How to Roll Pie Dough into a Perfect Circle
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.
Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter
The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.
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
1. Start with a smooth-edged round (roll the dough along its edge on the countertop to smooth any bumps).
2. Roll back and forth over entire disk until disk becomes small oval. Turn oval 90 degrees.
3. Roll back and forth again until oval becomes more circular. Continue turning and rolling until circle of desired size is achieved.
The Perfect PieYour ultimate guide to baking beautiful, foolproof versions of the corner bakery classics and French patisserie favorites—plus a host of whimsical, modern pies and tarts of all kinds.
How to Troubleshoot Misshapen Dough
1. Turn dough until bulge is at 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock.
2. Roll back and forth, applying more pressure to bulge, until a more regular circle is produced.