When you start making pizza at home, you’ll want to have all the accessories. A pizza cutter, a pizza stone, and a pizza oven are great additions to the home chef’s pizza kitchen. Another essential pizza tool that often gets overlooked is the pizza peel.
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There are different types of pizza peels, and we are going to explore all of them in this guide to pizza peels to help you find the best one for your at home pizza needs.
What is a Pizza Peel?
Before you read our guide to pizza peels let’s look at what a pizza peel is exactly. A pizza peel is a kitchen tool that transfers a pizza from the counter to the oven and back. It is also used to move the pizza around while cooking.
It’s a simple tool of two parts: the flat surface where the pizza goes and a handle to maneuver the pizza. The handle can be long or short, depending on the type of oven you have.
Shapes and Sizes of Pizza Peels
Pizza peels come in two different shapes, either round or square. And you can find them in varying sizes. The perfect size pizza peel depends on the size of your oven and what size pizzas you make.
Commercial kitchens will have a few peels of varying sizes, but the at-home pizzaiolo is usually just working with one oven and one pizza size.
Round pizza peels work great for bigger ovens where you might be cooking several pizzas at a time. Their rounded shape makes it easier to access pizzas from different angles and turn them around.
A rectangular peel is perfect for the home chef because you can get the pizza head-on and aren’t dealing with multiple pizzas in a small space.
Pizza peels have either a short or long handle. Again the type of oven you are using will determine the best for you. If you have a wood-fired pizza oven or an outdoor pizza oven that gets to extremely high temperatures, a long-handled peel is ideal. For the home chef making pizza in a conventional oven and shorter handle peel is all you need.
Guide to Pizza Peels
Pizza peels are made of wood or metal. There are pros and cons to using each one. And serious pizzaiolos often have one of each.
Wood Pizza Peels
There is no denying that wooden pizza peels look cool. They are aesthetically pleasing and look great hanging in your kitchen when they aren’t in use. They are easy to use, and pizzas don’t stick to the surface. Likewise, they are affordable, making them great for the home pizza chef.
However, wooden pizza peels need more care, and cleaning them is time-consuming. You will want to be careful cleaning them and make sure they are completely dry before storing them.
Should you oil a wooden pizza peel?
The best way to keep the wood hydrated which prevents cracking and warping is to apply a food-safe mineral oil every few months. Wooden peels are thicker too, which means they take some time to get the hang of using them. Their thickness makes it a little tricky to slide under the pizza.
Metal Pizza Peels
Metals peels are made of either aluminum or stainless steel. They are easy to clean and thin, so it’s easier to master taking pizzas in and out of the oven. They also last longer making them a good investment.
Stainless steel peels are sturdy, but they are heavy. Aluminum peels aren’t as sturdy, but they are lighter. Commercial kitchens usually opt for aluminum because they constantly use them, and the weight matters. But for the home chef that’s probably making a few pizzas at a time, the weight may not be an issue.
The main drawback of a metal peel is that dough sticks to the surface. You have to use flour or cornmeal (our preference) or semolina to keep the pizza from sticking and even then they still sometimes stick to the surface.
Some metal peels are perforated so that you can shake off the excess flour before putting it in the oven. If you have too much flour to prevent sticking, it burns in the oven and leaves a bitter taste on the crust.
Our Picks for the Best At Home Pizza Peel
We have tried a few different pizza peels and have consulted with a couple of pizzaiolos to make a guide to pizza peels to help the home chef find the best one. These peels are our favorites.
Best Wooden Pizza Peel
This is a great peel. It’s made from bamboo, a sturdy solid wood, so it should last. It’s smooth and lightweight, making it easy to use. It has two sizes large and extra-large. They both work great it just depends on what size oven you have.
Best Metal Pizza Peel
This is a lightweight aluminum peel that’s thin and easy to use. It comes in three sizes, and the wood handle is easy to grip. When you are finished with it, just use simple soap and water to clean up. No extra maintenance is required.
Best Perforated Peel
This perforated peel is sturdy but lightweight. It has a silicone handle for a great grip. And most importantly, it’s affordable and easy to clean. Also, it stores easily even in a small kitchen.
Whichever peel you choose, you will want to do a few practice runs with it before you invite your friends and family over for pizza night. Try it out and see the best way to shimmy the pizza into the oven and slide it out after cooking.
Don’t be discouraged if the pizza falls apart. It’s a bit of trial and error to learn how to do it. We practiced with ours without making pizza, just some store-bought dough and rolled it out, and practiced putting it into the oven to learn how to do it.
What to use instead of Pizza Peel?
Do you need a pizza peel, after all? Can you get along without one? When you find yourself craving a homemade pizza but don’t have a pizza peel on hand, don’t fret! There are several clever alternatives you can use to achieve the same results.
Let’s explore some readily available items that can serve as a substitute for a pizza peel:
- Baking sheet
- Cookie rack
- 2 large spatulas
Because there aren’t specifically used to get pizzas in and out of ovens, be very careful to burn yourself or more importantly, harm your pizza.
Once you have a feel for how to use you will be so glad you read our guide to pizza peels and that you added this pizza accessory to your kitchen. You can also check out how to use your new pizza peel with your pizza oven.
Do you use a pizza peel? Which style do you prefer?