We Tested the Best Pizza Stones for Crispier Crusts

The winner is the NerdChef Baking Steel

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best pizza stones

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Tested & Approved

The NerdChef Baking Steel is the top-rated choice for best overall by our testers. It is virtually indestructible and provides exceptional heat retention. It is so versatile you can use it in the oven, stove, or campfire. If you're cooking for one, we recommend the Outset Pizza Grill Stone Tiles which are the perfect size for making a personal pan pizza.

Pizza stones are a must if you want to bake a crisp-crusted pizza in your oven, and the good news is that there are a huge variety of stones to choose from—some of which are not made of anything resembling stone. Not only are there different materials, but there are also different shapes and sizes to fit your grill, your oven, your smoker, and more.

While you can certainly bake your pizza to a beautiful golden crust right on your BBQ, that can be a little bit trickier, so a pizza stone that can go on a grill or open flame is also very useful. You can also get plenty of non-pizza use out of them, utilizing them for baking artisan bread and buns as well, and some folks even use them for baking cookies and other sweet goods.

If you're convinced that you need to level up your crusts, here are our picks for the best pizza stones.

Best Overall

NerdChef Baking Steel

4.8
NerdChef Baking Steel Stone

Amazon

What We Like
  • Cooks pizza quickly

  • Comes pre-seasoned

  • Generously sized

What We Don't Like
  • No handles for lifting and moving

  • Very heavy

  • Best left in oven to cool after use

What do buyers say? 86% of 1,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

As signified by its name, this baking steel by Nerd Chef is made from steel, pre-seasoned with flaxseed oil to prevent it from rusting. This baking surface offers 20 times the conductivity and twice the heating capacity of ceramic stones. Once it's hot, it transfers heat to the crust quickly and evenly for a crisp, evenly browned, blistered crust. It retains its heat well enough so that you can continue to cook multiple pizzas in a row without having to wait for the steel to come back to temperature.

In our Lab, the Nerd Chef baking steel lived up to its reputation, cooking up pizzas with an evenly browned exterior and a tender interior, though our tester noted that it held onto heat almost a little too well (you may have o play around with your oven temperature to find your pizza-making sweet spot). The overall performance showed really even heating, and also cooled down fairly quickly so you could safely move or clean it when you are done with it.

Made from thick steel, it is meant to last and is not subject to warping, cracking, or shattering, unlike some other materials. The downside to this is that it is extremely heavy, ranging from 16 to 32 pounds depending on thickness (making it slightly awkward to pull in and out of the oven, according to our reviewer). Cleaning this sturdy cooking surface is similar to cast iron—you'll want to avoid using soap, scraping away any bits of food with a scrubber, and washing by hand. This steel is guaranteed for life and made in the USA.

Price at time of publish: $110

NerdChef Steel Stone

The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Material: Steel | Available Sizes: 14.5 x 16 inch with varying thickness (.25, .375, .50-inch) | Safe For: Oven

What Our Testers Say

"Since this pizza pan is made from steel, it’s about as indestructible as it could be. It shouldn’t warp or crack, even with abuse." — Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best for Gas Grill

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Baking Pan With Loop Handles

4.8
Lodge pizza baking pan

Amazon

What We Like
  • Virtually indestructible

  • Retains heat well

  • Versatile use for oven, stove, or open fire

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Requires additional care

  • Handles get hot

Cast iron has a lot of advantages when it comes to cooking pizza. It retains heat well and is nearly indestructible, so you don’t need to treat it gently. This cast iron stone comes pre-seasoned so you can use it immediately, but with continued use and additional seasoning, it achieves a very nonstick surface. The pan can handle high heat, so besides using this in the oven or on a grill, you can use it on the stovetop or even on a campfire.

