News center
Extensive sales and production expertise

The Best Pizza Stone and Baking Steel for 2023

Oct 17, 2023

We've read through this guide and stand by our picks.

Sign up for Wirecutter's newsletters to get independent reviews, expert advice, and the very best deals sent straight to your inbox.

A pizza stone is the best tool for baking up crispy pies that’ll rival those made by your favorite restaurant, but it can also do so much more. After making more than 50 pizzas, 24 flaky croissants, and 10 loaves of rustic bread on four stones and two baking steels, we think the FibraMent-D Home Oven Baking Stone is the best all-purpose stone for preparing crisp pizza, crusty bread, and golden pastries.

This all-purpose baking stone is best for prolific home bakers, yielding crisp, puffy pizzas, crusty bread, and airy croissants.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $94.

The FibraMent-D baking stone is the best and most versatile stone we tested. This ¾-inch-thick ceramic slab holds enough heat to bake multiple pro-quality pizzas back-to-back. And its coarse surface yields crispy bottoms and puffy crusts. But near-perfect pizza isn't the only reason we chose the FibraMent stone as our top pick. It's an all-purpose baking surface that can help you make airy croissants, light flaky biscuits, and pies with golden bottom crusts. FibraMent also offers the most size options of all our picks.


This thick steel slab will have you turning out pizzas that rival your favorite brick-oven spot.

If you want the best possible chance at creating a pizza with the black-spotted crust of a brick-oven Neapolitan pie, the ⅜-inch-thick Modernist Cuisine Baking Steel is your best bet. It conducts heat better than any ceramic stone we tested, yielding pizzas with dark and puffy crusts. And unlike the FibraMent, this durable steel plate is safe to use under any broiler and on the grill. But even though the Baking Steel is our favorite for pizza, it gives off too much intense heat for baking bread and more-delicate baked goods, and it will scorch the bottoms of cookies or croissants. It also takes a lot of muscle to hoist this 23-pound slab of steel in and out of the oven.

This affordable all-purpose stone lets you bake pizza and bread with crispy golden crusts and is also good to grill.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $47.

If you’re an occasional baker or just interested in a more budget-friendly option, the Honey-Can-Do Rectangular Pizza Stone is a solid choice. (This used to be called the Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone. A representative from Honey-Can-Do assured us that the stones are the same.) The pizzas we baked on this stone ranked third among the seven models we tested. They had a slightly paler, softer crust than pizzas we made with the Baking Steel or the FibraMent-D, though they were still delicious and satisfying. This stone also produced crusty bread loaves with springy crumb. And its gentler heat made it even better than the FibraMent for baking croissants, which turned out so uniformly golden you’d have thought they came from a professional bakery. Plus, this stone is safe to use on the grill or under a broiler.

This all-purpose baking stone is best for prolific home bakers, yielding crisp, puffy pizzas, crusty bread, and airy croissants.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $94.

This thick steel slab will have you turning out pizzas that rival your favorite brick-oven spot.

This affordable all-purpose stone lets you bake pizza and bread with crispy golden crusts and is also good to grill.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $47.

My culinary career started when I persuaded the kitchen manager at a brewpub to hire me as their in-house baker, despite having zero professional kitchen experience. Then I hustled my way into a vegetarian restaurant kitchen six months later, after embellishing my expertise in vegan pastry arts (I had none but quickly learned). Before I knew it, I was baking at two restaurants and a catering company to save money for culinary school. Since then I’ve worked in restaurants in three major cities, as well as in the test kitchens at Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food, and written numerous guides for Wirecutter.

In addition to the knowledge I gained from my scrappy beginnings, I talked to baking expert Susan Reid, food editor at Sift Magazine; William M. Carty, PhD, a professor of ceramic engineering and materials science at the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University at the time of our interview; and Scott Misture, a professor of materials science and engineering, also at the Inamori School of Engineering. And I spent many hours scrolling through the extensive forums on The Fresh Loaf, Breadtopia, and Pizza Making to hear what home bakers have to say.

