If you’ve grown up having homemade pizza just made on a sheet pan (shout out to that Chef Boyardee pizza maker kit!), then converting to a pizza stone may seem a bit daunting.
I know that when I got my first pizza stone I had two thoughts – this is really heavy! and what the heck am I supposed to do with this?
If you find yourself in the same place, feeling unsure of what do with a pizza stone as a beginner, then you’re in the perfect place.
While using a pizza stone can be intimidating the first time, it’s actually really easy to use – and it makes way better homemade pizzas than a sheet pan!
So buckle up and let me help you transition from a shy pizza stone noob to a pro pizza stone baker.
Why Use A Pizza Stone?
Before we get into the “how” let’s take a look at the “why” – just in case you’re considering backing out.
Hands down the best way to make a pizza is in one of those pizza ovens like old school pizzerias have – but that’s just not practical for the average everyday person wanting to make pizza at home.
So, your next best option that is both affordable and easy to use is the humble pizza stone.
When you make a pizza using a pizza stone, you are able to cook the pizza from the bottom up (so crust to toppings).
And THAT is how you get the perfect homemade pizza every single time.
Essential Steps To Using A Pizza Stone The First Time
Using a pizza stone is a really easy process, but I know that first time can be daunting.
So, refer back to these steps and you should end up with an awesome tasting pizza that is perfectly cooked.
1. Place The Pizza Stone In Your Cold Oven
It is important that your oven is not on when you put the pizza stone in because it needs to heat up with the oven.
Be sure to place the stone on the lowest rack in your oven so that it is as close to the heating element as it can possibly get.
2. Crank That Oven Temperature
The pizza stone you buy may have a recommended temperature setting on it – if that’s the case, then follow the recommendations.
Otherwise, crank that oven all the way up.
Or, if that scares you, then at least put it on 450F — just know that the hotter the temperature of your oven, then the better end result you get with the homemade pizza on the stone.
3. Leave The Stone To Heat
Now, this is my least favorite part of the whole process because it’s not energy efficient, and if you have a gas oven then it you’re really not gonna like it with the high cost of gas these days.
You need to leave the pizza stone for at least a full hour so that it gets fully heated through the entire stone.
And honestly, it’s better if you can leave it for closer to two hours.
Like I said, this is not something I’m a fan of, but if you really love pizza and you want it to taste as good as possible, then this is what you gotta do with the pizza stone.
4. Put The Pizza On The Stone
So, at this point you should have your pizza fully assembled and ready to go on the pizza stone.
Ack, how do I do this? you’re wondering.
The magic answer here is a pizza peel.
If you don’t have one, then there are some pizza peel alternatives that you can use – but you really need to order yourself a pizza peel, and soon!
Because you have to be able to slide the pizza onto the hot stone without burning yourself, without it sticking, and without destroying the raw pizza.
5. Leave The Pizza To Bake
Once you’ve slid your pizza onto the stone using your pizza peel, all you have to do is close the oven and wait for it to be done.
How long should you cook your pizza?
That’s really up to you.
Personally, I like to start with 10 minutes and see how done the the toppings are and then either take the pizza out or cook for a few more minutes.
So, experiment and see how long works best for your preferred pizza doneness.
6. Remove The Pizza
Once your pizza has cooked to your satisfaction, it’s time to remove it from the oven and the pizza stone.
But first, power off the oven so that you’re not wasting gas or electricity.
You don’t want to burn yourself, so you’re going to need that pizza peel again.
Use it to slide under the pizza and lift it right off the hot pizza stone.
7. Leave The Pizza Stone To Cool
Resist the urge to remove the hot pizza stone from the oven once you’re done cooking the pie.
If you remove the baking stone before it cools, then you run the risk of it cracking.
Instead, you should turn the oven off (if you haven’t already done so) and then leave the stone in your oven to cool down.
Other Pizza Stone Tips For First-Timers
In addition to knowing how to use the stone, there are few other essential things that newbies should know.
