Our Top Pick for 2019: Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone
In the U.S. 350 slices of pizza are consumed per second. The global love affair with this disc-shaped food continues to spread and many will agree that the best kind of pizza is your own homemade pizza. Pizza has always been something that, in its least complicated form, even an amateur chef can whip up without much effort, but what about when you want to generate a taste that more closely mimics the flavors of your favorite pizzeria? This is where the pizza stone comes in. Pizza stones can be made of a plethora of rock-like materials, but they all do one thing: make delicious pizza. You can even make a delicious calzone or a scrumptious loaf of bread on these – they are perfectly versatile cooking items. In this best of list, we’ve provided a grouping of some of the best pizza stones that are available on the market today as well as an entry for those who are on a budget.
Let’s Have a Quick Look of Our Top 4 Picks:
#1. Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone
One of the leading manufacturers of ceramic cookware in the world, French company Emile Henry began its distinguished history in 1850 in the east central town of Burgundy. Every ceramic product that Emile Henry produces is comprised of the limestone soil-based clays of the famously wine producing Burgundy region. This august composition and excellent critic and consumer reviews are a few of the reasons that their pizza stone is our Gold Pick winner.
For a pizza stone, this flame top cookware is very unique looking. To start, Emile Henry utilized a glazing technique that makes this stone appear to have a definitive luster to it. This might disturb some pizza purists who like to age their stones by letting moisture into the porous material. Despite the shiny glaze, the external material is actually “micro-crazed”; this means that while the luster appears to be undisturbed, the actual material has several microscopic cracks that allow for the stone to take on moisture. The result of this micro-crazing is a stone that will provide a crisp, dry crust on any pizza that you prepare on it.
Along the sides of this stone are handles that vaguely resemble ears. These handles are thick enough to be safely gripped when moving the stone in and out of your oven. The cooking area is 14 ½ inches in diameter and 17 inches from handle to handle. The stone is also thick enough to be very durable; a stout two inches. When it comes to hefting this stone, it weighs only 5.7 pounds, which is relatively light for this type of cookware.
A unique trait of this stone that sets it apart from the majority of its competitors is that it is classified as flameware. This means that you can heat this pizza stone above a fire pit, on the grill, or even in the broiler of your oven. This added versatility ensures that you can take this stone on day trips without much fuss. Unlike a lot of the cordierite and unglazed pizza stones on the market today, you can even wash this stone the same way that you wash your other cookware; with soap and water or even in the dishwasher. The glaze adds this functionality and effectively makes the surface non-stick, so when it’s time to clean up, you don’t have to worry about pizza-bits all over the surface of the stone.
Durability is important when using one of these stones as you don’t want them to chip and lose stability. Since you’ll be moving them in and out of your oven frequently, this strength is important. With this stone, you can expect many years of usage, you can even cut your pizza on this stone without worrying about damaging the surface needlessly. Also, thermal shock has been the death of many pizza stones. Not warming up your stone in the oven and thusly subjecting it to radical changes in temperature can cause it to crack. This stone is thermal shock resistant and actually heats quicker than many of the products out there.
When it comes to cooking performance, the stone heats up evenly and will provide you with some of the best pizza (or other bakeables) you’ve ever made. The bottom of your pie will be crisp and a colored a pizzeria-perfect mottled brown.
As a Gold Pick, you can expect this to be a well reviewed item. On Amazon 86 percent of reviewers had a positive experience with this pizza stone. As a matter of fact, of the positive reviews, only ten percent were below a five star rating (four stars). One of the reviewers had this to say about this stone, “It’s beautiful and unlike other stones that doesn’t stain and can be washed either by hand or in the dishwasher without having the stone “bleed” a soap taste into whatever you bake next and the gorgeous ceramic finish doesn’t stain and is perfect for serving.”
This exceptional pizza stone can be purchased on Amazon for $49.95 and has a 2 year warranty against manufacturing defects.
#2. Old Stone 16-Inch Round Oven Pizza Stone
Old Stone specializes in providing stone baking services at a very competitive price. As a matter of fact, the Old Stone Company is considered by many to be one of the best stone baking surface providers in the world. As a matter of fact, they originated the baking stone over thirty years ago. As our Silver Pick, their 16-inch stone delivers a great pie experience and approximates the taste and texture of the brick oven pizzerias; in the comfort of your own home. Just like our Gold Pick, this stone is a darling with the consumers, and with the right upkeep and care, will certainly last you for years.
When it comes to aesthetic design, this stone has a relatively uniform disc shape. The only protuberances on this pizza stone are the four curved “feet” and the central support disc. These feet serve as a way to keep your pizza balanced on the rack of your oven. This will, in turn, ensure that your pizza is not set at an angle and will ensure that you don’t lose toppings and cheese.