Anyone who bakes frequently or loves to make pizza at home can benefit from a baking stone or steel. If you’ve ever baked a pizza on a cookie sheet, you probably noticed the crust wasn't as crisp and browned as a pizzeria pie. Like, not even close. That's because A) your home oven can't get as hot as a commercial one, and B) a cookie sheet is too thin to hold enough heat to produce a superbly browned pizza crust. A baking stone or steel can help.

]If you tackle a vast array of baking projects, you’ll want an all-purpose stone that’ll suit most recipes.

A baking stone or steel won't actually make your oven hotter, but it does store heat. When you bake bread or pizza directly on the hot surface, that concentrated warmth results in crustier breads and crispier pizzas with puffier "oven spring" (the expansion of dough during the first few minutes of baking) than you’d get from just hot oven air and a cookie sheet. Baking stones and steels also help stabilize the heat in your oven, which is especially helpful if your oven cycles through dramatic temperature fluctuations.

Whether you choose a stone or a steel depends on what you like to bake. If you tackle a vast array of baking projects, you’ll want an all-purpose stone that’ll suit most recipes. Ceramic stones are versatile because they conduct enough heat for a puffy oven rise, but they won't blacken the bottoms of pastries, biscuits, cakes, and tarts. Baking a pie on a ceramic stone all but guarantees that you won't end up with a soggy bottom crust ever again. Steel transfers too much heat for most baking projects and is generally best for pizza.

Even though pizza stones and steels all seem the same—just a slab of material that gets hot—a number of factors can affect how well they perform. Here's what we considered as we searched for the best ones:

With the exception of a couple of models—one glazed stoneware and one made from a proprietary ceramic mix—we mainly focused on baking stones made from unglazed cordierite ceramic, and baking steels. Cordierite ceramic, a material commonly used in commercial bakery ovens, is great for baking stones because, as William Carty told us, "It's rather insensitive to rapid changes in temperature" (so it won't crack when you drop a cool piece of dough on the hot surface).

Ceramic stones are great for baking not only pizza and bread but also biscuits, scones, and tarts. Compared with steel, ceramic transfers heat more moderately and won't torch the bottoms of delicate baked goods. Susan Reid, editor for Sift Magazine, bakes a lot on her stone: "Ninety percent of the time it lives in the oven on the middle shelf. I like baking pies on it. The ‘oomph’ of bottom heat helps keep the bottom crust from getting soggy." (Note: Use only ceramic or metal pie plates. The hot stone could cause glass plates to shatter due to thermal shock.)

Baking steels, which are made from solid steel, deliver much more intense heat than ceramic. Scott Misture, professor of materials science, explained "The heat conduction in the steel is probably 100, 200, or 300 times faster … so that's a dramatic difference".

At ¼ to ½ inch thick, baking steels are also much thicker than a baking sheet or even a cast-iron pan, and therefore they hold a lot more heat. Ultra-thin-crust pizzas, like New York- and Neapolitan-style pies, bake very well on steel because the intense blast of heat is crucial to get proper browning and oven spring in a short amount of time. But steel heat is too intense for buttery pastries, as proven by a batch of black-bottomed croissants. The steel also scorched the bottoms of the bread we baked.

Size options are almost as important as what a baking stone or steel is made from, because ovens vary. You want as big a baking surface as possible, while still allowing for some airflow around your stone.

Rectangular stones are more versatile than round ones. A batch of baguettes or a baking sheet will fit on a rectangle. But on a 14-inch diameter circle? Not so easy. Even if you’re just interested in making pizza, you want as much surface area as possible to rotate and scoot the pie around so it bakes evenly. That said, if you have a tiny oven and your only option is a round stone, that's fine. It's better than nothing!

