Pizza is a classic food to be ordered and enjoyed at parties, with family, or while snuggled up on the sofa watching your favorite movies. But sometimes, you don't want to order it. You want to try your hand and put together your own pizza with your personal touch and flavoring.
Well, pizza making can be quite the endeavor, especially if you've no idea where to start. Luckily many different home recipes show you how to make pizzas with your oven and home utensils.
However, regular ovens aren't too good for making pizza, which requires a unique environment. This is where pizza stones come in. Pizza stones can help you recreate the environment of a pizza oven in your own oven at home. Today we'll be reviewing five of the best pizza stones you could try in your own home.
Pizza Stones Reviews
Cuisinart CPS-013 Alfrescamore Pizza Grilling Stone
Our first entry is a pizza stone by Cuisinart that brings the pizza stone up to date with more modern material. We feel it's a good benchmark for comparisons for our later items so that you can consider this a reliable, middle of the road option.
This pizza stone is 13 inches across, so you'll be able to make average-sized pizzas that give you the regular eight slices. This means you can use it for pizzas for yourself or your small family, though you may want to make a second pizza or more if you're catering for more than three people.
Additionally, the size makes it perfect for almost any kind of oven. The pizza stone itself is made from cordierite and not the more common ceramic or clay, so it remains a bit more durable than most other stones and can withstand extreme temperatures better.
It's also quite porous, which can be both a bane and blessing at the same time, as the surface keeps flour more comfortable but can also cause the pizza to stick at times. Note that it is not dishwasher safe.
What We Like
The size is one of the better characteristics, as it is just the right width across to fit smaller ovens while still making sizable, eight-slice pizzas. The fact that it's made from cordierite is also a nice touch as the material makes the stone more resistant to extremely high and low temperatures - mostly in the event of accidents - and better at resisting thermal shock. It's easy to clean by hand. It is also light and relatively cheap compared to the other stones coming up in the list.
What We Didn't Like
There are a few caveats that may make you decide on a different, more expensive stone. One of the larger issues is that pizza often sticks to the stone, no matter how much flour or oil you apply beforehand. This can end up causing you to ruin the pizza when taking it off. There is also sometimes a noticeable smell coming off of it after you bake with it.
Cast Elegance Thermarite Pizza Stone
Taking the pizza stone design to the next level from our previous entry, we now have one from Cast Elegance designed to deliver the crispiest of pizza bases with the gooiest of toppings and cheese.
Starting once again with the pizza stone's size, the baking stone measures 14 inches across, so it's a bit larger than the Cuisinart stone. This size increase also means that you can now make pizzas up to extra large, with ten slices instead of eight like before. However, this also means that you may start to find it a bit difficult to fit it into a smaller oven.
The material used is also a step above cordierite, as it is made with thermite, which is engineered tuff cordierite that is far better at retaining heat and is superior at resisting thermal shock and extreme temperatures. It is far more difficult to shatter. It also has a longer lifespan, produces no smells, and comes with a 4 x 5-inch scraper and recipe book, as well as use and care instructions.
What We Like
Right off the bat, we liked that this was a larger pizza stone that you can use to make all the popular pizza sizes, ranging from small, four-sliced pizzas to the extra-large ten slices. The use of thermite is also interesting as it is a direct upgrade from cordierite in every aspect. It's designed to be used in and on most forms of heat cooking, from electric and gas ovens to different types of grills, so it's incredibly versatile.
What We Don't Like
The larger size can be quite cumbersome for smaller ovens, so you'll have to do some measuring before you make your purchase. There are also particular cleaning instructions, which aren't necessarily bad, but it can cause complications for those who don't follow the instructions.
Unicook Heavy Duty Ceramic Pizza Stone
Taking a step away from the more common design for pizza stones, we will be looking at and assessing the first in a line of rectangular pizza stones. First up, we have a heavy-duty variant by Unicook.
Made of cordierite like most higher-end pizza stones, this variation is particularly resistant to heat and thermal shock thanks to special tempering and preparation done beforehand. The rectangle measures a whopping 14.9 inches by 11.8 inches, so you'll be able to make some sizable pizzas on this pizza stone, including an extra-large pizza with ten slices.
The rectangular shape also allows you to experiment with other pizza shapes, making rectangular pizzas with square-shaped slices. The shape also does not impact heat distribution, as it has achieved the "golden thickness" of 0.6 inches, which is enough to make this pizza stone quite hefty but not so much so that the pizza would be unevenly cooked.
