When you are paying a premium price for a pizza, you should expect it to come with an array of toppings and a delectably crispy base.
You should be able to hold the pizza from the edge of the crust and know it will remain upright, anything less is likely to create a mess as the toppings slide off. While the top gets a lot of the credit with its sauce, cheese, and toppings, it should be all about the base as a floppy pizza can be so disappointing.
If you do have guests coming over, you do not want to let them down with droopy pizza. Your grill and smoker may be ideal for pulled meats, smoked fish, and the best of barbecues. However, a pizza party can be a great way of spending an evening and you do not want one piece of equipment to let you down.
For impressing your friends and showing off your grill or smoker, you want a pizza stone that you can rely on time after time with excellent heat retention.
It should be easy to use, durable, and deliver crispy pizzas no matter how hot you can get the temperature. There are several materials and designs to choose from which we will look at in this guide.
Few pizza stones offer as much versatility as the Unicook Heavy Duty Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone. Not only will the rectangular design make it ideal for fitting on a smoker or grill, but you could create delicious, crispy pizza as well as pastries, bread loaves, and cookies.
The cordierite stone also has a high heat resistance of 1450°F (787°C) for that crispy, chewy crust.
The material should take a lot of credit for how well the stone cooks whatever you put on it as cordierite will easily draw away moisture with tiny, invisible micro-pores that should mean a base you can tap.
Cordierite does not require seasoning though it may darken over time which is something to bear in mind. Though you may be able to find bigger stones, few are this versatile and you can be confident that you can turn then remove whatever it is you are baking.
Also Available At: Unicook
Any cooking surface that can reach an intense temperature can use a pizza stone. That means a grill that can hit a temperature of 900°F (482°C) can be used with a pizza stone to create a delicious pizza.
One of which is the Emile Henry Pizza Stone as one of the trendier pizza stones out there which is sure to impress as soon as you take it out and place it on the grill.
The ceramic pan has a reliably sturdy construction, complete with handles to ensure you can pick it up and place it down easily.
Part of the joy of working with this French-designed pizza stone is that it is dishwasher safe meaning easy cleaning. The surface is also glazed for durability and scratch-resistance while ensuring a crispy, expertly-baked crust.
Also Available At: Emile Henry
Whether for homemade pizza, roasted vegetables, or baked goods, the Lodge 15 Inch Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan will deliver delicious even cooking for decades to come.
This largely comes down to the cast iron material that is ideal for excellent heat distribution, as well as heat retention.
The material also pulls away moisture leaving a crisp and deliciously charred crust. With two large loop handles, the pan can also be gripped securely whenever you need to pick it up and place it.
Take your pick of cooking methods as the pan can be used in a conventional oven, or on the grill, even over a campfire if you wanted to pack it away.
Whatever the method, a pre-seasoned surface should mean a slick surface to easily release your pizza. That should only improve over time as you experiment with your pizzas knowing that each one will come off crispy.
Also Available At: Lodge
For a springy, moist yet chewy pizza, you need cordierite as your material of choice. Not only is the Solido #1 Pizza Stone great for pizza but the same surface is ideal for bread and other baked recipes that will benefit from the exceptional heat distribution.
Though you should not expect as much browning, you can do a lot with such a large surface area as 14 x 16 inches.
Then there is a Heat Spiral which quickens the preheating while keeping a lot of the heat in the middle. If you have ever pulled out a slice of pizza only for the toppings to slide off the edge, you should note that even the edges are crispy when using this stone.
Raised grooves at the bottom should make it easy to grip and lift off the oven or grill surface. The rounded corners may even find a neater fit on a charcoal grill.
Also Available At: eBay
If you have your heart set on a cordierite pizza stone then go for something a little bit different from Cast Elegance. Their Thermarite Pizza and Baking Stone includes the properties of cordierite as it absorbs the moisture from your pizza dough for that crispy crust and base.
It is also food-safe and has excellent heat retention so your pizza should be evenly cooked without any hot spots, even on a hot grill. The 5/8th inch thickness also means easy transfer when using a peel.
The pizza stone may be large at a diameter of 16 inches yet it remains not too heavy. Exceptional heat retention makes it ideal for pizza parties as you can leave the stone on a grill or in the oven for cooking pizza after pizza.
The size is also ideal for a Big Green Egg cooker or any other round cooker that you may have. Once your pizza party is over, you can use the free scraper to clean off any residue.
Also Available At: eBay
Pretty much everyone loves a pizza. Whether a pie, Chicago deep-crust, or chewy thin New York slice, you could put whatever toppings you like and get creative with it.
You can also create incredible pizzas from home using a grill, smoker, or just your conventional oven. No need for years of training as it can be so easy to use a stone alongside your cooking apparatus.
Simply heat the pizza stone, drop on your dough, throw on a few toppings then wait only a couple of minutes for your pizza to be ready.
