How to Use a Pizza Stone in the Oven (5 Easy Steps)

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What if you could make pizza in your kitchen that tasted as delicious as pizza cooked in a brick oven?

Good news—you can. 

First, you need to purchase a pizza stone. Then, you need to understand how to use it correctly. 

If you’ve already purchased a stone, but you’re not sure how to use it, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I teach you, step-by-step, how to use a pizza stone in your oven.

You’ll also get answers to the most common pizza-stone questions so you can start making pizza at home that tastes like it’s cooked in a well-seasoned brick oven.

To give you a quick preview, here are the steps you need to take when cooking with a pizza stone:

  1. Step One: First, place the pizza stone in your cold oven.
  2. Step Two: Next, preheat the oven to approximately 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the oven preheat completely then wait 5 more minutes to allow the stone to get really hot.
  3. Step Three: Once the stone is nice and hot, take it out of the oven (I usually put it on the stove) and quickly build your pizza on top of the stone. As soon as the dough touches the stone, it will start to cook, so move fast. Another option—build your pizza while your stone is heating up and slide it onto the stone with a pizza peel.
  4. Step Four: After about 10 minutes, your pizza will be ready. Check the bottom to make sure the dough is crispy. Place the pizza on a cutting board to slice. The stone will dull your pizza cutter. 
  5. Step Five: Let the stone cool off and scrub it with warm water and a sponge, avoid using soap. That’s it!

To learn more and get detailed instructions on how to use a pizza stone in your oven, keep reading.

By the end of this article, you’ll know how to make pizza at home that tastes like it’s from one of the best restaurants in the world.

Let’s jump right in! Click the links to go straight to a section.

What Is a Pizza Stone?

A pizza stone is a portable cooking surface that is designed to mimic the cooking process of a masonry (brick) oven.

What is a pizza stone
Pizza stone

Pizza stones are available in many different shapes, sizes, and materials, but most are round, about 16 inches in diameter, and are made from either ceramic or cordierite.

How Does a Pizza Stone Work?

To best understand how a pizza stone works, you first need to learn how a masonry oven works.

masonry pizza oven

Unlike a regular oven that circulates hot air in a small, enclosed space, a masonry oven takes heat from a source such as burning wood, coals, or gas and absorbs it into its stone walls and floor.

Once the heat is absorbed, it slowly and evenly releases it into the air within the oven chamber.

With masonry ovens, the pizza is cooked from the hot air and direct contact with the stone.

There are a few key reasons why this method of cooking is ideal for pizza:

  • Even heating results in even cooking. First, much like the surface of a masonry oven, a pizza stone heats and cooks the pizza completely even. There are no hot or cold spots on the stone that would interfere with the cooking process.
  • High heat results in a puffy crust. Secondly, since the surface of the stone is extremely hot when the pizza first comes into contact with it, the dough puffs up, creating a crust that is soft in the middle, yet crunchy on the outside. A room temperature metal pan will produce a crust that is flat and crunchy like a cracker.
  • The stone absorbs moisture helping to develop a crispy exterior crust. Lastly, the surface of a pizza stone is porous, allowing it to absorb moisture and achieve a dry, crisp exterior crust. Without a pizza stone, you’ll end up overcooking the rest of the pizza before the crust reaches the ideal crispness.

Step-by-Step: How to Use a Pizza Stone in the Oven

You got the dough, sauces, cheese, toppings, and pizza stone. Now what?

If you’ve never used a pizza stone before, these are the steps you need to take. 

Step One: Put the Stone in Your Cold Oven

pizza stone in oven

Place the pizza stone in your oven on the middle or lowest rack. You never want to put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven because the drastic change in temperature could cause the stone to crack.

Step Two: Preheat Your Oven to 400 or 500 Degrees Fahrenheit

The exact temperature depends on your oven and the size of the pizza.

If you are cooking a large, thick pie, set it closer to 400, so the crust has time to cook before the cheese and toppings get overdone.

For a flatter, 16 inch pizza, set it closer to 500.

Every oven, stone, and dough is slightly different, so I would highly recommend testing it out between 400 and 425 the first time and then the next time between 475 and 500. Experimentation is the only way to determine the best temperature.

Once your oven is done preheating, wait five more minutes to allow for the stone to get even hotter.

Step Three: Put Your Pizza on the Preheated Pizza Stone

You can use one of two methods to put your pizza on the stone.

Method 1: Buy a pizza peel, spread semolina flour or cornmeal on the peel, and build your pizza on it. Once the oven reaches temperature, slide the pizza from the peel to the stone.

Method 2: If you are like me and don’t have room to store a pizza peel, this method is for you.

As the stone is preheating in the oven, get your dough rolled out and your sauce, cheese, and other toppings ready to go.

pizza dough

Once the oven reaches temperature, carefully take the stone out with two oven mitts and place it on your stove.

Take your dough and carefully place it on the stone.

Quickly and carefully build your pizza on the hot stone.

The second you put the dough on the stone, it will start to cook, so you have to move fast to avoid cooking it too much outside of the oven. If you have all the ingredients ready to go, you should be able to build the pizza within 90 seconds.

Once built, pop it in the oven.

Step Four: Remove the Pizza from the Oven

After about 10-12 minutes, your pizza should be ready.

To check if it’s done, use a spatula to lift the pizza from the surface of the stone and look underneath to make sure the bottom is golden brown.

Use two oven mitts to remove the stone from the oven.

Before cutting the pizza, remove it from the stone and place it on a cutting board. You will damage and dull your pizza cutter or knives if you cut it on the stone.

Step Five: Clean the Pizza Stone

Cleaning your pizza stone is simple.

