Pizza Steel vs Stone

By Kitchen Warrior | Pizza Tools Advice

pizza steel vs stone

Deciding between a pizza steel vs stone can make a significant difference in the quality of your pizza. Both of these tools help elevate your pizza-making abilities, ensuring you achieve a restaurant-quality finish every time. However, they differ significantly when it comes to how they cook and their overall longevity.

What Is a Pizza Steel?

As its name suggests, a pizza steel is a slab of metal that you would use to make pizza. It is typically made from stainless steel, which is an easily maintained material with excellent heat conduction. Often, it is a single slab of metal that can weigh as much as 16 pounds, depending on its thickness.

How Do You Use a Pizza Steel?

When using pizza steel, you will have to remember that it requires a little bit of preparation. Before putting your pizza on the surface, you will need to preheat the steel for up to an hour at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This process helps ensure that the metal is thoroughly heated to begin cooking the crust to the ideal crispiness.

Once the pizza steel has been preheated, load the pie onto the sheet and put it back into the oven. The most considerable benefit of using pizza steel is that once it is preheated, the actual cook time can be well under 10 minutes. After the crust shows beautifully crisp blisters, that’s the time you can remove it from the oven. 

You will want to ensure that you allow some time for cooling before cutting and serving your pie. Also, note that the metal will be scalding hot after taking it out of the oven, so handle it with care.

What Is a Pizza Stone?

Pizza stones have the same general purpose as a pizza steel, giving you a new type of surface to cook pizzas. However, instead of steel, pizza stones are typically made from ceramic, clay, or cordierite. These materials help conduct heat relatively well, but they don’t transfer heat as efficiently as steel.

When using a pizza stone, you are more likely to acquire a less crispy crust, but it will still be restaurant-quality. One of the more beneficial aspects of pizza stones is that they can take less time when it comes to preheating.

How Do You Use a Pizza Stone?

As mentioned, pizza stones don’t require as much preheating as standard pizza steels. Ideally, you will want to preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with the pizza stone inside. Once it’s preheated, your pizza stone should be, too.

Preparing pizzas to be cooked is relatively the same with this tool as with a pizza steel. All you have to do is transfer the pizza onto the stone’s surface and then put it back into the oven. You’ll need to bake it for as long as necessary to achieve perfectly browned cheese and a supple crust. Unlike pizza steel, your pizza stone will likely require a little more time to get the perfect level of cook.

Maintaining your pizza stone is a significant component of owning one. It could require seasoning and unique techniques for cleaning to help preserve its integrity. You will want to confirm the care instructions for your specific stone, as some require seasoning and others don’t.

What Are the Differences Between a Pizza Steel and Pizza Stone?

Now that you have a clear idea of what pizza steels and stones are, let’s look at their differences in detail.

1. Cooking Time

If you’re in the market for a kitchen tool that will help you cook pizzas quickly, pizza steels are the best option. Although they take longer to preheat than ceramic pizza stones, they cook pizzas significantly faster. The highly conductive material used in pizza steels makes them the best choice, helping retain and transfer heat better.

This point is particularly apparent if you opt for a pizza steel that is thin rather than thick. Thinner metal is known to transfer heat better, ensuring you cook your pizza quickly with immense crispiness. However, if you opt for a thicker sheet, it can retain heat for longer, which helps to cook the pie thoroughly. 

On the other hand, pizza stones can take up to eight minutes to achieve a medium amount of cook. You might also find that they don’t offer as even a cook, overheating some spots while undercooking others. Overall, the quality of your pies is bound to be significantly better with a pizza steel.

Winner: Pizza Steel

2. Durability

When investing your money into a kitchen tool, you will want to ensure that it is high-quality. Pizza steel is significantly more durable than pizza stones for many reasons. First, the tool is made from a solid sheet of steel, which won’t be malleable under extreme temperatures and cause warping. 

Also, steel is known for handling high temperatures without breaking or shattering. One of the most significant concerns with pizza stones is poor longevity, often cracking and breaking over time. The higher the heat of your oven, the more likely your pizza stone is to break.

If you love well-done pizzas, you will want a tool that works effortlessly with high temperatures. However, if you prefer a more doughy crust and use lower temperatures, a pizza stone could be a better option. You won’t have to worry about it shattering under high heat if you cook at lower temperatures.

Winner: Pizza Steel

3. Affordability

There is no doubt that a pizza steel can be expensive, especially when you branch into the higher-quality options. The material is expensive to source, manufacture, and finish, especially if the manufacturer uses hand-finishing. Steel is also far more durable, and its longevity increases the cost of the product.

Pizza steels are often regarded as the more luxurious option. They can cost up to $60 more than pizza stones. However, their quality far outweighs their price, especially with regular maintenance.

If you are in the market for the least expensive option, we recommend pizza stones. You can find pizza stones for as little as $30, and they are ready to use right out of the box. Although they could break over time, they are a cost-effective and quick solution to crafting restaurant-quality pizza.

Winner: Pizza Stone

4. Maintenance

Maintaining your cookware is one of the most essential steps to keeping it in its best condition. The types of maintenance required for pizza stones and steel differ significantly, which makes them equal.

Pizza steel will need to be wiped down with warm water and a stiff brush, though you won’t want to use soap. Once clean, you will need to wipe the surface with a quality food-safe oil, such as flaxseed oil. If you forget to re-season your pizza steel, it could experience rusting and discoloration.

Pizza stones also require maintenance, especially when it comes to cleaning. You would need to clean it with a stiff bristle brush that removes any leftover toppings on the surface. Still, some pizza stones don’t require seasoning, which can make them slightly more convenient. You will need to refer to the specific care instructions for your particular model, as many types will still require seasoning.

Like pizza steels, you will want to use high-quality oil to coat the surface thoroughly. Both materials should be hand-washed rather than put in the dishwasher, as doing so can affect the material’s integrity.

Winner: Tie

5. Versatility

It can be beneficial to invest in a multipurpose cooking tool to manage an assortment of items. A pizza steel is the clear winner in this category because of its highly versatile design. Not only will you be able to cook pizza, but it is also ideal for caramelizing onions, baking bread, and more.

One of the more unique and exciting features of a pizza steel is that it also works under extremely cold temperatures. Homeowners can create their own homemade ice cream using their favorite pizza steel and dry ice. It is also a fabulous serving tray for frozen treats and desserts throughout the year. 

Just like steel conducts heat, it also helps to retain cold temperatures. If you are serving cold cakes and pastries, the steel’s cold surface will help keep your desserts cooled. With its multipurpose design, you will find that you would be reaching for your pizza steel more often than a pizza stone.

Although a pizza stone helps cook at the temperatures maintained in your oven, it is not ideal for cold foods. The stone-like materials won’t retain cold temperatures well. Also, the material is far more likely to crack under extreme heat and extreme cold, as it is susceptible to thermal shock.

Winner: Pizza Steel

6. Storage

One of the most significant downfalls of a pizza steel is how heavy it can be. Some of the smallest options on the market weigh as much as 16 pounds, making them challenging to manage. On the other hand, a pizza stone is a far more lightweight option, perfect for travel and storage.

A pizza steel will require a reinforced hook if you want to display it in your kitchen. Alternatively, it will need a safe and weight-resistant place to keep the heavy material over time. With a pizza stone, you can keep it relatively anywhere in your kitchen.

Winner: Pizza Stone

Pizza Steel vs Stone: The Winner

When deciding between a pizza steel vs stone, there are plenty of important factors to consider. The clear winner for ease of use, maintenance, and cook quality is pizza steel. With its tremendous heat transferring and retention, it cooks pizza effortlessly every time.