Washing instructions include washing by hand with only water, no soap or detergent, and to never season the stone with oil or grease.
What We Like
The shape and size of the Unicook pizza stone are quite nice, as you can be a lot more versatile in how you prepare and bake your pizzas, choosing from a variety of shapes and sizes. The fact that it is made from cordierite is also quite nice as you can trust this pizza stone to be durable and thermal shock-resistant. The cooking instructions are also more straightforward and forgiving than that of the Cast Elegance, which was known to deteriorate quickly if not followed.
What We Don't Like
While the size is quite nice for preparing and baking pizza and bread, it's also difficult to fit into an oven, especially given the rectangular shape. You'll need a sizable oven to fit this stone in without being extra snug.
You are also warned not to use any form of oil or grease to prevent sticking, as the nonstick surface will develop over time with use. This means that you may experience some sticking with your pizza for the first few bakes if you don't use extra flour.
Conductive Cooking Square Pizza Steel
Another uniquely different baking "stone," this take has opted to stray away from traditional and look at more contemporary designs. Made entirely from cut steel, this "pizza steel," as it has been dubbed, aims to bake pizza just as well, if not better than the traditional ceramic, cordierite, or clay designs.
The deluxe version that we will be looking at is rectangular, with the dimensions of 14 inches by 20 inches, making this the largest pizza "stone" on this list. The steel it's made from is highly conductive, and its manufacturer claims that it completely outshines ceramic pizza stones. It was laser cut from a single piece of steel so it remains durable with a smooth finish.
Though it is made of steel, there isn't much of a difference in cooking times, as the thickness measures at 3/8 of an inch, so it's quite thick as pizza stones go. This also means that you will be lugging around a solid piece of massive steel around your kitchen, so it's going to be quite heavy, which can be a problem as the shape and size make it quite versatile in its use when moving it from countertop to oven to grill.
It retains heat for a long time and cooks pizza to a nice crispy texture, the same as a regular stone would. This specialized versatility comes at quite the price, though, as this is the most expensive of all the pizza stones in this review.
What We Like
It's uniquely versatile yet specialized in its use. The shape and size let you bake a variety of pizza sizes and shapes as you want, and you can even use it for baking or cooking other types of foods like bread without an issue. The steel is nonstick, and you won't be suffering the usual drawbacks you'd expect from an actual stone, such as odor and finicky cleaning instructions.
While it remains versatile in what you can make on it, it remains specialized as a pizza "stone" as it retains heat for a long time, so you can effectively use it to keep making pizzas as if you were in a pizzeria. You can save your pots and pans for other purposes while you trust this pizza steel to handle the heavy-lifting of baking and cooking on its surface.
What We Don't Like
One of the significant drawbacks to the steel design is that, while it retains heat very well, it also takes much longer to heat up thanks to the steel's sheer size and density. This isn't a utensil to use for impromptu baking and cooking. Additionally, the weight is something to consider, as it is quite heavy and can be quite fatiguing when you need to transfer between surfaces a lot.
Hans Grill Pizza Stone
Returning to more traditional materials, this pizza stone from Hans Grill is similar to the Unicook one mentioned earlier, with a few defining characteristics that set it apart and might make it useful to own alongside each other.
As we mentioned above, this pizza stone is similar to the Unicook pizza stone we reviewed previously. This one is rectangular with the dimensions of 14.96 inches by 11.81 inches, with a 0.59-inch width. This makes it smaller than the Unicook pizza stone, so you can use it instead of the Unicook when you don't want the hassle of using a larger, more cumbersome design.
It is also instead made with traditional stonework rather than cordierite, with the stylized word logo of Hans Grill embossed in the bottom right corner. This can be both a negative for some as embossing on a pizza stone makes scraping and cleaning more difficult should something build up in the embossing, and it can also lead to scratching on both the stone and peel.
Additionally, a unique problem with clay and stonework pizza stones that we haven't touched on yet is that these pizza stones aren't as good at drawing out liquids as ones made of cordierite, so sometimes your pizzas may come out soggier than expected.
What We Like
The size of the pizza stone is the most attractive feature in our eyes, as it's large enough to make ten-slice pizzas but not to the point that it becomes awkward to work within an oven. This makes it a handy stone to keep around alongside a larger one, so you can make pizzas appropriate to the amount you need. You can use this smaller stone for yourself or perhaps two people, and then switch to a bigger one when serving guests or the family. It is also odorless and it doesn't require any seasoning on the stone when preparing your pizza.
