Trust me when I say this, learning to make pizza at home is an experience you don’t want to miss out on. It’s not exactly the easiest dish to master, but once you do, the payoff is huge. To make proper pizzeria-style pies at home, you need the right equipment. In today’s article, I’m going to talk about one of the most crucial pieces of equipment for pizza-making, i.e., pizza pans.
From good old-fashioned pizza stones, aluminum pizza pans, and perforated pans/pizza crispers to deep dish pans, the choices are aplenty. So how do you decide which one to get?
The answer is not so simple because there are multiple factors at play here, such as the kind of crust you’re looking for and the nature of your oven.
For this article, I have put together a list of different kinds of pizza pans and have spoken in detail about their pros and cons. Keep reading to keep learning!
8 Different Types of Pizza Pans and Their Unique Qualities
Pizza pans come in an array of materials, shapes, and sizes. Depending on the type of pizza you’re making, and what kind of crust you’re looking for, there are certain types that will suit your needs better than others. Here are some examples:
1. Regular Pizza Pans
Pizza pans come in a variety of different sizes, but one common shape is round. This shape is ideal if you want to make personal-sized pizzas because it allows you to create perfectly shaped crusts with minimal effort! You can also use these pans to make deep dish pizzas or other types where having an even surface area is important (like focaccia). Regular pizza pans are mostly made of aluminum or aluminized steel.
They’re usually nonstick, so you can use them without having to grease them first. This makes cleanup a breeze! These pans are also very easy to store because they can be stacked in either direction (up or down). You can even stand them on their side like an upside-down cupcake pan if you want more space in your cupboards.
- Versatile – can be used for baking breads, lasagne, and cakes as well
- Easy to store
- Fuss-free cleanup
- Suitable for all kinds of ovens
- The heavy surface takes longer to heat up and doesn’t allow the moisture to escape and free flow of air. This often results in a soggy center.
2. Cutter Pizza Pan
Usually made from 14-gauge aluminum, cutter pizza pans are almost similar to regular pizza pans with one notable difference. They have slightly raised edges that make cutting the dough with the rolling pin easier than using the rolling pin alone. I personally find this nifty little utensil very useful for making thin-crust pies.
If you are a person of precision, you will find a cutter pizza pan very useful. It also helps you cut uniform slices of pizza, which is great if you plan to sell them as a takeaway or want to impress your guests.
- Cutter edges make trimming off the excess dough a breeze
- Best suited for thin-crust pizzas
- Cooks the pie quickly, thanks to aluminum’s excellent thermal conductivity
- No notable disadvantages
3. Pizza Stone
A pizza stone is probably one of the most popular types of baking utensils out there. It’s made from ceramic or cordierite and heats up very quickly in your oven. This ensures a consistent cooking temperature that allows you to achieve a perfectly crispy crust every time.
The stone is porous, which means that it can absorb moisture from your pizza dough and provide a crispy crust.
It also allows for even heating and helps prevent burning or over-cooking the bottom. The downside of using a pizza stone is that you have to preheat it before cooking, which takes about an hour. So if you’re in a hurry, then this might not be the best option for you.
- Even heating
- Can absorb moisture from your dough
- Ideal for Neapolitan style and NY-thin crusts
- Infuses a distinct, pleasant flavor into the crust, thanks to the porous surface.
- It cannot be washed with soapy water due to its porous surface.
- Prone to cracking if not handled with care
4. Pizza Screens
Pizza screens are circular, perforated metal pans commonly used for baking pizzas in a commercial setting. They are usually made of aluminum or stainless steel and are available in a range of sizes to accommodate different pizza sizes.
The perforations in the screen allow heat to circulate evenly through the pan, giving you a crispier crust.
One of the biggest perks of using a pizza screen is that it helps to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. That’s because the perforations allow excess moisture to escape. This is especially useful when using wet or heavily topped pizzas, as the excess moisture can cause the crust to become soft and mushy.
In addition to their superior crust-crisping abilities, pizza screens are also highly durable and easy to clean. They are resistant to scratching and can withstand high temperatures. This makes them a long-lasting option for domestic as well as commercial use.
Another unique quality of pizza screens is that they can be used to bake flat breads like naan and pita as well.
- The dough never sticks to the perforated surface
- Easy to clean
- Perfect for achieving a thin and crispy crust
- Can be used as a baking sheet on top of a pizza stone for better control over the temperature
- Ideal for baking all kinds of flatbreads as well
- The heat retention ability is on par with pizza stones, steel, or cast iron pizza pans
5. Deep Dish Pizza Pans
Deep-dish pizza pans, also known as Chicago-style pizza pans, are typically made of heavy-gauge metal, such as tin-plated stainless steel or aluminum. They are designed specifically for baking deep-dish pizzas and stuffed crust pizzas.
