You know the kind of pizza crust that's crispy along the edges, doughy at the center, with just the right puff-to-crunch ratio? You've likely experienced it at your favorite pizza joint, but have you successfully recreated that flavor at home? And no, throwing a takeout pizza in the oven doesn't count.
Compared to the metal surface of a baking sheet, a pizza stone—made of ceramic, clay, cast iron, or cordierite—heats the dough evenly, ensuring every inch of your pie is warm and crisp. It soaks up all that heat and radiates it upward, meaning the pizza (and all of its toppings) are cooked both on the bottom via the stone and on the top by the oven's warm air.
In other words, a pizza stone is an inexpensive way to transform a traditional oven into a brick oven-like environment. And that puffy crust? When a pizza is placed on a pre-heated stone, it jolts the dough with a burst of warmth, leading to an all-around puffier, crispier crust. It's something only a stone can do, not a basic baking pan.
Now that you're convinced you need a pizza stone, you might be wondering how to choose the right one for your baking needs. First thing's first: Don't buy a pizza stone only for pizza. These stones can do much more, from baking flaky pastries to homemade sourdough, if you're up for the challenge.
All pizza stones are baking stones, but not all baking stones are pizza stones, so it's critical to purchase the right one. That's why we tapped three experts to dish on their preferred pizza stones:
Here's everything you need to know about which top-rated pizza stone is right for your home.
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Michael Schulson has spent the COVID-19 pandemic experimenting with homemade pizza. Through his trails, he discovered the Culinary Couture Pizza Stone. The extra-thick stone, which can be used for heating other foods, is made from cordierite material and able to withstand 1,000-degree heat without cracking.
"I have had too much time on my hands of late and have been making a lot of pizza at home with the family,” he says. “A pizza stone needs to be thick; I find that the thicker stones keep the heat much longer. This allows the pizza to crisp up more and to get a little more golden brown.”
For best results, Schulson heats the stone on broil for 45 to 50 minutes before placing the pizza on it in the oven.
Buy: $40, amazon.com
Lodge’s Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Baking Pan isn’t technically a pizza stone. But don’t tell that to chef David Murphy of Shuggie’s Trash Pie and Natural Wine in San Francisco. He swears by the cast iron pan as a pizza stone.
“I actually like cast iron for home use,” he says. “The Lodge one is great for conductivity and a quick pizza night at home. It’ll fit a perfect little 12-inch pie without falling off. In professional kitchens, we have giant hearths and stone decks that crank up to 1,000 degrees—but most home ovens only do 550, so this cast iron is the way to go to get a nice, airy crisp bottom.”
Compared to other pizza stones, the Lodge pan features two convenient handles for better control. Plus, it’s pre-seasoned and can be used to sear, broil, fry, or grill other foods in the oven, on the stove, or on a grill.
“It can also double as a plancha for cooking all sorts of other meals as well,” he adds.
Buy: $89, walmart.com
"When I'm making pizza at home, I use the CucinaPro Pizza Stone Rectangular Pizza Baking Stone,” says Brandon Boudet, executive chef of Little Dom’s in Los Angeles. “It delivers on all the most important aspects, mostly that it retains heat really well. You can also throw it on the grill and use it for baking, making it a universal kitchen item.”
He’s not the only one who thinks the CucinaPro is better than the rest: There are more than 740 global Amazon ratings to back it up, with approximately 75% of reviewers rating the product with five stars.
“Do you cook pizzas? Do you reheat food in the oven instead of microwaving? Have you ever cooked a frozen pizza and had the darn thing curl up on you...? Well guess what: You have won the pizza lottery because this darn thing is what you need to cook the perfect pizza!” according to one five-star reviewer.
Buy: $40, amazon.com