At-Home Pizza-Making Essentials, According to the Pros
We asked professional pizzaiolos around the country about their favorite at-home tools and what you need to easily make pizzeria-caliber pies yourself.
Pizza is life. And shouldn't life be great? That means no more DiGiorno (sorry). Making your own pizza can be a beautiful thing, and there have been some amazing at-home pizza-making innovations hitting the market in recent years, particularly when it comes to ovens.
The method and temperature at which a pizza is cooked makes all the difference. Whether it’s in a wood-burning, charcoal, gas, or electric oven, proper pizzeria oven temperatures get astronomically high, and that's essential for giving dough its delicious char bubbles and gorgeously gooey melting cheese. However, it can be hard to capture that effect in a typical home oven that maxes out at 500 degrees. Fortunately, there are several new-ish indoor and outdoor home pizza ovens on the market that will do the trick, along with specific pans, stones, and peels that will make your home-cooked pizza taste professionally made. So even if you do insist on DiGiorno, using the proper tools will give that pie a gourmet edge.
To help you better understand what you'll need and how to make better pizza at home, we spoke with a handful of professional pizzaiolos about their favorite at-home tools, and even did some testing of our own.
If you’re excited about hanging outside in the warm weather—or staying warm by a fire that’s cooking pizza on colder nights—consider the compact Ooni. Recommended by Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana in NYC and New Jersey, the Ooni weighs about 26 pounds, comes with an extra thick Ooni branded baking stone, and has a stainless steel body that’s ceramic fiber-insulated. As for fuel, you can use either wood or charcoal to reach temps of up to 950 degrees F (it can cook a pizza in just 60 seconds using a custom fuel tray that maximizes airflow). Plus, it's also gas compatible if you opt for the special Ooni Gas Burner attachment.
Looking for a good way to spend your latest stimulus check? Consider investing in this professional-grade Breville Smart Oven meant for the home that’s been tested and adored by everyone from Chris Bianco to Tony Gemignani. Designed for countertops, it's one of the most highly rated indoor pizza ovens on the market and has an independently controlled dynamic deck that sits directly above Incoloy heating elements. While you can manually set the temp, it's also equipped with seven excellent preprogrammed settings for baking different kinds of pizza, like “New York,” “Thin & Crispy,” “Wood-Fired,” and “Frozen,” and it delivers as promised. When Miriam Weiskind had to stop working at Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn during the pandemic shutdown, she started making pizza at home for her neighbors and first responders using the Breville. “This oven is any pizza baker’s dream,” she said. “While the price tag is a bit high, consider it an investment—like a really, really good pair of boots. There are endless avenues to explore and it’s the size of a microwave.”
Philips Airfryer XXL Price: $349.95
Pizza Accessory Kit Price: $49.95
Celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia uses this when she can’t use her wood-fired burning oven. “Living in Miami with three kids, I need something easy, practical, and fun,” she says. “The dough tastes better when making it this way as opposed to making pizza in the oven on a cooking stone. Without any preheating needed, you can enjoy your favorite pizza in the air fryer in just eight minutes.” She adds that it even makes frozen pizza taste better. And of course, the air fryer can be used for cooking all kinds of other foods—pizza and French fries, here we come.
Not ready to splurge on a special oven just for making pizza? We got you. A Baking Steel is an affordable way to up your pizza game. The Baking Steel was invented in 2011 when Andris Lagsdin read Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine, where he writes that the best tool for making the perfect crust would be a piece of steel because steel is a more conductive cooking surface than a brick oven’s stone. Lagsdin’s family works in steel and a Kickstarter later, he was in business. “It’s by far the absolute best value and most valuable pizza tool on the market,” says Weiskind, who uses it for making her Sicilian pizza. “Steel conducts heat better than a traditional baking stone, putting out much better pizza with wicked good crunchiness.” Care for it the way you would a cast iron skillet and you can also use it for baking bread and roasting vegetables.
If you’re still loyal to the stone, this ceramic one will get the job done. Made of Cordierite, this pizza stone has great heat retention and the stainless steel carrier ensures you don’t scald yourself, or drop the stone and crack it (been there).
According to Weiskind, this is one of the best peels on the market. “Not only is it beautiful and durable, but it’s thinner at the tip to enable easier launching onto your Baking Steel or pizza stone,” she says. Made from acacia wood, it has a hole on the end for easy hanging and measures 14 inches across.
If you want to get all your tools in one, we recommend this pack that includes a 15-inch ceramic cordierite stone (which you can place on a grill or in your oven), a 14-inch aluminum pizza peel with a folding wooden handle (for easy storage), and a rocking steel pizza cutter.
Once your pizza is ready you’ll need to slice it up. Make sure you have a super-sharp pizza wheel to cut it quickly and evenly. This model's minimalist design is handsome and functional, with an ergonomic handle, finger guard, and loop for hanging. Bonus: it’s dishwasher safe.
Emily Hyland of Emmy Squared in NYC swears by this steel pan for making authentic rectangular Detroit-style pizza. “As our chef Sean McPaul likes to say in our online pizza classes, ‘We live in defense of the frico crust,’” says Hyland. “Nothing helps make an authentic frico crust, which is basically a fried cheese perimeter to your pizza, better than the high heat of a specialty seasoned steel pan.” This 8 x 10-inch pan is pre-seasoned and designed after the automotive pans that original Detroit-style pizzas were first baked in. The manufacturer promises easy dough pressing, no dough sticking, and zero break-in period.
Price: $24.99 and up
For a truly professional pizzeria touch, get yourself a classic stainless steel cruet for drizzling olive oil onto your pies right out of the oven. “I love to use olive oil cruets to pour olive oil onto pizza,” says Mangieri. This one, which is made in Spain, comes in four sizes.