If you’re serious about pizza, you’re going to need the right tools (as well as a great recipe). Pizza stones absorb moisture, help develop a crisp base, distribute heat evenly and retain heat, ensuring your pizza is perfectly cooked. They work particularly well for traditional Italian pizzas, which are thinner than American versions.
A pizza stone also cools down slowly, so it will also keep your pizza warm while you polish off the first few slices.
Of course, you’ll get great results using a pizza stone in a pizza oven – check our review of the best pizza ovens, including popular Ooni and Gozney models, before you invest. You can also pop a pizza stone on the barbecue (gas or coal) to get that smoky, charred flavour. You may need other pizza accessories, too, including a dough scraper for homemade pizza dough and an efficient pizza cutter.
While pizza ovens have rocketed in popularity, a pizza stone will work in a conventional oven, too. If you have a particularly small oven, it would be worth checking the dimensions as some of these stones are large.
Another thing to bear in mind is that these aren’t the easiest to clean. None of them could be soaked or go in the dishwasher and some warn you off even plain water. Scraping off any remnants of dough and cold cheese after you’ve finished can be time-consuming.
How to choose the best pizza stone
Our samples came in various shapes and sizes. Some were functional, while others were lovely items you’d be pleased to have hanging around your kitchen. You need to take into account:
- Size – will it fit in your oven and do you have space to store it?
- Weight and depth – as a general rule, the thicker the stone, the better the heat retention, but this does make them heavy.
- Cooking method – do you want to use your stone in a pizza oven, barbecue or conventional oven?
- Extras – some of these stones come as part of a set with a chrome serving tray and/or pizza wheel.
- Cleaning – check the instructions before you buy. You might prefer one you can wash rather than scrape.
- Price – our samples ranged from £8 to £53.
How to use and clean a pizza stone
Stones need to be preheated – we found 10 minutes or so was plenty, but it does depend on your oven.
There’s a risk of them breaking if you put them in an already hot oven. Also, putting a pizza onto a hot stone rather than a cold one means it will start to cook from the bottom immediately.
Pizza stones will be scorching hot when you take them out of the oven, so need to be handled with oven gloves. Some had serving trays to rest them on.
How to clean a stone varies. Some are hand-wash only while others advise scraping off with a brush. None will go in the dishwasher. Whatever you do, don’t put a hot stone into cold water.
If you’re a baking enthusiast, you can use your stone to make things like bread and rolls, too.
Best pizza stones at a glance
- Best overall pizza stone: Kamado Joe Classic, £24.90
- Most versatile pizza stone: Ooni, £19.99
- Best budget pizza stone: ProCook, £8
- Best pizza stone set: Dunelm, £15
- Best blow the budget pizza stone: Big Green Egg, £53
Best pizza stones to buy in 2021
Kamado Joe Classic
Best overall pizza stone
- Available from Amazon, £24.90
Pros: Great quality
Cons: Heavy, can’t be washed
Kamado Joe sounds like a baseball or martial arts star – and this is certainly a big hitter. The largest (38cm diameter) and heaviest (a whopping 3.5kg) of our samples, it still fitted easily into our oven. Its heat retention was excellent. After 10 minutes, our homemade Italian style-pizza emerged crisp and evenly baked. The round stone was still hot after 20 minutes – we could just about lift it with bare hands – and the pizza was still warm after half an hour.
Although we tested this ceramic stone at 220 degrees to make it the same as others, this can withstand extremely high temperatures. It’s designed for Kamado Joe grills but is suitable for all home ovens as well as conventional barbecues. It’s reasonably priced and the instructions on the back of the box (none of our samples had separate printed instructions) were clear, with tips including dusting it with cornmeal to prevent the pizza sticking.
You need to clean this one with a brush or dry cloth rather than washing it, which does make it more time-consuming to care for, but the results are worth it.
- Available from Amazon, £24.90
Ooni baking stone
Most versatile pizza stone
- Available from Ooni, £19.99
Pros: Great quality, good size, reasonably priced
Cons: Tricky to clean
The Ooni is a large stone in a pleasing golden colour. Although designed for Ooni pizza ovens, you can use it in your conventional oven, too. Unusually, it is square, so if you roll your pizzas out in that shape, it may be a good one for you.
