The Best Pizza Stones for Your Kitchen, According to Chefs

Bonus: You can use them for more than just pizza.

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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.

Making restaurant-caliber pie at home takes the right tools. The first place to start? Ditch the baking sheet and buy a pizza stone.

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.

The Best All-Around Pizza Stone: Culinary Couture

pizza stone
Amazon

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

The Best Cast Iron Pizza Stone: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Baking Pan

pizza stone
Amazon

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

The Best Brick Oven-Style Pizza Stone: CucinaPro Pizza Stone Rectangular Pizza Baking Stone

pizza stone
Amazon

"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

Factors to Consider

Material

Pizza stones come in several formats, including true stone, ceramic, terra cotta, cast iron, and steel. Many of the “stone” options are made with cordierite, a synthetic stone that is designed to retain consistent heat without hot spots and resists cracking from thermal shock. It can be used in a home oven or on a grill, making it a flexible choice. These stones tend to not be overly heavy, which can be a boon for those who plan on moving them in and out of the oven or grill frequently.

Ceramics are another option that you can use in the oven or on the grill, but also can be used safely on the open flame of a gas stove. This makes them versatile for making more than pizza, like homemade tortillas, naan, English muffins, or other stovetop bread. Terra cotta, which often comes in tiles or bricks, does a good job of providing consistent heat, and the smaller sizes allow you to create the size and shape that works best for your needs. They are the lightest of all the options, but that makes them the most delicate and prone to cracking and chipping.

Cast iron and steel baking “stones” can provide terrific crisp crusts with good "leoparding," those desirable dark spots on your crust edges. Plus, they do a great job of retaining consistent heat. They can get very hot, however, so you do risk burning the bottom of thin crust. They are also the heaviest option and can be awkward to move. They stay hot the longest after the oven is turned off, so not ideal if you need to use your oven for other things on the same day.

Glazed or Unglazed

Most pizza stones will be unglazed, since they are made of materials that are designed to have some grip for the pizzas and to provide some moisture absorption for wetter doughs so that the underside of the pizza does not steam. Glazed pizza stones can be good to prevent sticking, but you run the risk of the dough steaming as well as the glaze chipping. If your stone is glazed, be sure to use a wooden peel and not metal to prevent damaging the stone.

Size

Pizza stones are usually round or rectangular and range from around 12 to 18 inches or more. Depending on where and how you intend to cook pizza, we recommend buying the largest size that will fit your space so that you have the most flexibility in the size and shape of your pizzas. Egg-style or kettle-style grills will require round stones, while your oven and regular grills will accommodate rectangular stones. 

Heat Retention

Heat retention is what pizza stones are designed for. Thicker stones will take longer to heat up but will retain that heat longer. Look for thicker stones when you want to be able to do multiple pizzas consecutively, as they will retain that heat even as the oven door or grill lid opens and closes.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do you preheat a pizza stone?

    Yes, and for longer than you may think, according to Chef Paul Fehribach, a multiple James Beard Award Semi-finalist and owner of Big Jones restaurant in Chicago. “For most stones, at least an hour or even up to two depending on the BTUs of your oven,” he says. If your oven tends to run cool, err on the side of a longer preheat and your pizza will thank you.


    Anyone who makes homemade pizza knows, you want as much heat as you can get. Professional pizza ovens often reach 1000 to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and most specialty pizza ovens for home use should get over 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Part of the benefit of using a pizza stone in your home oven is that it helps to concentrate that heat, as most home ovens top out at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Do you season a pizza stone?

    “I have never seasoned a pizza stone. But, follow the manufacturer's instructions,” says Fehribach. Most pizza stones for home use do not need to be seasoned before use, and consistent use will naturally season the stone over time. If the stone you have chosen does recommend seasoning, it should come with instructions on how to do it. When in doubt, don’t pre-season, as some seasoning methods could damage the stone.

  • How do you clean a pizza stone?

    You can start by using a metal spatula or scraper to remove any baked-on bits of food. Enlist your oven for pieces that are tougher to remove. “My favorite way is to open all the windows on a breezy spring day, turn the oven up to 500, 550, or as high as it will go, and let the oven bake out the solids until they are charred,” says Fehribach. “Cool in the oven with the door shut at least overnight and brush off with a pastry brush in the morning.” 


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