In our Lab test, our tester liked the chewy and crispy crust on flatbread, noting the stone's even temperature and resulting even browning. Our tester also liked the generous loop handles that make it easy to handle this pan, even when you’re wearing oven mitts. Our home reviewer liked that the pan's rim gave the pizza "a stopping point when we slid our pizza peel underneath," eliminating any worry that the pie would slide off the back.

Besides using this for pizza, you can use it on the stove to cook bacon, pancakes, burgers, steaks, or just about everything you’d use a cast-iron frying pan for, and it’s also good for heating tortillas. In the oven, you can use it for roasting meat or vegetables, or for baking bread. Made in the USA, this 14-inch pan has so many uses, you’ll wonder why you didn’t buy one before.

Price at time of publish: $59

Lodge 14” Cast Iron Baking Pan

The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie 

Material: Cast iron | Available Sizes: 14-inch | Safe For: Stove, oven, grill, open flame

What Our Testers Say

"The material is also quite durable, which means this pan should last for decades unless it’s severely mistreated." — Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best for the Big Green Egg

Cast Elegance Pizza Stone

4.4
Cast Elegance Thermarite Pizza and Baking Stone

Amazon

What We Like
  • Large 16-inch diameter

  • Crisps crust bottoms well

  • Works on grill or in oven

What We Don't Like
  • No handgrips

  • Will stain over time

Cordierite is a type of rock that can be created synthetically and used in ceramics that are incredibly resistant to thermal shock, making them perfect for use in an oven or on a grill. Thermarite is the name for the cordierite material that’s made by Cast Elegance for its pizza stones. This material is food-safe and absorbs moisture from the dough as it bakes to create a crisp crust. It also retains heat, so the pizza will bake evenly, without hot spots, and it can handle high heat in your grill.

In our Lab, our tester noted that this stone heated up quickly, and gave a nice brown crust to flatbread. You'll want to watch your pizza to make sure the bottom doesn't burn since the stone heats so well. Our reviewer liked that the large stone is big but not heavy, and noted both homemade and frozen pizzas came out with crispy crusts that didn't burn.

This stone is 16 inches in diameter, so it will fit easily in your Big Green Egg cooker or similar round cooker. It can also be used on your gas grill or in the oven. A free scraper is included, to help you clean residue off the stone after baking. A 14-inch stone is also available.

Price at time of publish: $46

cast-elegance-round-pizza-stone-grill

The Spruce / Donna Currie

Material: Cordierite | Available Sizes: 14-inch , 16-inch | Safe For: Oven, grill

What Our Testers Say

"You'll find it great for cooking multiple pizzas, one after the other—perfect if you are hosting a pizza party or small gathering like a kid's birthday celebration." Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best for the Smoker

Unicook Heavy Duty Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone

4.2
Unicook Heavy Duty Cordierite Pizza Stone

Amazon

What We Like
  • Crisps pizza crusts well

  • Might fit in your countertop oven

  • Can be used on the grill

What We Don't Like
  • No handgrips

  • Tight fit for 12-inch pizzas

Made from Cordierite stone, this can handle heat up to 1450 degrees, so it can easily withstand the high heat of a grill, moderate heat in a home oven, or lower heat in a smoker. The rectangular shape is great for smokers and gas grills. It can also be used for baking cookies, pastries, and other baked goods.

Our reviewer was able to fit this 12 x 15-inch stone into a countertop oven, so the stone isn't exceedingly large or heavy. Depending on your cooking needs, this could be a major plus, but if you're planning on baking a pizza larger than 12-inches in diameter, you might find it to be too small.

The stone draws moisture from the dough for a crisp bottom crust and never a soggy bottom. This stone never needs to be seasoned, but it may darken with use. Spilled foods can simply be scraped or rinsed off. A plastic dough cutter is included to portion dough or scrape any food residue off of a cool stone.