The cordierite stone baking board is extremely solid. We were impressed by the heat retention – 10 minutes after removing it from the oven, it was still too hot to handle without oven gloves. In fact, the stone was still very warm after 20 minutes. Our pizza had a crisp base and was evenly cooked.
This is pleasingly big – it’s 337 x 337mm and 1cm thick – without being too massive, heavy or difficult to store. It’s well-priced too and we felt it makes a good medium-range option.
One downside is that it isn’t the easiest to clean as you’re not supposed to use soap or water on it. Instead, you need to clean it with a special brush. The instructions add that you should flip it over to the other side when next using to burn off any excess flour.
- Available from Ooni, £19.99
ProCook pizza stone
Best budget pizza stone
- Available from ProCook, £8
Pros: Good instructions, easy to clean
Cons: Small size won’t suit everyone
You won’t go far wrong with this stone. It’s cheap and highly effective with very clear instructions if you have never used a stone before. For instance, there’s a helpful suggestion on dusting the stone with flour before use to help the pizza lift off easily. It’s oven safe up to 300C, but warns you to place it in a cold oven and heat gradually, to ensure even heating and to avoid it shattering.
This has instructions for how to use it on a gas barbecue, but it isn’t suitable for coal or wood-fired barbies.
Depending on what you’re looking for, the small size (28cm diameter) might be an advantage or a disadvantage – it makes a smallish single pizza and certainly isn’t big enough for a pizza for two. We liked the fact it was lighter than most and its dinky size means you can keep it in a kitchen drawer.
The pizza slid off easily and the stone maintained its heat well – it was still fairly warm after 20 minutes.
Cleaning is more straightforward than many we tried as you can wash it in warm water.
Dunelm pizza stone with cutter
Best pizza stone set
Pros: Good value, not too heavy
Cons: Didn’t retain heat as well as some others
If you’re looking for a set that will have you baking pizza in a jiffy, this has everything you need. This ceramic stone comes with both a pizza cutter and a serving rack. You can use the latter as a carrying handle to take your food from oven to table and/or use it as a serving dish for bonus presentation points. It did make our pizza look very appealing.
The stone itself is a mid-range 32cm in diameter. The instructions on the box are reasonable if not extensive.
Heat retention is fine, being still hot after 10 minutes in our test though tepid after 20. Our pizza had a pleasantly crisp base and slid easily off the stone when we wanted to plate it up. The included pizza wheel felt a little flimsy but was surprisingly effective.
This can be washed by hand and is oven safe up to 220C.
Big Green Egg pizza and baking stone
Best blow the budget pizza stone
- Available from Big Green Egg, £53
Pros: Great quality, good size
This expansive thick stone (with a diameter of 36cm) is the most expensive we tested and definitely an investment. Still, it isn’t the biggest of Big Green Egg stones, with an extra large version measuring 53cm. They are designed to go in Big Green Egg barbecues but will work fine in a conventional oven, which is how we tested it.
Pleasingly, the stone arrives in a cardboard box just like the one your pizza delivery comes in. But this is heavy – very heavy – so it’s not ideal for kids to be helping out in the kitchen. (We hate to think what would happen if you dropped it).
We found this to be a highly effective stone and our pizza was still warm half an hour after taking it out of the oven.
Cleaning is a little tricky – you are advised to scrape off any baked-on food with a stiff brush or scraper. We found a plastic dough scraper did an adequate job.
How we tested pizza stones
For this test, we used the our margherita pizza recipe.
We preheated the stones for 10 minutes, then cooked our pizza for 10 minutes in a fan oven at 220C.
We looked for stones that cooked pizza evenly and swiftly, and retained heat well after being taken out of the oven, checking them every 10 minutes. We noted extra features such as cutters and evaluated how easy the stones were to clean and store.
Pizza-making recipes and tips
This review was last updated in May 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@.