Five Kitchen Tasks You Should Outsource to Your Rolling Pin
Turns out the rolling pin does more than just, uh, roll.
You know what’s really cool about cooking? There are no rules. You can put mayonnaise in your chocolate cake batter and pickle juice in your pork brine and nobody will bat an eye as long as it tastes good. You can also use your kitchen tools any which way, and in some cases, you probably should. Take a rolling pin—we like this French one from J.K. Adams—which you can use way beyond rolling dough, including as a foam roller when your back aches after a long day of cooking. Behold: five (more) uses for rolling pins in the kitchen that may save you some time and/or space.
If you don’t already buy your spices whole, you should start, and you don’t even need a spice grinder or mortar and pestle when you’re ready to season. Epicurious Editor Joe Sevier says he uses his rolling pin to grind spices in lieu of a mortar and pestle. And while an electric spice grinder may be a quicker process with minimal elbow grease involved, let’s be honest—we could all use the workout.
What’s the point of having two large wooden objects in your kitchen when you only need one? A rolling pin is an easy and effective replacement for a meat mallet, as long as it has enough heft to tenderize even the toughest of cuts. You still get to take out your anger on whatever piece of meat you’re tenderizing.
If you haven't tried breading chicken cutlets in Cool Ranch Doritos, you're missing out. I use my rolling pin to crumb chips—corn or potato, I don’t discriminate—more than anything else. The intricate technique is also useful for a graham cracker crust or turning nuts to nearly dust, and is far more satisfying than hitting “pulse” on your food processor fitted with a chopping blade.
For the cocktail savvy, a rolling pin can be used in place of a muddler, as well as an ice-crusher for all of those fancy cocktails you’re shaking up. The flat ends of the pin have just the right amount of surface area for smashing herbs to release essential oils for maximum flavor, and for basically anything that needs to be smashed (garlic, roasted tomatoes). Not that I don’t enjoy the sheer brutality of using the heel of my hand to whack my chef's knife-shielded garlic, but this is fun too.
I’m going to venture a guess and say that you first bought a rolling pin for pie dough, but hey, you can use it for cake, too! It’s a solid and sturdy mold for fondant or tuile, and you can use the end as a stencil, cutting closely around its edge to create uniformly sized discs for your decorating needs.