Price at time of publish: $36

unicook-ceramic-pizza-grilling-stone-cooling

The Spruce / Donna Currie

Material: Cordierite | Available Sizes: 12 x 15-inch | Safe For: Stove, oven, grill, smoker

What Our Testers Say

"Once the stone was hot, pizza or bread didn’t stick to the stone, so it was easy to turn and to remove the baked goods."Donna Currie, Product Tester

Most Versatile

Emile Henry Pizza Stone

4.6
Emile Henry Pizza Stone

Amazon

What We Like
  • Dishwasher-safe

  • Helper handles allow you to move from oven to table

  • Can be used for serving

What We Don't Like
  • Not the largest stone

  • Can break if dropped

Flame Top ceramics are unique in that they can actually be used on an open flame. This stone is ideal for use on a gas stove or on a charcoal, wood, or gas grill up to 900 degrees. It’s also safe for use in the oven and also under the broiler. The side handles help you move the stone easily, and the glazed surface is micro-crazed to promote even browning of your pizza’s bottom.

In our Lab, our tester called this stone's performance "profession grade", noting that it gave a crispy crust to pizza and a chewy exterior to flatbread. The stone also maintained even heat and stayed quite hot for an hour after removing it from the oven. Our home tester noted the pan's versatility and ease of use, citing it as a great oven-to-table vessel. When the pizza is done baking, you don’t need to transfer it to a cutting board, since it’s safe to cut on the surface and it’s easy to clean when melted cheese drips onto the surface.

When it’s time for cleaning and the stone has cooled, it’s easy to wash by hand since the slick surface keeps food and grease from soaking in, but this stone is also dishwasher safe, so cleanup is fast and easy.

Price at time of publish: $54

emile-henry-pizza-stone-slices

The Spruce / Donna Currie

Material: Ceramic | Available Sizes: 14.5-inch | Safe For: Stove, oven, grill, broiler

What Our Testers Say

"The surface is sturdy enough that you can cut the pizza right on the stone, and it retains heat well enough that it keeps the pizza warm while everyone is eating." — Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best for Personal Pizzas

Outset Pizza Grill Stone Tiles

4.6
Outset Pizza Grill Stone Tiles

Amazon

What We Like
  • Perfect for singles

  • Absorbs moisture for crispier crust

What We Don't Like
  • Cordierite might hang on to stains

You can certainly cook personal-sized pizzas on a larger stone, but smaller stones make it much more convenient, plus storage is also easier since you can stack them to save space. Save one for gluten-free or vegan cooking while the others can handle gluten crusts or meaty pizzas. This set of four 8.27-inch cordierite tiles is perfect for making petite pizzas, and individual calzones, and can easily be used together on a standard-sized grill for full-sized baking.

In our Lab, our tester was surprised at how well these tiles performed, achieving consistent and even baking results on both flatbread and pizza. Like their larger cordierite counterparts, these absorb moisture from the dough to create a crisp, brown, even crust. The stones don’t need to be seasoned but will darken over time—don't worry, that's normal. Burned foods can be scraped or soaked off, but soap should be avoided.

Price at time of publish: $25

outset pizza stones with pizza on top

The Spruce Eats / Will Dickey

Material: Cordierite | Available Sizes: 8.25 x 8.25-inch | Safe For: Oven, grill

Final Verdict

The NerdChef Baking Steel is our top choice for excellent performance, durability, and versatility as it can be used in the oven or right on the grill. For individual-size pizzas, we also love the Outset Pizza Grill Stone Tiles which come in a set of four and work just like bigger cordierite stones.

How We Tested

Our editors spent weeks researching pizza stones, developing a standardized methodology against which to test them, and putting them through their paces at The Lab. We tested by baking a pizza as well as flatbread, then collected the data—as well as insights from our home testers—and used it to determine ratings and placement on this list.

We tested by baking a pizza as well as flatbread, then, we judged each one based on heating ability (conductivity, distribution, and retention); maneuverability (weight and size, the comfort of pulling in and out of a hot oven, and ease of cleaning.