If you want a rectangular stone, make sure you get the right size baking stone or steel for your oven. Ovens and stones both vary, but a 30-inch stove should fit a 15-by-20-inch stone. Just make sure there's a 1-inch gap between the stone and the oven walls on all sides, because it's crucial for airflow in the oven. Good air circulation not only promotes even baking but also boosts your oven's longevity and performance. If too much heat is trapped in the lower part of the oven, you run the risk of damaging electronic parts, like a gas oven ignition unit.

There's a sweet spot when it comes to stone and steel thickness. If it's too thin, it won't hold enough heat, especially for baking back-to-back pizzas. Too thick and it’ll take longer than two hours to preheat (and be more unwieldy to move). Depending on the season, that means that by the time the stone is ready, you could be stretching dough in an unbearably hot kitchen. We found the ideal thickness for stone to be ½ to ¾ inch, and ⅜ inch for steel.

A top-performing baking stone or steel is a hefty piece of cookware. If you’re worried about lifting your creations, stone is a good choice because it weighs significantly less than steel.

In our testing, we found that pizzas baked on stones with coarser surfaces were much browner, crisper, and puffier than ones we made on smoother stones. The pizza we made on a glazed stone turned out surprisingly golden, but the crust was limp and had the mouthfeel of a steamed bun. These results led us to theorize that surface texture affects the crust's quality and texture. When we asked Carty, he agreed that our theory is plausible, saying, "A pizza dough that's wet is going to have a tendency to adhere well to that smoother stone rather than a rougher stone. A rougher stone is going to create air pockets." A craggier surface also creates pathways for steam to escape from under the dough.

Surface texture of a baking steel probably isn't as important since it has higher conductivity than ceramic. But the baking steels we tested, while not as rough as our favorite stones, do have the coarse texture of a Lodge cast-iron skillet.

Our first round of testing, and arguably the most important, focused on pizza. We preheated each stone and steel to 500 degrees, gauging the temperature with two oven thermometers placed directly on the stones. (Although not perfect or exact, this was the best way for us to see when the oven and stones were up to temperature.) We then baked three pizzas in succession on each model using homemade pizza dough.

We eliminated the stones and steels that produced pale, doughy pizzas. Some models failed on the first pie. Others made a great first pizza but couldn't hold enough heat for multiple bakes, which is important for feeding a crowd.

After baking more than 20 pizzas, we disqualified over half the competition and moved onto bread. For this test, we used the King Arthur No-Knead Crusty White Bread recipe because it's easy and forgiving, and the dough can live in the fridge for seven days. It's also one of the few no-knead recipes we found that doesn't require baking the bread in a Dutch oven. We proofed the loaves in a basket (called a banneton), then turned them onto a semolina-dusted pizza peel, and launched them onto the preheated stones and steel. The baking steel produced loaves with burnt bottoms, while the ceramic stones baked up uniformly golden bread.

We also made croissants (not from scratch, we don't have time for that). Thankfully, Trader Joe's sells frozen unbaked all-butter croissants. These pastries are mostly butter (because, French) and will burn at high temperatures. We baked them on the stones and steels with nothing but a thin layer of parchment in between. We suspected ceramic stones would do a better job than the baking steel—and we were right. The intense heat from the steel left us with black-bottomed croissants.

This all-purpose baking stone is best for prolific home bakers, yielding crisp, puffy pizzas, crusty bread, and airy croissants.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $94.

For folks who want a great all-purpose baking stone, the FibraMent-D is the best choice. It made the puffiest and crispiest pizzas of all the ceramic stones we tested, and it's more versatile than a baking steel. You can tackle breads, tarts, biscuits, pastries, and pies on the FibraMent-D stone and avoid any excess browning, because ceramic doesn't conduct heat as well as steel. That means you can keep the stone in your oven for a wide range of recipes.

The FibraMent-D has the roughest surface texture of all the ceramic stones we used. We believe that the craggier surface provides channels for steam to escape, which is one of the reasons why the FibraMent stone produced pizzas that were crusty, dark, and chewy, with outer rims chock-full of big air pockets. The pizzas were the best we baked on any ceramic stone we tested. We were similarly delighted by the rustic bread we baked on the FibraMent-D. Both the wheat and white versions had chewy, crisp crusts and an airy crumb.

