We Tested 16 Rolling Pins and Highly Recommend 2 of Them

We have top picks for both French and dowel pins—and they’re both from the same maker.

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a group of rolling pins clustered together on a marble surface

Serious Eats / Eric King

Straight to the Point

Our favorite French pin is the J.K. Adams Maple French Rolling Pin. This tapered model easily flattened pie dough into an even circle without tearing, gracefully transferred dough to a pie plate, and never stuck. And our favorite dowel pin is the J.K. Adams Maple Wood Rolling Dowel, which produced an exceptionally even and level pie crust.

When we set out to test rolling pins, we theorized that the best rolling pin might be whichever one works best for you. (And for some people, the best rolling pin is simply the one they have, even if that’s a wine bottle.) We reasoned: if most rolling pins can do what they say—flattening out a disc of pie dough, for example—details like handles, tapered ends, size, and materials would be a matter of personal preference. That turned out to be mostly wrong.

There were some rolling pins that were great, others so-so, and even more that just weren't worth the cash. How did we come to these conclusions? Well, we started by making 16 pies worth of flaky pastry dough.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best French Rolling Pin: J.K. Adams Maple French Rolling Pin

J.K. Adams FRP-1 Maple French Rolling Pin

With slightly tapered ends and a long body, this model flattened out a near-perfect circle of pie dough with ease—while also avoiding cracking, divots, and unevenness. It’s precise where it needs to be, forceful while being easy to wield, and it’s fairly low-profile for easier storage.

The Best Dowel Rolling Pin: J.K. Adams Maple Wood Rolling Dowel

J.K. Adams Dowel Rolling Pin

This thick, non-tapered pin excelled at rolling out super-even pie crust. If you've struggled achieving level, consistent slabs of dough (like for tarts or cookie cutouts) in the past, this is the pin to try.

The Tests

a person using a rolling pin to transfer a rolled out pie crust to a glass pie plate

Serious Eats / Eric King

  • Pie Dough Test: We made 16 discs of pie dough using the same recipe, evaluating how easy it was to roll each crust into an even shape, as well as how comfortable the rolling pin was to use. We recorded how well each model picked up its pie crust and transferred it to a pie pan, too.
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs Test: Taking only the three rolling pins that excelled in the pie crust dough test, we placed 8.75 ounces of graham crackers in a plastic zipper bag and timed how long it took for each pin to crush them up into fine crumbs, both hitting and rolling the crumbs. We then noted how consistent the crumb size was. 
  • Cleanup Tests: Over the course of testing, we evaluated how easy each rolling pin was to hand-wash with warm, soapy water and a sponge, and dried each with a towel or air-drying as called for by the manufacturer.

What We Learned

Wood Worked Best

A person using a white, nylon rolling pin to flatten dough
The nylon rolling pin we tested was too heavy and hard to control—yielding a square-shaped crust.

Serious Eats / Eric King

The rolling pins we tested were made of marble, stainless steel, nylon, and wood. Here's a quick rundown of what we thought of each these materials besides the latter, which we'll go more into below:

  • Marble Rolling Pins: Marble had the advantage of being naturally cool (which is good when dealing with buttery doughs that fall apart when too warm), but it also had a habit of sticking to the pie dough. And while its heft helped with some of the rolling effort, its weight caused divots in the dough.
  • Stainless Steel Rolling Pins: Our one stainless steel option, the Ultra Cuisine French Rolling Pin, also stayed very cold (which would be a boon in a warm kitchen), but, unfortunately, it stuck even more than the marble models. Even though it was dishwasher-safe, we still wouldn’t recommend it over our wooden winners that performed a whole lot better.
  • Nylon Rolling Pins: The one nylon model we tested, from Mafter, didn’t stick at all. It was heavy, though (weighing nearly as much as some of the marble pins) and hard to control. Despite our best efforts, it produced a square-shaped crust.
a classic marble rolling pin sitting on a wooden stand on a marble countertop
Marble rolling pins certainly look pretty, but don't offer the performance we look for.