Other Options We Tested

  • CucinaPro Pizza Stone: Though this was rated highly on Amazon, in our Lab, the results were lackluster. The stone didn't heat up nearly as high as it should have and left our pizza doughy.
  • Cuisinart Alfrescomore Pizza Grilling Stone: While we liked how affordable this stone is, our Lab tests showed that the stone didn't hold heat well and turned out a slightly undercooked pizza and a flatbread that didn't have much rise. Additionally, it was also very difficult to clean.
  • Fiero Casa Italian Pizza Stone: This pizza stone performed fairly in our Lab tests, but its Achilles heel is how difficult it is to clean. You can't use any water on it, so you're left with having to burn off stuck-on debris or using a soft bristle brush to try and remove food. It's also quite expensive in comparison to how it performs, so it didn't make the cut.
  • FibraMent-D Rectangular Home Oven Baking Stone: This stone is probably great for baking bread, but not so spectacular with pizza, primarily because it's difficult to clean. The crust on our pizza was brown, but not as crisp as we would prefer. It's also expensive, and we didn't feel that the results justified the price,
  • Honey-Can-Do Rectangular Pizza Stone: We liked how this stone baked flatbread and turned out a nicely baked pizza, but it did stick a little when we tried to remove our baked pie, leaving behind some of the crust. Since you can't really wash this stone, it also proved difficult to clean off these stuck-on bits, which is why we left it off this list.
  • PizzaCraft All-Purpose Baking Stone: This stone comes at an easy-to-swallow price, but the results for baking were mixed. It did well with a pizza but flopped when it came to flatbread, which came out unevenly baked. The stone's temperature also dropped dramatically during baking.
  • King Arthur Baking Steel: This baking steel performed decently when making pizza and flatbread, but it's extremely heavy and difficult to maneuver with oven mitts. It's also expensive, and for its price, we expect a near-perfect performance.
  • Ooni Baking Stone: This stone turned out a pretty nice pizza and well-cooked flatbread, but it also stains easily and is hard to clean. For the price, it's not a bad choice for most home cooks, but didn't wow us enough to make the list.
  • Weber Gourmet BBQ System Pizza Stone with Carry Rack: This stone performed nicely when making a pizza, but gave uneven results when it came to cooking flatbread. It's very difficult to keep clean, but if you're exclusively using this on the grill, you may not mind how stained it gets.

What to Look for in a Pizza Stone

By Bernadette Machard de Gramont

Materials

NerdChef Steel Stone
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Ceramic 

Made from some variety of clay, ceramic pizza stones require a bit more time to heat up, but they cook evenly and create crisp crusts. They also retain heat well, which ensures that your baking surface won’t cool down when you lay your pizza dough on top of it. Clay is lighter than other materials like cast iron or steel, so it is an ideal choice for anyone who might find heavier pizza stones too cumbersome when moving them in and out of the oven. The biggest drawback to a ceramic stone is that it is susceptible to breaking or cracking if handled improperly, but if cared for correctly, can last for years. Often times, ceramic pizza stones are glazed with a protective finish, making them attractive enough to double as a serving tray.

Cast Iron

This no-frills pizza stone can be used on top of the stove or on the grill, as well as in the oven. Cast iron has great heat retention and also withstands extremely high temperatures. These nearly indestructible pizza stones resist warping, cracking, and shattering and are also resistant to thermal shock, but it is always recommended that you cool it down completely before plunging it into cold water. Like most cast iron, this does require some maintenance to keep its surface seasoned, but it is a heavy-duty piece that can last a lifetime.

Cordierite 

Cordierite is a mineral used to make kiln shelves, so it is extremely durable and handles high temperatures extremely well. They are also very durable, so you won’t have to worry about breakage due to thermal shock. Pizza stones made from cordierite are typically a bit more costly than other materials, but they are worth it because of their longevity and ease of use. Cordierite pizza stones do need to be pre-heated for at least 30 minutes before use, but they will hold their temperature well and draw moisture away from the dough to leave you with a perfectly crispy crust. 

