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Top Pizza Stone

making pizza with a stone

There are several advantages to making delicious pizza at home:

  • Save money over pizzeria and commercially prepared pizzas.
  • Everyone gets to choose the toppings they enjoy most.
  • You can control the quality of ingredients to lower sodium or fat and use the highest quality meats and veggies.
  • Experiment with different styles of crust including thin and crisp, New York Style, whole wheat and more.

However, to get a really fantastic crust, you will need some special equipment. Pizza stones aren’t gimmicks. Pizza dough must cook in a very hot oven AND have the benefit of a cooking surface that stays piping hot to fast cook the bottom of the crust and make the most of the leavening in the dough.

Pizza stones work by holding a great deal of heat and evenly distributing it over the surface. Unlike thin baking sheets, they won’t cool down when you throw cold dough on them. In addition, the porous nature of pizza stones wicks away the moisture from the dough as it cooks and steam is released. This allows for an extremely crisp finish that is unrivaled by other cooking techniques.

There are a ton of options out there on the market these days. However, buyer beware! Cheap stones can be brittle and break within only a few uses. Another problem with some stones is they can put off a terrible chemical smell when used. This is definitely a purchase worth doing some research on before you spend your money.

Before I get into the reviews of the best pizza stones, I will cover some information on the best foods to cook on a pizza stone as well as some vital care instructions for getting the most life out of your stone.

If you want to jump right to the product reviews to find the right stone for you, here they are:

Best Pizza Stones for Ovens

 

Best Pizza Stones for Grills

 

What Can You Cook on a Pizza Stone?

I have to be honest, although you can find all sorts of recipes that suggest you can use your pizza stone for roasting things such as meats, fish, and veggies—I wouldn’t recommend it.

First, the qualities that make this kitchen gear so great for crispy pizza dough don’t add many advantages to roasting high-fat foods such as meats or olive oil coated veggies. Why not use a pan that you can clean with soap for such flavorful and rich foods?

Second, the whole point of a pizza stone is that it is porous and coating it with oil defeats that purpose entirely. Plus, it runs the risk of introducing fat and juices that will get trapped inside the stone, eventually turning rancid. Once absorbed into your stone, you can never get such foul flavors out.

Likewise, I don’t use my stone for baking fat rich baked goods such as cookies. I just don’t think the advantages (slightly more even baking) outweigh the disadvantages (pizza that tastes like burnt brown sugar). Preheating high-quality metal baking sheets to temperature before loading them with your cookies gives you the same benefit of a stone without worrying about the excess oils saturating your stone.

Here is what you can bake on a pizza stone:

  • Artisanal bread where a nice crunchy crust is critical
  • Crackers
  • Homemade soft pretzels
  • Authentic flatbreads such as naan and pita

How to Care for a Pizza Stone

Taking good care of your investment isn’t hard, but it does require some know-how. Start by reading the instructions that come with your gear, since different manufacturers sometimes use unique materials that can have an impact on ideal cleaning practices.

Here are the basic dos and don’ts:

Don’t Use Soap or Cleaning Agents

Pizza stones are designed to be extremely porous. This is an excellent quality for making sure you get that super crispy crust on your pie. However, it also means that any chemicals you put on the stone will be absorbed deeply into the stone. Getting the soapy or chemical smell or taste out of your stone once it’s tainted is, unfortunately, a lost cause.

Don’t Soak Your Stone

Another no-no when it comes to caring for your new investment is to avoid the temptation to soak it in water. Baking stones are designed to work just like a brick pizza oven—they get seasoned through repeated, regular use. Soaking it runs the risk of creating a crack the next time you heat it up for cooking.

Don’t Oil Your Stone

Unless specifically directed by your pizza stone manufacturer, don’t try to season your pizza stone with oil. Although it works for cast iron, it is not the way your stone is designed to work. Sure, little bits of oil and grease will be absorbed into your stone as you use it. However, it will happen at the right pace, burning off with each use.

If you oil your stone, you will reduce the porous nature of the surface and overload the stone with oil that will sink in deep and take forever to burn off. The excess oil now trapped inside your stone can also spoil, making a nasty smell and infusing your dough with an off taste.

Do Preheat and Cool in the Oven

Slowly bringing your stone to temperature, and allowing it to slowly cool, is the best way to prevent it from cracking from thermal shock. Put the stone in a cold oven and allow it to heat for at least 30 minutes beyond your oven coming to temp.

After you are done baking, leave the stone in the oven to slowly cool. The stone is not designed to use as a serving dish. Instead, get yourself a few inexpensive pizza trays to take your pizza from oven to table.

