Pizza Stone vs. Cast Iron: What’s the best way to make pizza?

When you want to cook a crispy, pizzeria-style pizza, then you use a pizza stone. There aren’t any other options, right? Well, there are actually lots of pizza stone alternatives, and cast iron is quickly becoming a popular option. Which is best when it comes to pizza stone vs cast iron? Both have pros and cons, so let’s find out which is right for you.

When it comes to cast iron vs pizza stone, the major differences are versatility, preheating, crispiness, and dryness. While you can use either for professional pizza results, let’s find out which is best for your kitchen.

Versatility

Which is more versatile in the kitchen? Pizza stone is primarily used for pizzas (hence the name), but it can also be used for baking breads and some other items. However, it’s difficult to use it outside of baking. You could cook other items, but honestly these stones are best at baking.

Cast iron on the other hand is best used to sear meat and hardy veggies. If you want a deep, flavorful crust on your proteins, then cast iron is the best pan for you. People are now finding that cast iron is also pretty good at baking. While the results aren’t always perfect, it’s actually quite good and highly versatile.

While both have specialized tasks (baking for pizza stones and searing for cast iron), cast iron is able to cook more ingredients and meals than pizza stones.

Preheating

If you’re cooking with a pizza stone, then you need to preheat it. Placing the dough on there before preheating it will lead to a soggy, odd texture that just isn’t right. Preheating involves leaving the stone in your oven for around 30+ minutes.

While you can preheat cast iron, you don’t need to. You can start cooking on the stove, form the crust and add all the ingredients, and then finish in the oven. It tends to be best if you do both steps as this leads to a crispier crust as the stove cooking fries the bottom a little.

In general, cast iron is faster and doesn’t need any preheating. At the same time, it does require two steps of cooking on the stove and then placing in the oven.

Crispiness

Some people really love a super crispy, crunchy crust. If you need your pizza to be really crispy, then you’ll prefer cast iron. The first step of cooking on the stove fries the dough and adds an extra layer of crispiness to the pizza.

Plus, when the pizza goes into the oven, it’s already fried and gets even crispier while it finishes.

Now a pizza stone is no slouch here. It creates very crispy pizza that is absolutely delicious. But, when it comes to pizza stone vs cast iron pans, cast iron makes a significantly crispier pizza.

Dryness

So far it seems like cast iron is the winner in nearly every category. Cast iron skillets are more versatile, don’t need to be preheated, and make crispier crusts. Now let’s move onto dryness. Most people don’t want a dry pizza. You instead want an airy, flavorful pizza that melts in your mouth.

While we can’t say that cast iron pizzas are dry, they are noticeably dryer than pizza stone pizzas. This goes back to the stove cooking step. Your dough and other ingredients are exposed to more heat, which does release more moisture than when cooking with a pizza stone.

If your pizza being a tiny bit dry isn’t bad, then cast iron is still good. If you hate this idea, then a pizza stone might be better.

What are the Benefits of Pizza Stones?

Pizza stones are porous, which ensures they collect a good amount of heat while also removing moisture from the dough. This ensures your pizzas are crispy without being too dry. They also cook pizzas evenly, ensuring that both the bottom and top ingredients all cook at the same time.

The crispy crusts are amazing, it’s like having your own pizzeria. While the stones get out, they don’t fry the crust. This means that the bottom shouldn’t be burnt. Another benefit is that pizza stones are open, so you can make a pizza of any size or shape. From small circular pizzas to small rectangular ones, you can be as creative as you want.

What are the Benefits of Cast Iron for Pizza?

Cast iron needs very little time to preheat in the oven, or you can skip it entirely and start on the stove. A huge benefit to cast iron is that it’s incredibly durable. The metal won’t crack or bend except under extreme stress, whereas pizza stones can break. These pans can also take huge temperature changes (going from hot to cold and back again), and even dropping them won’t break them.

Many people find them easier to handle in the oven due to their handles. You just need an oven mitt to easily move the pan around. Another benefit is their edges. This allows you to make thicker pizzas if you want. Cast iron also takes higher temperatures than pizza stone.

Size is important of course, but that’s not the only thing you should look for. Make sure the stone is made from porous, durable material such as corderiate or theramite. You’ll also want to ensure that it can withstand high temperatures. You can only get a good crust if you cook at high heat. Lastly, it’s good if the stone comes with a pizza peel. It isn’t necessary, but it makes it much easier to insert and remove the pizza.

Once again, size is important, but not the only factor to consider. You want to ensure the skillet is smooth and offers even heat retention. Many people prefer pre-seasoned skillets because they have a natural nonstick surface, but you can season it yourself if you’d prefer. Also, make sure the pan is nice and thick for optimal heat retention.

Final Thoughts

So, who wins in the pizza stone vs cast iron debate? Pizza stones make pizzeria-style pizzas at home and are the gold standard for home cooking, but cast iron isn’t that far behind. It allows you to skip preheating, makes an even crispier crust, and lets you make thicker pizzas. However, the pizzas do tend to be dryer, but some people prefer this.

Be sure to let us know which one you chose.