Top Choice: Pizza Stone vs Baking Sheet vs Pizza SteelJump to Recipe
When making pizza at home you may see some recipes call for a pizza stone or pizza steel or even just a baking sheet. You may not have all of these so it’s hard to know what is really needed.
The biggest difference between these options are how hot the baking surface can get, the ease of use, and the cost of each one.
Each of these baking surfaces work great in a home oven and are suitable for a very hot oven. They will all get you a delicious homemade pizza, just in a different way. Here is a breakdown of when you should use each one and my favorite choices for each.
What type of pizza can you make with pizza stones and baking sheets
A pizza stone, pan, or steel are best used for making classic style round pizzas. Think traditional Neapolitan pizza, New York style, or even thin-crust pizzas.
When to Use a Pizza Stone
A pizza stone is a great tool for any pizza enthusiast. This versatile kitchen item is a flat, often circular, slab made from materials like ceramic, clay, or cordierite. A pizza stone is placed in an oven at high heat and then you can slide you pizza on to the preheated stone to get that bottom crust extra crispy.
One of the primary advantages of a pizza stone is its ability to create the perfect crispy pizza crust. The stone absorbs and retains consistent heat, ensuring that the pizza dough cooks evenly and the heat is well distributed. This results in a crust that strikes the ideal balance between crispy and chewy, reminiscent of authentic fired pizzas.
Pizza stones also absorb excess moisture during baking. This prevents sogginess which is great when you are looking for that nice crispy crust.
Another great thing about a pizza stone is that you can use it for more than pizza. If you are making breads, pastries, or even cookies, the pizza stone provides a stable and radiant cooking surface. This versatility makes it a great tool for home cooks who appreciate experimenting with different recipes.
The downside of a pizza stone is that they tend to crack after a lot of use. All the heating and cooling can effect the stone after many uses. This is only a concern if you plan on using it very often.
When to Use a Pizza Baking Sheet
There are a couple types of baking sheets you can use for pizza. There is the perforated round pizza pans or a rimless baking sheet like a cookie sheet. A baking sheet is made of aluminum or steel and offers plenty of benefits to your pizza cooking.
One notable advantage of a pizza baking sheet is its quick preheating time. Unlike some pizza stones that may require a longer preheating period, a baking sheet heats up rapidly, allowing you to start cooking your pizza in a shorter amount of time.
The main difference when cooking with a pizza baking sheet is that you can stretch and form the pizza on the pan. Then you add the whole pan to the oven. With pizza stones and pizza steels you have to pre-heat the cooking surface and use a pizza peel to launch the pizza into the oven on the hot surface. This can be fun but also a little tricky.
Even though a pizza baking sheet doesn’t get as hot it does still provide excellent heat conductivity. The material used in these sheets ensures that heat is evenly distributed across the surface, resulting in a consistently cooked pizza. The even cooking extends to the crust, ensuring it achieves the desired balance of crispy and golden brown, making every bite a delightful experience.
Another practical aspect of using a pizza baking sheet is its non-stick surface. Many baking sheets come with a non-stick coating, making it easy to slide the pizza on and off the sheet without any hassle. It also making the cleaning process much easier.
Additionally, the flat and spacious surface of a pizza baking sheet allows for versatility in pizza sizes and shapes. You can easily customize your pizza to your liking, whether you prefer a classic round shape or a creative rectangular design. This flexibility adds a personal touch to your pizza creations.
Even though a baking sheet will not heat up to the same temperature as the other two, you will still get a great pizza!
Perforated Pizza Pan vs Baking Sheet
When talking about pizza pans and baking sheets there are two different types. There is the classic flat baking sheet that are square in shape and can be used for anything from pizza to cookies. Then there is a specific pizza pan that is round in shape and often has small holes on the bottom of the pan. Both of them work similarly.
The pizza specific perforated pan may help with getting that crispy crust more than the classic baking sheet because it lets the heat get strait to the bottom crust. If you are limited on space I would say that the classic baking sheet works fairly similarly so it might be worth just using that one. That way you have a pan that has multiple uses.
