When you are just starting out to make your own pizza, and you do not have a professional pizza oven or brick oven in your own kitchen, wondering whether you should get a Pizza Stone or Pizza Pan is quite a common thought.
It turns out both the stone and the pan have their pros and cons, but generally, I find that pizza stones give off a smoother finish and cook evenly while pizza pans tend more toward cookie-like disks with greater margins of error when it comes down to how much dough will fit onto them (and therefore potentially less mess).
That being said though, if neither option sounds appealing, simply buy two sets — one of each type, so there’ll always be something ready to use at any given time. Start cooking pizza on both utensils, and you could then eventually choose which one works best for you after trying both of them out a few times and comparing the two pizzas.
Pizza stones are known for producing beautiful evenly cooked pizzas with a smoother finish than their regular pizza pan counterparts, with or without holes. A stone also happens to be great if you’re looking forward to making your first pie because pizza stones give more control over how much dough will fit onto them.
But don’t take my word on this either; see what others say in comparison: “If I had only one set of pizza stones,” says John from our local pizzeria.
“I would buy both again – there’s nothing better than enjoying an authentic Neapolitan or Sicilian pizza.
But if you’re thinking of getting a pizza pan, don’t do it just yet. There are plenty more situations where they can be useful.
Pizza Pan vs Pizza Stone
The question at hand is, should you use a pizza stone or a pizza pan to make great pizza? Continue on for some more details on both pizza making utensils and decide for yourself.
What Is a Pizza Stone?
A pizza stone is a utensil that is used to cook pizza. This portable surface is a rectangular piece of stone or ceramic that comes in varying sizes and that can be heated in the oven prior to adding on top of it the food that you would like to bake or have cooked, in this case a pizza.
After thoroughly heating the ceramic plate or stone, a pizza is placed on top of the pizza stone, and the heat from the oven cooks the pizza and its topping melting over it the lovely grated cheese. The heat radiating from the pizza stone helps to create a crisp crust on the pizza.
The pizza stone is a great piece of kitchen wear to have if you are planning on baking pizza in a conventional home oven instead of a proper pizza oven.
Pizza Stone Pros and Cons
Pizza stones may be the most useful tool to use in your home oven when making homemade pizza, but they also have their drawbacks. Let’s take a look at what you should know before buying a stone.
More Crispy Pizza Crust
If you’re looking to cook a pizza with a deliciously crispy base, then a pizza stone is just what you need. The instant raw dough will hit this fast-acting surface and begin cooking rapidly – thanks in part to its excellent thermal properties of the stone that help ensure crispness all around.
You might be able to get a crispy bottom with other methods, but the length of time necessary means your outer crust will become hard and crunchy.
The trick when wanting to make a good pizza, is to transfer heat into the dough as quickly as possible.
Apart from the perfect crispy crust, the pizza will also cook faster when placed onto a hot stone surface and into a hot oven. This is beneficial as we all know that the longer you have to keep a pizza inside the oven the higher are the chances of getting a dried out pizza.
A soft but crispy pizza crust is most likely obtained with a cooking time of no more than ten minutes.
While these are things you need to know before buying your pizza stone, these aren’t really considered to be downsides.
The best way to get the most out of your pizza stone is by using a peel. It is in fact a necessary tool to have when baking pizza on a pizza stone, and you need to slide your pizza dough on and off of the hot stone.
Even though you could use other utensils such as the back side of a sheet pan or a cutting board, a good quality, sturdy pizza peel model will make all aspects more enjoyable and easily avoid any unnecessary stress or hassle on top of doing what you love: making delicious pizzas, I mean let’s face it, who does not love pizza? So, be sure to budget for a pizza peel when planning on buying a pizza stone.
The downside to using a pizza stone is that it takes time and effort before you can get the most out of your cooking experience. As well as checking out how to use a pizza stone for the first time, I recommend preheating the pizza stone for at least 1 hour, but preferably 2 or more for best results.
As you can see, a stone takes a lot of time and uses up way more electricity than normal, which may end up bumping your electricity bill up a small notch.
Due to the material that a pizza stone is made of — often clay or ceramic — there is always a danger that it may break when dropping it or when a cold slab is suddenly exposed to drastic temperature changes and high temperatures, this may cause thermal shock which in turn may cause the slab to crack.
This is good to keep in mind when using a pizza stone.
