Pizza Stone vs Pizza Steel: Discover Which One You Need to Make the Perfect Pizza!

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Pizza stone vs pizza steel, which is the best for pizza?

In this article, we will reveal why you need a pizza stone or pizza steel to make the perfect pizza, and help you determine which one is the best for you.

Let’s go over what these options are and which one is right for you!

Let’s get started!

Do you need a pizza stone or pizza steel to make pizza?

A pizza stone and pizza steels are significant options that will kick your homemade pizza up a notch. The basic concept of these tools is that they conduct heat and hold it very well. The conductive service of the stone or steel is meant to cook your pizza quickly and evenly. This process will result in a pizza that is crispy and more flavorful than other cooking methods.

Being able to make a fantastic pizza at home beats waiting on delivery. Making your pizza at home is relatively easy, and you can make it with the exact combination of pizza toppings that you like. After a few trials, you can nail your favorite recipe. Once you are ready to up your pizza-making game,  you will want to ditch the sheet pan and invest in a tool that will trick your taste buds into thinking your pizza just came out of a wood-fired oven. 

When making pizza at home, all we are trying to do is to get as close as possible to what you would find at your local pizzeria. Or better yet, what you get on the streets of Naples, the traditional Neapolitan pizza made in old-fashioned wood-fired ovens. 

Pizza Steel vs Stone: Why You Need One?

Most people will tell you that you need to get a stone or baking steel to make pizza at home. But usually, they don’t tell you why you need it and what are the benefits of having one.  Find why they are not just another kitchen gadget, but they are the road to perfection.

Features of Using Pizza Stone or Steel

There are three features that you will accomplish:

Appearance – A defining feature of Neapolitan-style pizza is the appearance of little black burned spots on pizza known as “leoparding” or “leopard spotting,” which is widely viewed as a desirable trait.

leopard spots on pizza

Leopard Spotting

Achieving true leoparding on a home oven is exceedingly difficult, but you’re going to get close when if you use a pizza steel.

Texture – A good pizza results in a crispier, browner crust and superior flavor when compared to pizza made on a baking sheet.

Taste – This is not just about cosmetics; this is about taste. We want a noticeably crispier texture and a top-quality flavor. The extreme temperatures reached by stones and steels cause chemical changes — not only in the crust, in the sauce and cheese layer as well — changes that make the pizza taste like more than just bread, and sauce and cheese, and top of each other.

What is a Pizza Stone?

Also known as a baking stone, it is what it sounds like—virtually a piece of flat stone, clay or ceramic that sits on a rack in the oven. The stone will heat up evenly and retain the heat, leading to a more evenly cooked pizza with a crispier crust. A baking stone has a porous surface, allowing steam to evaporate, which ends up with a crispier pizza crust.

Pizza Stone

Pizza Stone

Baking stones can be round or rectangular and can also be used for cooking other items such as cookies or bread. Baking stones come in different thicknesses. The thicker stones tend to work better and are more durable; however, they are more expensive and take longer to heat up.

How to Use a Pizza Stone

Place your stone in a cold oven and allow it to reach a temperature as you are preheating your oven. You can try using your stone on different racks. Typically, the lowest shelf or even the floor of your oven is best. However, you can play around with it to get your desired pizza crust.

Steps to use a pizza stone:

  1. Place your stone into the lowest rack of the oven.
  2. Pre-heat oven at 500°F in the “Bake” setting.
  3. Let the stone heat up for 1hr before using it.
  4. You will slide your pizza onto the stone and bake until the cheese is lightly browned.
  5. Remove the pizza and turn off the oven. Leave the stone in the oven to cool down slowly.

When you are done, you can even leave the stone in your oven permanently.

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Maintenance and Cleaning for your Pizza Stone

Pizza stones are more susceptible to cracking or breaking over time. The stone may also shatter if it is exposed to rapid temperature change. The stone’s excellent advantage is that you can put it in the oven and never take it out, making for a low-maintenance pizza cooking solution!

Storage

Leaving your stone in the oven will help to equalize your oven’s heat and will also make it less likely to be damaged while taking it in and out of the oven. Leaving your stone in the oven will cause your oven to preheat more slowly, so that is a trade-off. You will not have to find a place to store it in your kitchen if you always leave it in the oven!

