How to Use a Pizza Stone
Once you know how to use a pizza stone, you can transform your homemade pizzas from average to awesome. Most of us don’t have a brick oven in our kitchens, so a pizza stone is the next best thing. Pizza stones are also highly versatile, as you’ll see. You can achieve excellent results with your oven and a pizza stone, with pizzas cooked to perfection in less time.
Like any tool, a pizza stone can bring you the best results once you know how to use it most effectively. With the proper knowledge (and minimal effort), you can up your pizza game by applying these tips below. Below we’ve laid out exactly what to do and just how easy it is to use a pizza stone to enjoy pizzeria-style food for years to come.
Why Use a Pizza Stone?
The principal reason for using a pizza stone is to achieve a better quality of home cooked pizza. And to understand why a pizza stone can deliver a crispier crust with faster cooking times, we need to know how it works.
What Does a Pizza Stone Do?
A pizza stone retains heat and acts as a heat conductor: your pizza will be cooked at an even temperature. The right temperature can make a big impact when cooking pizza.
When you preheat your pizza stone, it will give your dough a burst of heat when you place your pizza on top. This extra heat input right at the beginning of cooking means your crust will puff up – and you can’t achieve this in a pan.
How to Use a Pizza Stone in the Oven or on the Grill
The good news is that you can use a pizza stone both in the oven and on the grill.
In the Oven
Here’s how to use your pizza stone in the oven.
Step 1: Preheat Both Your Stone and the Oven
Put your pizza stone on the lowest rack of a cold oven. Don’t preheat the oven without the stone inside.
Preheat the oven to about 475 degrees F. Allow the oven to preheat completely, then wait 5 more minutes: you want the stone to get really hot.
Step 2: Prepare Your Pizza
Prepare your dough, sauce, and toppings while your oven is preheating for best results. Add the sauce and toppings at the last minute so that your dough comes out as crispy as possible.
Step 3: Cook Your Pizza
Slide your pizza on top of the hot pizza stone (take it out of the oven first, but do this step quickly).
Put the stone and the pizza into the oven and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Check your pizza, as the cooking time will vary depending on how thick the crust is and how many toppings you’ve used. If you have a thick crust or lots of toppings, your pizza will need a bit more time compared to a thin crust margarita, for example.
Check the bottom of your pizza to be sure the dough is crispy.
Step 4: Serve Your Pizza
Remove the pizza from your pizza stone and slice it using a cutting board or serving dish. Enjoy!
On the Grill
To successfully use your pizza stone on the grill, simply follow these steps (providing your pizza stone can be used on a grill – the best ones can, but some can’t so check the manufacturer’s instructions).
Step 1: Prepare the Pizza Stone
Put the pizza stone on the grill before you turn it on. If you plan to cook other foods simultaneously, put your pizza stone to one side of the grill.
It’s crucial to put your pizza stone on a cold grill so that it can heat up gradually at the same time as your grill to prevent it from cracking.
Lower the hood (or put down the cover) of your grill, and check the gauge temperature: once it reaches 400 to 500 degrees F, your grill (and your pizza stone) is ready for your pizza.
Step 2: Prepare Your Pizza
Prepare your pizza base while your grill is preheating by stretching or rolling out the dough.
Add the sauce and any toppings once the dough is ready and the grill is hot. It’s best to add the sauce and toppings right before cooking your pizza so that the moisture in the sauce doesn’t soak through to the dough.
Step 3: Put Your Pizza on the Pizza Stone to Cook
Sprinkle your pizza stone with some semolina or cornmeal to prevent the dough from sticking. You could also use a layer of aluminum foil that’s lightly oiled – put the foil onto your pizza stone with the oil side up. Don’t put oil directly onto your pizza stone, as the fat will soak into the pores and impair your stone’s performance.
Open the hood or lid of the grill, and slide your pizza onto the pizza stone.
Cover up your grill again and cook your pizza: it should be ready in 5 to 8 minutes. If your dough is thick or has a lot of toppings, it will probably take closer to 8 minutes. Thin crust pizzas with little to no extra toppings apart from the cheese will tend to cook in about 5 minutes.
You can cook your pizza on the grill with the cover up, but the cooking time will be longer. You may not get quite as good results since the heat will escape with an open grill.
