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The Best Pizza Stones and Steels Tested by Chefs

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No matter how you slice it, pizza is universally loved. Just imagine the perfect bite of gooey cheese, sweet tomato sauce, endless toppings and, of course, the all-important crispy crust. But there’s no need to call up the local pizza shop for that perfect pie. Armed with a basic pizza dough recipe and hot oven, you can whip up pizza at home, anytime you’d like. But to take your pizza to the next level, a chef-approved pizza stone or steel is a must.

Of course, there are so many options for pizza stones on the market—it can be hard to know which is best for you. For the answers, we talked to professional chefs around the country to get their recommendations for the best pizza stones and steels.

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What to Look for in a Pizza Stone or Steel

The purpose of a pizza stone or steel is to ensure heat is transferred into pizza dough evenly, explains Lowell Raven, AYYA Hospitality partner and creator of Crust & Roux pie restaurant in Las Vegas. You want a product that retains this high heat well at high temperatures, which will ensure a crisp crust and avoid that doughy, undercooked center.

“High heat [conveyed through the pizza stone] not only makes the pizza cook quickly, but will activate and rise the dough,” Raven says.

The thickness of the stone or steel is one way to determine how hot it can get. “The thicker it is, the hotter it can get to best conduct heat,” says Tim Payne, executive chef at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden, a biodynamic estate winery in Oregon that makes wood-fired pizzas. “This is important for your home oven to replicate the high-heat ovens used in pizzerias,” he says.

Next, you’ll want to determine what material you’re looking for. The two most common categories are stone (which include products made with ceramic materials, refractory stones, cordierite or other stone-like material) and steel (which can be made from steel, carbon steel, cast iron, or other steel-like materials).

The benefit of a pizza stone is it’s thicker, so it theoretically can get hotter—more closely mimicking a commercial pizza oven. It can potentially create a crust that holds up well under heavy or wet add-ons. But, pizza stones are more likely to crack than steels, plus they can be rather heavy.

A lot of it comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a super-crispy pizza or want a lighter option, Raven says a steel sheet may be the best choice.

“Steel retains heat from the source,” Raven says, which can make for an extra-crispy crust. “While a pizza stone will slowly cool while the dough is cooking evenly on the stone.”

Our Best Pizza Stone and Steel Picks

Best Overall: Kamado Joe KJ-PS23 Ceramic Pizza Stone

Made from a ceramic material that works hard to absorb moisture for a crispy crust, this pizza stone is a fan favorite.

“I love cooking wood-fire pizza on this stone,” says Darryl Harmon, executive chef at Clinton Hall in New York City. “It cooks the perfect pie for my family while using my outdoor grill. It gives pizza the same robust flavor and the crispy shell as using a commercial coal fire pizza oven.”

You can order it in a 15-inch, 20-inch or deep dish-style.

$76 Amazon

Most Versatile: The Original Baking Steel

This baking steel is 14-inches by 16-inches and can cook a pizza in under five minutes.

“The high conductivity of this model means the heat transfer is quicker and therefore the bounceback time for making another pizza is faster,” says Vincent Huynh, chef at Vinny’s Pizza in Houston. “A baking steel also can be used as a griddle to make countless other items like seared steaks, seafood, breakfasts, vegetables and batters. It takes all the great traits of a cast iron, carbon steel pan or flat-top griddle and packages them in an easy-to-use slab. Without a doubt, it’s the top choice for professionals at home and first-timers alike.”

James Briscione, head chef at Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano in Pensacola, Florida, agrees.

“Stones have a tendency to crack, particularly with rapid changes in temperature,” he says. “The baking steel is one solid piece of metal that is extremely durable. Most importantly, making good pizza at home is all about temperature, getting your baking surface very hot and maintaining that temperature throughout the cooking. This is what makes the density of the steel so great. It has incredible heat retention, ensuring your pizza will come out with a great crust.”

$119 The Baking Steel

Best Splurge: Fiero Casa Italian Pizza Stone

Straight from Italy, this 15-by-15-inch pizza stone diffuses heat evenly over the entire surface.

“I love the Fiero Casa because it’s one of the few pizza stones on the market that actually uses refractory stones from Italy and is made there as well,” says Domenico “Mimmo” Tolomeo, master pizzaiolo at Zazzy’s in New York City. “It can be used with any gas or electric oven or barbecue. And [it] gives you an authentic pizza in the comfort of your own home.”

$150 Fiero Casa

Best Ceramic: FibraMent-D Rectangular Home Oven Baking Stone

This pizza stone is made from a blend of heat-resistant ceramic materials and is available in 15-by-20-inch or 13.875-by-17.5-inch options.

“A ceramic pizza stone is the best option for the home chef as it is not as heavy as lava stone options,” says Andrea Frizzi, chef and owner of Vero Pizza in Denver. “But [it] gets hot enough to make the pizza crust nice and crispy without burning it. It’s why the space shuttles use ceramic tiles.”