Steel

Baking steels are a very popular choice for all sorts of baking, from baguettes to pita bread, and of course, pizza. Steel is a fantastic conductor of heat, so these types of cooking surfaces will heat quicker than other materials to deliver a fantastically crisp crust at a lower temperature than ceramic or stone. Constructed from thick, heavy-gauge steel, they cook pizzas very quickly and are a favorite of both amateur and professional pizza cooks. Be forewarned that a baking steel can be quite heavy and expensive, and doesn’t usually have handles, making it difficult to move in and out of the oven, especially when it’s hot. 

Lodge 14” Cast Iron Baking Pan
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Construction

Pizza stones are fairly simple: They are thick, flat pieces of stone, steel, or other heat-proof material that are meant to absorb and retain heat to cook your dough. Most stones have an unglazed surface that helps to draw out moisture, leaving you with a crispy crust. Stones that are glazed will be easier to clean, but might not be as absorbent. A stone with a thickness of about 1-inch will provide better heat absorption and a more even distribution of heat. Thinner pizza stones will be more susceptible to cracking, so try to pick a stone that is at least three-quarters of an inch thick—it will be more durable in the long run. Pans with handles are useful when transporting your stone in and out of the oven while wearing protective mitts, but aren’t always necessary, since it is advisable to let your stone cool down completely before moving it. 

Size and Shape

A rectangular stone for a standard home oven will measure approximately 16 x 14 inches, and a round or square stone will measure anywhere from 10 to 16 inches. The size and shape of your pizza stone will depend on your personal preference and oven size, but keep in mind that you should have some room around your stone in the oven to promote air circulation. Rectangular stones will provide the most surface area and are more versatile, allowing you to bake other items like multiple baguettes or calzones. If you’re only planning on using your baking stone for pizza, round or square-shaped stones should suffice. A good quality pizza stone is oftentimes on the heavy side, so make sure to feel the weight of the stone to make sure you can handle moving it to and from the oven.

Heating Capacity

Since a pizza stone is meant to help your home oven or grill mimic the baking conditions of a high-temperature pizza oven, most baking stones will be fine up to about 600 degrees (some even withstand temperatures of 900 degrees or more). To achieve these high temperatures, you should load your pizza stone into a cold oven and let it come to temperature with a generous preheating time, particularly if your stone is very thick. Always double-check with the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure your stone falls within the temperature range you intend to work with.

Price 

Many of today’s pizza stones are fairly similar in price across brands and materials, averaging around $50 for a large rectangular stone made from cordierite, and just under $100 for a large rectangular baking steel. While there are some less expensive pizza stones available, you might be sacrificing quality or thickness for a negligible discount. Since pizza stones can last for years, don’t be afraid to shell out a little more money for a thicker stone that will bake evenly and resist breakage.

Warranty

Most major manufacturers will offer a warranty of some sort, whether it be a limited period or a lifetime warranty. These warranties typically cover any defects in materials or workmanship but do not cover regular wear and tear, accidents, misuse, and damage from commercial use.  Always be sure to review the manufacturer’s warranty prior to purchase to ensure it is adequate.

Brands

Emile Henry 

This French-based company has been making fine ceramic ovenware and bakeware since 1850. Its Flame Top pizza stone is made from Burgundian clay, which gradually and evenly distributes heat. Its best-selling ceramic pieces are high-fired featuring a scratch-resistant glaze, do not contain lead or cadmium, and can go from the freezer to the microwave or oven without risk of thermal shock. 

Lodge

As the oldest and longest-running cast iron manufacturer in the U.S., Lodge has built a solid reputation on its extensive line of affordable, cast iron cookware. Lodge’s portfolio also includes carbon steel cookware, enameled cast iron, bakeware, and accessories. The brand’s cast iron and carbon steel cookware are all manufactured in the USA.

