Pizza Stone Heat Retention [Best Pizza Stone Material]

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Best Pizza Stone Material

Experts generally agree that the best pizzas are baked on pizza stones, but there is not much consensus on what makes the best pizza stone material.

Pizza stone heat retention is a hot topic (pardon the pun) among both amateur and professional pizza chefs.

The best pizza stone material is determined by its heat retention.

So which is the best pizza stone material?

Let’s find out!

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Pizza Stone Heat Retention

Pizza stones make excellent pizza because they retain high heat and distribute it equally across the surface.

This results in a speedy cook time, which preserves freshness and flavor, and the even distribution of heat ensures an evenly cooked pie.

Also, pizza stones made of natural, organic materials and remain unglazed have microscopic holes throughout. These pores both absorb moisture as the pizza cooks, giving it a delicious crispy crust, and they also infuse the pizza with the flavors of previously cooked pizzas for a super special seasoning.

Some stones are passed down for generations!

Read on to learn more about what kinds of pizza stone materials are available, their pros and cons, pizza stone heat retention and distribution properties, and which stone might work best for you!

Pro Tip


Choose a pizza stone that will serve your needs. For pizza stones the bigger and thicker the better. Preheat the pizza stone or steel for not less than 1 hr before baking any pizzas.

PIZZA STONES MATERIALS

Cordierite

Known for their thermal shock resistance, cordierite stones can help you bake the crispest pizzas.

They can handle extreme temperatures, and unlike ceramic stones, they won’t break down during temperature transitions.

Cordierite Stone
Cordierite Stone

What is Cordierite?

Cordierite is an extremely heat-resistant material; its high heat capacity makes it about 20% more resistant to changes in heat than steel.

Cordierite is also very durable and unlikely to crack, so you don’t have to worry about it while your oven or grill is preheating.

Cordierite heats up quickly and is resistant to shocks. It’s relatively light, making it safer and easier to use.

Pizza Stone

The shelves of pottery kilns are often made of cordierite, so you can feel confident that it can handle anything your home oven can put out.

These are Our Favorite Pizza Stones




Pizza Pun


What freezes when you heat it up?

– Your computer

Cast Iron

If crispy and crunchy crusts are what you look forward to, a cast iron pizza stone might be a truly valuable addition. Baking a restaurant-style pizza is a breeze, thanks to nifty little tools!

The best part: you can also double up your cast iron pan like a pizza stone.

 The most defining point of cat iron stones is that they heat up really well, leaving you with a crunchy exterior.

They also feature handles, making way for ease of use and convenience. Again, cast iron is practically impossible to tamper with.

Unlike your clay or ceramic pizza stones, these devices won’t ever crack, no matter how hot your oven is.

Finally, the biggest takeaway of these stones is that they are super simple to clean. All you need to do is wipe them off with a clean towel after seasoning them with a dash of oil and salt.

With these stones in place, you can bid adieu to scrub forever!

cast iron

Cast iron is an excellent pizza stone material since it heats up quickly and retains heat exceptionally well.

 It is almost impossible to break or crack a cast-iron, so you can even slam it around if you are so inclined!

Some cast-iron skillets and pizza pans have a recommended top end of about 400 degrees, which is lower than desired for pizza, but we don’t see why that should be treated as if it was set in stone. 

Cast iron pizza pan


Do be warned that cast iron is quite heavy, and it will be hard to move around a big stone made of it.

These are Our Favorite Cast-Iron Pizza Pans

Granite

Granite stones are known for their heat retention and heat absorption properties. Available in many designs, they can double up as a serving platter.

These pizza stones are also scratch-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. The downside? They do not absorb moisture, so you might not get the crunchiest crusts.

While granite is not as good at retaining heat as some other pizza stones, it is pretty attractive and does not stain, so you can use your pizza stone as a serving platter.

granite stone

Granite feels cool to the touch when it’s not in the oven, so you can roll and shape your dough on it.


These are Our Favorite Granite Pizza Pans

Steel

Steel is better at conducting heat than the traditional pizza stone. Because of that conductivity, the pizza crust cooks faster and more evenly at a lower temperature, resulting in a beautiful, thin, crispy crust.

But why is steel a better conductor than stone?

Here’s the scoop. We know from seventh-grade science class that steel is a great conductor. We’ve learned that it stores more than 18 times the amount of energy — heat — than a stone can store.

The steel transfers that heat so quickly that pizza can be fully baked in a home oven in about 5 minutes — less than half the time of a traditional pizza stone.

Like Cast Iron, Pizza Steels heat up quickly and can retain the heat for a long time. The main advantage of Pizza Steels and Cast Iron, for that matter, is that they can release heat very quickly, cooking your pizza that much faster.

Making steel

Pizza Steels are better than cast iron at this, but they also retain a little less heat.

Pizza steel


The pizza steels are often thicker at about 3/8th in. to increase the heat they can hold. Due to this extra thickness and their slightly higher density.