$137 Amazon

Best Lightweight: Made-In Carbon Steel Pizza Steel

“So many pizza stones and steels are heavy,” says Marisel Salazar, recipe developer, cooking show host and Wine Enthusiast contributor. “I love that this is like the MacBook Air of pizza steels at 2.6 pounds. The cooking surface diameter is 11.5 inches, so just large enough for a sizable personal pizza, and the holes help the crust crisp evenly and fast.”

She adds that the steel can achieve 1,200°F to create a crispy crust and doughy center. “I am personally a huge fan of Napoletana-style pizzas, so I aim for a tender, doughy center with enough crispy texture towards the outer rim and crust of my pizzas. And unlike $100+ pizza stones and steels, this one is quality on a budget,” Salazar says.

$49 Made In

Best for Oven: Honey-Can-Do Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone

Capable of creating a crunchy and chewy crust, this 14-by-16-inch pizza stone is a great option for oven use.

“This pizza stone fits perfectly in the home oven,” says Jean-Baptiste Lucas, pastry chef and culinary instructor in Bangkok, Thailand. “It is made of cordierite, which is perfect for pizza, as it stores heat and releases it quickly so your pizza puffs well and becomes crispy. Also, the rectangular shape allows spots for little bread pieces and the corners give me extra space.”

$40 Amazon

Best Cast Iron: Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan

Just like your favorite cast-iron pan, this 15-inch pizza crust can conduct heat remarkably well.

“This one is great for conductivity and a quick pizza night at home,” says David Murphy, chef at Shuggie’s Trash Pie & Natural Wine in San Francisco. “It’ll fit a perfect little 12-inch pie without falling off…this cast iron is the way to go especially for the price and to get a nice, airy crisp bottom. It also doubles as a plancha for cooking all sorts of other meals as well!”

Chef Murphy is not alone in his admiration for the Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Stone.

“At home, and when cooking in various venues, I have to coax maximum pizza performance out of a regular residential oven,” says Amy Riolo, a chef and pizzaiola based in Washington D.C. “I like cast iron for home use because it retains heat so well and tends to give a darker, crispier crust in a home oven, which is hundreds of degrees lower than a professional pizza oven. When I make pizzas at home [with this pan] they have a beautifully finished crust that reminds me of the ‘pizze tonde,’ round cast-iron cooked pizzas famous in Pescara, Italy.”

$40 Amazon

Best Wood-Fired Alternative: American Metalcraft Deluxe Pizza Stone

When Alan Maniscalco, executive chef and co-owner of Rally Pizza in Vancouver, Washington, used this pizza stone for a photoshoot, diners had a lot of positive feedback about the 16-inch, cordierite stone.

“People thought the pies had been baked in a wood oven,” he says. “They were beautiful. We’re able to mimic that wood-fired quality with this particular stone because it’s thicker than most, so it holds a ton of heat and distributes it evenly. We get great oven spring using it for bread, too.”

$82 Amazon

Best Cordierite: Unicook Heavy Duty Cordierite Pizza Stone

“Cordierite stone is prized for its durability, superb even heating and its ability to withstand temperatures up to 1,450°F,” says David Leite, cookbook author and founder of Leite’s Culinaria. “That’s why it’s frequently found in ceramic kilns. The Unicook heavy-duty cordierite pizza stone is microporous, so it wicks moisture away from pizza dough for an extra-crisp crust. Like ceramic, it requires special care, so follow the instructions that come with it. With proper care it can last decades.”

$38 Amazon

Best All Purpose: Emile Henry Rectangular Pizza Stone

“This red burgundy pizza stone hands down has been my favorite one to use at home,” says Chef Marc Marrone of Nice Hospitality concepts. “It is super versatile, won’t crack even on the grill—I have heated it up to almost 800°F. The ceramic glaze also gives new pizza makers some flexibility—the pizza won’t stick to the stone as a lot of others do. This stone also heats very quickly, making a ‘quick pizza’ super easy. The key to perfect pizza starts with a hot stone. This also works great for bread baking.” You can get it in a 15-by-12-inch rectangle.

$ Varies Food52

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FAQs

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Pizza Stone?

Some stones soak in moisture, which could fracture or crack the material, Payne warns. Always follow the instructions for the specific type of stone you have. If you must wash the stone, Raven suggests using “non-abrasive [products] and hand wash only.”

What Is the Difference Between a Pizza Stone and Steel?

As stated earlier, both options cook a pizza thoroughly, but pizza stones achieve a pizzeria-style pie while steels can deliver extra crispy crust. Pizza stones also tend to be heavier than pizza steels, but this all depends on the specific material. It comes down to personal preference.

Can You Cut Pizza on a Pizza Stone?

Raven recommends transferring the pizza to a cutting board before slicing. “This will allow for a smoother cut and defined slices and ensures you won’t damage the stone,” he says. Payne adds cutting on a pizza stone may lead to “premature deterioration, chipping or possibly cracking, which can lead to tears in the dough or sticking.”

How Long Should You Pre-heat a Pizza Stone?

Each pizza stone is different based on material, so it’s best to read the instructions for your specific stone. In general, a pizza stone should preheat for about 30 minutes before use for crispy, perfectly cooked crust, explains Ciro Iovine, pizza chef and owner of Song’E Napule, a Neapolitan pizza restaurant with multiple locations in New York and New Jersey.