Serious Eats / Eric King

This brings us to our favorite rolling pin material: wood. Wooden rolling pins were by far the best at avoiding sticking, especially ones that didn’t have any kind of finish. Finished wooden pins have a coating on them that makes them smooth and slick, so when we dusted flour onto the pin's surface before rolling, it didn't adhere to the pin well. The uncoated pins, however, had a rougher texture that gripped onto flour and therefore prevented dough from sticking.

Using a tapered wooden rolling pin to roll out a circle of pie dough
Wooden (and specifically tapered) rolling pins rolled dough out the easiest and with the least stickage.

Serious Eats / Eric King

Unfinished wood does come with some additional care (it needs to be fully dried after washing and occasionally seasoned with mineral oil, like you would with a wooden cutting board), but those are small sacrifices to make for a rolling pin that doesn’t tear up your dough. 

Avoid Shorter Rolling Pins

Two hands using a wooden rolling pin to roll out a pie crust on a marble surface
We found ring thickness guides to be nicer in theory than in practice (they actually dented the dough).

Serious Eats / Eric King

Shorter pins like those from Ultra Cuisine, Joseph Joseph, and Fox Run made transferring rolled out pie dough onto a pie pan difficult. With these models, dough was too long to be rolled comfortably around the pin while still being able to hold onto the pin's ends. The shorter pins also dented the dough, since there just wasn't enough of the flat pin to cover the dough. The Joseph Joseph and Fox Run pins (13.5 and 10 inches, respectively) both made marks in the dough once it was flattened past a certain point, especially when we used the ring thickness guides that came with the Joseph Joseph model. The rings were nicer in theory than in practice, and we recommend just investing in a measuring tape or ruler for guaging dough thickness.

Ultimately, we found that longer pins produced a more level rolled-out crust with less marks and divots, and they were also able to pick up the whole crust in one fell swoop with enough room to left hold onto the pin. Those models were 17 inches or longer. 

Tapered Versus Dowel Versus Classic Rolling Pins

A person using a wooden dowel rolling pin to roll out pie crust on a marble surface
Dowel rolling pins were able to easily roll out pie dough to an even thickness.

Serious Eats / Eric King

We tested three types of rolling pins for this review: four dowels, eight French, and four classic. Dowels are just long cylinders with the same thickness across, that either have rounded or squared-off edges. French pins are the same thing, except they become slightly thinner at the ends, tapering off; that’s why we also refer to them as tapered. Classic pins are the ubiquitous image of a rolling pin: one with handles attached to a wide cylinder. Most often, the barrel rotates while the handles remain static.

Two hands using a tapered rolling pin to roll out pie crust on a marble surface

Serious Eats / Eric King

Ultimately, French or tapered pins were our favorite for rolling out pie dough. When pressing down on the tapered ends of the pin, the force concentrated in the center, which helped to wrestle down cold pie dough into a more roll-able thickness. However, dowel and classic pins rolled dough out more evenly, as they applied equal pressure along their length.

Dowel and classic pins were not, though, as good as French pins at maintaining a dough disc’s circular shape, which is preferable if you’re lining a pie pan. French pins had the benefit of being able to angle downward and travel in a circular direction, which not only helped to warm up the outside of the disc (preventing cracks), but also encouraged it to take a rounder shape. Surprisingly, the slimmer, lighter French pins also bested the dowel and classic models when crushing graham crackers, completing the task in about 30 seconds less and producing a more consistent crumb size. This was because the tapered pins had a more concentrated area of pressure, crushing big and small crumbs with ease.  

Two hands using a rolling pin with handles to roll out pie dough on a marble surface
Classic rolling pins with handles offered the least amount of control and we had more trouble achieving circular pie crust.

Serious Eats / Eric King

Overwhelmingly, our least favorite rolling pin style was classic. The handles made them much less maneuverable than the tapered or dowel models. Unless you’re trying to go easy on your hands or wrists, which handles can help with, we recommend choosing one of the other two styles. However, if you're set on a classic rolling pin, we suggest the J.K. Adams Maple Wood Medium Gourmet Rolling Pin. It's not an official winner, but it was by far the most comfortable classic pin to use thanks to its thick, rounded, ergonomic handles.