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your pizza stone with regard to the first time you use it. Most will want you to heat the stone to temp and go through a complete cool down before using it to bake. This important seasoning step is not optional.

Do Scrape Your Stone

After you are done using a pizza stone, just leave it in the oven. The residual heat as the oven and stone cool together will turn most of the melted cheese stuck to your pizza stone to ash. The next day (it takes many hours to completely cool a stone), scrape off any remaining stuck on bits. Ignore stains. These stones get darker with age and that is totally normal.

The tool I like for the scraping job is known as a bench scraper. While you can also use a wire brush (you may already have one for your grill), there is a risk of scoring the surface of your stone which can reduce the nonstick properties of the smooth surface. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Should You Store a Pizza Stone in the Oven?

There are two schools of thought on this. The first thing to know is that it definitely won’t hurt your stone. If anything, it will contribute to a better seasoning and help keep the non-stick properties going strong. In addition, by adding some thermal mass to your oven, it can help stabilize temperatures for more even baking even when you are not using the stone directly.

There is a downside, however, that you should be aware of. It will take significantly more time to pre-heat your oven with a baking stone inside. If you are looking for efficient use of your oven, keeping your stone stored in it may not be the best choice.

 

Best Pizza Stone for Oven

 

Top All-Around

The Ultimate 16″ Round Pizza / Bread Stone

These days, the material of choice for high end long lasting pizza stones is a material called Cordierite. It is capable of withstanding very high temperatures (up to 1500°F!) without cracking. It is also a very porous material which will wick away the moisture from your dough as it bakes, yielding a crispy crust every time.

This model has a few other standout features that give it an edge over other baking stones. It has a stop built in to one side which makes getting your finished pie off of the stone much easier. (Take it from me, I have accidentally pushed a pizza right off the back of the stone more than once!)

The thickness of the stone is .83”, which is hefty enough for safe use on the grill. The extra thickness ensures a very even cooking time as well as reducing the chance of breaking.

A unique design feature of this stone is a shaped bottom that stores some additional heat in the center of the stone which makes sure it will stay at a constant temperature in the middle of your pizza, eliminating the problem of soggy centers.

Although it comes in a few sizes, I recommend going for the 16” size for plenty of room for Stromboli or long artisan bread.

PROS:

  • Cordierite material—high temperature ready and break resistant
  • .83” thickness for a sturdy stone that will hold plenty of heat for even cooking
  • Patented stop lip to make getting the pizza off the stone much easier
  • Convection optimized base for a perfectly cooked center
  • Durable enough for use on grills

CONS:

  • Pricey—this stone is high-quality gear, worth the investment for serious home cooks

Top Large Stone

The Ultimate 16″ Round Pizza / Bread Stone

I love to use my pizza stone to bake more than pizza, and I often find my round stone just doesn’t have the surface area that I need to get a few long loafs in the oven at the same time. If you plan on doing a high volume of baking on your stone, consider this rectangular model by Pizzacraft.

Let’s compare surface areas. If you use a large 16” round stone, you get about 201” of surface area. This rectangular stone gives you a full 270” to work with.

Whether you are making personal sized za’s or a few boules of artisan bread, you can make more of your oven space with a large stone like this one. In fact, you can’t get much bigger without being too large for a standard oven.

The thickness of this stone comes in at .67” and the material used is Cordierite which is highly porous, heat tolerant, and break resistant.

 

PROS:

  • Made of Cordierite for extreme heat tolerance and crack resistance
  • Huge surface area—make the most heating your oven up to temperature
  • Solid and thick for durability
  • Great price for the size and quality of this stone
  • Safe for use on the grill

CONS:

  • Heavy—coming in at nearly 11 lbs.
  • Large size will require some extra space for storage

 

Best Pizza Pan – Cast Iron

Lodge P14P3 Cast Iron Baking and Pizza Pan

There are a few downsides to using a pizza stone—they can crack and sometimes they develop a nasty smell due to their porous nature. Before you go with a stone, you may want to consider cast iron as an alternative that might actually be a better fit for you and your family.

Cast iron heats up much faster than a stone so it is more efficient in terms of energy consumption. It also retains and conducts heat very well which leads to the kind of fast cooking you need to get that chewy/crunchy texture you are looking for in a New York Style pizza crust.

However, since it is not porous if you are looking for a light and airy, crisp and ultra-thin style pizza crust, a stone is a better option.

The two main advantages of a cast iron pizza pan, however, is that it will never crack and it will never develop an odor. You will have to spend a little more effort getting it perfectly seasoned, but once you have properly used, cleaned and oiled your cast iron, it will last a lifetime.