Size-wise, this pizza stone has a 16-inch diameter, which will allow you to bake a large, family-sized pie with extensive toppings. This stone weighs a little more than eight pounds, so while it’s not the heaviest of pizza stones, it can be a bit heavy to pull in and out of the oven; especially under the load of a topping-packed pizza. This pizza stone is also very thick, when including the ½ inch feet, from top to bottom the stone is about one inch thick. Also, as this rounded pizza stone has no handles, you’ll have to be careful during the pizza transferring process. But still, it’s the more old-styled nature of this pizza stone’s construction and materials that makes it such a great option for those who want to emulate the feel of a traditional brick oven pizza.
To further this feeling, Old Stone uses firebrick materials in the composition of this 16-inch pizza stone. Firebrick is a ceramic material that is used in kilns and brick ovens; and as a result, the pizzas that are generated with this stone will have evenly baked and crisped crusts, and will generally bake at a faster rate than any pizza that you can prepare directly on the rack. This material allows for excellent heat retention; your crust will be evenly cooked, whether you are heating the pizza on a charcoal grill or in the oven.
The firebrick that the Old Stone company uses in this cookware is also highly resistant to thermal shock; so you won’t have to fear that you’ll crack your surface when placing cold dough directly on the preheated stone. As the clay used to make firebrick is very porous, avoid utilizing soap when cleaning as it will remain in the stone forever and can add a unfavorable flavor to your food. Simply wash with water for the best results.
This is another well-regarded product on Amazon. 86 percent of all of the 414 verified purchases of this product have rated it over four stars. One reviewer only had this stone for about a month before giving it a five star rave review expressing about how much they loved the cookware. Here is what they had to say, “I’ve used it to make pizza and bread a few times now, and the results are so much better than any pan or sheet I’ve tried. Honestly, I think it’s possible to make pizza that equals or betters most take-out if you use a stone, and we’ve been more than happy with the results we’ve gotten.”
You can find this firebrick-comprised pizza stone on Amazon for the very reasonable price of $42.66.
#3. Kit-Chef Round Cordierite Pizza Stone
As the first cordierite pizza stone on our list of the top pizza stones on the market, this pizza stone provides excellent pizzas and has very little functional drawbacks. This stoneware ceramic stone, as it is made with cordierite will season well with repeated usage and will make better and better tasting pizzas the more you use it. When purchasing the product, it will require special care; wash it first with water only (soap will seep into the pores), let it dry for at least ten hours, and then cook it in your oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or so. This process will prepare the stone for many years of usage.
This, like our Silver Pick, is a very nondescript stone that’s shaped like a disc. The only markings on this stone is the Kit-Chef logo. This logo is there to let you know where the bottom of this stone is; cooking with this side up will emblazon the logo onto the base of your dough and also leave stains in the lettering that will be hard to clean.
This stone has no handles, so be careful when removing from and placing it in your stove. For this type of handle-less cookware, a pizza peel can be a great investment. The entire stone is about 14-inches in diameter and is ¾ of an inch thick. The whole stone is a little over 7.4 pounds, so it’s semi-heavy, as is common with these types of cookware. As the seasoning process proceeds with this stone, it will gradually darken from the light color that it starts with, to a dark brown even almost black coloration. This coloration doesn’t indicate damage to the material of the stone; it’s just an after effect of the seasoning process.
Cordierite is a great material for pizza stones, though it is a little harder to clean than those with an glazed coating, the stones made of this material have a very high thermal temperature limit, and are very excellent when exposed to standard levels of thermal shock. You may have some sticking when it comes to the pizzas you create, simply applying a liberal amount of cornmeal to the cooking surface will prevent your pizza from making a hard-to-clean mess on the surface of the cordierite top.
You can also easily cut on top of this stone, but when slicing your pizza there is a good chance that the cheese will end up on the stone post cutting and will need to be cleaned off. Also, since cordierite is so durable and damage-repellant a material, cutting directly on these types of stones can dull the cutting edge of your pizza cutter. Cordierite, as a ceramic material, heats very evenly, so when you bake a pie on this stone, you can expect an evenly crisped and browned crust that will make your dinner guests envious of your pizzaiolo skills.
Simply put, this is the best reviewed pizza stone of our picks. Even though it sports no handles and is more complicated when it comes to upkeep than our other picks, a startling 99 percent of 135 reviewers thought that this stone was worthy of a rating four stars or more. As a matter of fact, the 1% that reviewed this product only complained about the company’s email practices. Here’s an example of one of the reviews: “This pizza stone is spectacular! I have a stone that I have been using for years, but it is much thinner and of poor quality! This stone is fantastic; it is very thick and heavy!”
You can get this stone on Amazon for $38.85 and it comes with a 90-day money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with its performance.