With a pizza stone, you can recreate restaurant-style, pizzeria pizzas complete with a crispy base in a matter of minutes. Instead of using the floor of a large, wood-fired pizza oven, as you would in a restaurant or pizzeria, a pizza stone can radiate the heat from underneath your pizza to effectively cook the base until it is crispy and even charred.
If you do enjoy cooking pizza then a pizza stone may become a game-changer and they can be relatively inexpensive. Once you calculate how much you spend on pizzas, a pizza stone to use at home can become so convenient and you can let your creativity run wild over time.
Be aware that the most ideal pizza stones may not be made of stone at all. As long as the material can withstand an extremely high temperature, it should be suitable for baking your pizza and delivering that chewy crust.
Whatever the material, the pizza stone will typically be a thick design with an unglazed surface so it can draw out moisture from the dough.
You should also consider the thickness if you are considering the quality as three-quarters of an inch should be able to distribute the heat well whereas anything thinner runs the risk of cracking and it may prove too light to be truly reliable.
There are several materials that you should be able to choose from for your pizza stone. Each has its own merits though you may prefer one over the other depending on whether you use an oven, smoker, or grill.
These materials are renowned for delivering crispy pizza, but only when used properly and at a scorching hot temperature.
At the top end of any budget are the newer materials which include steel ‘stones’ and cast iron pizza stones.
Both are undoubtedly heavy, which would be expected from a durable metal material, yet both will heat up quickly and are excellent for heat conduction meaning that they should perform well in the oven or on a grill.
Particularly cast iron which should be able to withstand the heat of 400°F and should come pre-seasoned from the manufacturer. As the stones may not come with handles, that could make them difficult to maneuver from the oven.
When you are paying for cast iron pizza stones, you should be considering it as an investment. Both steel and cast iron stones should resist any warping or the cracking and shattering that you can get from a ceramic or clay pizza stone.
While they are resistant to thermal shock, you should still treat them like any other pizza stone and let them cool down before washing.
One issue that you may find over time is that both regular steel and cast iron are prone to rust.
Some materials require some care and preheating before you use them which may take up some time. Creating a pizza should be a quick process so this may be a drawback yet once you heat ceramic stone so it does not crack it can distribute heat well.
You may also find stoneware which can be another name for ceramic and it has the same properties as a ceramic stone of cracking if it is not preheated properly and for long enough.
The ceramic is typically made from several varieties of clay for excellent heat retention.
This is also a lighter material than steel or cast iron so you may prefer this when inserting your stone into the oven, smoker, or on a grill then removing it. When looked after, this type of pizza stone should last for years, especially with a glazed, protective finish.
If you have ever seen a kiln shelf, you should know it can withstand extreme heat well. It has to help bake clay into sustainable pottery. These kiln shelves are made from cordierite which is a mineral known to handle extreme heat and should serve your pizzas extremely well.
The material is also resistant to thermal shock so you should not have to worry about breakages. Like cast iron, cordierite should be a bit more expensive than ceramic but will need preheating too if you want to draw moisture away for a crispy base and crust. While this is great for pizzas, it could be ideal for bread loaves too.
For the absolute classic material that has gone through the test of time, go for lead-free clay. This has been used for pizzas and, until recently, few dared to try another material. The same still applies now as it can deliver a crispy crust yet may require some time to preheat too.
Once you have a pizza stone with excellent heat distribution, you should be able to tell the difference from your previous home-baked pizzas. Not only will the entire base and crust be crispy and golden but you should achieve a desired level of char.
Some people like that browning texture and bubbling on the crust that you would normally expect from a wood-fired oven in a restaurant or pizzeria.
The heat distribution will also be telling when you are baking bread as you can expect the bottom of your bread loaves to be crispy too. If you do desire a pizza stone with ideal heat distribution then a ceramic stone is typically your best choice.
When you are cooking your pizza on a grill or in a smoker or oven, it should be able to withstand extreme heat. It may be best practice to check with the manufacturer just what the heating capacity is as your oven, grill, or smoker may go even further.
Pizza needs to be cooked at a high temperature so ramp up the heat on your grill or smoker as a pizza stone can withstand temperatures from 600 to even 1100 degrees celsius.
In an oven, you can expect your oven to hit a temperature of around 350 degrees which should still be fine to cook a pizza for a longer duration.
The best method to hit such extreme temperatures is to place the pizza stone in a cold oven, grill, or smoker and then get it to the top heat, as far as it can go.
Some kitchens are stocked full of appliances that perhaps only get used once. When you are investing in a pizza stone you should ensure that it is the right one for you and that you will be getting good use out of it. Ideally, that means using the pizza stone for more than just pizza.
Sure, it works great for chewy crusts yet you could also use the heat-conducive stone for a grilled cheese sandwich, cooking crispy falafel, or roasting vegetables.