If you enjoy cooking outdoors, whether on a grill or directly on a wood campfire, then cast iron is definitely an option to consider. Use this griddle to cook eggs, pancakes, potatoes, veggies, flatbreads, and of course pizza, directly on hot coals while camping.

PROS:

  • Expect a lifetime of use from this durable cast iron pan
  • Use in the oven, on the grill, or directly on hot coals while camping
  • No chance of breaking or trapping nasty odors
  • Made in the USA
  • Very reasonable price compared to other stones of the same size
  • Extremely hot and even temperatures make outstanding pizza and artisan bread

CONS:

  • Seasoning cast iron takes some knowledge, time and technique
  • Nonporous means you will sacrifice a little bit of crisp

 

Best Pizza Stone for Grill

 

Top Pizza Stone Kit for Kettle Style Grills

Kettlepizza Pro

If you are a big fan of the taste and texture of wood-fired pizza and want to recreate it at home for a fraction of the cost, then check out this deluxe kit from Kettlepizza. Let me say—this is not for the casual pizza lover. This set is a serious investment for those foodies that have to have the best (you know who you are!).

You need a 22.5” kettle grill to use with this system. You can use wood or charcoal to get that smoky, dry heat which lends that special flavor to wood-fired zas. You can get the temperature of the oven to 900°F for that authentic woodfired experience.

In addition to the grill-ready stone and the peel that comes with this set, you get the patented aluminum sleeve which converts your kettle grill into an extra hot pizza oven with a consistent baking temperature (thermometer included). It takes the guesswork out of using a grill to cook your homemade pizza.

The design also allows you to add fuel while baking your pies, a big plus for quickly churning out pizzas for a group. You can also get your pizza in and out without lifting the lid which keeps the baking temperature consistently hot.

PROS:

  • Complete set includes everything you need to get started grilling pizza
  • Refuel with charcoal or wood without disrupting baking
  • Achieves super-hot temperatures that you just can’t get from a home oven
  • Get pies in and out of the grill without lifting the lid for optimal efficiency
  • 5/8” thick specially shaped pizza stone makes great use of space
  • Made in the USA

CONS:

  • Pricey—a serious investment for woodfire pizza fanatics
  • Requires assembly and a little practice to get used to this system

 

Best for Weber Grill

Weber 8836 Pizza Stone with Carry Rack

My second pick for a pizza stone for Weber style grills is this much more affordable option made by Weber. It is a well-made grill-ready Cordierite stone that is perfectly sized for most Weber grills. It also features a handy carry rack that makes getting it on and off the grill a snap.

Although it is strong enough to withstand the extreme temperatures of a grill, you can also use this stone in the oven. In fact, storing it right in the bottom rack of your oven will keep it dry and seasoned so it will continue to give you one great pie after another for years to come.

Coming in at a fantastic price, this is an inexpensive pizza stone that is a great choice for bargain hunters as well.

PROS:

  • Quality Cordierite construction from a trusted manufacturer
  • Just the right size to fit small and kettle style BBQs
  • Grill or oven ready
  • Carry rack makes it easy to get on and off the hot grill
  • Excellent price
  • ¾” thickness for even cooking even over the extreme heat of charcoal

CONS:

  • 25” in diameter—does not offer much extra space

 

Top for Gas Grill

Weber Style 6430 Pizza Stone

If you love to grill on gas, then this pizza stone may be the one you are looking for. It is designed to make use of more surface area available on most gas grills with a full 224” of working space. As long as your gas grill is 22.5” or larger, this will fit like a charm.

Designed by Weber specifically for use with their gas grills, feel free to use this on other brand grills as well. It can also be used in the oven.

The material of this stone is Cordierite for a porous surface that will lend a great deal of crisp to your pizza since it absorbs excess moisture as your pie cooks. It is a bit thinner than some other stones, coming in at ½”. However, it will still give you an even bake. Just be sure to allow it to heat and cool slowly to prevent it from cracking.

PROS:

  • Large dimensions of 16” x 14” x .5” gives you plenty of room
  • Specially designed carry rack to get it on and off the hot grill with ease
  • Affordable pricing
  • Works with all Weber full size grills, as well as other gas grills that are 22.5” or larger
  • Safe for use in the oven as well

CONS:

  • ½” thick is a little thinner than some other models

 

Conclusion: Find the Right Pizza Stone for You

Whether you are cooking in the oven or on the grill (or both!), you want to find the best pizza stone for your needs, budget and lifestyle. I hope this review gave you some good tips to help you find the right choice for you.

Regardless of which choice you make, be sure to follow my tips on care to protect your investment.

Do you have some other tips for making the most of pizza stones? Please leave a comment below!

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