Let the stone cool then scrub it with a sponge and warm water.

Since the stone is porous and will absorb substances it comes into contact with, avoid using soap.

Occasionally, gunk and dried pieces of dough will get stuck to the stone. When that happens, use a spatula to scrape it off.

If necessary, soak the stone in warm water for 20 minutes and give it another good scrub.

Pizza Stone FAQs

Now you know how to use a pizza stone in the oven but, if you’re like me, you probably have several other questions to clear up before getting started.

I had the following questions that I think will help you on your way to making delicious pizza at home.

Can a Pizza Stone Go in the Dishwasher?

Technically, yes, it can go in the dishwasher, but we highly advise washing it by hand with just water. The stone is porous and will absorb the chemicals and odors from soap, so unless you like your pizza to taste like dishwasher detergent, wash it by hand.

Can a Pizza Stone Go on the Grill?

Yes! We love using our pizza stone on the grill.

Place the stone on the cold grill, preheat it to medium-high heat for 15 minutes and either build the pizza on the stone or slide the already made pizza onto the stone with a pizza peel.

Cook for 10 to 12 minutes and you’re good to go.

It comes out great on the grill but, when I have the choice, I prefer using the oven.

With grills, heat is more likely to escape, which results in the crust cooking must faster than the rest of the pizza. The results depend on your grill, but that has been my experience so far.

Does a Pizza Stone Need to Be Seasoned?

Some people say that you need to season a pizza stone with oil like you would a cast iron skillet.

These rumors are completely false, and I would highly recommend ignoring that advice. Your stone will become naturally seasoned by cooking pizza on it over and over again.

If you were to slather it in oil, the porous surface would absorb that oil and inhibit its ability to absorb moisture from the pizza. The ability to absorb moisture is one of the core benefits of cooking with a pizza stone, so you don’t want to interfere with that in any way.

Also, since you preheat the stone in the oven at a high temperature before adding the pizza, any oils rubbed into the surface will burn and smoke up your kitchen.

You don’t see pizza chefs spraying oil into their masonry ovens, do you?

Your pizza may stick the first few times you use the stone, but after that, you won’t have any issues.

What Is the Best Material for a Pizza Stone?

Pizza stones are made from a few different types of materials, but the most common are ceramic, cordierite, and steel.

Ceramic Pizza Stone

Ceramic is the most common material used for pizza stones. Ceramic stones are cheap, conduct high heat very evenly, and will last for many years as long as you use it properly.

Unicook Heavy Duty Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone, Baking Stone, Pizza Pan, Perfect for Oven, BBQ and Grill, Thermal Shock Resistant, Durable and Safe, 15x12 Inch Rectangular, 6.6Lbs
Ceramic Pizza Stone. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Cordierite Pizza Stone

Cordierite is another common material used for pizza stones.

Cordierite is a mineral that can handle extreme changes in temperature.

It is most well known as the primary material in catalytic converters, which are a critical part of automobiles’ exhaust process.

The point is, cordierite is very durable and can handle the pressure that comes from extreme fluctuations in temperature.

You can trust that cordierite stones will last a very long time and be able to easily handle cooking thousands of pizzas in extremely hot ovens or on grills.

Cordierite pizza stones usually cost more than ceramic ones.

Steel Pizza Stone

NerdChef Steel Stone - High-Performance Baking Surface for Pizza (.375 Thick - Pro)
Steel Pizza Stone. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Steel pizza stones or, as some call them, pizza steels, are gaining popularity lately.

The main difference between stones and steels is the way they conduct heat. Steels are very efficient at conducting heat and transfer the heat to the surface of the pizza quickly; because of that, the pizza cooks faster.

Unlike ceramic stone, they will never crack due to extreme fluctuations in temperature and are virtually indestructible.

Unlike stones, you can also use a pizza steel as a griddle on the stove or a grill.

The main downside is that you have to season them occasionally like you would a cast iron skillet.

Can Pizza Stones Be Used to Cook Other Things Besides Pizza?

Yes! Pizza stones hold and retain heat very evenly and absorb moisture, which makes them great for many foods, especially foods that taste better crispy.

Some of the most common foods people cook on pizza stones beside pizza are bread, cookies, vegetables, french fries, and quesadillas.

Like you would with a pizza, make sure to place the stone in the cold oven and preheat it before adding the food.

How Much Do Pizza Stones Cost? Where Can I Buy One?

Pizza stones range from $15 up to over $100, and their price depends on the material, size, and brand.

You’ll find pizza stones in any store that carries kitchen products as well as large department stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowes.

Amazon also sells a wide variety of pizza stones. I recommend reading reviews to make sure you’re getting a high-quality stone.

Although there are many pizza stones on the market, the one I highly recommend is the Culinary Couture 15-inch pizza stone (see on Amazon).

It’s made with superior cordierite material and can withstand up to 1000 degrees in the oven. That’s right, 1000 degrees!

Even though your oven probably can’t get that hot, unlike some stones that can only handle up to 500, this one will cover you if you want to experiment with higher temperatures (which I recommend doing).

Culinary Couture Pizza Stone Box

This pizza stone is significantly thicker than most stones at 3/4 of an inch, which gives it more durability, versatility (use in the oven or on the grill), and enables it to produce more consistent results. 

Culinary Couture thickness

If you are looking to buy your first stone, this one from Culinary Couture is a great option. It has over 200 mostly excellent reviews and is Prime eligible on Amazon.

It’s Time to Make Some Pizza!

We hope that you found this article helpful in your quest to make the most delicious pizza at home. If so, please share it with the pizza lovers in your life. We are still learning, so if you have any tips that we missed, please let us know by contacting us directly or leaving a comment below.

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