Pizza steels tend to be heavier than most other pizza stones. Pizza Steels are also a great DIY project if you want custom dimensions for your pizza steel.

These are Our Favorite Pizza Steels

Marble

Marble pizza stones are incredibly delicate and can take ages to clean.  Marble will absorb any liquid that you may pour over.  If you drop pizza sauce, it will be stained.

However, this might be a good option if you are looking for a cheap pizza stone for occasionally baking pizzas.

Marble stones take ages to heat up; although they are somewhat durable, you wouldn’t want to count on them. Cleaning them is equally exhaustive.

Like granite, marble has a cool surface for kneading and shaping the dough.

unpolished marble stone
Marble Stone

Once heated through, marble retains heat much better than most other types of pizza stones, though due to their porous nature, this can be quite unpredictable.


However, all these pores make the marble extremely light. Marble pizza stones are not often available in stores, but they can be a great DIY project.

These are Our Favorite Marble Pizza Pans

Ceramic

Ceramic pizza trays are created through a rigorous clay baking session. Once baked, the clay is then hardened to render a structure.

Most ceramic stones are widely used for heat retention and conduction at high temperatures.

Thanks to these pizza stones, heat is evenly radiated, leaving you with a perfectly cooked pizza.

While ceramic stones are not known to be traditionally durable, they will last a while when you properly care for them. They may be subjected to thermal shock, and you will require extra care while cleaning and maintaining them.

As with claystone, ceramic pizza stones take ages to pre-heat, and they aren’t as potent to handle massive temperature changes.

But then again, these pizza stones are cheap, and if it’s a basic stone that you require, they will turn out as just the right option.

Ceramics is a classic in the kitchen, so many experienced cooks are very familiar with its properties and are very comfortable cooking with it, which is a good thing. 

Making ceramic

Ceramic tends to be relatively budget-friendly, so it’s an excellent choice for a family kitchen; it will take frozen pizza nights to a new level! Ceramic heats evenly, which is very nice, but it does tend to crack if you don’t take preheating seriously.

ceramic pizza stone


These are Our Favorite Ceramic Pizza Pans

Quarry Tile

Unglazed quarry tiles might be your best option if you are looking for a cheap, DIY option for baking pizzas. Ideally, you will need four eight-inch tiles to make a large pizza tray.

The pizzas baked on these tiles are super crunchy and ideal for making thin-crust pizzas.

The downsides?

Most of these titles aren’t very durable and take ages to heat up. While the regular cracks on the tiles may render an authentic taste to your pizzas, cleaning them is nothing short of a nightmare.

It can be very tempting to try to DIY your pizza stone with a piece of tile from a quarry or even a home improvement/hardware store, and there’s a good chance that it will work just fine!

quarry tiles

They are even less costly than traditional clay pizza stones, and you have a good selection of shapes and sizes.

A tile pizza stone shares most of the same pros and cons as its clay cousins, although it may be even more likely to break.

pizza on quarry tile

The main drawback is that stones from a quarry can be highly variable in heat retention, as many kinds of stones are mined.

Make sure you select an unglazed stone, as the glaze used on floor tiles is not food-safe.

These are Our Favorite Quarry Tiles

Our Top Pick
SomerTile Klinker Flame Red 5-7/8" x 5-7/8" Ceramic Bullnose Floor and Wall Quarry Tile (1 Tile/0.49 Linear Feet)

Crafted from high-quality ceramic, matte red quarry look. Indoor or outdoor and commercial and residential use, the tile is perfect for the kitchen.

Check it Out
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Quarry Red Blaze

Made from ceramic with a textured stone visual. An eco-friendly product that uses recycled materials Medium shade variation gives the tile a slightly varied appearance.

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SomerTile Quarry

This unglazed natural quarry tile gets its rich color from the natural makeup of the clay and through the firing process. 

Check it Out
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Pizza Stone Heat Retention Comparison

We used a specific heat capacity value to compare the heat retention of different pizza stone materials. This process is a measure of how much energy it takes to raise the temperature of a material.

It measures how long it will take for your stone to heat up and cool down in layman’s terms.

A higher number means that the pizza stone will take longer to heat up and cool down, while lower numbers indicate that the pizza stone heats up and cools down faster.

Here is a chart comparing the different values per pizza stone material.

MaterialSpecific Heat Capacity (J/g-°C)
Marble1.2
Cordierite0.9
Ceramic0.85
Quarry Tile0.8
Cast-Iron0.506
Steel0.475
Granite0.3

*Please note that we are pizza bakers, not scientists.  The information regarding the individual properties of these materials provided in these charts was obtained from matweb.com. 

Our opinion is primarily based on our experience with these pizza stone materials; the numbers are for informational purposes only.

Pizza Stone Material – Other Considerations

It is essential to keep in mind the dimensions of your pizza stone.

A thicker pizza stone will be able to retain more heat than a much thinner stone. But it’s not only the thickness that matters; a larger pizza stone will be able to hold more pizza for any potential guests that you might have.

