When you roll out your pie dough do you go for the French, the American or the shaker? Just some of the names for the humble rolling pin, each of these different pins has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on whether you are a pizza fan, a pie aficionado or daily bread baker.As well as the type of pin, the material it is made from can affect how well your dough rolls out; a heavy pin will not give the best results with a light dough and likewise you may struggle to roll a heavy dough with a lighter pin. To help you get back to your dough sooner, we provide a lowdown on some of the best rolling pins on the market as well as an in-depth look at what to consider when choosing your new pin.
Sourced from sustainable maple and made in the US, the J.K. Adams maple rolling dowel pin is our best pick as an all-purpose hardwood rod pin with a lifetime warranty.
With its easy grip handles and durability, the Faberware classic wood rolling pin is our budget pick for smooth rolling.
Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Rolling Pins
1. J.K. Adams Maple Rolling Dowel Pin
The J.K. Adams maple rolling dowel pin is made from sustainably grown North American maple which has been waxed. This US-made pin is a generous 19" long and 2" wide and comes with a lifetime warranty.The grain of the maple may be more open than expected, as this helps give a surface which is slightly rougher to hold a flour dusting. This roughness may not be always ideal if you need an exceptionally smooth roll. The label for this pin has also been applied to the barrel and because the adhesive may have stuck a little too well, you may struggle to remove it.
2. Faberware Classic Wood Rolling Pin
A durable hardwood pin, the Faberware classic wood rolling pin has easy grip handles and its mechanism contains nylon bearings for rust resistant smooth rolling. This is just under 18" in length and has a 10" barrel. You are recommended to clean with a damp cloth only.It is worth checking the finish on this pin on arrival as some buyers have experienced their pin arriving with dents and scratches. If you apply a lot of pressure to your pin you may also find that the handles give slightly, which will not be an issue with lighter doughs, but if you are trying to roll a heavier dough it may cause problems.
3. Ultra Cuisine Stainless Steel French Rolling Pin
Made from food grade stainless steel with a brushed matte finish to hold flour, the Ultra Cuisine stainless steel French rolling pin has slightly tapered ends and measures just under 16" long. It is a hollow core construction which gives an overall weight of just 10 oz, which, depending on what you want it for, you may find a little light.This will not absorb any odors from food and can be chilled before using to keep the dough cool when rolling. Although this is a smooth pin, dough can stick to it, especially if at room temperature, so you will need to dust it with flour well or chill beforehand. It is suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher and it comes with a one year satisfaction guarantee.
4. Fox Run 4050 Marble Rolling Pin and Base
The Fox Run 4050 marble rolling pin and base has a 10" barrel with 4" wooden handles on each side. It contains nylon ball bearings for easy movement and its base is wooden for easy countertop storage. As a marble pin, it does not absorb any moisture or odor from food and it will keep dough cooler when rolling.If you are looking for a marble pin it is worth remembering that it can look different to pictures due to marble being a natural material. This is a heavier pin ideal for tougher doughs, but it will need careful handling to reduce the risk of it breaking, especially if you have a granite or natural countertop. Some owners have also experienced its mechanism not always working as well as it should do which means the pin may not roll smoothly.
5. Ateco 20175 French Rolling Pin
The 20" Ateco 20175 French rolling pin is made in Canada from solid maple. This smooth-surfaced pin is 20" long and has a diameter of 1.35"., which may be a little thin depending on what you want it for. It is also a lighter weight pin which makes it easier to maneuver.The label on the pin may leave residue when it is removed, and because the manufacturer advises that this pin should not be soaked; it should always be handwashed you may have to resort to a variety of food-safe tactics to remove the adhesive.
6. Chefast Non-Stick Rolling Pin and Pastry Mat Set
The Chefast non-stick rolling pin and pastry mat set includes a 17" rolling pin and an 8.5" rolling pin - ideal for smaller family members. The barrels of these pins are BPA free silicone and they have wooden handles. The set also includes a food-grade silicone pastry mat which can be cleaned in the dishwasher, and two stainless steel cookie cutters.Some owners have found that with use the silicon can start to slip off the rolling pin, and although silicone is non-stick, you may still need to dust with flour before using. You will also need to give these items a thorough wash before using as the silicone could still contain odor from its manufacturing.
