A hot pizza stone is key to producing pizza with a well-browned, crisp bottom crust. To ensure that your stone is hot, we recommend placing it in the oven, setting the oven dial to 500 degrees, and leaving it there for a full hour. And yet many folks (even a few here in the test kitchen) question whether this lengthy preheat is really necessary. So what happens if you try to shortcut the process and preheat for less time?
To find out, we preheated four baking stones in four separate 500-degree ovens for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and 1 hour, respectively. Once the stones were preheated, we baked pizzas for exactly 10 minutes on each stone and examined their undersides for browning and crisping.
To back up our browning observations, we also took infrared temperature readings of the stones’ surfaces right before sliding on each pizza. The results? Dramatically different. The pizza baked on the 1-hour preheated stone (which clocked in at 509 degrees) was well browned and crisp after 10 minutes, while the 45-minute preheated stone (451 degrees) produced only moderate browning in the same period of time. The pizza baked on the stone preheated for just 30 minutes (415 degrees) was anemic in color, and the one on the 15-minute preheated stone (291 degrees) was downright pale.
THE TAKEAWAY: While it may feel like overkill, it’s important to preheat a pizza stone for a full hour to ensure proper browning and crisping.
That’s the number one feature we looked at when selecting the best pizza stone.
If you want to get right to it, the Old Stone 14” x 16” baking stone was our favorite out of the bunch we reviewed. It cooked the perfect pizza again, again and again.
13 mins to read
51 products considered
16 products reviewed
29 hours reviewing
Best Pizza Stone
Is there anyone who doesn’t love a good pizza? You would be hard pressed to find someone how doesn’t enjoy crispy, golden dough smothered in cheese. It is said that a Chicago food writer by the name of Pat Bruno invented what is called the pizza stone today. In his story, he was spending time with the famed chef Julia Child while she was making pizza, and she stated that the crust would be much crispier if someone got her a ceramic tile from the stone yard and turned it into a roasting pan. From this experience, Bruno came up with the idea for a pizza stone.
Whether you believe this story or not, there’s no denying that a pizza stone seriously enhances the taste and texture of homemade pizza, without the need for a specialized pizza oven that is the holy grail of pizza-cooking. In fact, if you’re a huge pizza fanatic and don’t have the time or money to install a traditional stone pizza oven, then the only way to get the gourmet results you crave at a fraction of the cost is to purchase a quality pizza stone. It’s affordable, easy to use, and produces some seriously mouth-watering results.
You simply heat the stone in your oven, and once it’s nice and hot it will cook your pizza to perfection from the bottom up. Not only can you make pizza with your stone, you can also use it to make phenomenal calzones, yeast bread, focaccia, and other bread based foods with golden brown and crispy results. The key material here is soapstone, used for centuries as a cooking tool because it’s able to maintain heat for a long amount of time. This is the secret to why the pizza from your local pizzeria tastes better than the one you make in your oven. All of these pizza ovens use soapstone because the intense heat crips the pizza and quickly melts the cheese and sauce.
So, finding the perfect pizza soapstone will not only give you unbelievable results, but will also cut your cooking time in half. So lets go shopping for some of the best pizza stones on the market, and get you well on your way to homemade pizza results that you never imagined possible.
Homemade pizza has always been a popular and convenient way to get a fresh pie without having to leave your home. Making pizza at home is also a fun activity for families, great for birthday parties, celebrations, and movie nights. However, in recent years people have taken a step towards more gourmet pizza at home, instead of that frozen Celeste pizza that tastes the exact same every Saturday night.
The only proven way to get professional results at home without an expensive pizza oven is using a quality pizza stone. The stone can withstand incredibly hot temperatures, and distributes heat evenly throughout the crust for more crispy and doughy results. When you’re looking to seriously up your pizza-making game, then there’s no better way to do it than by purchasing a pizza stone.
That being said, not all pizza stones are alike, and it’s important to do a bit of research to find the stone that fits your unique needs and requirements. They come in all different sizes, and are made of various materials. When you do your research, and learn a little about the history of pizza making, you’re better able to make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing the very best pizza stone, at a price that you can afford.
If there’s one thing to say about the best pizza stones on the market, it’s that the proof is in the crust. Look for the stone that gets consistently good reviews for it’s impeccable crust results. You also want to find a stone that is built for durability, will never crack, and doesn’t stain too much. A little bit of staining is to be expected, but some of the finer quality stones will show fewer signs of ware and tear over time.
