10 Ways to Flatten Meat Without a Mallet

published Oct 4, 2016
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Someone pounds pork chop wrapped in a Ziploc bag
(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

When it comes time to flatten meat for making schnitzel or pounding out chicken breasts for stuffing, the first tool we’re often told to turn to is a weighty kitchen mallet. But it’s not the only tool that can get the job done. Here are 10 ways to flatten meat without a mallet.

But First, a Plastic Bag

Regardless of which of these methods you opt for, it’s best not to use these tools directly on the meat. Place the meat in a resealable freezer bag, or between two pieces of saran wrap or wax paper.

1. Rolling Pin

Yes, your rolling pin has life beyond sugar cookies and pie dough. We’re partial to tapered French rolling pins since there’s no handle to get in the way, although any style will get the job done.

2. Saucepan

The flat bottom of a saucepan is ideal for flattening meat to an even thickness. Bonus points for the pan’s handle, which makes this job a little easier.

3. Cast Iron Skillet

While any skillet will get the job done, cast iron skillets get extra points for their heavy weight.

4. Can of Tomatoes

Look for assistance in the pantry. Its thick, round shape may prove a little cumbersome, but when you’re in a bind a big can of tomatoes will help you flatten those pieces of meat.

5. Cookbook

Grab hold of your thickest, heaviest cookbook. A few whacks stand between you and flattened pieces of meat.

6. Tortilla Press

Turns out this tool isn’t the unitasker you thought it was. It will also help flatten meat, although it works best with smaller cuts.

7. Cutting Board

Use a cutting board to flatten meat. Stick with a small board, which will give you more control over the pounding.

8. Mortar

In addition to pulverizing spices and mashing herbs into pestos and pastes, you can also use a mortar to flatten meat.

9. Hammer

Look beyond the kitchen to get the job done. Despite the smaller surface area, a hammer will work just like a mallet. Just make sure to clean it off after taking it out of the toolbox.

10. Water Bottle

Pull out your Nalgene or S’well bottle because it’s useful for more than just sipping on water throughout the day. It easily works as a stand-in for a mallet. Fill it with water to help double down on its pounding power.