At ¾ inch thick, the FibraMent-D is the thickest baking stone we tested. Compared with the Honey-Can-Do, the FibraMent was better for cooking consecutive pizzas because it held more heat, which resulted in a shorter recovery time between bakes. And despite its thickness, it took about the same time to preheat to 500 °F as the thinner models we tested, which was about an hour. But if you’re making pizza, you’ll get better oven spring and browning the longer you let a baking stone preheat. We found that all of our picks performed and recovered heat better between pizzas when they preheated for 1½ hour.

The FibraMent stone produced pizzas that were crusty, dark, and chewy, with outer rims chock-full of big air pockets.

We appreciate that the FibraMent-D is available in three rectangular and four round sizes, the most of any stone we tested. FibraMent also gives you the option to trim a rectangular stone to a specified size. When contacted, the company noted that the service costs an additional $10. So whether you have a tiny apartment oven or a big high-end range, you’re likely to find the perfect size for your needs. For maximum versatility, we recommend a rectangular stone that's roomy enough for oblong loaves or large batches of bread and rotating pizza as it bakes.

The FibraMent-D stone comes with a 10-year warranty. We don't have personal long-term experience with it, but Susan Reid, food editor at Sift Magazine, told us that her 15-year-old FibraMent baking stone is still in great shape, and she uses it for most baking.

The pizzas we baked on the FibraMent-D weren't quite as good as the ones we made on a baking steel. But we don't think that's a dealbreaker, since the FibraMent also works for delicate pastries, making it more versatile than a steel. Plus, the second-place pizzas were still crisp and delicious.

The FibraMent-D is available only through the company's website—and prepare yourself for some old-school Web design. But free shipping more than makes up for it. FibraMent stones are also more expensive than the other ceramic models we tested. If you’re new to baking bread and unsure whether you’ll stick with it, we recommend getting your feet wet with the Honey-Can-Do baking stone.

This stone is not flameproof, which means you can't use it on the grill or under a gas broiler. But FibraMent sells kits for the grill that include the stone (three size options) and a metal shield to divert the flames for $8 to $12 more.

Just like any other ceramic pizza stone, the FibraMent-D will stain as you use it. This is unavoidable, and the stains don't affect performance. But you should still scrape off burnt food bits between uses when the stone is at room temperature. You can use a metal spatula for the stubborn bits, then brush the crumbs with a sturdy bench brush.

This thick steel slab will have you turning out pizzas that rival your favorite brick-oven spot.

If you’re a pizza perfectionist with some expendable income, the ⅜-inch-thick Modernist Cuisine Baking Steel will get you one step closer to baking pizzeria-caliber pies in your home oven. This heavy steel plate delivers a big wallop of instant heat that in our testing let us bake up the best pizza of all the competition. And unlike the FibraMent-D, the Baking Steel is flameproof, so it's safe to use on a grill or under a flame broiler. So why isn't the Baking Steel our top pick? While it's great for pizza, its heat is very intense and will burn the bottoms of bread, buttery pastries, pies (the sweet kind), biscuits, and cookies.

Of the available Baking Steel models, we tested the ¼-inch and ⅜-inch thicknesses, and we ultimately preferred the latter. Although an eighth of an inch might not seem like much of a difference, the extra steel means more stored heat for crispier pizzas. We made thin-crust Neapolitan-style pies that rivaled our favorite brick-oven pizzas. And each successive pizza was as browned, puffy, and pleasantly charred around the edges as the first.

We got our best results baking at 500 degrees Fahrenheit with convection, after preheating for 1½ hours, but you can also get very good results doing the same thing without convection. A lot of people also like the broiler method, but that requires an oven with a broiler in the top, and it can be tricky if you have an electric broiler that cycles on and off.

