A palote is simple rustic old wooden rolling pin (similar to this rolling pin).

When my grandma passed away in 2004, my mom asked me if I wanted something that reminded me of her. I remember thinking, “All I want is one of the two rolling pins she used to make her legendary flour tortillas.”

wooden cutting board with balls of dough and a rolled out tortilla next to a matching wooden palote.

I called my mom a few weeks after her passing and asked if anyone had asked for them. It turned out my sister had asked for one of her rolling pins too and my uncle Carlos had the other one. However, he was more than happy to give it to me.

I keep it on display in my kitchen as a source of inspiration for everything I do.

You might have even noticed it displayed on my ofrenda (Day of the Dead altar) every year, paying tribute to my grandma.

Yvette Marquez, blogger behind Muy Bueno, standing in front of an ofrenda placing a yellow marigold next to a cross; there is a wooden Mexican palote (rolling pin) to her left.

This heirloom kitchen tool is a constant reminder to gather our family’s recipes and stories for my children and gives me inspiration to share them with the world.

Yvette in a long white dress with black embroidery holding a bowl of flowers in front of a day of the dead altar with her grandma's wooden palote.

What even is a Mexican rolling pin?

A palote (Mexican rolling pin) is basically a thick wooden dowel — a cylinder with the same thickness across, that either have rounded or squared-off edges. I use it for everything from flour tortillas, empanada dough, and gorditas de harina.

Vangie Soza making. homemade flour tortillas with inherited Mexican rolling pin.

American rolling pins typically come in two types: handled pins or ball-bearing pins, featuring a central cylinder that rolls between two handles. I also inherited my mother-in-law’s American rolling pin. It’s longer than my palote, so I use it to make galette crusts and to roll out sugar cookies and alfajores.

French-style rolling pins are a wooden dowel, similar to a Mexican rolling pin, except they become slightly thinner at the ends, tapering off.

How to clean a vintage wooden rolling pin?

Soak wooden rolling pin in warm soapy water for five minutes. Then scrub it with a kitchen sponge to remove any dirt or food particles. A quick wipe-down with mineral oil nourishes the wood and will set you up for smooth rolling for years to come.

Can I use a dowel as a rolling pin?

Sure! Look for a round dowel that is about 1 inch thick and ask the hardware store to cut it 8-10 inches long. Before using it for the first time, make sure to sand and oil the rolling pins. A Mexican rolling pin is a straightforward stick — some families even repurpose wooden broomsticks.

Can a wooden rolling pin go in the dishwasher? 

Do not put a wooden rolling pin the dishwasher. Wood absorbs water and placing it in the dishwasher will cause it to warp and crack.

two rounds of rolled out dough on a lightly floured marble surface next to a Mexican wooden rolling pin.

Where to buy a Mexican rolling pin?

Etsy: The dimension on these straight rolling pins is almost identical to mine. Love the selection of woods they offer.

Texas Rolling Pins: These beautiful tortilla rolling pins are perfect for rolling out tortillas using Texas mesquite, traditional Maple, and beautiful cherry. Looks like they even can make custom palotes.

Do you have a vintage palote or rolling pin? I’d love to hear all about it. Tell me in the comments below.