Cleaning your Pizza Stone

To clean your stone, make sure that it is at room temperature. Due to the porous surface, never clean your stone with something that would not be safe if you were to eat it. Wipe your stone down with a cloth, gently scraping off any stuck-on bits.

If you need to clean it further or get off a stubborn spot, make a paste of water and baking soda and delicately spot clean the surface with a brush or a soft cloth.

What not to do with your pizza stone:

  • Please do not wash it with a dishwasher. 
  • Rinse to clean, and never use soap or detergent as it may be absorbed and affect the taste of foods. 
  • Never season pizza stone with oil or grease. 

Things to Avoid with a Pizza Stone

Due to the baking stone’s susceptibility to thermal shock, you want to avoid placing the hot stone on a cold countertop. Cooking a frozen pizza (or other frozen foods) is also not advised. You should never add a cold stone to a hot oven, as this will cause it to crack.

You should also avoid cooking meats or other foods with high-fat content. The moisture that is released during cooking will soak into the stone’s porous surface and cause problems later on. Do not add grease or oil to your stone.

If you feel your pizza might stick to the stone, add a little bit of cornmeal to aid you in taking out pizzas or loaves of bread. If possible, do not soak your stone, and be sure not to use metal utensils while cleaning as this can damage the stone’s surface.

Pro Tip


Adding course cornmeal to the pizza peel just before setting the pizza to the stone or steel makes it easier to slide on and off.

What is a Pizza Steel?

The Baking Steel, also known for cooking pizza, was created by a steel mill operator who loves pizza. Steel conducts heat evenly and quickly, making it excellent when it comes to baking pizza. It is also almost indestructible, making it an excellent investment for a piece of kitchen equipment.

Pizza Steel

Baking steels come in a few different thicknesses. Thicker steel will hold more energy, meaning that it will cook faster, regulate oven temperatures better, and be better when you use it for cold purposes. Just like the stone, thicker steel will typically be more expensive.


The steel heats very efficiently. The heat from the steel will move quickly to the pizza crust that is resting on its surface. This heating method will shorten your cook time versus using a baking stone. You can also use the steel as a griddle on your stovetop, or even try freezing it to try new cooking techniques.

How to Use a Baking Steel

Your baking steel is best used on the bottom rack of your oven. After your oven is preheated, you can slide the pizza onto the steel. About halfway through your cook time, you may want to rotate the steel 180 degrees. Remove your pizza when cooked through and leave the steel in the oven to cool off gradually. You can also use your broiler to give the top of your cheese a nice blast of heat before you pull it out.

Steps to use a pizza steel:

  1. Place your steel into the lowest rack of the oven.
  2. Pre-heat oven at 500°F in the “Bake” setting.
  3. Let the steel heat up for 1hr before using it.
  4. You will slide your pizza onto the steel, about halfway through your cook time, rotate the pizza 180 degrees, and bake until the cheese is lightly browned.
  5. Remove the pizza and turn off the oven. Leave the steel in the oven to cool down slowly.

Pizza Pun


Never date a baker

They’re too kneady.

Maintenance and Cleaning your Pizza Steel

Caring for your new steel is relatively easy. Baking steels are very durable and can last a lifetime. You will appreciate that the material is strong enough to withstand an accident or two. Steels also have the advantage over stones when it comes to thermal shock. Because they are immune to thermal shock, they will not shatter or break under these circumstances.

Clean your steel with hot water and a brush. Do not use soap to clean it. Dry the steel entirely and store it in a dry environment. Keep your steel away from moisture to prevent rusting. Your steel will take on a darker patine with extended use, and this is entirely normal.

Like other steel kitchen equipment, your steel is expected to take on a dark patina over time. Occasionally seasoning your steel with a light coating of oil is recommended from time to time, just like you would a cast-iron skillet.

Things to Avoid with a Pizza Steel

Avoid using soap on your baking steel, and do not let it air dry. Water can cause rust to develop on your baking steel, so always be sure to dry it thoroughly with a towel. Do not put your hot steel into cold water; while it should not break under these circumstances, it can cause the metal to warp.

Pizza Stone vs Pizza Steel: Similarities and Differences

Both the stone and steel will give you a pizza with better taste and texture. These two alternatives both heat evenly to ensure that your crust is being cooked entirely.

