Any way you slice it, pizza is universally loved. There are options for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores, and for the dairy- or gluten-free crowd.
No matter how you eat your pizza, we can all agree that the crust is an all-important ingredient. If you want to make the perfect pizza at home, you’re going to need a few things: a basic pizza dough recipe, a hot oven and a quality pizza stone or steel.
We talked to professional chefs around the country to get their recommendations. Here, the 10 best pizza stones and steels, according to chefs and other culinary professionals.
1. Kamado Joe KJ-PS23 Ceramic Pizza Stone
“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.”
2. The Original Baking Steel
“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.”
3. Fiero Casa Italian Pizza Stone
“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 BBQ. And [it] gives you an authentic pizza in the comfort of your own home.”
4. FibraMent-D Rectangular Home Oven Baking Stone
“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.”
5. 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.”
“This pizza steel can get up to 1,200°F, which is great for those crispy crusts but with doughy dough,” says Salazar. “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.”
6. Honey-Can-Do Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone
“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.”
7. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan
“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. In professional kitchens, we have giant hearths and stone decks that crank up to 1,000°F. But most home ovens only do 550°F, so 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.
“I am used to using ‘the Ferrari of brick ovens’ at work, but 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 stone] they have a beautifully finished crust that reminds me of the ‘pizze tonde,’ round cast-iron cooked pizzas famous in Pescara, Italy.”
8. American Metalcraft Deluxe Pizza Stone
“When we were opening Rally Pizza, we made pizzas at home for our first photoshoot,” says Alan Maniscalco, executive chef and co-owner of Rally Pizza in Vancouver, Washington. “We cranked the oven as high as it would go and heated this stone for a good half an hour. People thought the pies had been baked in a wood oven. 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.”
9. 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.”
10. 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.”
“As a trained pastry chef, I always look for innovative ways to bake pastry,” says Carrie Honaker, a freelance food writer and Wine Enthusiast contributor. “I personally own the round version of this stone and use it religiously for baking galettes—the crust is flaky and golden because of its excellent heat-retention and even cooking surface superior to any baking sheet.”