chef using rolling pin substitute  to thicken a dough

Rolling pins are invaluable for shaping dough and making it the correct thickness, something we all agree with. A rolling pin is a must when creating pizzas and pies. But, if you don’t own one, don’t worry, there are plenty of different things that you can use as a rolling pin substitute.

So, in order to help all of you that love baking but don’t own a rolling pin, I’ve come up with this list. As long as you are prepared to be a bit resourceful, you can still flatten and shape your dough. Read on to find out the objects I recommend as substitutes for a rolling pin.

What is a Rolling Pin?

It is believed that the first people to use rolling pins were the Etruscans, an Italian ancient civilization that thrived from the 8th to the 3rd century B.C.

The Etruscans were known for inventing not just the rolling pin, but several other cooking tools. It is thought that they used their very first rolling pins for making bread from the grains they grew and harvested and for rolling pasta.

The modern-day rolling pin however, was created in the 19th century by J.W Reed.

A rolling pin is handy for plenty of things, not just for rolling out dough; a pin can also be used for crushing nuts and crackers. Here is a recipe for some crushed chocolate cookies, ones that you will need a rolling pin for.

What is the Best Substitute for a Rolling Pin?

The best substitute for a rolling pin is simply whatever you have to hand that will allow you to get your task completed. Simply take a look around your kitchen for an object that is cylindrical, durable, and long, and that can be pressed into dough without it misshaping.

When searching for an alternative to a rolling pin, try to avoid objects that have ridges in them; these will create uneven dough when you press your object into your dough. Some recipes are less specific however, and if you really don’t have a better object, one with ridges in may suffice.

When choosing an object to use as a rolling pin, you should be careful to avoid cross-contamination, most especially if you use an object that is not found in the kitchen and therefore not food-safe. If you choose a non-food-safe object, wash it with hot soapy water before use, or in the case that the object is not washable, wrap it in was or parchment paper. Another alternative is to wrap your pin substitute with plastic wrap, this alternative however sometimes leaving dents in the dough.

Here are some great rolling pin alternatives:

Wine Bottles

A wine bottle really is a great rolling pin substitute. Its cylindrical shape is perfect for rolling, and its neck can be used as a handle. Wine bottles are food-safe, non-porous, and easy to clean.

A wine bottle doesn’t have to be empty to be used as a rolling pin; you can use full or half-full bottles too! In fact, a full bottle is better than an empty one as it will be heavier and will roll the dough with less effort.

Start by cleaning your wine bottle, dust it with flour, and then use it in exactly the same way you would a traditional pin.

Once you have finished rolling your dough, clean the bottle, and enjoy the wine!


A thermos is another excellent alternative to a traditional rolling pin. According to The Boat Gallery, a thermos is a great substitute for a rolling pin as long as its sides are smooth. As long as your thermos is cylindrical it should make a great alternative to a rolling pin.

My preferred thermos for use as a rolling pin is the stainless steel Leberna 34 ounce flask, the flask being long and cylindrical and perfect for rolling pizza dough. When using a thermos as a rolling pin, make sure that the lid is tightly secured to prevent any liquids leaking out.

As dough that is cold is preferable for rolling, filling your thermos with a cold drink before using it is a great idea. Cold dough makes excellent pie crusts and pizza dough. Before using your thermos as a rolling pin, wipe it first to ensure that all dirt and moisture is cleaned away.

To ensure that your dough doesn’t stick to your thermos, dust it with flour before use, rolling your dough in the exact same way you would with a traditional rolling pin.

PVC Pipe

If you have some PVC piping lying around at home, you have the perfect alternative to a traditional rolling pin. As PVC pipe comes in a wide variety of sizes, use the one you prefer, or cut the pipe to make the exact shape rolling pin you want, a PVC pipe being a perfect reusable rolling pin.

When using a PVC pipe as a rolling pin, try to use a piece that is new; if this is not possible, clean the pipe thoroughly before use. Hot water and soap is perfect for cleaning your pipe, both for new and used PVC pipes.

Tall Drinking Glasses

When using a drinking glass as a substitute rolling pin, make sure you use one that doesn’t have ridges in, choosing a sturdy glass that won’t break when you apply some pressure to it.

Before you start, clean your glass and wrap it in parchment paper. Alternatively, if you wish to use the glass directly on the dough, spray it with cooking spray or dust it with flour before rolling to prevent sticking.

Soda Cans

Soda cans are generally perfectly cylindrical and are therefore the perfect substitute for a rolling pin. However, as a can is only short, you will need to roll the dough more times and on all sides in order to make the perfectly flattened shape you need.

If you choose to use a soda can for rolling dough, make sure you choose a full one as it is a lot stronger than an empty one. In fact, you will not be able to roll dough with an empty can, the pressure you apply to the can causing it to collapse.

If you plan to drink the can of soda once you have finished rolling your dough, ensure you leave the can to settle for a few hours before you open it to prevent a fizzy drink explosion!

Water Bottles

Everyone has water bottles at home, and both plastic and stainless steel bottles can be used substitutes for a rolling pin.

Plastic bottles are not as sturdy as steel ones, so in order to make sure your bottle doesn’t collapse when you apply pressure to it, fill it with water and freeze it before use. Freezing the water inside your pin substitute, you will also be making the bottle heavier and perfect for rolling.

