If your favorite pizza crust is thin and crispy, then a pizza stone is the right kitchen accessory to make that perfect crust at home. Whether making the crust from scratch, baking a pre-made or frozen pizza, or simply reheating slices from your favorite restaurant, a pizza stone will always give you the best results.
You can't ignore a pizza stone after its use; remnants of cheese, tomato sauce, and oil permeate the porous stone, and over time, it can become rancid and impart sour or unsavory tastes and smells to all subsequent pizzas that you cook. A pizza stone will get dirty any time you make an overloaded, ooey-gooey pizza or, if you leave it in longer than you should, charring the dough and stone. The good news is that if you leave behind any food particles or bacteria, the high baking temperatures kill any bacteria from getting on your food.
Most stones are made from a composite glazed or unglazed ceramic material that will help wick away moisture from the crust, leaving it crispy.
If you have a pizza stone made from stainless steel, cast iron, or natural soapstone, follow the different instructions listed below for those specific materials.
How Often to Clean a Pizza Stone
A pizza stone should be cleaned after every use to remove food residue. You can do a more thorough cleaning after several uses to restore its natural finish.
Equipment / Tools
- Rubber or plastic spatula
- Soft microfiber cloth
- Dish rack
- Stiff-bristled nylon brush
- Baking soda
How to Clean a Stoneware Pizza Stone
Allow the Stone to Cool
Whether you serve the pizza right from the stone or move it to a different board, the pizza stone should be allowed to cool completely before cleaning. It can take two to three hours to get back to room temperature. Never submerge a hot stone in a sink of dishwater, or it may crack.
Scrape Away Food Bits
Use a rubber or plastic spatula to scrape away cheese or other pizza bits stuck to the stone.
Do not use metal utensils when cutting a pizza on the stone or scraping away burned-on bits. The metal will scratch the surface and can cause the pizza to begin sticking to the stone.
Tackle Stuck-On Food
If the food is stuck on and doesn't budge after scraping, make a paste of one tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of water. Dip a nylon-bristled brush into the paste and gently scrub the problem areas.
Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away the baking soda and food residue.
Wipe Down the Stone
Once visible bits of food are removed, wipe down the stone with a clean, slightly dampened microfiber cloth.
Wait for the Stone to Dry
Always allow the stone to air dry thoroughly in a dishrack before using it again or storing it.
Deep Cleaning With Heat
If the stone has food stains that won't come off after many uses, it can be deep cleaned by baking on high heat. This heat cleaning method should only be done once or twice in the life of the stone as the processes can cause some stones to crack.
Bake It Clean
Place the pizza stone on the center rack of your oven. Set the temperature to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the stone and oven to reach the high temperature together. Once the oven reaches the correct temperature, allow the stone to bake for one hour. Turn off the oven and allow the stone to cool before gently scraping away the food with a plastic spatula. Complete the cleaning by wiping it down with a damp microfiber cloth.
Some people use the oven's self-cleaning setting to clean the pizza stone. Be prepared for lots of smoke as the grease burns away. Your risk of fire increases if you use this method. If the stone catches fire, turn off the oven and call 911 for the fire department. Do not open the door to extinguish the fire.
Cleaning Other Types of Pizza Stones
Stainless Steel Pizza Stones
Stainless steel pizza stones should be allowed to cool. Wash it using hot water, dishwashing liquid, and non-abrasive pot and pan scrubbers. Do not put it in the dishwasher.
Cast Iron Pizza Stones
Cast iron stones should not be soaked in water for extended periods. Scrape away any food bits and, if needed, wash quickly in hot soapy water. Rinse well and immediately dry with a cloth or paper towel. Most cast iron pizza stones should be treated by wiping the surface with a light coating of vegetable oil after every cleaning.
Natural soapstone is exceptionally dense and able to withstand temperature extremes. Since it is not porous, allow the stone to cool completely after use and wash it in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and dry it with a soft cloth.
Tips to Keep a Pizza Stone Clean Longer
If you want to keep the stone looking in pristine condition, use a sheet of baking parchment under the pizza crust each time you bake.
Over time, the pizza stone will develop a patina and get darker with use. It's natural and expected and has nothing to do with how well you clean the pizza stone.
Do not oil or season a pizza stone like you would a cast-iron skillet. Oiling the stone's porous surface does not offer any benefits for storage or subsequent use. It has the opposite effect and negates the purpose of using a pizza stone; the stone won't be as absorbent for making your next thin crust pizza.