The 3 Best Rolling Pins, According to Our Editors

The J.K. Adams Dowel Rolling Pin earned the top spot on our list.

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Best Rolling Pins
Photo: Sarah Karnasiewicz

In search of the best rolling pins, we spent 18 hours in the kitchen with a half-dozen pins in a range of styles, rolling our way through piles of pie crusts and bowlfuls of sugar cookie dough. What did we learn? Steer clear of bells and whistles and don't feel like you have to spend a fortune. A simple, sturdy pin is all anyone needs — and properly cared for, should last through a lifetime of baking adventures.

After narrowing the field based on input from our favorite pro bakers, we put six rolling pins to the test. Our favorite was an affordable, American-made classic in the J.K. Adams Dowel Rolling Pin. We also loved rolling out cookies with an ultra-luxe (but pricey) nylon model, and we found an excellent tapered rolling pin. Read on to see how we tested, and what makes one pin better than another.

Our Top Picks

Editor's Choice: J.K. Adams Dowel Rolling Pin

J.K. Adams Rolling Pin
Courtesy of Amazon

There are no bells and whistles here: just a wonderfully simple, attractive, well-crafted made-in-America maple dowel that performs admirably over a range of baking tasks and has the elemental design and sturdy heft to serve you through a lifetime of kitchen work. Weighing in at a substantial 1.6 pounds and stretching to a generous 19 inches, the J.K. Adams Dowel Rolling Pin made tackling large slabs of cookie dough a cinch, rolling and rerolling clean, and maintaining an even thickness (without straining our arms or requiring fussing) possible. Its unfinished, matte surface held a dusting of flour well, fending off any issues with stickiness and tearing, and its simple shape meant that it could be easily fitted with generic spacers that allow you to roll dough to a precise and even thickness.

Widely available and at a price point that feels accessible to even the most entry-level baker, this pin is an incredible value. While it lacked some of the agility of the tapered pins when finessing pie crusts and shaping round edges, it still managed the job ably and, in fact, produced evenly flattened crusts even more consistently. For all-around performance, sturdiness, and bang for your buck, we think you'd be hard-pressed to do any better.

Price at time of publish: $32

Best Overall: Matfer Bourgeat Nylon Rolling Pin

Matfer Bourgeat Rolling Pins
Courtesy of Amazon

The French-made dowel-style Matfer Bourgeat Nylon Rolling Pin is crafted from cream-colored nylon and is the personal favorite of baking doyenne Dorie Greenspan — and after a couple of days in the kitchen with it, we could see why. Heavy but not oppressively so, with a wonderful balance in the hand, it made rolling sugar cookie dough a delight, producing even sheets every time, and tackled discs of buttery pie dough without tearing or sticking. Like the J.K. Adams dowel, the simple silhouette was adaptable to generic spacers and the nylon surface felt cool to the touch and cleaned up easily. Another bonus: Because nylon is non-porous, unlike wood, this pin would be even more adaptable to other (potentially messy) kitchen tasks that require the blunt force of something weighty, like pounding meat or crushing nuts or spices, without the worry of staining or contamination. Last but not least, as Greenspan says, "it's pretty darn handsome to boot."

Ultimately, our major reservations with this pin came down to price: at more than $100 it's no small investment, and given the cost, doesn't offer 4 times the performance of the J.K. Adams pin. That said, if you are looking to treat yourself or someone you love to a special kitchen tool, this is a keeper that will more than prove its worth by turning out beautiful cookies, pies, tarts, and more for decades.

Price at time of publish: $125

Best Tapered: Fletchers' Mill 20-Inch French Rolling Pin

Fletcher's Mill Rolling Pin
Courtesy of Amazon

The Fletchers' Mill 20-Inch French Rolling Pin is beloved by a lot of the pro bakers we spoke with, and its simple lines and sleek finish are certainly appealing, especially when trying to work pastry into thin, delicate rounds. But ultimately, its lighter weight and more slender silhouette seem better suited to niche work with precise tasks and laminated doughs, whereas the dowel pins felt like all-purpose workhorses. Also, though the narrower sides made for graceful pivoting when shaping the rounded edges of a double-crust pie, we found them to be a hindrance rather than a help when trying to maintain an even thickness with sheets of cookie dough (not to mention that the tapered design eliminates the option of using spacers).

That said, if you make a lot of pies, it might be worth giving this option a chance — or, if you're a committed baker, getting both a tapered pin and the J.K. Adams dowel. At $24 a pop, it's not too dear an investment. That said, if you make a lot of pies, it might be worth giving this option a chance — or, if you're a committed baker, getting both a tapered pin and the J.K. Adams dowel.

Price at time of publish: $24

Best Rolling Pins
Sarah Karnasiewicz

Other Rolling Pins We Tested

Ikea Magasin Wooden Handled Rolling Pin

Ikea rolling pin
Courtesy of Ikea

Imagine the iconic rolling pin and it probably looks like the Ikea Magasin Wooden Handled Rolling Pin. Crafted from solid wood, it is simple, sturdy, and a total bargain at about $8 — and for a basic rolling pin, you could do a lot worse. But, if you can afford to spend another $16, the J.K. Adams dowel is easier to control, easier to clean, and definitely a better long-term investment.

Price at time of publish: $8

Kmn Home Aluminum Rolling Pin

KMN Home rolling pin
Courtesy of Amazon

The Kmn Home Aluminium Rolling Pin is stylish and comfortable but ultimately felt a little too light in our hands. Also, though a chilled aluminum pin will keep the delicate dough cool longer, once it begins to heat up it will do so faster than a wooden pin — making re-rolling dough a trickier proposition.