Your pizza stone could also defrost or warm-up frozen food as well as help your baking for bread, muffins, and cookies to ensure that the bottom is baked properly. Be careful with cold or frozen foods as on a hot stone they could result in thermal shock which may crack a pizza stone.
With any cooking surface, you may benefit from a layer of seasoning. Unless they are made from cast iron, there is a likelihood that if you do want a seasoned layer you will have to do it yourself.
It can be relatively simple and there may even be instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Simply wash the stone in some warm water, coat it in a layer of oil then bake it in a hot oven for about an hour. This method may cause the stone to generate some smoke or even an odor yet that is typically part of the process.
The more times you season the stone, the more protection you are offering to the surface.
You may notice that most traditional pizzerias and restaurants use a wood-fired oven and a wood peel to remove their pizzas.
That should be relatively straightforward given the intense heat that a wood-fired oven can reach so there is a limited effort in removing the pizza once it is cooked. On your grill, oven, or smoker, it might be more difficult so you should look out for a non-stick surface.
Cast iron stones may require additional seasoning yet do produce an easy-to-use non-stick surface. Cordierite can also produce a similar effect as it can draw moisture away from the dough, preventing a soggy bottom and creating a crispy crust.
The material also does not require seasoning though it may darken overuse. Steel can be more manageable as a surface too as you can benefit from a designed non-stick surface, though this may degrade over time and use.
As with any pizza stone, if the non-stick surface has been specially designed you will want to protect it so only perform hand-washing and steer clear of soap and the dishwasher.
There may even be a beneficial effect from the odd stain when you do bring your pizzas out. After continued use, those stains can form a non-stick surface as they can cover the stone’s original material.
It may prove difficult to remove the stains yet that might not be a bad thing. This is a more artificial method of seasoning yet you may find with cast iron and carbon steel stones that they become more and more seasoned as you should be adding a layer of oil on every time you create a pizza.
That oil is not wholly removed with the pizza and can effectively bond with the stone’s surface to create a protective coating.
One of the issues that you may encounter with a pizza stone is that it needs to be completely cool before you can clean it. You do not want to burn yourself but you need to protect the stone from the thermal shock which could occur when it comes into contact with even warm water.
With regular use, your pizza stone should get darker over time which should not pose a problem. That is almost inevitable from the extreme heat it faces but also the odd stain that can turn into a burn and discolor the surface.
If you do suffer a stain from some discarded cheese or sauce then this can be scraped off with a hard bristled brush or a plastic scraper. Try not to use a metal scraper as you could easily mark the surface of the stone.
You also need to steer clear of soap as the stone is porous and can absorb those flavors. Just use water and leave it to completely air dry before storing it for the next use.
There may be a compromise between the lighter stones that are easier to carry and move out of your oven, grill, or smoker, and a heavier stone that will likely produce a better pizza.
It all comes down to mass, with a light stone you can expect less mass and less heat to cook your pizza. The thicker, heavier stones will have higher heat retention meaning you should get a crispier pizza.
Pizza stones tend to weigh around nine pounds though the better stones can weigh as much as 16 pounds depending on the material, especially with cast iron.
A pizza stone can come in several shapes and sizes. These can include the traditional round shape though can be in the form of a rectangle or even a square.
Such versatility does mean that your pizza need not be a traditional circular shape. You may even prefer cutting your pizza into squares or finding a large enough rectangular stone for your circular pizzas.
In terms of size, you should lookout for a pizza stone that is as big as your oven rack, grill, or smoker area though you should allow some room for airflow. With a larger stone, you can expect more heat retention though these will be heavier to carry.
A good size to look out for is around 16 inches which should provide ample room on a rectangular surface and more than enough in diameter for a circular stone.
When you are looking for a rectangular shape, you should get one that measures about 16 by 14 inches which should fit several cooking appliances. These should offer the biggest surface area so you could fit more objects on it if you were not preparing a pizza.
A rectangular shape is also more versatile with a round pizza as there is less effort in trying to get the dough just in the right spot, if you miss then you can expect your pizza to hang off the edge.
A circular design should have a diameter of around 16 inches which should suffice, even if your pizza dough does not stretch that far.
If anything, you want a gap of around an inch or so which would make it easier to place than remove your pizza.
Pizza stones of a square design can vary in size. You could get a svelte design that only measures 10 inches or a large one that can reach 16 inches.
These can be quite difficult to grip when removing from the oven so ensure you leave another gap at the side.
As well as your pizza stone, you may shop around for some accessories to ease your pizza creation process. Some pizza stones even come with a rack that you can use to place the stone after you have removed your stone with the pizza on top from the oven.
You should also invest in a peel which is the flat shovel you will see with a long handle in a traditional pizzeria. These are often constructed from wood and offer an easy way to place then remove your pizza from the stone.