At 23 pounds, the ⅜-inch-thick steel is hefty and a bit cumbersome to move in and out of the oven. Luckily, it's okay to just leave it in there, as long as you don't bake delicate items directly on the steel. Scott Misture, a professor of materials science and engineering, told us that the thick steel mass works well at evening out the temperature variation in the oven. That means fewer hot spots.

We made thin-crust Neapolitan-style pies that rivaled our favorite brick-oven pizzas.

Unlike the FibraMent-D and Honey-Can-Do, the ⅜-inch Baking Steel is only available in one size: a 14-by-16-inch rectangle. The Baking Steel company also makes a round steel, but it's only ¼ inch thick. We found that thickness didn't hold enough heat for multiple bakes when we tested the rectangular version.

The warranty on the Modernist Cuisine Baking Steel is only 30 days, much shorter than the FibraMent's or Honey-Can-Do's. For something that costs $110, that can feel like a leap of faith, but a thick, solid steel plate is as durable as it gets. That said, steel can rust. It's possible to prevent that from happening by seasoning it—just like a cast-iron skillet—a few times before you use it. For more tips on caring for and using a baking steel, check out the care and maintenance section.

This affordable all-purpose stone lets you bake pizza and bread with crispy golden crusts and is also good to grill.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $47.

Whether you’re a homemade bread and pizza newbie, an occasional baker, or just trying to save a few bucks, the Honey-Can-Do Rectangular Pizza Stone is a decent choice. (This used to be called the Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone. A representative from Honey-Can-Do assured us that the stones are the same.) It's also flameproof and can be used on the grill or under a gas broiler, something the FibraMent-D can't do. In our tests, the Honey-Can-Do baked the most evenly golden croissants and made rustic bread on a par with the FibraMent-D. And even though it produced pizzas with lighter color and less oven spring than anything made on the FibraMent or Baking Steel, it still browned the crust better than the rest of the competition.

At ½ inch thick, the Honey-Can-Do is thinner and holds less heat than the FibraMent-D baking stone. You won't notice the difference if you’re baking one pizza or loaf of bread. But if you want to make back-to-back pizzas, the Honey-Can-Do takes roughly six to eight minutes to recover its temperature between bakes, whereas the FibraMent-D takes just half that time.

The Honey-Can-Do's pizza performance—which was worse than the FibraMent-D's but better than any other ceramic stone we tested—is most likely a result of its surface texture. We noticed the Honey-Can-Do's surface is a bit smoother than the FibraMent-D's but rougher than Pizzacraft and Cast Elegance stones. That in-between texture translated to pizzas that were crisper and darker than those we baked on smoother stones, but still softer than what we could produce with the FibraMent-D.

These stones come in only two size options—a 14-by-16-inch rectangle and 16-inch-diameter round. We recommend springing for the rectangular stone, as long as you can fit it in your oven with at least 1 inch of air gap around the perimeter.

Our Honey-Can-Do pick comes with a 60-day warranty at the discretion of the company (excluding misuse and any other circumstance that is not caused by a manufacturer's defect).

While pizza peels aren't required equipment, a good one will make your life easier. A great pizza peel won't stick to the dough as you’re dressing and launching your pie onto the stone (within reason, of course). No matter the material, you always need to sprinkle some cornmeal or semolina on the peel before your dough goes on it. But metal peels just seem to bind to the dough more frequently than wooden ones. If you need proof, just watch the cook at your favorite pizzeria throw a raw pie in the oven. That peel is probably made of wood. Pizzerias also use metal peels, but they’re to rotate and move the pies around the oven.

The downside to wood peels is that they split, especially when exposed to water. In our testing, we tried a wooden pizza peel that we used twice before it split, and we wiped it down with only a damp cloth. Enter the Epicurean pizza peel, which is made from a wood-fiber composite. It's lightweight, thin, dishwasher safe, and stood up to making 50 pizzas in two weeks for our tests. It has the dough-sliding action of solid wood without the risk of splitting. We’re not worried about its 350 °F heat-resistance rating, because it's exposed to heat for only a few seconds at a time. We used and washed this peel numerous times over the course of testing, and it has yet to warp.

