8 Clever Ways to Use a Pizza Stone—Besides Making Pizza
From perfectly crispy potatoes to seared meat, the often-overlooked pizza stone is far more versatile than you thought.
Pizza stones are an amazing kitchen gadget for making pizza with perfectly crispy crust and gooey toppings. But who wants to give up precious cabinet space for a tool with a single use? It turns out, the humble pizza stone is a lot more versatile than you might think. You can use one for everything from baking to roasting to searing, much like you would a cast-iron skillet—or even on the grill—thanks to its ability to effectively regulate temperature. While metal pans can cause major temp fluctuations in an oven, stoneware maintains an even heat, resulting in more uniform cooking. For the best results, look for a top-quality pizza stone from Emile Henry or Pampered Chef, which make pieces that can withstand heat of up to 550 degrees, have handles for easier maneuvering, and are dishwasher safe (really!) to boot. So what, exactly, should you be making on this adaptable piece of equipment to put it to the test? Chefs around the country share their top tricks for making the most of your pizza stone. It’s time to fire up the oven.
Roasting Potatoes and Veggies
Think of your favorite roasted vegetable, and chances are, you can make it even better on a pizza stone. The secret lies in preheating the stone with your oven first, which will get your Brussels sprouts or potatoes extra crispy without using tons of oil. Simply toss them in little olive oil and your desired spices before adding to the stone, then roast as you normally would—the sizzle when they hit the stone is so satisfying. Chef Seamus Mullen of Institute of Culinary Education in Los Angeles takes it a step further by roasting a batch of vegetables he then turns into sauces, such as Romesco, on a pizza stone: think bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic. After they’re cooled and peeled, he blends them with toasted nuts in a food processor and drizzles in olive oil, vinegar, and spices.
Two things contribute to the craveable chew of a good bagel: the alkaline water it’s boiled in and the crust that’s formed by baking it in the oven, says chef Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis in Austin, Texas. “I love pizza stones specifically for bagels, because the stone is able to get really hot and distribute the heat evenly so you can achieve that great chew crust,” LeRoy says. (We bet it would work great for this recipe, too.)
Toasting Bread and Sandwiches
There’s nothing better on a chilly fall day than a bowl of homemade soup with a toasty grilled cheese. Make your sandwich next-level with this advice from chef CJ Jacobson of Aba and Ema in Chicago: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone inside. Rub both sides of a pita with olive oil and season with salt, then toss it on the hot stone to toast for about four minutes. Pull it from the oven and add grated cheese (he recommends provolone) on top, then return to the oven to let it melt for five minutes. Add other toppings like avocado, apples or lettuce, and fold in half to enjoy.
A pizza stone can help you replicate the excitement of a Korean BBQ-style restaurant at your own table—especially fun for a dinner party. “It gives you the ability to cook your protein right in front of you and season as you need it,” says chef Rick Doherr of Café Rule & Wine Bar in Hickory, N.C. Heat the stone in the oven to 450 degrees, meanwhile preparing your thin slices of meat (like steak or pork). Remove the stone and place on a heat-safe surface atop your table and let your guests cook their own meat, using tongs to set each piece on the hot stone for a few minutes.
No open flame, no problem. A pizza stone will help you create a stone-fired version of this classic treat, says chef Josh Mouzakes of ARLO in San Diego. Lay out your stack of s’mores ingredients—graham cracker, chocolate bar, marshmallow, and another graham cracker—then use a metal tray or pizza peel to gently slide your stack into the oven on top of the preheated stone. Watch it carefully and remove the entire stone when the marshmallow is golden brown.
If you love a cookie with a nice, crisp bottom that stays soft in the center, swap your cookie sheets for a pizza stone when baking, says chef Eric White of Happi Foodi based in Boise, Idaho. Preheat your oven to the desired temperature with the stone inside first, then shape your dough into balls and carefully drop them onto the heated stone. (No need for nonstick spray, as it can cause a sticky buildup on stone that prevents “seasoning.”) Reduce your recipe’s baking time by three to five minutes, according to the thickness of your cookies, then immediately transfer them to a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface—not a cooling rack, as they’ll be too soft—to let them cool.
When it comes to making perfect roast chicken, “it’s always a game of mastery to get a crispy chicken skin and moist meat,” says chef Sharone Hakman of Hak’s based in Los Angeles. He’s figured out the secret is using a pizza stone (actually, two of them!), because it both holds heat and absorbs moisture. To try it yourself, preheat your oven to 400 degrees with the stone inside. Split your chicken in half from the backbone and season, then line your hot pizza zone with parchment paper and place the chicken, skin-side down, on top. Press another pizza stone, or a cast-iron skillet, on top of the chicken and press down firmly to flatten as best you can. Roast for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Skip the microwave and let your pizza stone make yesterday’s breakfast or dinner way more appetizing. Preheat your stone with your oven and use to reheat day-old pancakes, enliven leftover pizza, crisp up slightly soggy chicken nuggets, or revive roasted veggies, suggests White.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using this gadget for its original intention—making amazing pizza! A few pro tips from chef Ryan McQuillan of Plough and The Exchange in Lancaster, Penn., to keep in mind: Always let the dough come to room temperature first, as it will be easier to work with. Crank your oven to its highest temperature with the pizza stone inside at least half an hour ahead of time to get it good and hot. Then, bake your pizza until it’s golden brown on the bottom, and finish the top with the broiler setting on. “This mimics a wood fired pie,” says McQuillan, “and allows you to get a restaurant-quality pizza.”