If you find it uncomfortable to handle a frozen bottle of water, simply wear gloves when rolling your dough.


Vases, like tall glasses, are perfect substitutes for rolling pins. Vases are sturdy enough that they won’t break when pressure is applied, and they are generally long enough to cover the whole width of the dough you need to roll. Just ensure that you clean your vase before you use it and ensure it is non-stick by spraying it with a little cooking oil.

Your Hands

If you really can’t find an item in your home that can be used instead of a rolling pin, you can use your bare hands to flatten your dough. Simply press the dough with open palms, pushing it down slowly and evenly so that it flattens out.

If you choose to use your hands for flattening dough, make sure that you dust them with flour before you start. Your hands won’t flatten your dough to the same precision a rolling pin will, but they really do make a good substitute when you have nothing else to hand.

Play Dough Toy Rolling Pin

I should admit here, that I have at least once used my kid’s toy rolling pins in the kitchen. Rolling pins in play dough kits, or one from a kids’ play kitchen are both great for rolling out real dough.

Kids’ toys are perfect for use in the kitchen as they are non-toxic and a quick wash before and after use is all you need to worry about. Although your pin won’t be as heavy or as big as a real one, it will definitely get the job done.

A Watermelon

Watermelons are great for flattening dough if you don’t have a rolling pin to hand. A large watermelon provides the perfect shape for rolling, but is not suitable for delicate dough due to its heavy weight.

If you need to roll tough cookie dough, ensure that you place the cookie dough between two sheets of cling film or plastic wrap before rolling it with the water melon. Gently rock the watermelon back and forwards to create the perfect flattened dough.


A dowel is a cylindrical rod, made from wood, plastic, or metal. Used as shelf support or as hangers or axles in toys, they are also found in the kitchen where they are used to support layers of cakes.

Dowels are very cheap to buy and can be cut into the size you need for rolling your dough.

If you choose a wooden dowel, it will feel nice in your hands in the same way a traditional wooden rolling pin does.

There are several different types of wood you can choose from, allowing you to select the one you want for your kitchen that will be both attractive as well as functional.

Uses for Rolling Pins

A rolling pin probably has many more uses in the kitchen than you had ever thought about. The most important one however, and most common usage, is for rolling and shaping dough.

Many recipes for pies, pastries, and cookies will require you to roll and flatten out dough to a specific thickness. The best and most effective way to do this is of course by pressing the dough or batter down with a rolling bin and rolling it using a uniform motion until you reach the desired thickness.

As the average rolling pin is quite large, you can comfortably flatten large pieces of dough consistently, ensuring that your batter or dough will go on to cook evenly. The number 1 job for a rolling pin is definitely for flattening dough or batter.

A rolling pin can also be used for the grinding of spices. This provides an alternative to buying your spices already ground. When you buy whole, fresh spices and grind them at home they will enhance your recipes more with their powerful and fresh flavor.

To carry out this task, add the whole spices you purchase to a small plastic bag. Then simply crush the spices by pressing down on them with the weight of your rolling pin, rolling backward and forward over the spices until they are crushed and in powder form. For best results and for the most pungent flavors, use your freshly-ground spices immediately.

A rolling pin is also a great meat tenderizer. To tenderize meat with a rolling pin, place the meat on a flat board or clean working surface in your kitchen. Cover the meat with a piece of cling film or plastic wrap, hit the meat with your rolling pin in order to tenderize even the toughest of cuts.

Once you have tenderized your meat, remove the plastic and cook as desired! A rolling pin is an excellent alternative to a traditional meat tenderizer.

A rolling pin can also be used as a mold for your baking projects. If you love to bake tuile cookies, drape them over your rolling pin while they are still hot to give them a beautiful bend. The round shape of your rolling pin is also an excellent tool for forming fondant decorations for cakes.

As you can see, a rolling pin is a seriously versatile tool to have in your kitchen!

How to Stop Dough from Sticking to your Rolling pin, or substitute pin

In almost all recipes that require a rolling pin, you will need something to prevent the dough sticking to your pin. The most-commonly used techniques are flouring the dough, board, or rolling pin before you start rolling. For the majority of rolling pins this technique works fine, but sometimes you will need a different method for rolling pin alternatives.

A great alternative to using flour to prevent sticking for your rolling pin substitute is to use cooking spray or oil, lightly coating your pin before you commence rolling. You may find that you need to reapply oil or flour if your dough starts to stick again.

The last hack for preventing sticking, and the best for your rolling pin alternative is to use wax or parchment paper. Here what you need to do is place the paper between your pin and the dough, the paper creating a non-stick barrier. When you use this method, you will avoid both sticking and contamination, as your rolling pin or substitute won’t actually come into contact with the dough.


These are just 11 of the best things you can use when you don’t have a rolling pin. Always ensure you clean your substitute pin before use to avoid contamination with bacteria, placing parchment paper between your pin and your dough.

There are so many different objects that can potentially be used as substitutes for rolling pins that you find around the home, PVC pipes and dowels being two excellent alternatives to traditional rolling pins.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me and vote for the best substitute rolling pin from the 11 I mentioned above. Better still, share this article on social media for your friends and followers to read.