These pans have high sides, allowing the pizza to be piled high with toppings and baked in a deeper dish. Apart from loaded pizzas, deep-dish pizza pans can also be used to bake other types of food, such as quiches, pies, and even casseroles.
One of the unique qualities of deep-dish pizza pans is their ability to hold a large amount of toppings and cheese, as well as the thick, doughy crust that is characteristic of deep-dish pizzas. The high sides of the pan prevent the toppings from spilling over and ensure that the pizza retains its shape and structure while baking.
These pans are available in various sizes, from small individual pans to large, family-sized pans. They may also come with a removable bottom, which makes it easier to remove the pizza from the pan and slice it.
- The raised edges of the pan keep the toppings from spilling
- Ideal for baking pizzas loaded with heavy toppings
- Durable and easy to clean
- Can also be used for baking pies and casseroles
- Not suitable for crunchy thin-crust pizzas because the design of the pan doesn’t facilitate air circulation
6. Pizza Steel
A pizza steel is a flat, rectangular metal pan that’s made from high-quality carbon steel plates. The steel is highly conductive and can absorb and retain heat very efficiently, allowing it to transfer that heat to the pizza dough as it bakes. This results in a perfectly crispy crust that is evenly cooked all the way through.
The pizza stone vs. pizza steel debate is a common one, with many people unsure of which is the best option for their needs.
I’d say pizza steel is a more durable and easier-to-use alternative to a pizza stone, as it is generally more durable and easier to clean. It also heats up faster and holds its heat for a longer period of time, making it ideal for baking multiple pizzas in a row.
Many people also find that a pizza steel produces a better crust than a pizza stone, as the steel conducts heat more evenly and consistently.
Note that it’s important to allow the steel to cool completely before cleaning it, as it can become extremely hot during use.
- Superior heat retention ability
- Shorter preheating time compared to pizza stones
- Easy to store and clean
- Highly durable
- You can use it for baking flatbreads and cookies as well.
- It comes with a teeny-tiny risk of over-browning the crust
7. Cast Iron Pizza Pans
As the name suggests, these pizza pans are made from cast iron. These are robust pieces of equipment that make a great choice for any kitchen. They’re also easy to clean and care for. Cast iron pizza pans come in different sizes, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. The most popular size is 14 inches in diameter, but some people prefer smaller ones that measure about 9 inches.
Like steel, cast iron can retain heat very efficiently, allowing it to transfer that heat to the pizza dough as it bakes. This results in an evenly browned crust. Cast iron pizza pans can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven, making them the most versatile pizza pans on this list, or any list, for that matter.
On the downside, cast iron is a poor conductor of heat, so the crust may come out a little denser and chewier than you may want. If you have to pick between pizza stone vs. cast iron, I’d say go for the stone, as it will yield a superior crust, especially if you are aiming for NY-style crust.
If you’re looking for the most versatile option, however, a cast iron pizza pan is your best bet.
- It can be used in both ovens and on the stovetop
- Excellent heat retention
- Sturdy enough to stand the test of time
- Quite heavy, hence, not the best travel-friendly option.
- Needs seasoning
- The handle gets hot
- Cast iron is not the best conductor of heat out there
8. Wide Rim Pizza Pans
A common sight in commercial kitchens, wide-rim aluminum pizza pans have three uses – baking, transporting, and serving freshly baked pizzas. The wide rim makes it easier to handle the pan, as you can grip it securely without the risk of burning your hands.
Furthermore, the wide rim can also help to prevent spills or messes while the pizza is being transferred to and from the oven. Available in 14″ and 16″ diameter, wide-rim pans are perfect for home bakers planning to serve piping hot pizzas to a large group.
- Three functions in one pan – baking, transporting, and serving
- Great for large, thin, and chewy Brooklyn and New York-style crusts
- Easy storage
- Even heat distribution
- Not ideal for thick or stuffed-crust pizzas.
|Type of Pizza Pan||Usage||Benefits|
|Aluminum Pizza Pan||General use, including home oven and grill||Affordable, lightweight, heats evenly|
|Stainless Steel Pizza Pan||General use, including home oven and grill||Durable, heats evenly, easy to clean|
|Cast Iron Pizza Pan||General use, including home oven and grill||Heavyweight, heats evenly, can be used on the stovetop or grill|
|Ceramic Pizza Pan||Home oven use||Non-stick, heats evenly, easy to clean|
|Silicone Pizza Mat||Home oven and grill use||Non-stick, easy to clean, provides even heat distribution|
|Perforated Pizza Pan||Home oven use||Allows for crispier crust by allowing heat to reach the bottom of the pizza|
|Deep Dish Pizza Pan||Home oven use||Allows for thicker crust and more toppings, typically non-stick|
How Does Pizza Pan Affect Pizza Crust?