A pizza stone should be built to last, whether made of cast iron, ceramic, or lead-free clay. Several manufacturers will state a warranty, either a lifetime warranty or one for a specific period.
The warranty should cover defects in the construction but will not cover any accidents or misuse, especially not wear and tear.
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Check with the packaging to see if your pizza stone needs to be seasoned first. That may simply mean wiping the pizza stone with a wet cloth first before you use it. If you do need to properly season your pizza stone then apply some vegetable oil with a towel once the stone is dry until you have created a light coating.
To ensure that your pizza stone is hot to the touch and just right for your pizza dough, you should preheat it in the oven to warm up.
This should be on a low rack with the oven off then crank up the heat and preheating could mean half an hour or an hour at 400°F. To quicken up your pizza cooking time, you could use a grill or smoker that can reach much higher temperatures.
After that, the pizza stone should be hot enough to crisp up your pizza dough from initial contact though you should be careful handling it. Ensure you wear oven gloves as they should be of a searing hot temperature.
You want to ensure you use the pizza stone when it is at its hottest temperature so get ready with your dough to quickly place it on top then get started on that sauce as well as those toppings and cheese.
After creating your pizza and leaving the stone to cool down, you should be able to handle it for a quick wash.
Be careful not to treat your pizza stone as other pieces of cooking ware as it certainly should not be covered in dishwashing liquid and only a few can be put in the dishwasher.
Try not to even use soap on it as this could leave a chemical layer on your stone that may be present the next time you use it. Simply hand wash the stone in some warm water and leave it to air dry.
You should also ensure that when cleaning your pizza stone, you do not allow it to soak in water. Unless your ‘stone’ is made from metal, the material will be porous and can absorb a big amount of water.
That trapped moisture could turn into steam meaning that the pizza stone would likely crack the next time it is exposed to extreme heat when you try to use it. A damp cloth and air drying should be enough to clean it.
You should let your pizza dough come to room temperature first before placing it on a prepared and hot pizza stone.
This is especially important if you are using pizza dough that has defrosted or been left in the fridge as you may think that the dough is pliable enough after being kneaded. However, the cold temperature of the dough may crack the stone due to that sudden temperature change.
There is no real true answer to this question as some swear by it but others do not. Those who do cut their pizzas on the stone do not see a problem and can swear by its efficiency. However, several pizza aficionados would advise that this is a no-no.
The main issue is that by cutting the pizza on the stone you run the risk of the cheese and sauce escaping the crust and covering the surface which could stain the surface and mark it wherever you have used your cutting device.
As you should not wash a pizza stone with soap, you may struggle to remove the substances effectively when you try to clean the stone which may mean burnt patches.
You should look after your pizza stone so if you do notice this issue over time, it may prove that you really should not be cutting your pizza on the stone itself.
With a frozen pizza, you are only looking to warm the crust and melt the toppings so a regular oven tray will perform an admirable job. As frozen pizzas are already partially baked, you are unlikely to achieve a wonderfully crispy crust anyway.
The danger with cooking a frozen pizza on a pizza stone is the element of thermal shock when you place a cold item onto a hot stone that can cause it to crack.
If you were determined to cook your frozen pizza on a pizza stone then thaw it first to create a more malleable dough at room temperature.
Thankfully, you can repair your pizza stone yet you will need some specialist glue. An epoxy that is a liquid that infuses materials to set as resin should be oven-safe and durable enough to withstand the intense heat applicable for your pizza stone.
That may depend on how clean the crack is as if the pizza stone has shattered you may be better off simply replacing it with a new one.
Only certain materials used in a pizza stone will ever crack. Cast iron and steel are truly durable materials for a pizza stone as they should never suffer cracks and are pretty much indestructible.
You do have to be more careful with cordierite as this is more liable to cracking and can be deemed as delicate. The likely occurrence of a cracked pizza stone is from thermal shock when the hot stone experiences a dramatically cold substance.
The cracks from thermal shock could be from plunging your hot stone into cold water. However, the most likely reason for a cracked pizza stone is simply forgetting to preheat it in the first place.
Always put your pizza stone in a cold oven to then preheat and try not to be tempted to put a frozen pizza on a hot stone either.
Before washing it, leave the pizza stone to cool down in the oven with the temperature off, even if it takes a large amount of time such as several hours.
Cracking can also occur from a significant amount of moisture as pizza stones are still considered porous. Cordierite, in particular, can be exceedingly porous and retain moisture from the pizza dough or whatever food you are cooking on the stone.
You may not notice it but that moisture can remain in the stone and the next time you use it, that moisture turns into steam and results in a crack.
You could also crack your pizza stone from mishandling it and dropping it so try to learn the weight of it and make sure you can handle it properly and safely.
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