Using your stone: Be sure to read the instruction manual before using your new pizza stone. For example, the FibraMent-D has you "temper" the stone before the first use by slowly heating it to 500 degrees.

To avoid any risk of sudden temperature change that could cause a ceramic stone to crack, always put it in a cold oven before preheating. Many instruction manuals say to preheat your stone for 20 or 30 minutes. We found that the ones we tested needed about an hour to fully preheat in a 500 °F oven. And they work even better after 1½ hour. When you’re finished baking, let the stone cool completely in the oven, again to avoid dramatic temperature changes.

Keep your baking stone in the oven, if possible.

It helps regulate the heat in your oven, especially if you have extreme hot spots. Also, these things are heavy and a pain to lug around your kitchen. That said, there are some recipes that don't bake well on a stone, even on all-purpose ones like the FibraMent-D and Honey-Can-Do. Pound cake, zucchini bread, bundt cake, and other dense batters bake best at moderate temperatures and take a long time to cook through, so they’ll likely burn on the bottom if baked on a stone.

Cleaning your stone: Unglazed ceramic stones are porous, so don't wash them with soap, since they’ll absorb it. The best—and easiest—way to clean a ceramic stone is to let any spills or cheesy bits burn off in a hot oven. Then brush the charcoal food carcasses away with a towel or a bench brush. You can also use a bench scraper and a light hand for particularly tenacious spills.

Seasoning your steel: Your baking steel can rust just like a cast-iron pan. We didn't have any issues with rust, but we tested in a pretty dry environment—winter in New York City. If you live in a moist climate or just want some extra insurance against rusting, consider adding a few layers of seasoning before you use it. This process is easy. Just follow these steps and repeat three or four times:

Cleaning your steel: Wash the baking steel after it has cooled completely with hot water and mild soap. Use a Scotch-Brite green scour pad to scrape away stuck-on food bits. Dry the steel completely with a dish towel. To get your steel bone-dry (and protect it against rust), bake it at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

Both Cast Elegance and Pizzacraft cordierite stones have smooth surfaces that produced pale, soft pies in our tests.

The Emile Henry Pizza Stone would make a gorgeous platter for an epic cheese and meat spread, but the brilliant shiny glaze isn't ideal for baking pizza, since it traps steam underneath the pie. The pizza we made on this stone had a crust that, while golden in spots, had a gummy crumb and little structure.

The ¼-inch Original Baking Steel doesn't pack enough heat for back-to-back pizzas. The first pizza we baked on this thinner steel was delicious, crusty, and chewy. But the second pizza had a much fainter golden hue and floppier crust, proving that the ⅜-inch steel is worth the extra cost for its ability to retain more heat over multiple bakes.

We tested only baking steels made by the Original Baking Steel company because those we found from Pizzacraft were too thin (and currently all sold out), while NerdChef's customer service was unresponsive.

Lesley Stockton

Lesley Stockton is a senior staff writer reporting on all things cooking and entertaining for Wirecutter. Her expertise builds on a lifelong career in the culinary world—from a restaurant cook and caterer to a food editor at Martha Stewart. She is perfectly happy to leave all that behind to be a full-time kitchen-gear nerd.

by Marguerite Preston

After many hours of researching and testing baking gear and kitchen equipment, here's what we think you need if you want to start baking bread.

by Ganda Suthivarakom

In this week's newsletter: Baking the perfect pizza at home is all about having the right tools.

by Ganda Suthivarakom

The kneading tool, hair caps, lava rocks, and other things our resident sourdough expert uses to bake better loaves.

by Lesley Stockton

We tested four portable outdoor pizza ovens and one indoor countertop oven to find those that are easier to use and make delicious pizza at a good price.

. Using your stone: Cleaning your stone: Seasoning your steel: Cleaning your steel: