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Pizza stone cleaning

So my family's had this pizza stone for years, and it's only been used a couple times. I took it from my parents' house and I want to use it. But due to poor storing, it's dusty! I'm nervous to use it without cleaning it somehow. Should I put it in the oven and set it to a high temperature? I've heard that can crack the stone so I don't know what to do! Any advice?

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

asked about 1 year ago
15 answers 720 views
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cv
added about 1 year ago

Pizza stones are designed to ensure high heat. Some of them can survive charcoal-fired grills whose temperatures approach 900 degrees (way more than your typical residential oven which tops out around 600 degrees).

I keep my pizza stone in my oven upside down on an unused rack at the lowest level.

If I were in your situation, just scrub it (no soap) and rinse it off, let dry for 24 hours, then stick in the oven upside down on the lowest rack and forget about it until you need to use it.

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Carmen Ladipo

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

added about 1 year ago

That makes sense - do you leave the stone in the oven when you're using it for other baking etc?

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cv
added about 1 year ago

Yes.

I've lived in places with various ovens, some gas, some electric and I leave the pizza stone in the oven.

The pizza stone is the same temperature as the air in the oven. If nothing is on it, it functions as a radiant energy source, not a contact heat source. In my usual oven usage, the fact that it is in my oven doesn't affect whatever is being baked or roasted.

When I want to use the pizza stone, I pull it out, brush off whatever debris has accumulated on the bottom, then flip over right-side-up for use.

I might have washed my pizza stone several years ago, I can't remember. They're basically an unglazed ceramic tile, not something I fret about.

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Carmen Ladipo

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

added about 1 year ago

Great tips. Thanks so much for your help!

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cv
added about 1 year ago

Remember that stoneware/ceramic items are fired/manufactured at temperatures way hotter than any residential oven.

Sure, there's a small risk of shattering fragile porcelain items if you put a cold/room temperature item into a screaming hot heat source, but if you warm them up slowly, there's almost zero risk of this happening.

As Sam1148 notes below, a pizza stone can function as a heat diffuser to even out idiosyncratic cold spots in any given oven. My electric oven has a Y-shaped coil, so my pizza stone probably assists in diffusing the heat over a larger contiguous area.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added about 1 year ago

Just use a damp towel to get the dust out of it.
A pizza stone shouldn't be pristine. A well loved pizza stone has the scars of many pizzas on it. I don't you think you should ever wash it..I've never washed mine---it lives in the oven as a heat diffuser and just gets dusted off sometimes. Never washed. No water. Ever.

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Carmen Ladipo

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

added about 1 year ago

Great! Thank you so much!!

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added about 1 year ago

I clean mine with a paper towel soaked with olive oil. To heat up the pizza stone, put it in the oven when it is still cold, so the pizza stone will heat up gradually with the oven temperature. Some stone, like the soapstone, might crack if subject to sudden changes of temperature.

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Carmen Ladipo

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

added about 1 year ago

Thank you!

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added about 1 year ago

Your oven, if electric probably has a self cleaning cycle.

When it's really cold like bone chilling cold. Turn on the self cleaning cycle. It'll clean the stuff on the oven and keep the pizza stone in there too. It'll clean off all the cheese drippings and oil stuff and after it's finished you just dust it off. and keep it in the oven.

But save the 'self cleaning' thing of the oven when it's really cold. So it will heat the house.


Personally. don't care about the stains or stuff on a pizza stone. I think pizza stones should be beaten up and looked used...heck they're heated to 500 or so when they're used.

Any thing that lives through that temp would probably slither off and kill you in your sleep.
I like the stained pizza stone. It's loved and used...cleaning to remove stains and stuff would be like trying to get rid of the seasoning on cast iron.

Okay..that's not quite right. Just don't put it in the dishwasher or soak it or use lots of water on it...just use a damp rag---maybe a paste of salt to scrub bits off...but don't go wild with soap and stuff and soaking it.

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Carmen Ladipo

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

added about 1 year ago

Haha, sounds good thank you!

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added about 1 year ago

I believe there is some problem if you heat it up when it's wet; at least that's usually advised against for porous ceramics. I used to use a stone, and I left it in the oven- only possible problem; if you roast meats in the oven, the stone is likely to absorb some grease over time. I still use one in my outdoor pizza oven; just brush it off before use. I stopped using a stone indoors; I've found that a perforated pan actually works better in a home oven, and you don't have to preheat for an hour.

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Carmen Ladipo

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

added about 1 year ago

Thank you!

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added about 1 year ago

I once read someone warn against this, but I've been doing it successfully for years. When I pull the last pizza out of the oven, I turn the setting to "Self Clean" and let it go (my cycle is 4 hours). I don't scrape anything off or anything... In the morning, The stone is clean and any food is in the form of ashes on the stone. I pull it out, brush the ashes of and put the stone away. It's the easiest piece of cookware I have to clean!

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Carmen Ladipo

Carmen is Food52's Photo Producer

added about 1 year ago

Aha, cool, thanks!