a rolling pin. Technically, a tortilla press doesn’t roll out the dough. It just flattens it into thin, even circular shapes. So, it only works for flattening out small dough pieces like cookies.

Usually, you can control the thickness of the dough by not pressing it all the way. That’s because a tortilla press is designed to make a 1/16th of an inch thick bread. After all, you don’t want to bake paper-thin cookies or pie crust.

On the other hand, it can be an amazing tool for thinning pasta dough, especially when making small shapes. Yet, it may require much more effort than using a pasta roller, as the size of the dough sheet is limited.

Using a tortilla press is a wonderful idea because it’s quick and easy to use. All you need to do is spray both of its sides with non-stick cooking spray or cover them with plastic wrap to keep the dough from sticking.

9. Your Hands

As the saying goes: “When things don’t go your way, advance in another direction.” So, if all else fails and you can’t find any of the previously mentioned items (which is highly unlikely), just use your hands. They’re your most valuable tools around the kitchen.

Even the most experienced cooks use their hands now and then. While you can’t deny the importance of some kitchen tools, not having one essential tool shouldn’t hold you back.

All you need to do is press on your dough with the palm of your hands gently to flatten it evenly. On the positive side, you’d be getting great exercise.

A Final Thought

A homemade meal is much better than takeout, especially when you cook it yourself. That’s why not having all the cutting-edge, professional tools shouldn’t keep a home cook from experimenting in the kitchen.

Food made from the heart doesn’t require sophisticated equipment. So, when it comes to making pastries or pasta, what to use instead of a rolling pin?

You can find several alternatives around your house for rolling out dough. From cardboard rolls to PVC pipes, the options are numerous. You just need to be creative and think out of the box.

Moreover, remember to make sure all the tools you’re using are clean and sturdy enough to handle pressure. This way, you maintain adequate hygiene and ensure your safety.

Yield: Flat dough

How to Roll Dough Without a Rolling Pin

A man in an apron using a rolling pin to roll dough on a wooden board.

Cooking and baking can be intimidating, especially for beginners. We've got you covered if you find yourself without a rolling pin when the recipe calls for it. You'll discover the nine best rolling pin substitutes in this helpful guide. These simple and creative solutions are perfect for those seeking alternatives in the kitchen. Whether you're a seasoned baker or just starting out, these tips will be useful for all your dough-rolling needs!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Parchment paper, plastic wrap, or extra flour to cover the alternative rolling pin and prevent the dough from sticking

Tools

  • Wine or beer bottle
  • Reusable water bottle or stainless steel canteen
  • Cylindrical container
  • Vase
  • Cardboard tube
  • Tall drinking glass
  • PVC pipe
  • Tortilla press
  • Hands

Instructions

  1. Choose just one of the above tools.
  2. Clean it off as best you can.
  3. Wrap in a sheet of parchment paper or plastic cling wrap if desired.
  4. Flour the rolling surface and continue with the recipe as usual. Apply gentle pressure until you become confident. Then, you can be firmer if needed.

More Great Easy Cooking and Kitchen Tips

Jen

Thursday 17th of August 2023

I've had this happen so many times, and I've usually just gone with my hands...but the wine bottle is a great idea!! Almost always have that on hand, lol ;)

Amelia

Tuesday 15th of August 2023

I already own a rolling pin, so I definitely didn't want to run out and buy another one, but for someone reason I can't always seem to keep track if it in my overstuffed cupboards. This article saved the day when I had my dough all ready to roll and couldn't find my rolling pin.

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