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Cooking Tips

How to Roll Pie Dough into a Perfect Circle

You’ll never have to try to fit an amoeba-shaped crust into a pie pan again.
By Published Jan. 10, 2023

Our Deputy Food Editor Andrea Geary’s foolproof all-butter pie dough is a go-to for a reason. 

It’s supple and moist and bakes up supremely tender and flaky. It’s versatile and can be used as the base for everything from peach pie to tarte tatin to chicken pot pie. Best of all, it’s easy to roll out, thanks to its high moisture content. 

Even with such a manageable dough, though, I run into the same problem every time I bake a pie: I just can’t manage to roll the the crust out into a circle. 

No matter how careful I am, I always end up with a bulgy, amoeba-shaped crust that requires significant trimming before it can fit neatly into a pie pan.

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But all of this changed a few weeks ago, when I signed up to bake pies for a company-wide community service project—and my station was right across from Andrea’s. 

That was when I learned that Andrea had not only devised a foolproof pie dough recipe, but a foolproof method for rolling it out into a circle. By making just a few dead-simple changes to my rolling technique, I banished my amoeba crusts for good—and now you can too.

How to Roll Dough into a Perfect Circle

The simple secret to Andrea’s rolling method? Move the dough, not your rolling pin. 

By keeping the rolling pin moving in a simple back and forth direction, always parallel to the edge of the counter and applying even pressure, the dough stays even. And moving the dough frequently helps prevent sticking and provides opportunities to add more dusting flour if necessary.

The Simple Three-Step Method

A circle of pie dough next to a rolling pin.

1. Start with a smooth-edged round (roll the dough along its edge on the countertop to smooth any bumps).

Hands rolling out the circle of dough into an elongated shape.

2. Roll back and forth over entire disk until disk becomes small oval. Turn oval 90 degrees.

Hands rolling out the dough into a flatter, rounder circle.

3. Roll back and forth again until oval becomes more circular. Continue turning and rolling until circle of desired size is achieved.

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How to Troubleshoot Misshapen Dough

Sometimes things go wrong at step 3 and your circle still develops bulges or irregularities. In that case, here’s what to do:
Hands rolling out unevenly shaped dough with a rolling pin.

1. Turn dough until bulge is at 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock.

Hands rolling pie dough with a pin into a now more even round.

2. Roll back and forth, applying more pressure to bulge, until a more regular circle is produced.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.