Shape and Size

Baking steels typically come in only one or two sizes. Stones come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes, with more options for every budget.

Pre-Heating and Thermal Conductivity

The difference between the two is not as big as expected, the steel still requires a substantial preheating time to be at its best — about an hour, same as with a stone.

Thermal conductivity for steels, is about 14 watts per meter kelvin. For ceramics, it’s about four watts per meter kelvin. So, the thermal conductivity for metal pans is about four times higher than that of ceramics.

Pizza Stone and Pizza Steel Thermal Conductivity

Thermal Conductivity

Thermal conductivity (often denoted by κ) refers to the ability of a material to transfer or conduct heat. It is one of the three methods of heat transfer, the other two being convection and radiation.

Heat Retention

A downfall of pizza stones is that they have low heat-retention and they lose heat after baking a pizza. 

If you are baking more than one pizza, this could be a problem because you will need additional time and electricity to bring back the temperature to the stone.  Pizza steels hold the temperature for longer periods of time.

Weight

Pizza steels are about 50 percent heavier than any particular stone, so even though steel conducts heat better, the extra mass just needs extra time to heat up.

Pizza Stone

Pros and Cons

Pizza Stone

Pros

  • Multiple Uses
  • Less Expensive
  • Lighter Weight
  • Easier Storage

Cons

  • Less Durable
  • Low Heat Retention
  • Low Thermal Conductivity
  • Softer Crust
Pizza steel

Pros and Cons

Pizza Steel

Pros

  • High Thermal Conductivity
  • High Heat Retention
  • Durable (Lifetime)
  • Requires Additional Storage

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Fewer Shapes & Sizes
  • Heavy
  • Crispier Crust

Factors to Consider when Buying a Baking Stone or a Baking Steel

Price

Usually, a baking stone will cost around $30 to $60 depending on the size, thickness, and brand. A baking steel will run about $60 to $100, again, depending on the size, thickness, and brand.

While there is a price difference between the two products, they both have different features. Pizza stones will have more uses for various cooking scenarios while pizza steels can be used cold and are also the more durable of the two items.

Thickness and Shape

Another factor to consider is thickness. Both the stone and the steel have a couple of thickness options. The thicker ones will cost a bit more and take more time to heat up but will cook more evenly than a thinner stone.

If you are leaning towards a baking stone, consider purchasing a rectangular-shaped one. This shape will give you more surface area to work with when making your pizza and be handier if you bake other things, such as cookies.

Pizza Stone or Baking Steel: Which is the Right Pizza Surface for You?

If you are looking for an all-around kitchen baking tool, the pizza stone is probably the better option for you. In addition to pizza, you can use this tool for baking bread, cookies, heat leftovers, and more. Also, the stone is typically more affordable, even going up to a thicker width.

Among pizza baking surfaces, the steel is a better option for you if you will want to use it when it is cold, such as for a cold sushi platter or as an anti-griddle for quickly cooling down sauces, or to use to make your own rolled ice cream. Being extremely heavy-duty makes up for the higher price point if you are concerned about dropping or damaging it.

If budget is a significant factor, choose the baking stone. It will make a great pizza without breaking the bank, and you can always upgrade to a steel later. However, if you make pizza regularly and are serious about the quality of your crust, a pizza steel is the way to go.

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
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you!

Where to Buy a Pizza Stone or a Pizza Steel

Pizza stones and pizza steels are readily available at most department stores, baking supplies stores, and online.  Here are our favorites from Amazon.

Conductive Cooking Conductive Cooking
$99.00

Restaurant quality pizza is now achievable without an expensive brick-oven stove or stone. Introducing the ultra-conductive Square Pizza Steel from Conductive Cooking! We made the ultimate cooking plate for home chefs to help them create the perfect brick-oven like pizza.


We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you!
05/24/2022 12:06 am GMT
Our Top Pick
Conductive Cooking Unicook Heavy Duty Pizza Grilling Stone

Made of Cordierite stone, heat resistant up to 1,450°F (787°C) and excellent thermal shock resistance. Great for cooking fresh or frozen pizza on the grill or in the oven.


We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you!
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
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you!

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