7. Joseph Joseph 20085 Adjustable Rolling Pin
The Joseph Joseph 20085 adjustable rolling pin (multicolored) has a barrel made of solid beech and a set of removeable BPA-free plastic rings at each end. Measuring ⅟16", ⅙", ¼" and ⅜", these rings allow you to roll dough to a set thickness; although the lack of a ⅛" setting may prevent its full use when making pie dough. You may also find it more difficult to maneuver the pin when rolling.
Easy to set, you just remove the plastic screws and discs at each end and put back the discs for the thickness you want and replace the screws. You may sometimes struggle when undoing the screws. The pin also contains a width rule etched onto it so you can roll your dough to an exact size. This pin should be hand washed only and not submerged in water although the plastic discs are dishwasher safe.You may want to check this pin thoroughly on arrival, as there may be a risk of it arriving warped or with cracks in the wood.
8. OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Rolling Pin
Suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, the OXO Good Grips non-stick rolling pin also has weighted plastic handles for easy and safe gripping. The barrel is 12" long, making a total length of 20" and the diameter is 2.5". As this is larger than comparable rolling pins, it will need more room in your kitchen cabinet.This pin contains nylon ball bearings for smooth rolling and it also comes with a lifetime limited warranty. Although this is a non-stick pin, depending on what you are rolling, there may be some chance of dough sticking, so you may want to still dust a little when using.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Rolling Pin
The right rolling pin should always feel comfortable and not be unwieldy or too heavy. A heavier pin will do more of the work for you, but a lighter pin will be more agile – allowing you to change direction easily.
Generally, the greater the surface area of the pin barrel, the quicker you will be able to roll out with less strokes. The pin should also be the right length for what you will use it for most regularly. Most pins tend to be between 18" and 22".
It is also worth thinking about how it will store and also what, if any maintenance will be required to keep it in the best condition.
Depending on where you are in the world, there are numerous types of rolling pin. Even in the US , rolling pins can be known as different names depending on where you live, but most non-specialized pins will fall into two main groups, either rod or roller:
The Rod Pin
The rod is a cylindrical piece of wood or dowel that may be the same diameter along its length or may have one or both tapered ends. You use your hands across the pin’s length or at its ends to propel it back and forth. The French pin and dowel pin are rod pins.
This is also a piece of dowel, but with handles carved from the dowel barrel or added separately. These allow you to hold them as you push the pin across the dough. Typical examples include a shaker or classic pin.
Just to confuse matters even more, some pins are also available as a cross between the different types.
Unless you are short of storage space, there is no reason you cannot have more than one rolling pin; like any task, baking can be made easier when you have the best tools for the job.
The Shaker, Baker’s or Classic Rolling Pin
A shaker pin is a roller pin usually made from a single piece of cylindrical wood with handles carved out or at both ends. Although a classic pin does need more force than a French rolling pin, it is easy to achieve even thickness, and as well as being easy to use, they are usually easy to clean.
A shaker pin is ideal for rolling larger pieces of dough such as pizza dough, pastry dough or cookie dough.
If the handles are separate from the pin they can work loose over time and the nooks around the handle can allow debris to accumulate.
Some of these pins are also available with engraved designs or textured, which makes them great for gift or seasonal cooking baking, although as an all-purpose pin, they lack any real value. You can only roll the pin once over the dough and if the pattern is wrong you will need to re-roll the dough with a normal pin before re-rolling the engraved pin.
The French Rolling Pin
Often preferred by professionals, a French pin is a piece of cylindrical wood that either tapers at the ends or from the center. This rod pin can be easier on your hands and wrists, you can also move your hands along its length for better control, or even adjust the pressure on one side of the pin to even the dough out as you are rolling. French pins may be better if you have smaller hands as the tapered ends are easier to grip.
These pins usually come in a length of around 20". If you are looking to buy a French pin, then ideally the middle of the pin where it is straight should be 7" or more and the edges should taper gradually.
A French pin does mean you can touch the dough more, and because your hands are nearer to the dough there is more chance of warming your dough. This type of pin is usually better for yeasted doughs and pastry; you may struggle a little with a stiff or chilled dough.
The Dowel Rolling Pin
Made from a single piece of wood, and like the French pin, the dowel pin is a rod pin without any handles. Because it is the same width along its length, it can make larger everyday rolling tasks such as pizza dough easier.