Long story short, the type of pizza pan you use can have a significant impact on the quality of the crust. Choosing a pan that is made of a high-quality, heat-conductive material, is the right size and shape for your needs, and is preheated properly can help you achieve the right look and texture every single time.
Below I have briefly explained the key aspects of pizza pans that will determine the quality of the finishing product:
Different materials conduct heat differently, and this can have an impact on the way the crust bakes. For example, a pan made of aluminum or steel will conduct heat more quickly and evenly than a pan made of ceramic or stone. This can result in a crust that is more evenly cooked and has a better texture.
Thickness and weight
The thickness and weight of the pan can also affect the crust. A heavier pan will absorb and retain heat better than a lighter one, resulting in a crust that is crispier and more evenly cooked. A thinner pan may not hold heat as well and may result in a softer, less crispy crust.
Shape and size
The shape and size of the pan can also affect the crust. A round pan will generally produce a more evenly cooked crust as the heat is distributed evenly around the entire circumference of the pan.
A rectangular pan may result in a crust that is more unevenly cooked, as the heat may be more concentrated in certain areas.
The coating on the pan can also affect the crust. A non-stick coating will result in a more even distribution of heat and may produce a crisper, more evenly cooked crust. A pan without a coating will allow more oil to be absorbed into the food, resulting in a softer, spongier crust.
A lot of people tend to overlook the pan coating when choosing a pizza stone or peel. However, it can have a big impact on the crust. Below I have explained the effectiveness of different types of pizza pan coatings to give you a better idea.
Pizza Pan Thickness Chart
It’s worth noting that the thickness of a pizza pan or stone can affect the cooking time and crust quality of the pizza.
|Pizza Pan Thickness||Description|
|Thin (1/16″ – 1/8″)||Pans with a thin thickness are lightweight and often made of aluminum or aluminum coated with a non-stick material. They are suitable for thin crust pizzas and tend to cook evenly, but may not be as durable as thicker pans.|
|Medium (1/8″ – 1/4″)||Pans with a medium thickness are often made of stainless steel and offer a good balance of durability and heat conductivity. They are suitable for most types of pizzas and tend to cook evenly.|
|Thick (1/4″ – 3/8″)||Pans with a thick thickness are often made of cast iron, ceramic, or glass and offer excellent durability and heat retention. They are suitable for thick crust pizzas and tend to take longer to heat up, but retain heat well for an even cook.|
Thinner pans and stones will typically produce crispier crusts and may cook the pizza more quickly, while thicker pans and stones may take longer to cook and create a denser crust.
|Pizza Pan Type||Thickness|
|Pizza Steel||3/16 inch to 1/2 inch|
|Cast iron pizza pans||1/2 to 1-inch|
|Ceramic pizza stones||1/2 to 3/4 inch|
|Regular stainless steel pizza pans||1/8 and 1/4 inch|
|Tin-plated steel pizza pans||0.0299-inch or 0.75 mm|
|Hard-anodized pizza pans||0.059 inches or 1.5 mm|
Pizza Pan Surface Styles
Pizza pans come in a variety of surface styles. The most common types are the following:
Smooth and Flat
Pizza pans with smooth and plain surfaces are ideal for making thin-crust pizzas. These pans have no ridges or grooves, so the crust cooks evenly on all sides. This style of pan is also great for making cookie sheets and other baked goods.
Pizza pans with nibbed surfaces are the best option for making deep-dish and stuffed pizzas. These pans have many ridges or dimples that keep the crust from sticking to the pan.
The nibs allow air to circulate around your dough as it cooks, preventing moisture loss and yielding a crunchier crust. This style of pan is also good for making flatbreads.
Perforated and Super-perforated
Pizza Pans with holes are meant to absorb the moisture from the dough. Loss of moisture equals crispness. The small, spaced-out holes allow steam to escape from the pan as it cooks, preventing moisture loss and yielding a crispier crust.
Super-perforated pizza pans have larger holes than standard perforated pans, allowing even more steam to escape during cooking. Your choice of pan surface should be determined by how crispy you want the crust to be. I’m personally not a huge fan of super perforated mesh pans because it turns the crust into crackers. Some folks enjoy that kind of crust, though.
5 Types of Pizza Pan Coatings
1. Dark-coated Pizza Pans
Dark-coated pizza pans are made from stainless steel and aluminum. They are incredible at distributing heat evenly, which results in a puffy, uniformly browned crust. These pans also tend to be more durable than other types of pizza pans.
The only downside to dark-coated pizza pans is that they are prone to rust. If you are worried about this, you can always purchase a silicone mat underneath the pan. This will help prevent moisture from causing corrosion.