I don't like using a rimmed baking sheet for pizzas because it is hard to get the pizza to fit onto the baking sheet. Unless you are making a rectangular pizza make sure to opt for a baking sheet that does not have high sides.
When to Use a Pizza Steel
There is another option when cooking pizzas and that in on a pizza steel. This is what I use most in the kitchen when making pizzas. A pizza steel is a large piece of steel that you put in your oven to preheat similarly to a pizza stone. The heat of the oven will make this a really hot surface for your pizza to bake on.
To use it, you slide your pizza into the oven using a pizza peel. Out of all the options a pizza steel is best at really high temperatures. It can get much hotter than the other 2 making it a great choice for crispy crust. I have found that cooking with a pizza steel gives me a perfect pizza every time.
The downfall of a pizza steel is that is it much heavier than the other options. This makes it tricky to get in and out of the oven. Plus, storing it can be a little difficult. The other downside is the price. While the other options you can get a good deal anywhere from $10-40 you are looking at something closer to $60-$100 for a good quality pizza steel.
Is a pizza stone better than a baking sheet?
In terms of creating that crispy crust, a pizza stone works better than a baking sheet. The only time I would opt for a baking sheet is if you are tight on space in your kitchen or if you have trouble lifting a pizza stone.
Pizza quality is better with a pizza stone but ease of use is better with a baking sheet.
Best Options to Buy
I have been making homemade pizza for years and I’ve tried most way to cook a pizza. When it comes to what you are baking on, these are all great options. If you are looking to buy a pizza stone, pizza baking sheet, or pizza steel, these are my top pick for each.
- Best Pizza Stone - Hans Grill Pizza Stone w/ Pizza Peel $40
- Best Pizza Baking Sheet - Good Cook Pizza Pan $16
- Best Pizza Steel - Nerd Chef $60
Overall, Which Pizza Baking Surface Should You Use
If you are making pizza on the rare occasion and are looking for something inexpensive and easy to use, buy a pizza pan.
If you are looking for something to elevate your homemade pizzas, but you only make them on occasion, go with a pizza stone.
If you are serious about making pizzas and you have the strength and storage space, go with a pizza steel.
How to store a pizza stone or pizza steel
I have mentioned above that one downside of these options are the ability to store them because they are heavier than a baking sheet. The best way to store a pizza stone or steel is on their side in a cabinet. This making it easier to grab and slide out vs placing it in a drawer.
When you go to store them, make sure they have cooled all the way before removing from the oven. Both the pizza stone and steel can retain heat for awhile after baking.
Pizza Dough to Use
If you are looking to make a classic Neapolitan pizza I love to use this pizza dough recipe. You can also use pre-made pizza dough that you can find at some grocery stores.
Favorite Pizza Recipes
Need a little inspiration to get started on your pizza journey. Here are a few of my favorite pizza recipes.
- Mushroom Goat Cheese Pizza with Balsamic and Arugula
- Lemon Ricotta Pizza
- Mediterranean Pizza with Feta
Other types of pizza baking surfaces
Even though these three are the main types of surfaces to bake your pizza on, there are so many more options depending on the type of pizzas you want to make.
You can use a cast iron pan to make cast iron pizzas. You can use a deep dish pan to make Chicago style pizzas. You can even get a specialty pan for Detroit style pizza if that is what you are in to.
Take your pizza to the next level
If you are looking to make even better homemade pizza and you think you've done all you can do with you at home oven. You may want to consider a wood-fired pizza oven. These are small outdoor ovens that are built specifically for pizzas. Here is a whole post on how to use a wood fired Ooni pizza oven.
Another tool you can invest in to make even better pizza is an infrared thermometer. This can take the temperature of your pizza baking surface by just pointing at it. This will help you understand the temperature of the oven and the baking surface. I use this thermometer and it has worked really well for me. If you want to learn more about pizza baking temperatures and thermometers check out this post: Best Pizza Oven Temperature and Thermometers for Perfect Pizza.