#4. Wilton Perfect Results Ceramic Pizza Stone
Don’t have 50 bucks to shell out for a brand new pizza stone? As you might have guessed, there are some excellent options for pizza making if you are ballin’ on a budget. Our budget-conscious pizza stone does great when compared to our Gold through Bronze picks, and comes in at a under $20 dollar price tag.
Wilton has a celebrated history with baked goods that dates back to the 1920s. While they have primarily served in producing cookware for confectionaries and breads, their ceramic pizza stone is a low-cost option that has more than enough features that will allow the home pizzaiolo in you to shine through.
This 15-inch diameter stone is a very light 5.8 pounds and is only half an inch thick. Like our Gold Pick, this stone sports handy grips for ease of pizza placement. These handles are made of a chrome that is embedded into the ceramic material of the stone itself. As this is a ceramic stone, the best way to clean it is to burn off any materials that have spilled onto the surface itself. You can also utilize a dry cloth for this purpose, but since you’ll be using no water to clean it, cooking is the more sanitary option.
This stone retains heat very well; making it the perfect option for more than just pizza warming. Need snacks to stay warm? Simply place them on top of this stone and they’ll be easy to serve at their desired temperature. As it is a budget conscious item, this stone doesn’t have as much thermal shock protection as some of our other picks, so be sure that you preheat the stone along with your oven to avoid cracking.
68 percent of Amazon reviewers felt that this pizza stone was worthy of a four star rating or above, with 55 percent of these feeling that it was good enough to be rated at five stars. One reviewer even said, “I have baked Artisan breads and Pizzas on the stone and wished I had bought this item years ago. It helps create a perfect bread crust and helps prevent burns or over browning. The crust on Pizza is great, too.”
You can get this stone on Amazon for the very reasonable price of $15.59.
These pizza platforms aren’t made of plastic. Being comprised of various types of earth or ceramic, pizza stones are understandably heavy. This heft is caused by the stone’s composition; a trait that also helps cook your pizza to near-perfection. That being said, you don’t want to purchase a pizza stone that you’ll never actually be able to lift. When looking for a stone that you can do your baking on, make sure that it’s light enough that you’ll be able to remove items from your baking or grilling surface with relative ease, but don’t go too light either, as stones with minimal materials will crack much easier under the day to day strains.
The three main components of the majority of pizza making stones that are on the market today are fibrament, firebrick, and cordierite. Each has a high thermal limit; Fibrament is comprised of a blend of heat resistant and conductive materials and can withstand thermal temperatures of up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit and is very light. Firebrick or ceramic pizza stones duplicate the effects of old-style stone ovens and are comprised of fire clay and some can even withstand temperatures of up to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, cordierite is a ceramic material that can handle temperatures in excess of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and is exceptionally thermal shock resistant; this means that you can take it from a hot oven to a cool environment without fear of cracking the pizza stone.
Whatever type of material that you decide on, know that each has its strengths and weaknesses. Cordierite is heavy but durable. Firebrick will give you a stone oven taste, but some have complained about how these type tend to emit a strange odor when you heat them. Finally fibrament, as a proprietary material, is great for making crispy, delicious pizzas but the material needs cured before use and it can only be washed without soap.
Ease of Cleaning
As mentioned previously, some of these pizza stones must be cleaned in a very specialized way. Fibrament must be cleaned with just water and some manufacturers recommend not cleaning your stone at all. This may sound disgusting, but with these types you simply bake the residual food until it chars, then you simply wipe it away with a dry cloth. Not all stones have to be treated this way; some are glazed with a material that allows moisture to penetrate the substance and improve the quality of the stone itself. As a result of this treatment, these types of pizza stone can be easier to clean. For the most part, owning a long-lasting pizza stone takes a bit of dedication, so consider the cleaning process when you are searching the market for your next pizza stone purchase.
Can you use your pizza stone for bread? How about using it on the grill? Versatility is a great feature for a pizza stone. Even for the biggest pizza fanatic, having a pie for every meal can get boring after a while, so utilizing your pizza stone for other culinary endeavors will ensure that you’ll be happy with your purchase. Picking a stone that is square might give you more real estate for these types of projects, but for the most part, a round stone is just as perfect for baking a loaf of bread or heating up a calzone.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Becoming a perfect pizza maker takes time and effort. Combining cheese and toppings that tantalize in the perfect ratios is a skill that needs practice to perfect. Utilizing a pizza making stone greatly aids this process and will ensure that your crusts will be properly crispy and your toppings excellently baked. In this guide we’ve covered some of the very best that are available on the market today, as well as some considerations that you can utilize when weighing your pizzeria perfect pizza stone against its competitors. In any situation, we hope that all of your pizzas come out as perfect as if they were made in southern Italy.