Kitchen Hacks

How to Chill That Dough—And Quick

December 23, 2015

Did you forget to put the pie or cookie dough in the fridge overnight? Did you pull out any hairs yet?

Don't fret, don't pull hairs! Because cv posted a very simple, very cool (pun intended) trick over on the hotline to help us out:

...stick the dough in a Ziplock bag, removing all of the air, then place in an ice water bath and stick the whole thing in the fridge.

You won't risk ice crystals, like you would in the freezer, and you're still allowing time for the flavors to meld together—which is one of the reasons why you want dough to sit overnight, in addition to getting the dough firm. (Kristen went food nerd and tested this out for us.)

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And if you're stressed for time and dough isn't the only thing running behind schedule, here are some other tips for getting things done quickly (roll over the images to see what's what):

What other shortcuts do you put to use in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Elizabeth Pawlowich
    Elizabeth Pawlowich
  • bmallorca
  • Hillary Reeves
    Hillary Reeves
  • AntoniaJames
Editor/writer/stylist. Last name rhymes with bagel.


Elizabeth P. March 14, 2016
I bought two sheets of Oven Guard which is a non stick oven guard which is also tearproof-lasts for years and is 13 x 18 inches and costs a $1.00 at the dollar store. I floured them lightly and rolled out my pi dough. walla. its better than wax paper or any of the other plastic roll I have tried.
bmallorca December 23, 2015
Related pondering: I was reading of a technique where you roll out the crust first, between wax paper, repositioning often so it won't stick, and THEN let it chill in the refrigerator. I know Nothing about pie crust and researching. Is there any reason that method wouldn't work? Thanks!
AntoniaJames January 6, 2016
bmallorca, that is a great method.

Common sense and basic science tell us that the thinner a solid substance is, the more quickly heat will be transferred to or from it. You have a much greater surface area in a rolled sheet of cookie dough than in a ball, block or thick disk.

In this case, you can quicken the heat transfer further by chilling well-conducting substances – metal cookie sheets being the obvious choice – and sandwiching the dough between them.

What I typically do: put two cookie sheets (not insulated!) in the freezer before I do anything else (or in advance, if circumstances permit); roll dough out between two pieces of parchment or plastic wrap; slide the dough between the sheets of paper onto one of the chilled cookie sheets; immediately top with the other chilled cookie sheet; and then pop them both into the freezer (or fridge) for a few minutes. It only takes a few minutes; putting the parchment or plastic wrap directly on the dough so that it adheres all over prevents condensation. I’ve never had a problem with ice crystals, which may also be due to the short length of time required to chill dough when using this method. If you really don’t want to put the dough in the freezer, you can freeze the cookie sheets and put the dough sandwiched between them in the fridge. It helps to put something moderately heavy (and frozen) on the top cookie sheet, to ensure close contact by the chilled metal with the dough.

I should mention one other important factor in how easily a piece of dough is to handle. That is gluten. Often, your dough needs time as much if not more than it needs to be cold. Time allows the gluten in the dough to relax. Once the gluten is relaxed, the dough becomes markedly easier to handle. So you might want to keep that in mind. 30 minutes is plenty of resting time for a pie crust. ;o)
bmallorca January 7, 2016
Thanks, Antonia! I got out these little Japanese metal pie pans (20 cm) and am inching closer to making some little pies! But first, working on emptying out all the leftovers from the holidays -- my fridge and freezer are stuffed! I appreciate your reply. Happy new year!
Hillary R. December 23, 2015
Love this! If I'm pressed for time, I go with this pie shell. It works really well for tarts, but I've adapted it to become my last-minute pie trick.