How to Use A Pizza Stone for The First Time – A Beginner’s Guide to Pizza Stones

Many pizza lovers can recognize a good pizza, not only by its delicious taste but by its brown, bubbly crust that is crisp on the outside but moist and chewy on the inside. How do pizzerias get their pizza to be so perfectly done and taste so good?

One vital key to making a perfect pizza is a super-hot oven, which an average home cook may not have. Another is the right cooking surface for the pizza. This is where a pizza stone comes in. A pizza stone is arguably the most important piece of equipment a pizza maker should have. Professional pizza cooks recommend that you always place your pizza on a pizza stone to get a perfectly cooked pizza every time, so I thought to teach homemade pizza makers how to use a pizza stone for the first time (and every time!).

So, if you have never used a pizza stone before but just got yourself one, all you need to do is follow the step-by-step instructions in this guide for beginners who want to use a pizza stone for the first time. And in case you have been using pizza stones before now, you can learn how to maintain your pizza stone and make it last longer.

How to Clean Pizza Stone Before First Use

After getting a new pizza stone, you should clean it before using it. Cleaning is done by wetting a cloth with warm water and then wiping your pizza stone with it. Allow your stone to dry completely before use.

However, before you clean your pizza stone, examine the stone thoroughly for any damage or cracks. Some cheap pizza stones sometimes come in bad conditions, so you should check your stone before using it. If there is no visible damage, you can proceed to the cleaning stage.

How to Use A Pizza Stone for The First Time – Step by Step

A pizza stone is a compact baking surface or slab for a home oven, usually made from clay, cordierite, or ceramic, to simulate a pizza oven ora brick oven. The porous stone absorbs the heat produced within the oven and distributes that heat evenly to the raw pizza dough placed on top of it. It also eliminates excess moisture in the pizza dough, thus creating an excellently crisp crust. 

To use a pizza stone for the first time, follow the steps below.

  1. STEP 1: Prepare your pizza stone

First, you need to prepare your pizza stone for use by preheating it. To preheat the stone, place it in a cold oven (on the top or middle rack), and turn on the maximum temperature setting. Let the stone preheat for at least 1 hour to 1.5 hours. To make the stone very hot, you can turn on your oven broiler after about 15 minutes into the preheating time (to prevent thermal shock).

  • STEP 2: Prepare your pizza while your pizza stone is warming up or preheating
  • STEP 3: Transfer already prepared pizza onto the pizza stone

After your pizza stone has preheated, move the uncooked pizza from the countertop to the pizza stone using a pizza peel.

  • STEP 4: Bake your pizza until it is perfectly done
  • STEP 5: Using a pizza peel, carefully remove your cooked pizza from the pizza stone and place it on a heat-resistant surface
  • STEP 6: Turn off the oven and allow the pizza stone to cool while still inside the oven. Only remove the stone when the oven has cooled down completely
  • STEP 7: Clean your pizza stone

Easy peasy, right? That’s how to use a pizza stone for the first time, and every time you want to make that favorite pizza of yours.

How To Use A Pizza Stone In The Oven

You can use your pizza stone in the oven following the steps described above.

  1. STEP 1: Prepare your pizza stone

First, you need to prepare your pizza stone for use by preheating it. To preheat the stone, place it in a cold oven (on the top or middle rack), and turn on the maximum temperature setting. Let the stone preheat for at least 1 hour to 1.5 hours. To make the stone very hot, you can turn on your oven broiler after about 15 minutes into the preheating time (to prevent thermal shock).

  • STEP 2: Prepare your pizza while your pizza stone is warming up or preheating
  • STEP 3: Transfer already prepared pizza onto the pizza stone

After your pizza stone has preheated, move the uncooked pizza from the countertop to the pizza stone using a pizza peel.

  • STEP 4: Bake your pizza until it is perfectly done
  • STEP 5: Using a pizza peel, carefully remove your cooked pizza from the pizza stone and place it on a heat-resistant surface
  • STEP 6: Turn off the oven and allow the pizza stone to cool while still inside the oven. Only remove the stone when the oven has cooled down completely
  • STEP 7: Clean your pizza stone

How To Use A Pizza Stone On A Grill

In case an oven is not available, you can use your pizza stone on a grill. Here’s how:

  1. Preheat the grill for about 40 minutes with your pizza stone on the grill grates. Your grill must be completely cold before you put your pizza stone in it.
  2. Follow steps 2-7 above, but note that you are using a grill now, not an oven.

Where to Place Pizza Stone in Oven

Pizza experts recommend that you place the pizza stone on the top rack in your oven, close to the broiler, or the middle rack if your oven does not have a broiler. Since the goal is to make both the bottom and the top of the pizza bake fast and at the same rate too, this method will help speed up the baking process and give a more evenly baked pizza. Consequently, the top of the pizza comes out perfectly browned and bubbly, while the preheated pizza stone takes care of the bottom of the pizza. You don’t want a burnt pizza crust with unmelted cheese, do you?

Read also: Does Tamari Need to Be Refrigerated?

How To Use A Pizza Stone Without A Pizza Peel

A pizza peel is an accompanying flat wooden or metal tool for the pizza stone. It is used to slide pizza dough onto the pizza stone and remove the cooked pizza from the stone. In the absence of a pizza peel, several flat, similarly-shaped objects can be used in its stead. Best substitutes for a pizza peel include:

  1. Rimless cookie sheet
  2. Cutting board
  3. Serving platter
  4. Upside down rimmed baking sheet
  5. Parchment paper

Read also: Best Pizza Stones with Handles and Racks

How to Use A Pizza Stone for The First Time – A Beginner’s Guide to Pizza Stones

How to Maintain/Take Care of My Pizza Stone

To ensure that your pizza stone has a long life in your kitchen, you must take care of it properly. Gratefully, they require very little and easy maintenance. Here are the basic things you need to know about pizza stone maintenance.

  1. Do not take your stone out of the oven immediately after using it; allow it to cool down gradually before taking it out. Taking it out immediately can cause it to crack as a result of thermal shock, that is, going from extreme heat to room temperature too quickly.
  2. Make sure to keep your stone clean always to prevent cracking. Accumulation of oils and fats spillage will reduce the shelf life of your pizza stone, so you must clean your plate properly after use. 
  3. Do not clean/wash your pizza stone with soap to avoid tainting the next pizza you make. Never soak your pizza stone in water, instead, when your stone is cool, scrape off any stuck-on residue with a plastic scraper or a stiff, dry brush and then wipe with a damp cloth. Dry the stone for a few hours after wiping it.

Now that you know all there is to know about how you can use a pizza stone for the first time, you can now make delicious pizzas right in your home. Do let me know how it goes when you do, will you? And for the pro chefs, let me know if you used this method the first time or you did it differently and how you did it. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.