You’re going to want to clean that pizza stone like any other dish or pan – but stop right there!
Pizza stones are made of a porous material, so you cannot wash them like any other dish.
Instead, try to simply brush off any food debris after the stone has cooled.
If you need to, though it is not advise, you can try a damp sponge to remove any stubborn food spills from your pizza baking adventures.
Though it is typically ideal to put the pizza baking stone on the lowest rack in your oven, feel free to experiment with placement.
As a general rule of thumb, the closer the stone is to the heating element in the bottom of the oven, then the crispier your pizza crust will be in the end.
Other Pizza Baking Tips
While it is customary to put the pizza on the stone with it’s toppings already assembled, you may prefer to sort of pre-bake the crust before adding the toppings.
This is only advisable when you get comfortable using the pizza peel to place and remove the pizza crust.
I find that baking the pizza in stages like this is really only a good idea when you have a really thick crust that you don’t want to get soggy.
Pizza Stone FAQs
Below are some common questions about using a pizza stone.
Does a pizza stone need to be seasoned?
No, a pizza stone does not need to be seasoned.
Putting oil on a pizza stone will cause it to crack since the material of the stone is porous and the oil will seep in and then expand when heated.
How do you clean a pizza stone before first use?
Never submerge your pizza stone in water.
To clean it, use a damp sponge or cloth and never soap because it can seep into the pores of the stone.
Should I flour my pizza stone?
No, do not flour your pizza stone.
If flour is on the pizza stone, then it will eventually burn and you do not want burnt flour on the bottom of your pizza.
Can you put parchment paper on a pizza stone?
No, you cannot put parchment paper on a pizza stone.
The pizza stone reaches a temperature that is too hot for the parchment paper to handle.
Will pizza stone crack on grill?
Yes, it is common for a pizza stone to crack on a grill if you’re not using indirect heat.
This happens because there is not a gradual increase in temperature on a grill, like there is with an oven heating up.
To use your pizza stone on a gas grill, you should use indirect heat by turning one side of the grill on and leaving the other side off, as advised by Char-Broil.
Why did my pizza stone turned black?
There is no reason to worry about your pizza stone turning black.
This tends to happen after lots of regular use.
Just consider it a seasoned pizza stone at this point.
Can you put aluminum foil on a pizza stone?
Yes, you can put aluminum foil on a pizza stone, but you should never do this.
Putting foil on the pizza stone results in steam getting trapped between the crust and foil, which causes a soggy pizza bottom.
Are pizza stones fragile?
Yes, pizza stones are very fragile.
They can crack if they experience quick temperature changes or if oil or another liquid gets in the pores of the stone, which then causes the pores to expand when heated.
Can you put frozen pizza on a pizza stone?
Yes, you can put a frozen pizza on a pizza stone without damaging it.
In fact, this is the best way to cook a frozen pizza at home.
How long does a pizza stone last?
If you take care of it, your pizza stone can last you for 10 years or longer.
Just follow our directions on the page and you should see it last for years.
Should you wash pizza stone?
No, never wash a pizza stone with soap.
Instead, use a damp sponge or cloth ONLY if you absolutely have to do so.
Can a pizza stone get hotter than the oven?
Yes, a pizza stone can get hotter than the temperature of your oven.
Typically the limit is 110% of the oven’s temperature.
Can you use a wire brush on a pizza stone?
Yes, you can use a wire brush on a pizza stone, but make sure that it has brass bristles to avoid damaging the stone.
Can you use metal scraper on pizza stone?
No, you should never use a metal scraper on a pizza stone because it will damage it.
Instead use a rubber or plastic utensil to remove any stuck-on food from the stone.
Can a pizza stone go in the dishwasher?
No, absolutely not. You should never put your pizza stone in the dishwasher.
Instead, use a damp sponge or cloth ONLY if you absolutely have to do so.
And never use soap on the stone.