Whether you use it to bake pizzas, freeform loaves of bread, calzones, pitas or pies, a pizza stone (also known as a baking stone) can really make the difference between good and great dough-based delicacies. But since these stones aren’t typically dishwasher safe or able to be submerged in water, knowing how to clean a pizza stone is key. The result of a dirty or too wet stone? Uneven crusts that lack a crisp. Fortunately, we’ve tapped experts for the easiest methods that ensure your pizza/baking stone is clean and properly maintained so you can continue to use it for years to come. Read on for the easy how-tos.
What is a pizza stone?
A pizza stone (or baking stone) for the grill or the oven is generally made of a ceramic composite material, which is able to withstand, hold onto, and evenly dispense high temperatures. The ceramic composite material helps to wick away moisture in baked goods, ensuring your crusts are light and crispy. “Pizza stones are one of the most versatile and durable baking tools around,” says Mel Gunnell, founder of food blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and author of the forthcoming book Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Cookbook.” And if cleaned well after each use, they will continue to bake evenly and last forever,” she assures.
Although the ceramic composite is the most common material for pizza stones, the baking tool can also be made out of cast iron, soapstone or stainless steel. To get the very best out of the tools, you need identify what material yours is made out of, then clean it using the preferred method below so the stone will continue to serve you for years to come.
How to clean a ceramic pizza stone
Since the function of a ceramic pizza stone is to pull water out of baked goods as they cook, it’s generally porous (i.e. pulls in water) and therefore cannot be soaked in water or run through the dishwasher because it will pull in so much water it will become damaged.
“My favorite method for cleaning my pizza stone is simple,” says Gunnell. “Once the stone has cooled completely, I use a metal spatula or brush to remove any debris or cooked-on bits. Then, I simply wipe off any additional crumbs or spots with a dry or lightly damp cloth.”
After removing debris, it’s important to store a pizza stone in the right way. The team at Napoleon Grills recommends storing a pizza stone flat, either in the oven or on the grill, because this increases heat retention and convection.
How to deep clean a ceramic pizza stone
Sometimes, cleaning a baking stone that’s been used to bake cheesy pizza or a sticky pie requires a little more than the regular wipe down with a towel. If you have excess food stuck to the stone and it needs a deep clean, read on for three easy methods using household staples to restore the tool to its former glory.
To remove stuck-on food from a pizza stone
Tim Hagedorn, Sr. Culinary Product Manager at Weber-Stephen Products and former Food and Trend Innovator at Pampered Chef, recommends using a nylon scraper like Fox Run Nylon Pot/Pan Scraper (Buy from Amazon, $8.17) to remove any stuck-bits, then following up with a baking soda paste. The fizzy baking soda will cut through and lift the toughest of stubborn food particles.
- Allow the pizza stone to cool to room temperature.
- Scrape off excess food using a nylon scraper or a kitchen brush.
- Prepare a baking soda paste by mixing ½ cup of baking soda with 3 Tbs. of water.
- Spread the paste on the stone and let it stand for 10-15 minutes.
- Scrape off remaining paste and rinse the pizza stone in warm water. Let air dry and make sure it’s completely dry before storing.
To remove oil stains or black spots from a pizza stone
If your pizza stone has oil stains or black spots, a deep clean in the oven should do the trick. Chef Luca Manfè, winner of MasterChef Season Four, recommends letting your dirty stone sit in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes at the highest possible temperature. “This will make the stone almost new again,” he says. That’s because the heat burns off any tacky bits, while also killing any bacteria on the stone.
You Tuber Tom Voyage shows you how to do it in this video:
Help for an extra-dirty pizza stone
The team at Peel Handcrafted Pizza in Frederick, Colorado recommends cleaning a very dirty pizza stone with salt. The salt acts as a food-safe abrasive that helps remove any debris on the stone.
- Place the still-warm stone in the sink and cover with a layer of salt
- Use a damp cloth or paper towel to scrub the entire surface of the stone
- Wipe off salt, removing any salt residue off the pizza stone with a brass or metal brush.
- Rinse the pizza stone in warm water. Let air dry and make sure it’s completely dry before storing
Do I need to season a ceramic pizza stone?
There’s no need to season a pizza stone with any particular product after each cleaning, because it naturally develops a patina through use, which becomes increasingly non-stick over time. Because of this, it’s natural to see discoloration on your pizza stone after use.
But if you want to keep your pizza stone looking pristine, simply place a sheet of parchment paper on top of it before baking your pizza or dough, and always remember to heat your pizza stone in the oven while it is preheating. If you put a cool stone into a hot oven, your food will cook unevenly, and there’s a good chance that the stone will crack.
How to clean a baking stone made of stainless steel
If you have a stainless steel pizza stone, you’ll need to clean it in a different way than you clean a ceramic pizza stone. According to certified culinary scientist Jessica Gavin, all you need to clean a stainless steel baking stone is Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser (Buy from Amazon, $8.69), a liquid dishwashing detergent, a non-scratch pot scrubber like Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Plastic Scrubbing Pads (Buy from Amazon, $5.69) and rubber gloves.
- Immerse the stainless steel pizza stone in warm water (water will not cause damage to stainless steel stones, unlike ceramic stones).
- Mix enough Bar Keepers Friend powder with water to form a paste. Apply the paste using a soft cloth, rubbing in a circular motion, working from the center outward.
- Don’t let the paste sit longer than one minute on the stainless steel pizza stone before washing it with hot, soapy water and drying it with a cloth straight away.
How to clean a pizza stone made of cast iron
If your pizza stone is made of cast iron, clean it the same way you clean all your other cast iron utensils. For a fast clean, simply wash your cast iron stone using hot water and a non-abrasive dish brush, sponge or dishcloth. For stubborn stains and sticky residue, use the following steps:
- Place the pizza stone in your sink while it’s still hot.
- Sprinkle coarse kosher salt liberally on the surface of the pizza stone.
- Use a dish brush, sponge or dishcloth to scrub away any mess.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water, then dry completely with a towel or place it on a stovetop burner over low heat.
- Before putting your pizza stone away, oil the surface using a paper towel dipped in your preferred cooking oil.
How to clean a baking stone made of soapstone
Soapstone is a naturally occurring mineral and an extremely dense stone with powerful thermal properties, meaning it can maintain hot and cold temperatures longer than other materials. Soapstone is not porous, so it won’t absorb water or cleaning products you might use on it. So the method is simple:
- Wash your cooled pizza stone with warm water and dishwashing detergent.
- Use a brush or metal scraper to remove stubborn residue, if necessary.
- Rinse the pizza stone in warm water, then dry with a dishcloth and let air-dry fully before storing.
For more kitchen tool cleaning tips: