Pizza pans and stones are not just containers for pizza dough — they also play a huge role in how the pizza cooks and even how crispy it gets!
So, pizza pan vs stone, what are the differences? Pizza pans are easier to use, but they take some time to reach optimal temperatures. Pizza stones are the default choice for professionals and can help bake commercial-level crusts at home thanks to their ability to retain and spread heat evenly.
Read below to learn more about pizza pans and stones, their pros and cons, when to use each, and how to properly use them!
What Is A Pizza Pan?
Pizza pans were invented as a convenient storage container and cooking accessory that could both hold the dough and cook the pizza — in the same pan!
These pans are still the default choice for many pizzerias that don’t have brick ovens and were once popularized by the famous pizza brand, Pizza Hut.
These pans are usually made from aluminum or aluminized steel, which can conduct heat much more efficiently than other denser materials.
They are lighter, cheaper, easier to store, and very convenient to clean. However, they do have a few drawbacks, especially when it comes to the crust.
Did You Know: The texture of the crust depends more on the pan than it does on the type of oven and dough!
Pizza pans help caramelize the bottom of the crust and give it its characteristic crispiness.
This factor is so important — using the wrong type of pan or not preheating the pan to the right temperature can even leave you with raw or improperly cooked dough!
Pros And Cons
Here are a few pros and cons of pizza pans.
1. They are cheaper and lighter.
Pizza pans may look heavy, but they are designed to be lighter than cast iron, stoneware, and other dense materials.
Aluminum is an excellent material that is often used in cookware. It can conduct and dissipate heat efficiently. Since it cools down quicker, you don’t have to worry about scalding your hand when serving the pie either.
These pans can also be cheaper than other materials. Aluminum pans are made in bulk all around the world, and their accessibility also makes them a cheaper and more effective option for home chefs.
2. They are easier to clean and maintain.
Pizza pans are not just easier to clean, but they can also be easily kept away due to their compact size, weight, and shape.
Some pizza pans can also be layered with a non-stick coating that makes them extremely easy to clean with just one swipe!
3. Build and bake the pie in the same pan!
As explained above, working with a pizza pan enables you to lay out the dough, add the toppings, and then bake the pizza in the same pan.
When it is done cooking, you can even serve the pie in the same pan too, much like how many popular pizzerias still do around the world!
1. They cool off quickly.
Ironically, this con can also be a pro, but in the context of making pies, pizza pans are considered to be ineffective at maintaining and retaining heat for longer.
This means that they need to be constantly heated to create that signature brick-oven crust, which consumes electricity and requires quite a lot of fuel.
Even if you do heat the pan, they won’t reach high-enough temperatures that you would commonly find in brick ovens.
2. They don’t develop a crispy crust.
While pizza pans are great at adequately caramelizing the bottom of any crust, they can’t get that deep and rich caramelization that you will commonly find in commercial and high-quality pizzerias.
The reason for this has to do with the thickness, quality, and general limitations of aluminum.
Sure, you can make great-tasting pizza for home use — but if you want the high-quality and crispy crust that you usually find with brick ovens, then you won’t get that same effect with pizza pans.
What Is A Pizza Stone?
Pizza stones are an ingenious way to mimic the baking conditions in a brick oven.
These specialized pizza bases are made using stoneware (in other words, reinforced ceramic) that can take on extreme temperatures without showing signs of wear and tear.
Pizza stones were invented to bridge the gap between brick ovens and conventional ovens. Since pizza stones can take on more energy (heat), they can easily and quickly cook pizza within 5-8 minutes, much like a typical brick oven.
Pros And Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of pizza stones.
1. They are the default choice for professional pizza makers and enthusiasts.
Pizza stones can take on much higher temperatures and can caramelize the base of any crust within minutes.
They also impart a significantly superior texture, creating a pizza crust that is crispy, delicious, and just the right amount of chewy.
Initially, pizza stones were mostly used by commercial pizzerias, but they are now gaining attention among home chefs too!
