Have you ever tried to make homemade pizza and wondered why your crust never turns out like pizzeria pizza?
The secret to producing a crispy pizza crust lies in the quality of heat. Pizzerias use a brick oven that distributes heat evenly. The home alternative is to use a pizza stone.
In this guide you will learn the concepts of using a pizza stone and their features to help you find the best pizza stone for your baking needs. We will also cover various material types and stones available in our pizza stone reviews.
Top 5: Best Pizza Stones
Brand & Model
Pizza Stone Reviews
Pizzacraft Baking / Pizza Stone
The Pizzacraft cordierite pizza stone has a big advantage over many competitors -- it's nearly immune to thermal shocks.
Made out of the same material that's used in car engines where heat changes are inevitable, this stone can withstand sloppy handling and careless cleaning much better than its counterparts.
You're free to stick it directly into a hot oven. If you want your pizza stone to last several years, this is a great feature.
With a full 0.67" of girth, this stone does a great job of retaining heat. It takes up to a half hour to reach full temperature, but once it's there, it'll stay hot for a while.
This helps deliver consistent heat after throwing a cold pizza or some refrigerated dough directly on the stone. Since it retains heat so well, It's perfect for back-to-back baking of multiple dishes.
Unfortunately, it's not the prettiest stone in the world. The manufacturer recommends against using soap and says that spotting and discoloration are normal.
You're not supposed to try to clean off these blemishes as they develop, either. Luckily, your pizza stone will spend most of its time inside your oven with the door closed, so this isn't too big of a downside.
If you want a thick, durable stone sized to fit most ovens, the Pizzacraft stone may be a great choice.
Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone
If you're looking for a robust pizza stone that's a bit smaller than the Pizzacraft, it's worthy of consideration.
Old Stone Oven says the stone is 0.8" thick, which isn't entirely wrong. It has small 0.3" feet that keep it elevated to promote airflow. This makes it much easier to use one side of the stone than the other. Otherwise, they don't interfere with the operation of the stone in any way.
You can still stick it on a grill or on an oven rack quite easily.
While we're not sure about this stone's resistance to thermal shocks, it does handle extremely high temperatures with ease. The manufacturer claims it's fine up to 2000 degrees F, which is far hotter than you'll get in most home cooking.
You're free to put it on a gas grill for a while and then sear steaks at 750 F if you want (although everything you cooked on the stone would be flavored with steak fat for a while afterwards).
Like other pizza stones, this stone isn't particularly easy to clean and it will stain and discolor over time.
The Old Stone Oven pizza stone is one of our top picks for smaller stones. It's much more portable than the Pizzacraft and it does its job quite well, giving you crispy pizza crusts and evenly cooked bread.
Heritage Ceramic Pizza Stone
The Heritage ceramic stone is available in both a 15" round variety and a 16" x 13" rectangular variety.
We'd recommend the rectangle because it's easier to put a pizza on it with a bit more room in the corners and you don't have to do as much work when cutting parchment paper.
As far as we can tell, it's not as resistant to thermal shocks as either of the models above, so you'll want to preheat it with your oven and wait for it to cool before rinsing it off. Still, you'll get excellent (small) pizzas on it without any hassle.
Again, you should limit yourself to warm water and a gentle scrub when cleaning this stone. Staining is inevitable, although it's much harder to see any discoloration on the black.
While this stone has a ceramic glaze that makes it slightly slipperier than some of its counterparts, it's still a good idea to dust the surface with flour or cornmeal before you bake on it. It's not entirely non-stick.
The good news is that you don't have to worry about keeping temperatures down to preserve your non-stick coating. You're free to throw it on the grill on high for as long as you want.
The Heritage pizza stone is a bit small, but it's still a fine option for any kitchen that needs a baking stone. The black colored stones are particularly good at hiding any spots that appear over time.
Solido Baking Stone
The Solido baking stone itself measures 0.75" high. It has a series of 0.3" spiral grooves on the bottom that are designed to funnel heat towards the center for more even baking.
It's made of the same cordierite as the Pizzacraft above, making it almost impervious to thermal shock.
There are two important differences between this stone and the Pizzacraft. One, this stone is smaller. This makes it easier to take outside and throw on the grill, but it means you can't cook two small pizzas on it at once.
Two, It has grooves on the bottom. This promotes airflow and even heating, but it also means you can't flip it over and use the back.
The Solido pizza stone is one of our top picks if you need a pizza stone that you can use on the grill. It's pretty similar to the Old Stone Oven in terms of features, but we prefer this one, since we know it's made of cordierite.
Dough-Joe Pizza and Baking Stone Set
Unlike the other stones on our list, the Dough-Joe set is made of 5 cordierite tiles that each measure 6" x 9".
This adds a lot of flexibility to your baking endeavors, enabling you to cook long things, tall things, and small things with ease. When you only need to take a single tile out to the grill, you can.
With the same cordierite construction as our top one-piece picks, these stones are very resistant to thermal shocks and can withstand temperatures that are about twice as high as your grill can reach.
They're about 0.8" thick, giving them excellent heat retention. Like many of our other picks, the bottom of each tile is ribbed for better grip and air circulation.
Breaking up a pizza stone into multiple tiles is brilliant and helpful, but it's not without downsides.
Notably, these stones aren't water tight when you arrange them on an oven rack. This means any grease or sauce or liquid that drips off of whatever you're cooking can slip through the cracks.
You may want to throw a baking pan or cookie sheet or something below them when you're actually cooking in the oven. Alternately, consider putting parchment paper on top. On the grill, this isn't as large of a concern for most people.
If your primary purpose isn't cooking pizza, the Dough-Joe set of tiles may be the best option for baking and the occasional pizza.