Step 4: Serve Your Pizza
Turn your grill off (if it’s gas), and remove your pizza from the pizza stone. Transfer your pizza onto a cutting board, slice it, and serve!
Caring for Your Pizza Stone
Caring for your pizza stone is crucial if you want it to last. The porous nature of a pizza stone gives fabulous cooking results, but it means that there are some things to know about how to care for it. Here’s how to look after your pizza stone.
Don’t Use Soap
Never use soap to clean your pizza stone. The pores in the stone will absorb anything, including soap, and no one wants to eat pizza that tastes like soap!
Never Soak Your Pizza Stone
Don’t ever be tempted to soak your pizza stone. Like with soap, the pores will absorb the water, impairing its performance and not giving you the same cooking results.
The Best Way to Clean Your Pizza Stone
Here is the best way to clean your pizza stone to keep it working as good as new:
- Let the stone cool down before attempting any cleaning
- Use a stiff brush (without water) or a plastic scraper to remove any stuck bits of dough or other food
- Using a slightly damp cloth, wipe the stone to remove any remaining debris
- If your pizza stone is exceptionally gritty and grimy, remove any raised bits of stuck-on food using medium-grit sandpaper
Over time, you’ll probably notice some stains on your pizza stone, which is normal. Your pizzas will always be delicious and crisp, as long as you never use soap, water, or any other liquids on your pizza stone.
How to Use a Pizza Stone FAQs
Can a Pizza Stone Go in the Dishwasher?
A pizza stone is not dishwasher-safe. If you put your pizza stone in the dishwasher, it will absorb water as well as soap, and will no longer be suitable for use.
Can a Pizza Stone Go on the Grill?
As we’ve described above, a pizza stone can, indeed, go on the grill. Both gas and charcoal grills are suitable for pizza stones.
With a charcoal grill, just be sure to put most of the hot coals next to the stone rather than directly underneath it. A pizza stone directly above hot coals will get too hot for best results (800 to 900 degrees F).
You want the temperature of the stone to be closer to the temperature of the dome of your grill (which is usually about 350 degrees F).
Does a Pizza Stone Need to Be Seasoned?
Unlike cast iron cookware, a pizza stone does not need to be seasoned before you use it.
On the contrary, you never want to put oil onto your pizza stone because the pores in the stone will absorb the fat, and it won’t work as well.
Other Uses for a Pizza Stone
Pizza stones aren’t just for pizzas! Here are some brilliant additional ways that you can use your pizza stone.
Who doesn’t love bread that’s crisp on the outside and soft on the inside? This is where pizza stones come into their own.
Some people even say pizza stones are the very best way of making bread, and that maybe they should be called bread stones!
Try making a ciabatta or sourdough loaf on your pizza stone – you may never use a loaf pan again.
Roasted vegetables are full of flavor when cooked on a pizza stone. You’ll achieve crispy, roasted veggies without the black bits that you can get when grilling or broiling.
If you want to roast a chicken at the same time (see below), put the chicken on the preheated stone first, then add the veggies halfway through the cooking time. Who needs one-pot meals when you can have one-stone meals?
Roast a Chicken
Roast chicken is delicious using a pizza stone: preheat your stone in the oven as you normally would, then put your seasoned chicken on top. 45 to 60 minutes later, you’ve got a crisp roast chicken!
Bake Crackers or Chips
Using a pizza stone, you can achieve very crispy crackers or homemade potato chips.
Pizza stones are great for making quesadillas, as your tortillas will be crispy, and the cheese will melt perfectly.
Giant cookies, anyone? Pizza stones are perfect for cookies – and if you’re concerned about the cookie dough sticking to the stone, put a layer of foil between the dough and the stone.
Warm Up Other Foods
You can keep foods warm, such as tortillas, bread rolls, or other items (as long as they are dry).
Final Words on How to Use a Pizza Stone
We hope you see just how valuable a tool a pizza stone is.
Remember that you can use your pizza stone on the grill as well as in the oven, and you don’t need to season it. You can start using it right away.
Your pizza stone will consistently deliver excellent results as long as you care for it properly.Best of all, you can make all kinds of delicious food, including perfect pizzas, for years to come.