Price at time of publish: $50

Farberware Professional Nonstick Rolling Pin

Farberware rolling pin
Courtesy of Amazon

Our least favorite of all the rolling pins we tried, the Farberware Professional Nonstick Rolling Pin contender lost points for its clunky, hard-to-clean handles, underwhelming performance (uneven rolling, and it didn't seem especially non-stick), and a slew of alarming Amazon reviews which reported that it became waterlogged after washing and that the "nonstick" surface began to chip and peel after one or two uses.

Price at time of publish: $22

The Research

You've made the dough. You've chilled the dough. Now all that's left to do is roll it out into a neat, even sheet. Sounds easy enough — but without a good rolling pin, the task might be more challenging than you think. Of course, in a bind (say, an underequipped vacation rental) you can always get the job done with an empty wine bottle or even a (clean!) broomstick handle. But if pie-, pastry-, or cookie-making is more than a once-a-year project, stocking your batterie de cuisine with the proper tool is more than worth the minimal investment.

What sets apart a superior rolling pin? The basic device is so simple that small design tweaks can make a big difference. In general, a good pin should be weighty enough that it, not your biceps, is responsible for most of the flattening power; have a finish that discourages sticking and resists absorbing moisture that might taint or weaken dough; be long enough to generously manage big batches of cookie dough or sheets of delicate pastry, and feel balanced enough to yield an even dough surface that's free from problematic dips or divots.

Best Rolling Pins
Sarah Karnasiewicz

The Tests

Using the recommendations of our expert panel as a guide, as well as rankings and reviews on Amazon (with a few wildcard options thrown in for good measure) we went into the kitchen with a lineup of six rolling pins of various styles and materials — handled, tapered, and dowel, solid wood, aluminum, and nylon — and then whittled that list down to three winners that we felt represented the best value in terms of design, ease of use, performance and cost. To put the contenders through their paces, we took notes comparing the results when working with many, many, many batches of two of the most common types of rolled dough: Food & Wine's all-butter pie dough (for flaky, delicate, double-crust pies) as well as our sugar cookie dough (for classic, buttery rolled and cut cookies).

Factors to Consider

Material

Rolling pins come in all sorts of materials, from marble to stainless steel, silicone to wood, and even glass. The choice comes down to how you intend to use the pin. Wood has been the primary choice of bakers for centuries, and with good reason. Light enough to be nimble, heavy enough to tackle stiffer doughs, and with just enough grip to work with the dough using natural friction. Marble can be useful for doughs that have to maintain a cold temperature, like laminated doughs, but the weight can be hard on a baker’s arms. Stainless steel and silicone are both easy to clean and can be put in the dishwasher, but sometimes are harder to keep floured for effective use.

Weight


You want a rolling pin that is heavy enough that it does a lot of the work for you when rolling dough, but not so heavy that it is unwieldy or hard to manipulate. The pin should feel good and solid in your hands but should not be difficult to lift easily with one arm.

Size

Since most pie crusts will need to be rolled to at least a 12-inch diameter, a 9-10 inch pin is the minimum you would want to buy for handled pins and 12-14 inches for French-style pins.

Shape

Straight rolling pins are great for all-around use. French pins are tapered at both ends and are specifically designed for pie and tart crusts. Some pins have indentations that allow for specific thicknesses of dough, like 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch, which can be good investments if you do a lot of pies, tarts, or homemade crackers when you want the consistency of thickness across a whole batch.

Best Rolling Pins
Sarah Karnasiewicz

Pro Panel Q+A

What kind of rolling pin do bakers use?

“How much time do you have?” Asks Stephanie Lock, owner of Ready To Roll Dough. “Bakers have a batterie of pins they reach for depending on the dough and personal preference. Heavy rolling pins with handles and ball bearings are used for laminated and yeasted doughs. French pins are used for pie and tart dough. Marble pins are helpful for doughs that need to remain very cold. There are hardtack pins for cracker dough, lefse pins for flatbread, and embossed pins.” 

How do you use a French rolling pin?

Lock finds these tapered pins especially good for precision work. “I use them exclusively for pie, tart, and pastry dough. I love the control and how connected I feel when rolling out pie dough. The tapered ends allow me to maneuver and shape the dough as I like — they're an extension of my hands.” 

Can a wooden rolling pin go in the dishwasher?

“Never! And, it should never be submerged in water. To clean simply wipe down with a damp kitchen towel and let it air dry completely before putting away.”

Best Rolling Pins
Sarah Karnasiewicz

Our Expertise

To narrow the field of contenders and zero in on the best multipurpose rolling pin, we went straight to the source: baking experts who put their trusty tools to use day-in and day-out. Among those generous enough to share their opinions were:

  • Dorie Greenspan: The beloved baking authority and award-winning author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including the recently-released "Dorie's Cookies."
  • Kate McDermott: The Seattle-based pie doyenne and author of "The Art of the Pie."
  • Joanne Chang: The James Beard Award-winning pastry chef/owner of Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston and Cambridge, Mass. and author of "Flour."
  • Genevieve Ko: The recipe developer, culinary consultant, and author of "Better Baking."

We also scoured the web, taking notes from culinary and consumer sites including Cooks Illustrated, Wirecutter, the BBC, as well as user reviews on Amazon and conversations on forums like Chowhound and Real Baking with Rose Levy Berenbaum.

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