Also, pizza stones with high heat retention may be better for making many pizzas in one night since the stone will not cool down as much.

However, if you are only planning to make one or two pizzas a night, it might be better to have a pizza stone with low heat retention since it will heat up faster and be handled much sooner.

While this article focused on the heat retention of different pizza stone materials, it is also essential to consider other stones’ weight and durability. If you intend to move around your pizza stone, it may be worth considering a lighter pizza stone at the cost of heat retention.

However, if you know you will not move your pizza stone any time soon, you can afford to get a heavier pizza stone as you will only have to move it a few times.

The durability of a stone matters too, these pizza stones will go through many heat cycles in their lifetimes, stressing the stone, so it is essential to know that they can go the distance.

Another critical factor is the amount of moisture that a stone can absorb.

Stones made of metal, granite, or marble will not be able to absorb as much moisture as ones made from more porous materials. This can make your pizza soggy or make it take longer to cook the crust fully.

Ways to Retain Heat on Your Pizza Stone

  • Know your temperature; get yourself an infrared thermometer and precisely the temperature of the stone and the oven walls, and quickly identify hot and cold spots.
  • Pre-Heat the Stone or Steel for the time required before cooking your pizza
  • Do not open the oven unless it is extremely necessary
  • Add fire bricks to the surroundings of your oven and pre-heat them along with the stone or steel.

Pros and Cons of Pizza Stone Materials

Here is what we like and what we don’t like about each of the pizza stone materials.  Hopefully, it will help you make a better decision about the best pizza stone material for you!

Pizza Stone Materials Advantages and Disadvantages

MaterialPROsCONs
Marble– Ultimate Heat Retention
-Can be used as a serving platter
– Super time consuming, it takes too long to reach the temperature
-Extremely fragile at high temperatures
Cordierite-Best Heat Retention
-Not too heavy
-Requires Maintenance
-May Crack due to shock
Ceramic-Similar Heat Retention compared to Cordierite
– Lightweight
– Inexpensive
-Extremely fragile, will break at high temperature
Quarry Tile-Inexpensive
-Retains Heat slightly lower than Cordierite and Ceramic
-Not Meant for Food
-Do not hold them in place; they will move when you reach the pizza with the pizza peel.
Cast-Iron-Versatile Uses other than pizza
-Inexpensive compared to Cordierite
-Gives a very nice crust
-Durability
-Temperamental, you need to watch it or it will burn the crust
-Needs to be cured or the pizza will stick to it
-If not maintained, it will get rusty
Steel-Super nice crust
-Reaches temperature way faster
-No maintenance, no curing
– Will last forever
-Due to its heat capacity, it will lose temperature faster than the others
-It comes with a higher price tag
Granite-It reached temperature the fastest-It will break at a high temperature
-Loses temperature faster than any other

Best Pizza Stone Material – Our Choice

While all the pizza stone materials listed above can make excellent pizza stones, we think that cordierite, steel, or cast iron are excellent choices.

However, depending on how many pizzas we will be baking, we often decide which one to use.

Cordierite is engineered for high-heat applications, retains heat the best, and is lightweight and durable, although subject to crack when exposed to sudden changes in temperature. All of this makes it an excellent addition to any pizza kitchen.

Cast iron is the opposite since it is heavy and has a lower heat threshold than cordierite, but it creates a fabulous crust and a great flavor. Most cast-iron pans are designed with handles, making them very easy to use despite the considerable weight, so they will never break or crack.

For us, steel gives you the best of both worlds; it retains heat relatively enough to bake a couple of pizzas, is not heavy, and it will not break.

Our rule of thumb is if were are making 1-2 pizzas, we go for pizza steel; if we are baking three or more pizzas, we go for cordierite. But it would have to choose only one; it would then have to be pizza steel. 

Why?

It reaches temperature faster, although it will also lose temperature faster than cordierite. We just cook the second pizza for a minute longer if necessary. And the pizza steel is easier to clean and will last forever!

Here’s What the PROs at Homemade PIzza Pro Use and Recommend

Our Top Pick
The Original Baking Steel

The Original Baking Steel is perfect for making high-quality pizzas at home. Stores 18 times more energy than traditional ceramic pizza stones. Perfect for crispier crusts and faster cook times.


Quarter-inch steel is virtually indestructible and won’t shatter or crack; cleans up quickly and easily with gentle soap and warm water. 16" Round, 16 Lbs. Manufactured in the USA.


Check it Out
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The Last Slice

It’s often been said that there’s no such thing as a bad pizza; we’re not sure that we’d go quite that far, but it’s indeed hard to make pizza truly bad and pretty easy to make it good.

But when you want to surpass good and go for great, the suitable pizza stone and/or steel is a crucial step in that direction!  So tell us what you think, and what has been your experience with any of these materials.  Which one gives you the best crust and allows you to make as many pizzas as you want.

Enjoy!

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