What Is A Pastry Cutter?

What is a pastry cutter? If you’re currently asking yourself this question, rest assured that you have clicked on the right article.

A true kitchen necessity, a pastry cutter is a vital tool to have, and the best pastry cutters will ensure you are able to streamline the kneading process and make proper dough.

Without making sure that your pastry dough has been kneaded and mixed correctly, you are likely going to find that your recipes don’t turn out right.

The only question is, what is a pastry cutter, exactly – and how do you use one? In this article, we are going to be taking a closer look at what a pastry cutter is, as well as how you can get the most use out of your pastry cutter.

Just read on!

What Is A Pastry Cutter?

A pastry cutter, which also goes by the name of pastry blender or dough blender, is a kitchen tool that has been designed to work with solid fats such as butter cubes, as well as shortening and making pastry dough.

Typically, pastry cutters are mainly used while making pie crust, biscuits, and other baked goods.

Usually, a pastry cutter will have 4 or 5 blades that are connected to either end in order to create the curved shape pastry cutters are known to have.

When using a pastry cutter, the blades will move from side to side to cut butter or fat in order to create the perfect pastry dough.

When used correctly, a pastry cutter or pastry blender will cut butter and other dry ingredients smoothly to create the ideal dough consistency while following the recipes for all your baked goods.

What Should You Use A Pastry Cutter?

There are plenty of reasons why you should use a pastry cutter, although the biggest reason that you should make sure that you use one is because of the convenience that it offers – especially where baking is concerned.

Thanks to its small and convenient size, pastry cutters are very easy to clean and maintain, while also allowing you to mix all the ingredients together without making a mess.

If you’re a baker or you simply enjoy baking, we’re sure that you’ll already be well aware that most pastries require butter (or fats) to be evenly worked through the dry ingredients.

When evenly distributed through the mixture, this can make a huge difference to the consistency, and ensure impressive results each time.

The majority of recipes require the butter to be cold (in order to achieve a crumbly texture) before mixing it into the other dry ingredients of the recipe.

By using a pastry cutter, you will be able to mix the ingredients thoroughly to achieve the ideal consistency for your pastries.

What Is A Pastry Cutter

How Do You Use A Pastry Cutter?

Now that we’ve covered what a pastry cutter is, you might now be wondering how to use one correctly.

The good news is that a handheld pastry cutter is super easy to ease. All you will need to do is simply add all the dry ingredients you will need into a mixing bowl.

Along with this, you will also need to add your cut butter (or chosen fats) into the flour so that you will be able to create the right consistency for your pastry dough.

Then, gently but firmly hold the side of the mixing bowl with one hand, and take the plastic handle of the pastry cutter in the other.

Press the pastry cutter down into the bowl of ingredients and then begin to blend by twisting the cutter in a half-turn motion.

For the best results, you’re going to want to make sure that you are lifting and repeating this motion at least several times to ensure that the butter cubes have been blended thoroughly through the dry ingredients, including the flour.

As a side note, if you want to make this easier, simply melt the butter or fat that you are using.

What Can You Use If You Don’t Have A Pastry Cutter?

As we have already mentioned above, pastry cutters are kitchen gadgets that have been designed to cut butter (including frozen butter and solid butter) in order to make the perfect dough blend for pie crust, cakes, and other treats.

So, if you happen to be baking and you don’t have any pastry cutters to hand, the good news is that there are a variety of pastry cutter substitutes that you will be able to use instead.

These alternatives to your pastry cutter are likely items you already have in your kitchen.

Let’s take a look at some of the best pastry cutter wheel alternatives you can use as a pastry cutter:


If you don’t have any kitchen tools to hand, you can simply opt to use your hands as a pastry cutter or pastry blender alternative.

To do this, simply work the soft butter (or cold butter) into the flour with your palms and fingers, making sure to mix all the ingredients together, working butter into flour and creating the perfect dough consistency.

Cheese Grater

Add small pieces of cut butter that you have grated into your bowl of (cold butter works best) ingredients and take a mixing spoon to work everything together.

For the best results, while grating, we recommend using cold butter. You can even use frozen butter for this, too!

Food Processor

This is a great handheld tool you can use. Using your food processor, blend small pieces of cut butter into flour as well as other ingredients as per the recipe you are following.

For impressive results, make sure to only use the blender for a few minutes, otherwise, the blades might overwork the dough.

Butter Knives

Another pastry cutter alternative you can use is a butter knife. Add pieces of butter into the flour and work the knife until all ingredients are combined.


Along with the above, another great pastry cutter alternative is forks! If you can’t use a pastry cutter, simply take a fork and place your butter, flour and other ingredients into a bowl.

Mix together to create your dough as per the recipe.

Potato Masher

Last but not least, the final alternative you can use as a pastry cutter is a potato masher. Even though this handheld tool is often used for mash potatoes, it can also double up as a great pastry cutter alternative.

What Else Can A Pastry Cutter Be Used For?

Along with making pastry dough, pastry cutters can be used for a variety of other purposes including making mash potatoes, hummus, or even chopping up vegetables!

Wrapping Up

You’ve made it to the end! Now that you have taken the time to read through all of the above, we hope that you now have a much better idea of what pastry blenders are, as well as how you can use one.

Thank you for reading!

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

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