Pizza Stone Features
Difference Between A Pizza Stone And A Pizza Pan
A pizza stone not only distributes heat evenly, it also has a porous surface that absorbs excess moisture.
A metal pan will not do this, so you very often end up with a soggy crust when you make pizza at home using a standard pan.
A pizza stone (a.k.a.: baking stone) is made of a thick, flat slab of terra-cotta or natural stone. The best ones are at least half an inch thick, but a full inch in thickness is even better.
Glazed or Unglazed?
Pizza stones can be made of a number of different natural materials including:
- Terra Cotta
Generally speaking, unglazed materials are best because they can easily absorb excess moisture; however, some high end baking stones and pizza stones are micro glazed.
This is a process whereby the natural material is covered with a glaze that is permeated with very fine cracks which allow excess moisture to be absorbed.
There are pros and cons to micro-glazing. The advantage is that it can makes your pizza stone somewhat easier to clean; however, you can always season and unglazed stone for similar results.
The downside of purchasing a micro glazed pizza or baking stone is that they are rather pricey.
Shapes - Round vs Square
There are lots of professional baking stones on offer in a variety of sizes and shapes. Most people say that they prefer a square or rectangular stone to a round one because these shapes are more versatile.
With a rectangular or square stone, you can make a round pizza, and you can also bake bread, calzones and a variety of other products.
SEE ALSO: Calzone vs Stromboli
No matter what shape you choose, be sure that the stone you select is not too big for your oven or gas range. There should be room for heat to circulate around all sides of the stone, so it should be at least an inch smaller than your oven rack or the floor of your oven.
Pizza Stone Prices
Pizza stones are very popular these days, and as a result there are lots of choices available in many venues. Generally speaking, you can get a good sized, well performing, natural stone for a reasonable price.
One thing you should keep mind is that natural materials are best. There are also a lot of imitation pizza stones on offer that are just metal pans dressed up to look like stone or synthetic materials that simply do not perform as well.
This is especially true of those that claim to be dishwasher safe. These types are heavily glazed, and this naturally reduces (or eliminates) their ability to absorb excess moisture.
SEE ALSO: DIY Pizza Stone
How to Use A Pizza Stone
To use a pizza stone, you simply place the stone on the middle rack of the oven or on the floor of the oven if there is no heating element in the way. You must be sure to introduce the stone to a cold oven because placing it in a hot oven will cause it to crack.
The easiest thing to do is to put the stone in the oven when you turn the oven on to preheat. Even easier is keeping your pizza stone on the floor of your oven all the time. There are many advantages to this which we will explain later.
SEE ALSO: How Long To Preheat Oven
It can take a little bit of practice to get used to using a pizza stone. Once you have learned all the ins and outs, you are sure to get consistent results. Here are a few smart tips to help you make the most of your purchase.
1. Clean Your Stone Properly
Don't wash your stone with detergent! Remember that baking stones are porous, so if you wash with detergent it will be absorbed by the stone. This can impart a very unpleasant flavor to your pizzas and baked goods.
Your cleaning method should be very gentle and should involve cool water only occasionally. Begin by washing your stone in cool water with no detergent as soon as you get it home. Wipe it dry and then leave it to air dry thoroughly before using.
Before baking with your stone for the first time, season it carefully with a small amount of olive oil. Rub the oil in with firm, circular motions.
Make sure that all of the oil is absorbed into the surface (note that this does not apply to micro glazed baking stones). If you use too much oil, it will smoke while cooking and impart an unpleasant flavor to your pizza crust or baked goods.
2. Preheat Your Oven And Your Stone
Place the stone in a cold oven and preheat both while you prepare your pizza dough and ingredients. If your stone is half an inch thick, you should preheat for at least half an hour before you begin cooking with it. If it is one inch thick, preheat for an hour.
Take care never to expose your stone to extremes of temperature. Don't put a cold stone in a hot oven or place a hot stone on a cold counter top or into cold water. Extremes of temperature will cause thermal shock which can break your stone.
3. Take Care Of the Surface Of Your Stone
After cooking, allow the stone to cool thoroughly and then wipe it down gently first with a dry cloth and then with a paper towel that is very slightly dampened with olive oil.
Rub the olive oil in as described above to season the surface of your natural stone. Regular seasoning will create a nonstick surface.
If you do have a problem with spills that have cooked on, remove them gently with a plastic scraper and follow-up by scrubbing with a gentle scrubbing pad and cool water. Follow the steps to allow your stone to air dry and re-season it before cooking with it again.
Don't worry about stains. The longer you use your stone, the darker and more stained it will become. This is only natural. Because it is porous, you will never be able to get it back to its original pristine color, and you should not want to. Consider the staining a patina that marks a well-used and cherished kitchen implement.
This is like a giant wooden or aluminum spatula that is made for the sole purpose of transporting pizzas to and from the oven.
A pizza stone should never be removed using a peel. They simply cannot support the weight of the stone and are liable to slip off causing damage or injury.
Pizza stones become extremely hot which is a danger in itself. Removing them from the oven can also cause them to crack or break due to the rapid temperature change.
The best way to deal with a hot pizza stone is to let it cool in your oven for a few hours after baking. At that point you should use oven safe mitts or heat resistant gloves to remove it, just in case!
Making pizza at home can get the whole family involved for a delicious treat and everyone can customize their pizza just the way they like it.
However, everyone needs to understand the process and dangers of using a pizza stone.
While there are many great pizza stones available on the market, the Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone is made in the USA and can help create a crispy crust that your pizza deserves. It’s definitely one to consider.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments below with your favorite pizza stone and share any tips that make things easier for you.