Cast Elegance

This brand is a top-seller of pizza stones in the USA, promising restaurant quality pizza with crispy crusts thanks to its stones’ high tolerance for heat and ability to absorb moisture. It makes its stones from Thermarite™, a high-quality proprietary blend of minerals that mainly consists of cordierite. Cast Elegance’s stones are fired at temperatures exceeding 2000 degrees, so they are fine to use in home ovens as well as on gas and charcoal grills. 

NerdChef

Based in Portland, Oregon, this company’s motto is “better food through science”. Their current products are baking steels, with two different styles—one cast steel, one cut steel—that deliver higher heat capacity and conductivity than traditional ceramic baking stones. NerdChef’s baking steels are manufactured in the USA. 

Lodge 14” Cast Iron Baking Pan
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie 

Care and Maintenance

Since pizza stones retain heat, you’ll want to make sure your stone is completely cooled down before attempting to clean it—firstly, to avoid burning yourself, and secondly, to prevent it from suffering from any thermal shock when it comes into contact with cool water.  It’s natural for a pizza stone to get darker with use; much like cast iron pans, its surface will get seasoned over time, so you won’t need to worry about keeping your stone pristine. The biggest issue is cleaning off any baked-on debris, so you’ll want to scrape off any pieces of food with a stiff spatula, bristle brush, or plastic bench scraper; metal versions can possibly scratch your stone, so only use them as a last resort.

Pizza stones made with porous materials like unglazed ceramic, cordierite, or cast iron can absorb flavor or whatever you’re cleaning with, so you want to avoid detergents or cleaning agents. You can typically clean your pizza stone with just water, but if you’re concerned about stubborn stains and debris, you can also try a paste of baking soda and vinegar to aid in cleaning. Once you’re done cleaning it, let your stone air dry completely before using it again. 

FAQs

How do you use a pizza stone?

Pizza stones are designed to absorb your oven's heat to mimic the superheated surface of a commercial pizza oven. Start by placing your stone into a cold oven, and then start the oven so the oven and stone can come to temperature at the same time. While your home oven likely won't get to the same scorching temperature as a restaurant oven (700 to 800 degrees), you can achieve excellent results at temperatures between 450 to 500 degrees with the help of your baking stone. A long preheat ensures that your stone is adequately heated and ready to use. For more instructions on how to use a pizza stone, click here.

What is a pizza stone made of?

There are several types of pizza stones, the most common being Cordierite, cast iron, ceramic, and steel. These materials help your stone maintain the high heat that is necessary to create the crisp, blistered crusts that make a great pizza.

Do you need to grease a pizza stone?

No. Most manufacturers actually advise against adding any extra oil or attempting to "season" your stone, as that can ruin it.

Where do you place a pizza stone in the oven?

You will want to place your stone either on the middle or the lowest rack in the oven.

Can you cut pizza on a pizza stone?

For the most part, yes—though you may opt to transfer your pizza to a wooden cutting surface in order to protect the blade of your knife.

Can you use parchment paper on a pizza stone?

It's a matter of preference. Parchment paper could potentially affect the crispness of the crust, so it may take some trial and error to see what works for you. Some cooks also caution that the parchment paper does tend to get very brittle and sometimes burns at temperatures higher than 430 degrees, so use it at your discretion.

How long will a pizza stone last?

A pizza stone can potentially last for decades, particularly if it's made from cast iron or steel. Ceramic stones tend to be a tad more delicate and prone to chipping, while Cordierite stones tend to last for 5 to 10 years depending on their thickness and how you care for them.

What else can you make on a pizza stone?

Your pizza stone can be used to bake French baguettes and sourdough boules, pita bread, calzones, quesadillas, and anything else that would benefit from a cooking surface that provides consistent, dry heat.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Donna Currie is a cookbook author, food writer, and product tester for The Spruce Eats, specializing in all the latest cookware and kitchen gadgets.

This piece was edited by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. She researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.

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