2. Light-coated Pizza Pans
These pizza pans have a thin layer of enamel that makes them non-stick and easy to clean. . Lightly coated pans will reflect most of the heat, which would slow down the cooking process. So, if you ask me to choose between dark and light-coated pizza pans, I will opt for the former without a second thought.
3. Uncoated Pizza Pans
As the name suggests, these pans do not have any additional coating or treatment applied to the surface. They are generally less expensive than coated pans, but they may not be as durable or non-stick as their coated counterparts.
Uncoated pizza pans may require seasoning to prevent the crust from sticking to the surface. Seasoning involves applying a thin layer of oil to the surface of the pan and heating it up, allowing the oil to bond with the metal and create a protective, non-stick layer.
I suggest seasoning uncoated pans before using them for the first time and repeating the process periodically.
Compared to dark-coated pizza pans, uncoated pans may not be as non-stick and may require more maintenance to perform their best. Dark-coated pans are typically made of a heavier gauge metal and have a non-stick coating applied to the surface, which improves heat absorption.
4. Anodized Hard Coated Pizza Pans
Anodized hard-coated pizza pans are made of aluminum that has been subjected to an anodization process. This process involves immersing the aluminum in an electrolytic solution and passing an electric current through it, causing a layer of oxide to form on the surface of the metal.
This layer is extremely hard, and it helps to protect the aluminum from wear and tear, as well as from corrosion.
One of the key advantages of anodized hard-coated pizza pans is that they are robust and long-lasting. The hard-coated surface is resistant to scratches and other forms of damage, and it can withstand high temperatures without warping or deforming.
5. Silicone-glazed Pizza Pans
If you are having a hard time sliding the baked pizza off the pan for some reason, you may want to consider buying silicone-glazed pizza pans. These are made from high-quality silicone, which is a flexible and durable material that can withstand temperatures up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Due to the non-sticky nature of the material, you will barely have to oil the surface of the pan in order to prevent the pizza from sticking.
How to Season Your Pizza Pans?
While pizza stones, pizza steels, and crispers don’t require seasoning, cast iron and lightly/uncoated pans do. Seasoning is the process of coating your pan with a thin layer of oil, baking it in the oven for an hour at medium heat, and then wiping off the excess oil with a tissue or kitchen towel.
This will help prevent your pizza from sticking to the surface and make it easier to clean.
Here’s a quick summary of the process:
Repeat the process as needed: You may need to repeat the seasoning process periodically to maintain the non-stick properties of your pizza pan. If you notice that the pan is no longer as non-stick as it used to be, or if it begins to rust or show signs of wear, it is a good idea to season it again.
How to Clean a Pizza Pan?
You should avoid using dishwasher liquid to clean your pizza pan. Soap tends to leave a residue behind, which will eventually cause the pan to rust. Instead, wipe it down with warm water and scrub any food particles off with a brush or sponge.
If you want to get rid of any stuck-on bits, try using baking soda as an abrasive cleaner instead of soap.
As for pizza stone, scraping off the burnt bits with an oven brush or spatula will mostly do the trick. If the dirt and grime are too stubborn for the brush, place it in the oven and turn the heat to its highest setting.
This will help to burn off any remaining food or grease and will also help to sterilize the stone. You should leave the stone in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until it is completely dry.
Once the stone has been heated, you should remove it from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. This will help to prevent the stone from cracking or breaking due to rapid temperature changes.
Pizza Pan-Related FAQs
What type of pan does Pizza Hut use?
Pizza Hut uses heavy-duty, well-oiled deep-dish pans to bake their iconic pan-crust pizzas.
Is a pizza pan with holes better?
Pizza pans with holes are better for crispy, thin-crust pizzas because they let air flow through the pan, which helps to cook the pizza evenly.
However, if you are looking to make deep-dish or Detroit-style crusts, you will need to use a non-perforated pizza pan.
What is better, a pizza pan or a stone?
A pizza stone is generally considered to be the better option for making pizzas at home. A pizza stone is made from porous material, such as ceramic or stone, and is designed to absorb moisture from the dough as it bakes. This helps to create a crispy crust and prevents the bottom of the pizza from getting soggy.
A pizza pan, on the other hand, is typically made from metal and does not have the same moisture-absorbing properties as a stone. While a pizza pan can be used to make pizzas, it may not produce the same crisp crust and may result in a soggy center.
What is the safest pizza pan?
Round, stainless steel, aluminum, and aluminized steel non-stick pizza pans are the safest because they are free of potentially harmful chemicals. These pizza pans are also more likely to be dishwasher-safe, which makes cleanup easier.
Pizza pans are available in a variety of materials. Each type of metal has its own unique properties and benefits.
The best pizza pan for you will depend on your preferences and how often you cook pizza at home. I hope this guide has helped you decide which pizza pan is best for your needs. Happy baking!