Stones By Type

Clay, Cast Iron, Steel: Which Pizza Stone Material Is Best?

In the quest to make delicious pizza at home with delicious, crispy crust, a good pizza stone is a must to have. There are many different types of materials a can be made of, including stone, cast iron, steel and salt, but which is the best for you?

It depends on your personal needs and kitchen habits. Are you looking for a stone that produces an ultra-crispy crust? Does it need to move easily in and out of the oven? Are you a pizza professional, willing to pay any price for the latest equipment? Here are some of the pros and cons of each material.

Ceramic / Clay / Stone

The classic pizza stone absorbs moisture as the pizza bakes, resulting in a crisper crust. Stones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some people even use do-it-yourself stones with inexpensive unglazed quarry tiles.

• Pros: Wide variety of stones to choose from. Some can be expensive, others are top of the line. Produces a crisp pizza crust.
• Cons: Must be preheated in the oven for at least 30 minutes (longer for thicker stones). Difficult to clean. Can crack or break.

Cast Iron

If you want to make pizza without buying any new equipment, you can use a cast iron skillet to cook pizzas on the stove. Or you can try Lodge's cast iron pizza pan, which heats up in the oven quickly.

• Pros: Heats quickly. Easier to clean than stone. Has handles for maneuvering in and out of oven.  Can be put in a preheated oven and won't break or crack.
• Cons: They can be heavy. Recommended temperature may be cooler than the ideal temperature for cooking pizza.

Steel

The baking steel is one of the new options on the market. Baking steels conduct heat better than stone, and can cook food more evenly at lower temperatures.

• Pros: Cooks pizzas more quickly and evenly. Stabilizes at a lower temperature than stone. Won't break or crack.
• Cons: Expensive ($72 for the 1/4-inch version). Very heavy and does not have handles, so it can't be easily moved once it is hot.

Salt Block

Salt blocks can be used as pizza stones.  They can be heated to extreme temperatures and impart flavor

  • Pros: Can be heated as high 700°F, can retain and distribute heat better than cast iron, impart flavor complexity to your food
  • Cons: Can develop cracks. Salt blocks large enough to cook pizza may be hard to find.

Baking Pan

For beginners, using a baking pan is the easiest, most straightforward surface for baking.

  • Pros: Low cost, can be found anywhere
  • Cons: Uneven heat distribution, may warp, may not stand up to high temperatures well