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Rolling Pin

a person using a tapered rolling pin to transfer pie dough to a glass pie plate

Serious Eats / Eric King

For a rolling pin that you’ll actually want to use, there are a few things to prioritize. While marble and stainless steel pins both stay cool when rolling (a plus for pastry that doesn’t like warm temperatures), they couldn’t beat out wood. We found that wooden rolling pins, especially the ones that were uncoated, almost never stuck to the pie dough even after a few minutes of coming to room temperature. We also recommend choosing a rolling pin that's at least 17 inches long, as we found this length produced the most even crusts and was the easiest to transfer the dough to pie plates with.

Tapered and dowel rolling pins have different strengths, which you can read about above. If you want ultimate maneuverability and precision for rolling out a near-perfect circle of pie dough, opt for tapered. If your priority is super-even and level slabs of dough, like for cookie cutouts or tart shells, choose dowel. That being said, these are pretty marginal differences and both styles can definitely accomplish all of these tasks. 

The Best French Rolling Pin: J.K. Adams Maple French Rolling Pin

J.K. Adams FRP-1 Maple French Rolling Pin

What we liked: This model, with its slightly tapered ends and long, lithe shape was light and easy to maneuver, but still powerful and precise. Even with cold pie dough straight from the fridge, this pin pressed down with might and flattened the dough in no time and with minimal cracking. The tapered ends helped to maintain the dough disc’s circular shape, allowing us to angle one end toward the work surface and focus on just the dough's edges, warming them up and rounding them out. The uncoated wooden surface made dough stickage a non-issue, while still using very little flour for dusting. Lifting the dough onto the pie plate also couldn't have been easier with this pin and there was more than enough room for us to still hold onto the the ends.

What we didn’t like: In general, tapered models rolled crusts out more unevenly than dowel pins. That’s because dowels have one straight rolling edge that isn’t curved upward like tapered models. However, this pin had the least severe taper of the bunch, which meant it still produced a crust with a perfectly acceptable evenness. Also, because it’s made from uncoated wood, you do have to ensure it’s hand-washed (it can’t go in the dishwasher), thoroughly dried, and routinely seasoned.

Price at time of publish: $18.

Key Specs

  • Material: Wood
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 1.75 inches
  • Weight: 1 lb 1.6 ounces
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash with warm, soapy water; dry thoroughly with a towel
a tapered wooden rolling pin on a marble surface

Serious Eats / Eric King

The Best Dowel Rolling Pin: J.K. Adams Maple Wood Rolling Dowel

J.K. Adams Dowel Rolling Pin

What we liked: Simple in design but super effective, this pin rolled out the most even crust of the bunch. It had more than enough length to easily wrap the pie dough around it and unroll the dough onto the pie dish with no slips or tears. 

What we didn’t like: Without tapered ends, this rolling pin doesn't keep the dough disc’s circular shape as easily. And it’s pretty big: it’s almost six ounces heavier than our tapered winner and not as easy to maneuver. Compared to the tapered model, it took more effort to swing when crushing the graham crackers and produced crumbs that were less consistent in size. And because it’s made from uncoated wood, it has the same maintenance requirements as we mentioned above. 

Price at time of publish: $27.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions: 19 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 1 lb 7.1 ounces
  • Care instructions: Hand-wash with warm, soapy water; dry thoroughly with a towel
a wooden dowel rolling pin on a marble surface

Serious Eats / Eric King

The Competition 

Still pretty good!