Pizza Stone vs Pizza Pan: What Is A Pizza Pan?
A pan is an essential kitchen tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, from sautéing vegetables to baking cakes and preparing other food.
Pans come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to choose the right one for the job at hand.
A large, deep-pan is ideal for making stews or soup, while a smaller pan is perfect for cooking eggs or heating up leftovers.
There are also a variety of specialty pans available, such as a wok or a crêpe pan. No matter what type of pan you choose, make sure to select one that is oven-safe and has a heat-resistant handle.
A pizza pan or pizza tray is specifically designed to make pizza in the comfort of your own home. Pizza pans come in different materials — mostly cast iron or aluminum — and different shapes and sizes. The most common shape of a pizza pan is round. You will find that some pizza pans are flat while others are more rounded at the edge. You can also choose between a perforated pizza pan or a non-perforated pizza pan.
If you wish to obtain a pizza pan in order to make pizza in the comfort of your own home, using a typical home kitchen oven, there are a few things you need to be aware of before the purchase. Continue on for some pros and cons to buying a pizza pan.
Pros and Cons of Pizza Pans
The best thing about pizza pans is how easy they are to use. You simply stretch your room temperature dough right on and across the pizza pan and then add toppings of your choice before throwing the pizza tray into an oven that does all the work for you.
When using a pizza pan to make a pizza, you do not need pizza peels, and it is also not necessary to preheat the oven hours before you plan to bake your pizza. This can be seen as beneficial because it saves you a bit of money.
Another good thing about a pizza tray is the material it is made of. It is durable and does not break easily.
The cold temperature of the surface of a pizza pan can make cooking the pizza dough difficult. The cold pizza tray needs to be heated up in the cold oven before it’s possible for the crust to cook properly, but this takes 2-3 minutes depending on how big your pie is, during which time the cold pan is blocking the hot air from the oven.
This ultimately means that you need to leave your pizza dough in the oven longer and wait for the crust to become nice and crispy, risking that the toppings and cheese on top of your pie may burn or take the pizza pie out when the toppings and cheese is cooked and risk an underdone crust and pale base.
If you do not want to risk the above happening when baking your pan pizza, we suggest that you make a thin crust pizza, such as New York style pizzas, when using a pizza pan. A thinner base cooks faster.
Pizza Stone vs Pizza Pans: Difference
When it comes to making pizza, there are two main ways to cook it – you can use a pizza stone or make a pan pizza. Both a pan pizza and a stone pizza have their own advantages and disadvantages, so which is the best option for you?
Here’s a look at the difference between pizza stones and pans, as well as the pros and cons of each.
- Pizza stones are made from a variety of materials, but the most common is ceramic. Ceramic pizza stones absorb and distribute heat evenly, which helps to create a crispy crust on your pizza. Pans, on the other hand, are typically made from metal, such as aluminum, cast iron or steel. Metal pans conduct heat more quickly than pizza stones, so they’re ideal for thin-crust pizza.
- Pizza stones can also be used in the oven or on the grill, making them a versatile cooking option. Pans come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you can find one that fits your cooking needs.
- Another thing that differs when it comes to stones and pizza pans, is that a pizza pan would need a thin layer of grease such as olive oil or any other type of fat to avoid the pizza crust sticking to the pan when cooked. This is not necessary with a pizza stone; the crust easily slides off the stone when using a peel.
Conclusion — Stone or Pan?
So, which is better – a pizza stone or a pan? Personally we feel that the pizza stone is superior to the pizza pan or any baking sheet and makes for a better pizza.
The utensil you use, however, is what works best for you and your situation. If you have the time, budget and energy to learn and make the most authentic pizza you can get in your home kitchen, we suggest that you go for the pizza stone.
If you are in a hurry and your budget only allows you to use a pizza pan, then a pizza tray is a good alternative to use when making homemade pizzas.
We suggest that if you choose to use a pizza pan, get one that is perforated — has tiny holes in it, if you have to choose this is the best pizza pan to use.
The small holes in the bottom of perforated pizza pans allow parts of your pizza crust to be exposed to heat, making for a faster and more even cook. This added heat exposure means that you have a better chance of getting the bottom of your pizza dough nice and crispy without risking the top part of your pizza becoming overcooked when using a perforated pan. Tip: place the perforated pizza pan on the bottom rack of your oven for the best result.