How To Use A Pizza Stone, And Why Your Kitchen Needs One

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / mipstudio

Frozen pizza has come a long way since its inception. There are entire freezer isles dedicated to frozen pizza dinners, and some of them can taste pretty good. But if you are looking to elevate your frozen pizza, or make homemade pizza in your oven, there is one kitchen item you might want to invest in — a pizza stone. But is buying a pizza stone necessary for the home chef, or is it a waste of money and space?

A pizza stone is a great addition to any kitchen that has an oven. They provide high heat and a flat surface so your pizza will cook at an optimal temperature. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and let the stone heat before using. Let it cool naturally, and brush it instead of washing it. You can use your pizza stone for other purposes, including heating leftovers and baking bread.

If you are on the fence about whether to purchase a pizza stone or aren’t sure how to use the one you already have, then this article is for you. While this kitchen accessory has a bit of a learning curve, once you understand how to use it, you will use your pizza stone for life. Keep reading to learn how to cook with your pizza stone and some fun and creative ways to use it other than for cooking pizza.

Top Tips On How To Use A Pizza Stone

Put The Pizza Stone Into The Oven Before Turning It On

The first logical step to using your pizza stone is to put it in the oven. While this might seem like a no-brainer, there is a right and a wrong way to execute this first step. Make sure you place the pizza stone in the oven when it is still turned off. There are two reasons for this.

One, you want to make sure you don’t burn yourself. Pizza stones are heavy and awkwardly shaped. Therefore, placing it in a cool oven eliminates that safety risk. Secondly, you want the stone to heat up gradually. Pizza stones are durable, but you don’t want to frequently shock them with extreme temperature fluctuations. This can cause even the strongest stone to crack over time.

Give The Pizza Stone Time To Heat Up

The reason pizza stones help to make such tasty pizza is because they are piping hot. So, a pizza stone can only work best when it has had the time to heat properly. Therefore, patience is a key ingredient to making great food with a pizza stone. Once your oven preheats to 500 degrees (or whatever temperature you plan to cook at), allow an extra 10 minutes or more for the pizza stone to absorb heat.

Let The Stone Cool Slowly

Just as you need to allow the pizza stone time to heat up, it is equally important you allow the pizza stone plenty of time to cool. Avoid taking the pizza stone out with the pizza. Use a pizza sleeve to remove the food you cook on the stone. Then allow the stone to cool back to room temperature naturally. If you constantly remove it from high heat and add it back, these extreme temperatures can cause the stone to crack over time.

Seasoning It Can Do More Harm Than Good

Cast iron skillets and some stoneware work best once it is properly seasoned. This often means adding fat, oils, or flavors to the surface and allowing them to soak in. While you might be tempted to season your pizza stone, don’t. Since you cook the stone at high temperatures, whatever you season it with is likely to result in a smoke cloud in your oven. This smoke can also make your food taste horrible.

Don’t Wash The Stone After Each Use

Similar to cast iron skillet maintenance, it is not ideal to wash and soak your pizza stone with soap, or at all. Instead, you should do your best to keep the stone clean using parchment paper, and simply dusting off whatever remnants are left on it after cooking. This will improve the longevity of the pizza stone and prevent it from taking on any chemical flavors.

Buy A Quality Stone To Avoid Premature Cracking

It should come as no surprise that there are an array of pizza stones to choose from. It can be tempting to choose the cheapest one, but remember, you get what you pay for. Choose a quality stone, as some cheap stones can crack easily. Read reviews and choose the best stone for you.

Sprinkle Semolina Flour Or Cornmeal To Avoid Sticking

Pizza stones work great to crisp the bottom of your pizza. But pizza can stick to the stone and get soggy under parchment paper. This is where cornmeal or semolina flour comes in handy. It prevents sticking, increases airflow, and adds a nice texture to the crust. It is sure to take your pizza to that professional pizza parlor level.

Use A Pizza Sleeve

Arguably the hardest part of cooking a pizza on a pizza stone is transferring it with its toppings from the kitchen counter to the stove. The best way to make this process simple is to purchase a pizza sleeve. Pizza sleeves make placing and removing pizza on and off your piping-hot pizza stone a breeze.

Parchment Paper Makes Transfer And Cleanup Easier

Parchment paper makes baking almost anything easier. From cooking bacon to making professional pizza, everything is easier and cleaner with parchment. Place the raw pizza on parchment when you add toppings, and slide the pizza on the stone with the parchment. This will prevent sticking and also make for a very simple cleanup.

Five Creative Ways To Utilize Your Pizza Stone

While a pizza stone is designed primarily to make amazing pizza at home, you can use it for so much more. Below are five creative and amazing ways to use your pizza stone other than for cooking pizza.

1. Heat Your Leftovers

Heating leftovers in the microwave might be fast, but it removes all the great texture, crunch, and flavor from your food. If you have leftover pizza, sandwiches, or any bread-based item, consider heating it on the pizza stone. You will be shocked at how crispy and fresh it tastes.

2. Bake Breads

The flat surface of a pizza stone also lends itself quite well to cooking bread. This is particularly true when you are cooking bread without a bread pan. The high heat of the stone will provide a great crisp to the bottom of any bread loaf.

3. Roast Vegetables

If you want to roast vegetables and even give them a little char on one side, consider placing them on parchment and then sliding them onto your pizza stone using a pizza sleeve. This is a great and simple way to roast veggies at a high heat.

4. Roast Chicken

You can even roast meat, like chicken, on your pizza stone. Season the chicken, and try and use skin-on chicken for the most delicious and juicy results.

5. Bake Cookies And Pastries

If you are low on cookie sheets, you can bake many types of cookies on your pizza stone. Make sure you use parchment, otherwise the dough will stick. You can make amazing pastries like croissants on the pizza stone.

Final Notes On Why You Need A Pizza Stone

Purchasing a pizza stone is a great way to help you make professional-level pizza in the comfort of your own home. When using a pizza stone remember to use parchment paper and a pizza sleeve, to make transferring the pie and cleaning up the mess much easier. Allow the stone plenty of time to heat up before using, and lots of time to cool down after use. Avoid washing your stone with soap and water unless necessary, and remember that you can use your pizza stone for anything from cooking great pizza to roasting a chicken or baking fresh cookies.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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