It is also very easy to clean as there are no nooks for dough to get into. These can be quite long pins though, so it is worth checking the length before buying to make sure you have some cupboard space for it.
American or Ball-Bearing Rolling Pin
The barrel on this type of roller pin contains a steel shaft and ball bearings to allow the barrel to move independently from the handles. Often made of wood, this pin is also available in marble or silicone.
These can be heavy pins, often weighting around 4 lb. or so which means that not only can they cause hand or wrist fatigue they can be too heavy for lighter doughs, although they can be great for springy doughs such as croissants.
Different Types of Rolling Pin Materials
Wooden pins are often turned from hardwoods such as beech and maple. These are usually durable, good value and a suitable weight. Other woods such as cherry or walnut are used but these can cost more.
Wood stays at around room temperature when in use and because it is poor at conducting heat it will not take heat from your hands and transfer it to the dough. Likewise, you cannot really pre-chill a wooden pin for rolling out dough which needs to stay cool.
Dough can tend to stick to wooden pins which means you need to use more flour – not always ideal depending on the type of dough you are rolling. Pins made of oilier woods can result in less sticking.
Some marble pins will have carved marble handles, others will just have wooden handles. These are very heavy pins which can make them unwieldy as well as making it more difficult to gauge the thickness of your dough when rolling.
The biggest advantage of marble is how it can stay cool. You can also chill a marble pin in the refrigerator before using, which will help keep butter-rich dough cooler for longer. It is worth noting if you do use a marble pin for any length of time, it can work in reverse by absorbing the heat from your hands and transferring it to the dough.
They are easy to clean, although you may find that dough will cling more to the marble surface if you do not keep it well coated with flour. Marble can be very useful for doughs that need a heavy hand or lack pliability.
A marble pin can be quite expensive, so if you don’t make buttery dough very often, then it may be an unnecessary investment. It can also chip easily and requires careful storage; a marble pin will often come with its own stand which can take up countertop or cabinet space.
Like marble pins, a metal pin can also be cooled but because they are not as heavy or as costly as a marble pin, these can offer more versatility of use in the kitchen. Although a lighter weight metal, an aluminum pin may discolor dough which is egg-rich.
Glass pins allow you to fill them with cold water to keep them chilled. As well as being fragile, glass pins can cause excess water to be added to your dough as if the water is too cold, it will cause condensation on the outside of the pin’s barrel.
Plastic pins are often made from a non-stick polyethylene, an advantage when rolling out sugar paste or icing, as dyes in the paste will not stain the plastic. Silicone pins are also non-stick and are easy cleaning.
If you are considering a non-stick pin, do look for materials that are food-safe.
Cleaning and Maintaining a Wooden Pin
Try to always clean it as soon as you have finished with it, a wipe over with a damp clean cloth should usually be enough. Using soap on a pin will not only leave some unwanted fragrance on the pin but it also strips out its natural oils. If some dough has dried on, either a rub with a damp terry cloth, or a soft bench scraper will help.
When you use a bench scraper, hold the pin upright on the countertop with one hand and hold the scraper in your other hand at an angle to the pin. You can then scrape down the pin as you rotate it. Scraping this way will reduce the risk of accidentally gouging the pin with the scraper. Once you’ve removed the debris, you can then wipe it over with a damp clean cloth.
After wiping a pin, you should wipe down again with a dry dish towel and leave the pin out to properly dry before putting away.
You should avoid submerging it in water as this will increase the risk of the pin warping, bowing or cracking. Likewise, never put it through the dishwasher as the heat in this will dry the wood out as well as saturating it.
If your pin is becoming very dry, or dough is sticking more than usual, then you can buff some food grade mineral or butcher’s block oil into it.
The French wood pin is popular with professionals and home bakers alike and is ideal for many tasks, although an American marble rolling pin offers advantages when needing to keep a dough chilled. And, of course, a shaker non-stick pin can make cleaning up that little bit easier.
If you are new to baking and are wanting to buy your first pin, or if, like your dough, you prefer to stretch one way rather than the other, we hope that our in-depth look at different types of rolling pins, as well as their composition, has helped you to choose the best rolling pin for your needs.