2. It helps maintain the temperature of the oven.
Since pizza stones can retain heat much more efficiently than aluminum pans, they also radiate heat at a steady pace.
This means that you can use pizza stones to keep your oven preheated, too. This will not only save time, but it will also allow you to make several pies without waiting for the oven to catch up to the right temperature.
3. Pizza stones are also available in other materials.
You can also find pizza stones made from reinforced cast iron or steel too!
These materials can be better at retaining heat and may even provide better heat distribution, minimizing or even eliminating the chances of cold spots.
1. They aren’t cheap!
As you can imagine, cast iron, steel, and high-grade ceramic are all expensive materials. This is why pizza stones usually cost anywhere from $40 to over $100.
Sure, you can find cheaper pizza stones that go on sale for about $30, but if you are looking for the absolute best, then you will have to stretch your budget.
One thing to keep in mind is that pizza stones also require a pizza peel: a tool that is used to slide pizzas on and off the stone. While this isn’t a requirement and is an added cost, it does make things easier when working with pizza stones.
The silver lining to this is that a pizza stone can be a great long-term investment that will stay with you forever (of course, fair-usage applies to this time).
2. They are heavy and difficult to store.
If you dislike clunky kitchenware then you’ll probably find the pizza stone to be cumbersome, especially when it comes to its weight.
Pizza stones can weigh up to 10-15 pounds which will surely require you to be careful when storing them above head level. Comparatively, pizza pans are usually less than 1 pound!
3. They take some time to preheat.
From a slightly different perspective, this winning quality of pizza stones is ironically also a disadvantage.
While pizza stones can take on higher temperatures, you need to preheat the pizza stone for a significantly longer time than regular pizza pans.
Pizza stones typically need to be preheated at the highest setting for about 30-60 minutes. Typically, you will also be required to check the temperature of the stone to see if it is at the desired level before each use.
How To Use a Pizza Stone
Pizza stones are incredibly easy to work with, they just require some time! Here are detailed instructions on how to use and care for them at home.
- Put the cold pizza stone in the oven (turned off) and close the door.
- Set the oven to the highest temperature and begin preheating the pizza stone. Some pizza ovens also have presets for preheating different materials. See if your appliance has automated settings for preheating pizza stones.
- Once the pizza stone has preheated, check the temperature via a probe or just start using the stone after 30-45 minutes.
- Slide a pizza on the pizza stone and cook until the cheese has browned.
- Remove the cooked pie from the stone and turn off the oven if you do not plan to make more pies.
- Allow the pizza stone to cool naturally — this may take some time. Please be careful with heated pizza stones. They might not look hot, but they can easily burn your hand!
- After the pizza stone has cooled off, lightly brush it to clean it. Do not wash it — the stone might absorb moisture or detergent, especially if it is made from a porous material.
Pizza Pan Vs Stone — Comparison Chart
Here is a side-by-side comparison of each:
|Pizza Pan||Pizza Stone|
|Material||Mostly aluminum, cast iron||Ceramic, cast iron, steel|
|Weight||Light (1-3 pounds)||Heavy (10-17 pounds)|
|Durability||Lightly durable||Very durable (steel, cast iron)|
|Temperature||Can’t maintain high temperatures for longer||Can withstand high temperatures|
|Storage||Easy to store||Can be inconvenient due to size and weight|
|Great For||Regular home-use||Making high-quality crispy crusts|
Now that you know the difference between pizza pans and pizza stones, here are some related questions.
Can pizza stones crack or break?
Ceramic pizza stones are reinforced, but they can still crack if you cool them off with water or if you simply drop them from shoulder height.
Please refer to the storage and safety indications of the pizza stone before using it!
Which type of pizza stone is best for making pizzas?
Any type of pizza stone can be used to make great-tasting pies at home. But if you want longevity and durability, then we recommend going with a non-ceramic pizza stone.
Steel and cast iron stones are designed to be non-porous — this means that they won’t absorb ingredients over time and will virtually never break!