Best Pastry Cutters

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
1 Experts Interviewed
133 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best pastry cutters

Last Updated July 2020

There’s nothing quite like biting into a flaky, delicate pastry. The tender-crisp layers of a croissant melt in your mouth in a way that heartier fare simply cannot. But that airy, buttery goodness doesn’t happen by chance.   

The truth is, pastries need to be handled with care every step of the way to achieve the mouthwatering results you crave. Preserving the texture of the dough is critical and requires proper equipment and technique. Using the wrong tool — or even the right tool without the know-how — can ruin a batch long before you start baking. 

Pastry cutters come in a handful of styles and sizes. Larger, more substantial tools are designed to cut shortening into flour in a way that achieves flaky crust perfection. Smaller, more delicate cutters are used to create intricate pastry shapes. Using the right tool for the job can mean the difference between pastries that are airy and tender and pastries that fall flat. 

Feeling overwhelmed? Let BestReviews help you find the right pastry cutter to set you up for success every step of the way. Keep reading to learn more, and check out our favorites. 

A quality pastry cutter will last most cooks a lifetime.

Key considerations

There are two main types of pastry cutters: those used to cut butter into the other ingredients and those used to slice delicate dough. 

Blending pastry cutters usually feature a handle at one end and multiple U-shaped blades on the other. These half-moon-shaped tools are sometimes referred to as dough blenders or pastry blenders and are used to chop butter, shortening, and other solid fats into your dry ingredients to achieve just the right texture. 

In this category, you’ll find cutters equipped with thin wires and others with thicker blades. Those that have blades are considered preferable. The strength and durability of the blades will stand up to the cold butter or shortening that most recipes require. Wires may not fully cut through solid fats like butter, are more prone to snapping, and are tougher to clean thoroughly.

Pastry cutting wheels are smaller, more delicate tools used for cutting dough into pie lattice, shaped cookies, and other smaller pastry classics poorly suited for larger blades. Sometimes called ravioli wheels, these cutters consist of an easy-to-grip handle with one or two rotating cutting wheels attached. The wheels should be sharp and spin relatively freely to avoid scoring or snagging edges. 

Successful pastry production requires the right tools, and these two types of cutters are not interchangeable. Half-moon pastry cutters cannot achieve the precision of pastry cutting wheels, and pastry cutting wheels make ineffective butter cutters. Some chefs may wish to have both items in their arsenal. Almost any cook can benefit from a pastry cutter, but only serious chefs with precision cutting needs will require a pastry wheel.

EXPERT TIP

Cutting butter can be a messy task, so use the largest bowl you have to protect your counters.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Handle

Cutting cold butter can require some elbow grease. Look for a tool that will make it as easy as possible.

Some pastry cutters have a wooden handle. This style can be hard to grip firmly, and it isn’t dishwasher safe. Instead, look for a model with a rubber or plastic handle that gives you a secure grip on the tool. 

Ergonomic shaping is a good feature for chefs who suffer from joint, hand, or grip problems. It’s also worth reading individual model reviews if your hands are particularly large or small. Oversize handles can be harder for petite hands to hold, putting users at risk for joint injuries. And smaller handles can lead to bruises and blisters on larger hands. 

Blades

Some pastry cutters use parallel wires to slice through dough. This style may work for softer items like bananas and avocados, but it’s not the best fit for cold butter. Most experts recommend using cold butter for pastry perfection, and many wires aren’t up to the challenge. Thicker, stronger blades are a much better match for solid shortening, and they can pinch-hit when it’s time to mix softer ingredients, too. 

Pastry cutter blades should be made from strong stainless steel to prevent rust. As an added bonus, stainless steel construction means your tool is more likely to be dishwasher safe. 

As with most kitchen tools, southpaws will want to check blade positioning. Some blades are unintentionally angled to cut only with right-handed use. Lefties will want to verify that the blades cut in either direction. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Chilled lard and other types of shortening can often be substituted for butter, depending on the recipe.

Accessories

Quality tools are part of the recipe for pastry-making success. Consider adding the following to your kitchen:

Pastry brush: Carlisle Sparta Round Basting/Pastry Brush
An egg wash or butter coat can take your finished product to a whole new level. Carlisle’s boar-bristle brush executes both, and more, with ease. Its flexible bristles hold onto liquids and apply them to your favorite baked goods in a controlled manner that silicone brushes can’t match. 

Pastry scraper: Norpro Grip-EZ Scraper/Chopper
If a pastry-cutting wheel looks too delicate for your needs, consider something a little tougher. This sturdy cutter works equally well dividing uncooked dough and portioning flaky finished products. A soft-grip handle ensures the blade — not your hand — does the majority of the work. 

Bread knife: Dalstrong Bread Knife 
You worked hard to get your dough to rise. Don’t crush your finished product with the wrong knife. The hand-polished serrations in this high-carbon steel blade ensure you’ll slice through each flaky layer without tearing. Its 10-inch blade can easily navigate strudels, wide loaves, and more. 

Stainless steel mixing bowls: MONKA Premium Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls 
Sharp blades require tough partner tools, and these stainless steel mixing bowls are up to the challenge. They’re outfitted with nonslip bottoms, so they’ll keep hold on the counter no matter how hard you press. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Use the curved portion of the pastry cutter’s blade to cut and pull shortening that’s stuck to the side of the bowl.

Pastry cutter prices

A pastry cutter is a budget-priced tool you’ll want in your kitchen. A quality pastry cutter can last many years, so you’ll want to make the best choice you can for your money.

Inexpensive: The cheapest pastry cutters cost $8 to $10. In this range, you’ll find both pastry wheels and blending pastry cutters. While this is a reasonable price for smaller pastry slicing wheels, half-moon pastry cutters in this price range may not stand up to the force needed to slice chilled butter. You may find some tools with wires instead of blades among these offerings.

Mid-range: The next tier of pastry cutters costs $10 to $12. These tools are typically heftier, with thicker blades and sturdy rubber grips. 

Expensive: The highest-priced pastry cutters generally cost $12 to $15. If you’re paying this much, expect a tool with an ergonomically styled grip that is easy on your joints. Cutters in this range should have thick, angled blades that can cut through butter fresh from the fridge.  

Tips

  • Don’t overmix the dough. Too much working or blending of the dough gives the butter time to melt, potentially jeopardizing the flaky texture of your pastry. 

  • Slice the butter before using the pastry cutter. If cutting an entire stick of butter is too hard on your hand, slice the butter into quarters or more pieces and then use your pastry cutter on those smaller pieces. 

  • Keep shortening cold. If you live in a warm climate, keep your shortening refrigerated until it’s time to use, and handle it with rubber gloves. 

Pastry cutters can also be used to make mashed potatoes, guacamole, or hummus.

FAQ

Q. Why do pastry recipes call for cold butter? 
A. Cutting and blending butter into the dry ingredients creates a dough that’s more crumbly when it’s raw and bakes to an impressive, flaky finish. Fully mixing the butter creates a more even texture. This is fine for cookies and cakes, but it’s less than desirable in pastries. Handling and friction naturally add heat to butter, so if you start with warm butter, you’re more likely to ruin your dough’s optimal texture. 

 

Q. How do I know when I’m done mixing the butter? 
A. Chop, crush, scrape, and rock across the butter until the pieces are about the size of peas and mixed among the dry ingredients. The shortening should still be visible within the mixture, which should have a crumbly texture. Blending the shortening into pieces that are too small or too well incorporated with the dry ingredients will result in a smoother, cakier crust. It won’t affect the flavor, but the texture will be off.

 

Q. If cold butter is good, is frozen butter better? 
A. Unless your recipe specifically calls for frozen shortening, butter from the fridge is fine. Frozen butter is usually too hard to chop safely with a pastry cutter and must be processed using a cheese grater. Instead, leave your butter inside the refrigerator until the time you actually need it. And if your butter still seems to be melting too quickly, you can just place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it solidifies. 

 

Q. Why does butter make pastry flakier than oil?
A. Butter makes for light, airy treats if you get the texture right. Oil and melted butter fuse with the other ingredients into a single layer as they cook. Pea-size butter pieces, on the other hand, leave gaps in your dough as it bakes. By the time the butter melts, the structure has already set. This leaves tiny air pockets of trapped steam that create a light texture unique among baked goods. 

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