  • Made In Rolling Pin: This is a great rolling pin. It’s tapered—almost exactly the same as our winner, the J.K. Adams Maple French Rolling Pin—only $11 more expensive. 
  • Muso Wood Sapele Wooden French Rolling Pin: This tapered pin was easy to control, light but effective, and didn't stick to the dough. However, it's too short for the whole pie crust to be comfortably rolled up around while also picking the pin up. We also didn’t love how the embossed name trapped debris. 
  • Farberware Professional French Wood Rolling Pin: This was a good example of a pin that was a little too tapered—a feature that made it powerful when flattening the dough from a disc, but ended up producing a slightly uneven crust with thick edges and a thinner middle. 
  • Matfer Bourgeat Nylon Rolling Pin: Weighing almost as much as some marble models, this dowel was great at flattening pie dough, but was harder to control and rolled dough into a square shape, not a circle. It was also wildly expensive at $125. 
  • J.K. Adams Maple Wood Medium Gourmet Rolling Pin: If you’re looking for a rolling pin with handles, choose this one. While it didn’t perform quite as well as some other models, it was by far the most comfortable classic pain to use with its thick, rounded wooden handles—and it still gets the job done fairly well. 
  • Ultra Cuisine French Rolling Pin: This tapered pin was the only stainless steel model in our lineup and was dishwasher-safe. It rolled out the dough well, staying cold to the touch (a plus when working with pastry), but the metal finish made it stick more than the wood, nylon, or marble options. Plus, it was too short to easily transfer the dough to the pie plate. 
  • Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin with Removable Rings: If you care about the exact thickness of your holiday cutout sugar cookies, this model has four semi-fussy, removable rings that range from 1/16-inch to 3/8-inch. However, when rolling out pie crust with the rings on, the rings sliced through the flattened dough.
  • Befano French Rolling Pin: Another tapered model, the Befano pin featured a smoother finish on the outside of the wood, which sort of slipped on our hands while rolling and stuck to the pie dough more than other wood options.
  • Fletchers' Mill French Rolling Pin: With a very severe taper and skinny body, this pin was good at working the dough disc down so we could roll it, and even avoided cracking the edge of the dough straight out of fridge. However, it produced a thinner crust in the middle and thick outside edges.

Wouldn’t recommend

  • Fox Run French Marble Rolling Pin with Base: This aesthetic dowel pin is fully marble, and was entirely too heavy. This made it pretty good at working down the dough disc to a roll-able thickness, but ended up producing a more square -shaped crust with a thin center and thick edges. Since it’s short, too, it was no good at transferring the dough to the pie plate, and its edges left behind lines in the crust.
  • Karryoung French Rolling Pin: At 7.4 ounces, this was the lightest pin of the bunch, which makes sense because it’s also the second-cheapest at $11. It’s too bad it also looked and felt cheaply made, produced an uneven crust, made the dough bubble up under its center point when rolling, and stuck to the dough more than most of the other wood options. 
  • Good Cook Classic Wood Rolling Pin: Another pin that felt cheap and flimsy—maybe because it was the cheapest at $9. Seriously, we thought we were going to snap the handles right off.
  • Farberware Classic Wood Rolling Pin: This classic pin also had flimsy handles. It unevenly rolled out dough, leaving waves and grooves in its path. Overall: less control and consistency, more effort.
  • Fox Run Polished Marble Rolling Pin with Wooden Cradle: The unwieldy heft of marble (which stuck to the dough) combined with the lack of control and maneuverability of a pin with handles…well, let's just say it was not a winning formula.


How do you clean a wooden rolling pin?

Our winners are both from J.K. Adams and are made of wood. The manufacturer recommends hand-washing the pins with warm, soapy water after each use, then using a towel to dry thoroughly. J.K. Adams also says that, once a week (or any time the rolling pin feels dry), use a lint-free cloth to apply mineral oil or wood conditioner to the pin. That seems like a lot to us, so you’re probably just cool to do it every once in a while. 

What can you use instead of a rolling pin?

People who bake once a year have proven that, in a pinch, a wine bottle can work in place of a rolling pin. Here are a few more bootleg rolling pin ideas: a long, stainless steel water bottle; a sturdy cardboard tube, a PVC pipe (seriously!), a wooden dowel from the craft store, or a soda can. However, our favorite tapered rolling pin is less than $20, making it a rather inexpensive investment.