How to Clean a Pizza Stone to Remove Stuck-On Cheese, Toppings, and Stains
Soap and water can do more damage than good when cleaning this kitchen cookware.
You might not want to hear this, but your pizza stone isn't going to look brand-new again after cooking, regardless of how often you clean it. High heats, oily ingredients, and a porous surface result in stains and discoloration that are simply unavoidable. But with a little time and patience, and a few cleaning tools you likely have on hand, you can tackle baked-on surface residue so your pizza stone lasts for years.
The most important thing to know is that the best way to clean a pizza stone does not involve soap and water. Common pizza stone materials, like ceramics and cordierite stone, are naturally porous, meaning soap could become a permanent part of your pizza flavoring if absorbed into the pizza stone. Similarly, you shouldn't soak a pizza stone in water; the porous material will absorb the moisture, ultimately negating the crust-crisping characteristics of the pizza stone.
How to Clean a Pizza Stone
Let's assume you've just made a delicious pizza with the perfect crust thanks to the help of a pizza stone. Here's how you can tackle the cheese, dough, and toppings that get left behind.
Step 1: Remove pizza remnants and let the stone cool.
Once you've eaten the pizza and given the stone a bit of time to cool down, brush off what you can of left-behind ingredients before they dry and stick to the stone.
Before attempting any additional cleaning, completely cool the stone. Sudden temperature changes can shock and crack a pizza stone. Plus, letting your pizza stone cool saves your fingertips from any discomfort. The longer the wait, the less heat the stone will retain; consider letting it sit overnight.
Step 2: Scrape off baked-on bits.
Removing baked-on cheese, crust, and toppings is the bulk of the work when it comes to cleaning a pizza stone. Scrape these superficial remnants with silicone and nylon scrapers or rubber spatulas; avoid metals and sharp objects that might scratch the surface of the stone. You can try gently prying stuck-on chunks with a bench scraper or dull butter knife, but you may need to move on to the grease-and-burn fighting methods below to avoid possible abrasions to the surface.
Step 3: Wipe down the pizza stone.
Ideally, scraping will do the trick for routinely cleaning a pizza stone. After that, a quick wipe with a damp cloth (remember: you don't want water soaking in) can remove pesky crumbs. Then, let the pizza stone dry and place back into storage. If you need to tackle greasy or burned bits, read on for our grease-fighting cleaning technique.
Tips for Cleaning Grease Off a Pizza Stone
Stains are a normal part of using a pizza stone. But if something is sticky, tacky, or seems to sit on the surface, try cleaning the pizza stone with baking soda. This natural cleaner won't leave a bad taste lingering inside the stone.
The key to cleaning a pizza stone with baking soda is to create a thick paste; add water to baking soda slowly and cautiously to avoid a liquid mixture. Apply the paste to the greasy area and gently scrub with something non-metallic, like a toothbrush, vegetable brush, or scouring pad. Don't apply too much pressure; just allow the paste to provide friction against the stain. Wipe away with a damp cloth. Repeat a few times if the spot lingers, but know that it might not entirely come out.
Whenever you use water to clean a pizza stone, help dry it out in a hot oven afterward.
How to Clean a Burnt Pizza Stone
Some tough, baked-on bits need to be burned off. Bake the stone, sans pizza, at a high temperature (most sources recommend 500°F for about an hour). Be aware that it could cause the stone to smoke or drip inside the oven. When done, allow the stone to cool and dry completely before storing it again.
How to Clean Other Pizza Stone Materials
Wondering how to clean a ceramic pizza stone that says it's dishwasher safe? Some pizza stones are glazed or coated to protect the porous materials below. These often come with recommendations to use soap and water or even a dishwasher to clean the stone. Never assume you can wash a pizza stone this way, but it's safe to do if you have the manufacturer's product manual for confirmation.
Pizza stones and pans made of steel or cast iron are also available. Stainless-steel pizza pans can stand up to more rigorous cleaning tools and solutions, but the baking soda method is often still most effective. General cast-iron care and maintenance will also work for pizza pans.