I hate to be “Mr. Obvious”, but just in case you’re not really sure why anyone would get a pizza stone (I’m sure you know, but you may just need a bit of a reminder right?), let me give you a really brief primer. Pizza stones are important because …
The porous surface of the stone absorbs moisture during the baking process and that results in a crispier crust. If you do a direct comparison between a metal sheet or pan, and a porous pizza stone, you’ll find the stone holds and distributes heat more evenly. Finally, if you pre-heat the stone properly (preferably over 600˚F), your pizza will get a shock of initial heat which helps puff up the crust around the edges.
Thick, thin, round, square, black, white, tan, serving rack or not? Choices, choices! That’s a good thing actually because it gives me more to write about! (you didn’t just read that!). Seriously, we use a pretty darned expensive stone that’s about 1 inch thick and is made specifically for our oven. It happens to be square, but that’s not terribly relevant.
Pizza Stone Material
I have researched different materials like cordierite, ceramic, and others, and have found that the material used is a whole lot less important than the fact that the surface is porous (unglazed) and is made of a “ceramic-ish” type of material with no chemicals.
Pizza Stone Thickness
This is really the only other metric that counts. For all the reasons that you’d want a baking stone, those reasons are better served with a thicker stone. Thin pizza stones don’t hold heat as well, and they have a greater chance of cracking with use and heat. I’d go for the thickest stone my wallet could carry!
I have also been doing a bit of research on the idea of where to store a large, heavy and inconveniently present baking stone when not in use! It seems that I’m not the only crazy person who stores their stone permanently on the bottom rack of the oven. Most people who comment on this issue have experienced no negative effects, and in fact, have seen positive results based on heat retention and distribution benefits while baking.
So What Would We recommend?
Okay, here we go with our top 5 choices of the better options of pizza stones out there. These are by no means the most expensive options either. You can cruise Amazon to check out stones that fit your style and budget.
- the best price point for what it is
- requires no seasoning
- contains cordierite which is a natural mineral which serves to strengthen the integrity of the stone while under high heat
- great reviews
- not super thick (only 0.6 inches thick)
- can have a weird smell when first using, but this is the cordierite which will disappear shortly after first use
- works nicely for bread and cookies in addition to a perfect pizza
- at 0.83 inches, it’s nice and thick
- detailed instruction manual and videos for each customer
- really HEAVY!
- this will NEVER crack … like – EVER!
- unconventional for pizza – we like unconventional
- 20 times higher conductivity than ceramic stones
- great crusts with blistering and shorter cook times (imagine that!)
- guaranteed for life
- fully made in the USA
- challenges me to break my conventional thinking barrier on porous pizza stones
- needs to be seasoned and cared for
- really HEAVY!
- handmade in the USA with all materials from the USA
- concentrates heat towards the center core
- 0.8 inches thick – not bad!
- we found one reported “cracking” though we think that is an inherent and nearly random issue that is applicable to all stones
- very well rated by current or past owners
- unique design promotes even baking
- excellent thermal shock resistance (remember the cordierite?)
- potentially brittle and could crack, as reported by one owner