Before learning the best way to clean a pizza stone, let’s talk about why this kitchen tool can be the difference between good pizza and great pizza. A pizza 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.
According to grilling experts Napoleon Grills, one of the benefits of using a pizza stone is that it helps to wick away moisture in baked goods, ensuring your pizza crust is light and crispy. To get the very best out of this tool, you need to keep it in good condition, which means knowing how to properly clean it.
How to Clean and Care for a Pizza Stone
Caring for a pizza cooking stone is pretty simple. After you’ve used it, let it cool completely and remove it from your grill or oven. Most of the time, all you need to do to clean a pizza stone fast is wipe it down with a dry towel to remove any food particles or debris left over from the cooking process. Gently scrape at any stuck-on bits with a wooden or stiff plastic spatula, or a soft nylon dish scrubby. Rinse the pizza stone with warm water and a soft cloth, then let it dry for at least 24 hours before using it again.
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. Remember that the stone is there before cooking, though!
There’s no need to season a pizza stone with any particular product, because it naturally develops a patina through use, which becomes increasingly non-stick over time. This process is known as “seasoning.”
“It’s normal to see discoloration on your pizza stone after use,” says Summer Shadforth, marketing manager of Fantastic Cleaners Australia. “That’s gonna happen when you bake on it over time.” But if you want to keep your pizza stone looking pristine, Shadforth suggests simply placing parchment paper on top of it before baking.
Remember to always heat your pizza stone with the oven. 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.
The best method to clean a pizza stone depends on the type of pizza stone you have and how stubborn the stains and dried-on food particles are. Here are more tried-and-tested tips for cleaning a dirty pizza stone.
How to Clean a Pizza Stone with Baking Soda
Sometimes, cleaning a baking stone for pizza needs a little more than a wipe down with a towel. If you have excess food stuck to the stone, Pampered Chef’s Food and Trend Innovator, Tim Hagedorn recommends using a nylon scraper to remove it.
To deep clean a pizza stone — something you might want to do occasionally if you use it a lot — Hagedorn suggests the following:
- Allow the pizza stone to cool to room temperature.
- Soak stoneware in clear, hot water to loosen any baked-on foods.
- Scrape off excess food using a nylon scraper or a kitchen brush.
- Prepare a baking soda paste by mixing ½ cup (125 mL) baking soda with 3 tbsp (45 mL) 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. Make sure it’s completely dry before storing.
This is the recommended method for cleaning a Pampered Chef pizza stone, but it works for all brands!
How to Clean a Pizza Stone with Salt and Water
Using soap, all-purpose cleaners or bleach on your pizza stone isn’t recommended if it’s made of a porous material. “If you use a chemical, it will leech into the stone,” say the team at Peel Handcrafted Pizza. They recommend cleaning a pizza stone with salt and water (the salt acts as a food-safe abrasive that helps remove any debris on the stone) by following these steps:
- Don’t let the stone cool completely; clean it while it’s still warm.
- Fill a container with warm water and add salt until it’s insoluble (meaning there is salt sitting on the bottom of the container.
- Place the pizza stone in the container and wait for the water to evaporate.
- Remove any salt residue off the pizza stone with a brass or metal brush.
If your pizza stone has super stubborn residue and burnt bits, you could try a heavy-duty pizza stone scrubber from a specialist company like Pizzacraft.
How to Clean a Pizza Stone in the Oven
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 and Brand Ambassador for Donna Italia USA, recommends letting your 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.
How to Clean a Stainless Steel Pizza Stone
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, the essentials for cleaning stainless steel utensils are Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser & Polish, a liquid dishwashing soap, a non-scratch pot scrubber and gloves.
The first thing to do is immerse the stainless steel pizza stone in warm water. Next, mix Bar Keepers Friend 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 pizza stone before washing it with hot, soapy water and drying it straight away.
To stop your stainless steel pizza stone getting scratched, stick to nylon scrubbing pads for cleaning — never use steel wool or steel scouring pads.
How to Clean a Cast Iron Pizza Stone
If your pizza stone is made of cast iron, clean it the same way you clean all your other cast iron utensils. According to holistic nutritionist, cookbook author and professional recipe developer Cassie Johnson, cleaning a cast iron pizza stone and other cookware is quick and easy. For a fast clean, simply wash your pizza stone using hot water and a non-abrasive dish brush, sponge or dishcloth. If you have stubborn stains and sticky residue, Johnson recommends these 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, then dry completely with a towel or place it back on the stove over heat.
- Before putting your pizza stone away, oil the surface with a small amount of your preferred cooking oil on a paper towel.
How to Clean a Soapstone Pizza Stone
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, meaning it doesn’t absorb anything, so you can use soap and other cleaning products to clean your soapstone pizza stone.
The Original Soapstone Pizza Stone recommends scrubbing your pizza stone with soap and water before using it for the first time. Thereafter, clean your pizza stone with warm water and mild soap detergent, using a brush or metal scraper to remove stubborn residue, if necessary.
The company also suggests curing your pizza stone by applying a thin layer of vegetable oil to it before use. This protects the soapstone and also makes it easier to remove your pizza once it’s ready to be enjoyed.
How to Clean a Branded Pizza Stone
Some brands of pizza stone come with specific cleaning directions. For example, here’s how to wash your pizza stone from Jamie Oliver:
- Let your pizza stone cool in the oven for about an hour, until it reaches room temperature.
- Use a stone brush or plastic spatula to remove any food particles and debris.
- Use a damp cloth to clean your pizza stone, but never soap, and don’t soak your pizza stone in water.
- Let your pizza stone dry completely before using it again.
Jamie Oliver also advises against “seasoning” your pizza stone with olive oil or any other product.
Other brands offer similar advice for how best to clean a pizza stone, as well as some additional maintenance tips. Bialetti warns against soaking or cleaning a pizza stone in the dishwasher. Weber points out that a pizza stone will naturally darken with use and some staining may happen, which is a completely normal part of the pizza stone’s natural seasoning process and won’t affect its performance, or how your pizza tastes.
While most experts and brands advise against using soap to keep a pizza stone clean, some brands do recommend using soap, because their pizza stones are slightly different. For example, Broil King recommends hand-washing their pizza stone grill set, which is designed to be placed directly on the barbecue, with a mild detergent, then drying thoroughly. The wooden Broil King pizza peel can also be washed by hand with a mild detergent and warm water. The company recommends applying natural mineral oil to the pizza peel to improve resistance to moisture.
Whatever type of pizza stone you have, it’s a good idea to consult your user guide to find out if there are any specific cleaning instructions. Look after your pizza stone and in return, it’ll give you years of tasty home-cooked pizza!
This article was originally written by Claire Gillespie.