Lastly, be sure that you find a stone that is just the right size and shape for your oven, and your pizza-consuming needs. If you have a big oven, and a big family, then you can feel free to go big. But if you don’t need a stone of that size then feel free to go with something that is more compact in size. No matter what style you choose, with a high quality pizza stone, you’re guaranteed some of the tastiest results that you never imagined possible coming from your own home kitchen.
7. Chef’s Star
9. Good Cook
10. Emily Henry
DID YOU KNOW?
The pizza was invented in 1889 in Naples Italy.
Pizza Stone Comparison
Pizza Stone Buying Guide
If you’re looking for a cost effective alternative to a brick oven, but still desire the most sumptuous quality pizza and baked goods, then a pizza stone is definitely the best option on the market. A well-made stone is the perfect option for those who have always wondered why their homemade pizza just doesn’t come out like they want it to. Almost always, the reason that a homemade pizza will fail is due to the crust. When using a metal baking pan, which is non porous, you will almost always end up with a soggy or just softened crust. We all know that when it comes to crust it’s all about crispiness, and a pizza stone is the only way to get it. The stone effortlessly absorbs moisture from the dough, helping to create that texture that is most appetizing. Also, using a pizza stone helps to eliminate hot spots.
What is a Pizza Stone?
A baking stone, otherwise known as a pizza stone, is a thick, flat piece of natural stone that is used for baking. This stone can be square, round, or rectangular in shape and ranges from 1/2 inch thick to a full inch of thickness. The stone is incredibly simple, almost primitive, and that’s why the results are so phenomenal.
To position the stone, simply place it on the middle rack or bottom of the oven. Be sure to preheat the oven for 30 minutes before placing the pizza on the stone. If you have a very thick stone, then you may want to preheat the oven for up to an hour.
What happens as the stone heats up is that it absorbs this heat evenly and maintains it for quite a long time. This amazing heat is then transferred directly onto your pizza dough for consistent and fast heating. Not only is this a great cooking method for pizza, but it also works wonders for calzones, rolls, breads, pastries, and so much more. All of these delicious breads will come out browned and crispy in no time.
Keep in mind that these stones can handle some seriously intense heat, and that means that they will be safe up to 600° Fahrenheit.
One thing that you need to know about before purchasing a pizza stone is what glazing is. Baking stones are made with various natural materials, the most common ones being clay, marble, tile, and firebrick. Most of these are sold “unglazed” because they’re meant to soak up moisture during the cooking process. That being said, there are some pizza stones that are sold “glazed”, but are said to be “micro-glazed” so that they still permit moisture to seep through the cracks. When purchasing a pizza stone, you want to look out for what the manufacturer states about the glazing of the stone, and lean more towards those that are totally unfinished.
What it really comes down to, in the end, is personal preference. People purchase a glazed baking stone because there are claims that it’s easier to clean and maintain. But, it’s possible to purchase an unglazed stone and simply spray it with a bit of cooking spray for similar results. In the end, the choice is yours.
Tips for Optimal Usage of Your Stone
Almost as important as purchasing the right stone is maintaining it in the proper way. Follow the manufacturers tips for properly cleaning and using your stone, and do a little research on your own to ensure that your pizza stone will stand the test of time. If you take care of it carefully, you’re going to get years of usage out of your stone.
When it comes to preheating your stone, the key is to get the stone heated perfectly so you can get that crispy crust that you desire. That means that you should never rush the preheating process. It is recommended by experts that you preheat for at least 30 minutes, and up to an hour for thicker stones. Just because your oven has reached its proper temperature does not mean that the stone is properly heated.
Also note that it’s important to put the stone into a cold oven, instead of a hot oven. When placed in a hot oven a pizza stone can crack due to the dramatic increase in temperature. So, be sure to put your stone in the oven before even turning it on to keep your stone in perfect condition. This cracking process is also known as thermal shock, and it’s definitely something that you want to avoid.
It’s a great idea to season your stone regularly with oil, as this prevents dough-based goods from sticking to the surface of your unglazed natural stone. It’s easy to do this just by rubbing some oil onto the surface of the stone, but be sure that you rub in a circular motion until it disappears. If there’s any oil left on the surface of the stone it will cause smoke when you heat it up later. Some people choose to spread bread crumbs, rice flour or cornmeal to prevent sticking, instead of using oil. With a little experimentation you’ll be able to find the method that works best for you.
Selecting the Right Baking Stone for You
It is not terribly difficult to find a pizza stone that is just right for you, as they really are simple in most regards. What you want to make sure of first is that what you’re buying is going to fit into your oven. Simply measure the depth and width of your oven cavity, and take these measurements with you when you go to purchase your oven.
If you own a natural gas oven then you’ll want to allow for at least one inch on each side of the stone when it’s placed in your oven. This is for the purposes of proper air circulation, and it’s similar to what you’d try to do with cookie sheets. Additionally, if you would like your dough to be extra crispy then opt for a thicker stone, between 3/4 and 1 inch thick. The reason why this works is because a thicker stone has better heat absorption and superior distribution of that heat directly to the food that is sitting on top of it.
If you want to go really big, then the largest single piece baking stone that you can find, and will still fit in a standard kitchen oven, is about 16 inches by 14 inches. This allows you to make some pretty big pizzas, which works great when you have a big family or you frequently entertain.
When it comes to shape, you can find pizza stones in square, rectangular, or round shapes. Rectangular stones are great because they provide you with an ample surface space, and also work best when you want to bake bread or other foods requiring a greater working area. If you’re just going to be baking pizza then you should simply opt for the round or square shape, dependent upon what shape of pizza you prefer.
How to Clean?
If you want to get peak performance from your pizza stone for years to come, it’s important that you clean the stone on a consistent basis to keep it in peak condition. Because the stone is made from porous material, you need to give it as much special care as you would with a marble or granite countertop, or any floor that is made from fine natural stone.
The porous surface of your pizza stone should never be cleaned with soap. The soap works to effectively leach into the surface of the pizza stone, and then your next pizza is going to taste like soap.
Only clean your pizza stone after it has completely cooled. If you put a hot stone into tepid water then it will weaken the structural integrity of the stone and it could go into thermal shock. This kind of shock will cause small fractures within the stone that can lead to eventual breakage.
Any unglazed stone is not sealed in any way, and that means that food and oils can creep below the surface. Be sure to always scrape off all spilled or cooked food with a stiff brush, scrubbing pad, or plastic scraper, and then simply wipe the surface of the stone with a damp cloth. Make sure the stone is completely dry before seasoning and using it again.
Please note that an unsealed surface will definitely get stained over time, but this staining does not effect the flavor or quality of your pizza. Since using a baking stone is beneficial because it absorbs moisture during the cooking process, it’s important to not use any chemical sealers, even if it’s a food-grade sealant. What happens during heating is that high temperatures will damage the natural stone by causing the sealer to expand and this process will crack the stone. The heated sealer can also possibly leach into your food.
Best Baking Stones for Pizza
There are various different kinds of baking stones out there, but when you’re only going to be cooking pizza with your stone then it narrows down your search to some specific characteristics. Be sure to look for quality brands that have a high level of customer satisfaction. One of the best pizza stone manufacturers is The Old Stone Oven brand. Their company uses firebrick, which is made from fire clay that is composed of fine-grained soil with clay minerals and traces of metal oxides. This is the same material that is used to line furnaces and fireplaces. This is a ceramic type material, similar to the material that Julia Child famously might have used on her pizza.
When finding the best baking stone for pizza, it really comes down to the materials, so do some research to find what works best for people. The most trusted brands will boast of a high level of customer satisfaction, and a successful history of only producing and specializing in these amazing baking stones.
Beware of Imitations
There are a lot of pizza stone imitations out there that do not have the natural material with absorbent properties that you need. These fake pizza stones are really just glorified pizza pans, and they will not yield the results that you crave. It’s quite deceiving because they really look almost exactly like traditional pizza stones. What you want to watch out for are models that are designed to move easily from oven to the table. The materials of these stones are questionable. Also be wary of highly glazed stones and “dishwasher safe” models. No authentic stone is ever dishwasher safe, and glazing ruins the stone’s absorbency.
Almost all baking stones come in a single piece, which has the added benefit of no moving, and no shifting or adjusting. You can also find some designs that have legs at the bottom to make it easier to get the stone out of the oven.
