When you are browsing recipes and blogs that talk about making pizza at home, you likely see pizza stones mentioned often. That’s because using a pizza stone really makes a world of difference when making homemade pizza. Let’s show you exactly how to use a pizza stone so that you are able to easily make restaurant style pizza right in your own kitchen.
What is a Pizza Stone?
First things first, let’s talk about what a pizza stone even is. A pizza stone is a round, flat, baking surface typically made from clay, ceramic or cordierite, which is a magnesium aluminum silicate material very similar to ceramic.. It is quite heavy and also very porous. Pizza stones are available in all different sizes and thicknesses. The thicker your stone, the better as it will be more durable. However, larges stones do cost more and also take longer to heat up. But if you plan on making lots of pizzas, it’s worth the extra investment!
Pizza stones are placed inside your oven, preheating along with the oven in order to get very hot. The uncooked pizza is placed directly on the hot pizza stone to bake. So why use a pizza stone at all? Here’s why…
Benefits of Using a Pizza Stone
- High Heat Baking- When you preheat your pizza stone with your oven, it gets super hot. If your pizza oven is 700+ degrees F, your pizza stone will be too! When your raw pizza is placed on the stone, the crust will immediately cook and crisp. You will get that restaurant quality crust (crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside) that you love.
- Even Cooking- Baking a pizza on a pizza stone ensures that your pizza will cook evenly. The stone will all be one, uniform temperature. Your pizza, especially the crust that is in contact with the stone, will cook at the same rate and be as perfect as possible.
- Porous Surface- Since pizza stones are made of porous materials, they cook the pizza much better than a solid metal tray. When the pizza dough touches the pizza stone, the moisture in the dough will immediately turn to steam. The porous material of the stone will allow the steam to escape and evaporate quickly. This, once again, will help create a crispy crust. If you were to only bake your pizza on a metal tray, the evaporating steam would be trapped between the dough and the tray, preventing a crispy crust from happening.
In order to make high quality, restaurant style pizza at home, you really need one of these. You also need to make sure that you use the pizza stone correctly in order to get the maximum benefits possible. So let’s get into the right way to use a pizza stone so you can get ready to cook ASAP!
5 Steps to Use a Pizza Stone
Now matter what kind of pizza stone you have, the method to cooking with it will be the same. Here is our step by step guide to using a pizza stone.
1. Season the Stone
When your pizza stone is brand new, right out of the box, it needs to be seasoned. Pizza stones are very, very dry so seasoning them before use will help prevent them from cracking and also prevent your pizza from sticking to the stone. It also is a great way to ensure your stone is perfectly clean and food-ready.
Place a thin layer of oil (olive, canola, vegetable, coconut…any kind will do!) over your entire stone. Rub the oil into the stone using a clean paper towel or wash cloth. You do not want too much oil on the stone, just enough to make it look a little “wet”.
Next, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place the oiled stone in the oven and let it bake until the oil has all been absorbed and the stone no longer looks shiny. Turn the oven off with the stone still inside and let it cool. Remove the stone from the oven once it is cool enough to handle. Your pizza stone is ready to use! You only need to season your stone once when you first purchase it. It will only become more and more seasoned with each pizza it bakes.
When you are ready to cook a delicious pizza, place your pizza stone in the cold oven. Then turn the oven on to preheat. You want to be sure to heat your pizza stone at the same time you are heating your oven otherwise the stone may crack when it goes into such a hot oven. You also want the stone to be super hot, ready to crisp your pizza.
When cooking in your regular kitchen oven, be sure to place the pizza stone on the top rack. Once the oven has reached its maximum temperature, let it continue to heat for 15 more minutes. This will ensure the stone is nice and hot.
If you are cooking pizza in an outdoor oven, place the stone right in the oven before you turn it on. Once your outdoor oven is hot, the stone will be hot as well. The high temperature of the pizza oven will make the pizza stone hot almost instantly.
3. Careful Transfer
Once your oven is hot and your pizza stone is preheated as well, slide your pizza directly on to the stone using a pizza peel. This can be a tricky process for beginners, so I urge you to follow our guide on how to use a pizza peel. You will need a good amount of flour on the peel to prevent sticking.
4. Time to Cook
Cook your pizza as you normally would, rotating it if needed or just keeping it in the closed, hot oven. Once the cheese in the center of the pizza is melted and the crust has browned, the pizza is done! You can remove the entire pizza and pizza stone or just use a pizza peel to take the pizza off the stone. Time to eat!
5. Clean Your Pizza Stone (Important Read)
It is very easy to clean your pizza stone especially because you should never wash it! All you need to do to keep your stone clean is brush off any cornmeal, flour or cheese that may be on the stone. Use a dry towel or pastry brush to do this. That is it! Your stone is ready for the next use.
Maintaining Pizza Stones
Each pizza stone will have its own specific guidelines about how to use it properly. However, most of them are quite the same. Keep your pizza stone in a cool, dry place. Storing it in the oven is a good idea! This will also help your oven bake more evenly as the stone will help distribute the heat better no matter what you are cooking.
Never wash your pizza stone with soap or submerge it in water. The porous stone will absorb the soap and you will be able to taste it in your pizza. It takes a long time to get rid of that soapy taste! This is one case where washing with soap will do more harm than good. You also do not want to submerge the stone in water as it will, again, absorb all the water. If any water is present in the stone when heating, it will likely crack or even shatter.
Brush your stone off after each use. If there is caked on cheese, use fine grit sand paper or a light scrub brush to get the baked-on food off. The sooner your clean the stone, the easier it will be. One quick minute of cleaning after your pizza bakes is much easier than scrubbing the stone later on.
Still have questions about how to use a pizza stone? Hopefully, some of these quick answers will help you! You can always shoot us a message if you still have unanswered questions. We will try to respond ASAP!
What is a pizza stone made of?
Pizza stones are made of ceramic, clay, cordierite or cast iron. They are always made from a porous material.
How long to preheat a pizza stone?
Place your pizza stone in the oven before you turn it on to cook your pizza. In your home kitchen oven, let the stone continue to heat for 15 more minutes after the oven has reached its temperature. In an outdoor pizza oven, the stone will be ready to use as soon as the pizza oven has heated. The high heat of the outdoor oven will heat the stone quickly.
Can you use a pizza stone on grills?
You can definitely use a pizza stone on a grill. Place the stone directly on the grill grate and close the grill top to let the stone preheat for at least 15 minutes. Continue to use the stone just as you would in a regular oven.
Can you use a pizza stone without a pizza peel?
If you do not have a pizza peel, you can still use a pizza stone. Use a baking sheet pan to slide the pizza onto the stone. Place the pizza on the flat tray and then gently push it off the tray onto the stone in the oven. When you are ready to remove the pizza, use a spatula to help you slide the pizza off the stone, back onto the tray.
Are you ready to go invest in a pizza stone? It is such a helpful tool! If you want the best homemade pizza with the crispiest crust, you should definitely get a pizza stone. You will be glad you did!