What We Don't Like
There are a few design choices we do find questionable. The fact that it is made from stonework is nice for those who prefer more traditional aspects, but it also means that it is less effective in the cooking process, as it often leaves pizzas rather soggy. The embossing is also questionable, as it makes it more challenging to clean and scrape bits off in that section.
Our reviews above are all well and good, but they would be meaningless if we didn't describe what to look for yourself when deciding which stone to pick. So, to begin with, we will be looking at the features to look out for when trying to discern the differences between a good pizza stone and one that isn't worth the money.
Most pizza stones come in three different materials: clay, ceramic, or cordierite. These three materials are used because they each retain heat very well without shattering or suffering from thermal shock. In that same order of clay, ceramic, and cordierite, the materials generally keep heat better in ascending order, with cordierite usually seen as the best.
Shape and Size (Does it Fit Your Oven?)
Pizza stones generally come in increments that match the average size of pizzas, if an inch larger. The most popular length is around 14 inches across to fit larger, ten-slice pizzas. Smaller ones can be between 10 and 12 inches across, with larger ones reaching closer to 16 inches.
Beyond that, you'll be looking at industrial-grade sizes that are more for mass baking. Pizza stones also come in either round or rectangular shapes, with round being more common but rectangular being more versatile as you can bake both round and square pizzas and more on it.
Ease of Cleaning
A general rule of thumb is never to use soap or dishwashing liquid when cleaning your pizza stone. You'll often have to scrape off the remaining pieces of food that are stuck to the stone and then give a light wash with a wet rag, but the cleaning instructions can vary per stone.
Some indicate that you don't even wash the stone really; you just remove the stuck food. Other times, it is recommended to rinse with a light stream of water. Just remember not to use soap or detergents as the chemicals may affect your food the next time you cook as they can soak into the stone.
You will have to be careful when looking for pizza stones, as they can be quite fragile. Their durability is their ability to withstand temperature changes, but they can still shatter into sharp shards if dropped or bumped. Additionally, you'll often hear of people complaining about the smell of pizza stones, with some having a chemical smell after use.
This is generally a bad sign and something you should avoid, but it can also mean that the owner has not taken proper care of their pizza stone and has been washing it incorrectly. However, that isn't to say that some pizza stones are poorly made and thus have this odor.
When looking at pizza stones, a decent quality pizza stone can be between $40 and $60, give or take. Looking above that point, you'll start to find better ones, such as the one from Conductive Cooking which goes for around $130. Around that price bracket, you can almost be assured good quality, but beware as some may just be overpriced and not worth the risk of buying.
What is a pizza stone?
A pizza stone is a clay, ceramic, or cordierite stone used to distribute heat to the base of a pizza evenly. It is made to emulate the cooking process of a traditional pizza oven in a regular oven. Using a pizza stone, you can achieve a crispier base and crust while still maintaining a soft interior and caramelized toppings - as if a professional pizzeria made the pizza in a pizza oven.
How to transfer pizza to a pizza stone?
If you are looking for the "proper" method, you'll want to invest in a pizza peel. These are the flat, broad, handled surfaces that are almost like pizza spatulas. These slip under the pizza and hold it up so you can quickly move it between surfaces without breaking the dough or toppings.
Which side of the pizza stone to use?
Most pizza stones are double-sided so that you can use either side. If there is a significant difference between the two sides, then it may be better to use whichever side is smoothest to try and minimize sticking. Be sure to check the specifications of your pizza stone to see which side to use and to check if it is double-sided or not.
What temperature to cook pizza on a stone?
Because of the nature of the stone to retain heat, you'll want to cook your pizza for about 10 to 12 minutes at 475 degrees Fahrenheit, or gas mark 9. The thinner you make the dough, the higher the temperature should be, but you shouldn't need to go past 480 degrees F or gas mark 9.
How to keep pizza from sticking to stone?
Most pizza stones come with instructions or guides on what is safe and not safe to put on the surface. Many are already nonstick by default, or they become nonstick overtime thanks to use. You can generally use cornflour or olive oil, but be careful as some stones warn against it. Again, this is something that varies from stone to stone.
To wrap up, we'll be giving you some recommendations based on the quality of the stones. Our first recommendation is the Conductive Cooking Pizza Steel, as it doesn't have any of the common drawbacks of actual stones but works just as effectively. However, if you don't want to pay that price, our second choice would be the Unicook as it is nice and big, easy to clean, and is close to traditional designs that get better with use.