Best Pizza Stones of 2018
With a pizza stone, you can make pizzeria-quality pizza at home. Use our shopping guide to help you find the best pizza stone, so you can make restaurant-style pies in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Your Guide to the Best Pizza Stones for the Crispiest Crusts
The gooey, flavorful melted cheese, the sauce with just the right mix of tomato and spices, the crust with the perfect balance of crispiness and chewiness—what could be better than pizza done right? With a pizza stone, you can make this pizzeria-quality pizza at home.
Pizzerias have pizza ovens, which are typically brick-lined, wood-fired, and super-hot. Your regular oven at home just doesn't have the same oomph, unless you use a pizza stone. But with so many of these gourmet devices on the market, how do you find the right one for your kitchen?
At BestReviews, we're here to help. Through thorough research, product testing, expert consultations, and feedback from customers like you, we compile our handy shopping guides. Our recommendations are always unbiased and hype-free because we never accept promotional products in exchange for a good review.
If you're ready to purchase a pizza stone, scroll up for BestReviews' top picks. For everything you need to know about choosing and using this handy kitchen tool, you've come to the right place.
What Is a Pizza Stone and Do You Need One?
A pizza stone is a piece of bakeware generally made from clay, stone, ceramic, or the mineral cordierite. You'll find round pizza stones, square pizza stones, and rectangular pizza stones, all in a range of sizes. Most are between a half-inch and one-inch thick. The thicker the stone, the more slowly it heats up, and the longer it retains heat. Pizza stones are also called baking stones, as their use isn't limited to making pizza.
The beauty of a pizza stone is that it absorbs a great deal of heat from your oven, then slowly conducts that heat to the crust of the baking pizza, while simultaneously absorbing moisture from the dough. This leads to a perfectly crispy, browned crust, which is much harder to achieve with a metal pan.
Are Cordierite Pizza Stones Best?
There are several materials commonly used to make pizza stones, and each has its own pros and cons.
Clay or Stone Pizza Stones
Clay or stone—the stone might be marble or granite—are the traditional choices for pizza stones. They absorb moisture very effectively, heat up slowly and evenly to create the perfect crust, and aren't too expensive. On the downside, you must preheat them for at least half an hour before cooking, they break easily, and they aren't always easy to clean.
Glazed Ceramic Pizza Stones
Glazed ceramic pizza stones are made of clay or tile with a glazed finish. While this might seem to defeat the purpose of moisture absorption, the type of glaze used is a micro-glaze that has very fine cracks to let moisture through. You get the same benefits of a regular clay pizza stone—slow and even heating, moisture absorption, and perfect crisping and browning—but glazed pizza stones are easier to clean. On the downside, they are more expensive than their unglazed counterparts, require preheating in the oven, and break or shatter easily.
Cordierite Pizza Stones
The mineral cordierite creates a pizza stone with the qualities of clay. Cordierite pizza stones absorb moisture, conduct heat slowly and evenly, and crisp and brown crusts excellently. But cordierite handles temperature swings far better than clay or stone, so cordierite is less likely to shatter.
Cast-Iron and Steel Pizza Stones
While technically not stones, these pizza pans don't require preheating, handle extremely high temperatures, and are very durable. They don't have the moisture-absorbing capabilities of stone or ceramic, however.
Round vs. Square Pies
Once you know what material you prefer, you'll want to decide on a shape and size for your pizza stone. If you only plan on using your stone for pizza, it makes sense to buy a round pizza stone. If you also want to use it to bake bread, make homemade chips or crackers, roast vegetables, or make quesadillas, you'll appreciate the larger surface area of a rectangular stone. Of course, if you love Grandma's pies, you'll want a rectangular pizza stone, too.
When choosing a size, make sure you know the interior dimensions of your oven first. If you have a natural gas oven, you'll need to allow for at least one inch of clearance all the way around the pizza stone for air circulation. Generally, the largest pizza stone that easily fits inside a standard home oven is 14 inches by 16 inches.
Pizza Stone Extras
Some pizza stones come with accessories, adding to their value.
- Rack: A rack with handles makes it easy to lift your pizza stone out of the oven and carry it to the table. Typically, racks are made of metal wire.
- Pizza Cutter: While you can use a kitchen knife, a pizza cutter makes it far easier and neater to slice your pizza into even slices. There are rocker and roller pizza cutters. Both work well.
- Pizza Peel: A few pizza stones come with pizza peels, which look something like flat shovels and are used to slide pizza on and off the pizza stone.
How Much Do Good Pizza Stones Cost?
- Budget-Friendly: Pizza stones under $20 are generally thin and likelier to shatter in the oven than sturdier pizza stones.
- Mid-Range: This is the sweet spot for most home pizza chefs. For $20 to $50, you'll find good-quality, sturdy pizza stones that will last many years if cared for properly. These pizza stones will often come with accessories.
- Expensive: You'll find commercial-quality pizza stones for over $50.
Tips for Using and Caring for Pizza Stones
- Never put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven, or you risk cracking or shattering. Instead, place your cold pizza stone in a cold oven, then let the oven preheat for at least half an hour—an hour is even better—before placing the pizza onto the stone. You can remove the pizza stone from the oven to do this, but it's much easier to use a pizza peel to slide the pizza onto the stone without taking it out of the oven.
- If your pizza stone is unglazed, season it occasionally with a very light application of olive oil rubbed in well. Don't go overboard, however, or the oil will smoke next time you heat the pizza stone.
- Don't set heavy items on top of your pizza stone or store it at the bottom of a cabinet. It's likely to crack if handled roughly.
- Always let your pizza stone cool completely before cleaning it.
- Scrape off any crumbs or stuck food once the stone is cool.
- If necessary, wipe your pizza stone with a damp cloth, but avoid soaking it in water.
- It's best not to use soap on a ceramic, clay, or stone pizza stone, as a soapy taste can permeate the material.
- Don't worry about stains. It's normal for your pizza stone to become stained with use.
Q. I notice a funny smell when I use my pizza stone. Is that normal?
A. Sometimes, pizza stones develop a bad smell from excessive oil soaked into the clay or stone. If this happens, you can often burn off the oil by cooking the pizza stone at high heat without any pizza on it. After that, be careful not to oil the pizza stone excessively when seasoning it, and always wipe away food residue and crumbs after use.
Q. How do I use my pizza stone on an outdoor grill?
A. Just like with the oven, set your pizza stone on the cold grill, heat until the stone is very hot, and then slide your dough onto the pizza stone. For even cooking over briquettes, make sure the charcoal is evenly distributed across the grill, and set your pizza stone in the middle of the grill rack.
Q. My pizza stone cracked! Why did that happen?
A. There are several reasons pizza stones crack. The most common are:
- You put a cold pizza stone in a hot oven, instead of letting it slowly preheat.
- You put cold dough on a hot pizza stone. Let your dough come to room temperature before cooking it.
- You soaked your pizza stone in water to wash it. This permeates the material with moisture, which then expands when heated and sometimes cracks the stone.
- You didn't let the pizza stone cool down completely before handling it.
- You set something heavy on top of the pizza stone.