Please keep in mind that the thinner the pizza stone, the greater the likelihood of cracking or breaking over time. The difference in cost between a 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch model is quite nominal, and that’s why it’s important to spend a bit more for the thicker stone.
Lastly, keep in mind that natural stone is quite heavy, so before purchasing a stone online, check whether or not the shipping is included as this could be an exorbitant additional cost. In fact, it could cost more than a third of the price of the stone itself to have it shipped to your home.
If you’re a serious pizza lover and want to start making them within the comfort of your own home, there’s no better way to cook than with a pizza stone. Even if you’re a pizza lover who simply wants to eat the best frozen pizza on the market, the stone is a fine way to heat a frozen pizza to crispy golden perfection. Everyone loves pizza, and making it from scratch is fun as well. It’s a great activity for the whole family to have a pizza night so everyone can add their favorite toppings and customize their pizza to their unique tests. Having a pizza stone significantly cuts down on the time needed to cook each pizza, so you can pump them out in fast succession.
That being said, owning a pizza stone isn’t all fun and games. There’s a real method to using, cleaning and maintaining your stone to prevent damage, so be sure to do your homework before using your stone to not only ensure that you’re getting the best stone you can, but that you’re also taking care of it in the necessary way.
So in conclusion, owning a pizza stone is a fun and affordable way to take your homemade pizza to a whole new level.
- Pizza craft: http://www.pizzacraft.com/
- Old Stone Ovens: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/
1. Old Stone
Best Overall Pizza Stone
5/5 Product Rating
Whether you’re making professional-quality pizza or European-style bread, you’ll find that this baking stone will give you the upper hand. Some of the best bread in the world is created by using stone cooking ovens, because they easily store up the heat and redistribute it evenly, making for perfect results. This rectangular-shaped pizza stone gives your bread a nice, chewy crust that you crave. To use the stone, you simply place it in a cold oven and preheat to 500° for pizza, or per a different recipe for bread and galettes. Because this stone is made from the same materials that line kilns and furnaces, it can handle unbelievable levels of heat.
Please remember to wait until the stone has completely cooked before cleaning it, for your own safety. You also want to make sure that the stone has dried completely before using it again. Over time, there will be signs of discoloration on the stone, but this is a natural process and will never effect your baking. It should also be noted that this stone is designed to make the perfect pizza, and is not intended for cookies or other high fat items. Included with your stone, you’ll receive instructions for proper cleaning and maintenance, as well as some delicious recipes for bread, pizza dough, and so much more.
– Sarah Lytle
2. Old Stone
Best Overall Pizza Stone – Runner Up
4.7/5 Product Rating
The baking stone is made from only the highest quality firebrick material that you find lining kilns and blast furnaces, and is designed to replicate the results of the old stone ovens that have been used for ages to produce the highest quality pizza crusts. You’re now free to perfectly customize your gourmet pizza, and add all the favorite toppings that you crave. This firebrick material also withstands thermal shock so if something cold is put on the hot stone, such as chilled pizza dough, there will be no resulting cracks in the stone. The perfect 16-inch diameter is just large enough to make a family-sized pie, and is also great for making bake rolls, circular breads, and delicious biscuits. You can even cut and remove slices directly off of the stone without needing to transfer the pie. The stone also features eight circular feet that keep the stone uniformly balanced on the over rack, preventing cheese or toppings from sliding off the stone.
– Sarah Lytle
Best Budget Pizza Stone
4.5/5 Product Rating
This is a nice and thick stone, which means that it retains high heat for a longer duration of time. It also means that this stone is more durable than the rest, and perfectly resistant to thermal shock. You will enjoy the added convenience of being able to cook with it, take it out of the oven with the pizza still on top, place it on your stove, and serve directly from the stone. When it comes to even heat distribution, this stone really does blow away the competition. Even if you’re someone who likes to experiment with your dough by using alternative oils, milks, and flours, this stone will cook it all up beautifully, unlike other stones that are unforgiving when it comes to non-traditional recipes. Not only does it perform above the rest, but it also comes at a price tag that seems too good to be true.
– Sarah Lytle
Sarah's passion for cooking and eating healthy is what drives her to research and educate others. Sarah is our expert researcher who manages the Home and Kitchen category. When she's not writing you'll find her listening to Paleo Diet podcasts and educating people on how to live and eat primally.