How to Clean and Care for Your Pizza Steel

To keep your pizza steel looking like new, follow these simple tips.

Updated August 5, 2021

You’ve just pulled your pizza out of the oven and it looks perfect. The crust is crispy, the sauce is bubbling, and you can see that there are plenty of toppings on top. You take a bite and realize that something tastes off—it’s probably because you forgot to clean your pizza steel!

The food particles left on the surface will cause an unpleasant flavor on future pizzas, so don't forget this important step in preparing your next pie!

The importance of cleaning a pizza steel 

The biggest problem with cleaning a pizza steel is the lack of instructions on how to do so. Many people who have purchased a pizza steel, which can range from $30-$100 depending on size and quality, simply assume that its best cleaned in the same manner as every other kitchen tool: soap and water. However there is more to it than that!

If you don't keep your steel clean you will have numerous problems with your pizzas. The bacteria from the old pizza can cause you to get sick, waste food by throwing out bad pies and in some cases ruin your baking steel.

Soap and detergent is never an option to clean a pizza steel, as it will damage the finish and prevent the steel from achieving its full heat retention capabilities.

While not entirely necessary for the process, we recommend using olive oil or coconut oil. The most important thing when cleaning a pizza steel is to keep it dry and food free. This will allow the steel to achieve its maximum heat retention without being damaged by moisture and can prevent rusting from occurring in the future.

How to clean your pizza steel 

We've tried and complied a list of instructions for how to clean a pizza steel. These are tried and true methods that should work with any type of baking steel, even the ones you find in restaurants! While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it covers many common errors when cleaning your cooking surface.

Throw Out Burnt Food

One of the quickest ways to ruin your pizza steel is to let it sit with old burnt food on its surface. This has a tendency to smoke and stick while cooking, getting in the way and doing damage to your newly made pies.

To begin cleaning your baking steel, you'll need to get all that black crust off! There are several ways to do so: the easiest being scraping it off with a metal spatula. Next, you can use a stiff plastic scouring pad or steel wool and scrub vigorously until most of the burnt material is gone.

The final option that I prefer is using citrus oil cleaning spray and rubbing it into where there are stubborn bits of food stuck on the surface. This quickly dissolves and loosens the burnt bits while also leaving behind a light citrus aroma in its place (this is my favorite option, but I prefer the taste of lemons over any other food). If there are still some large particles left on your baking steel, use a stiff plastic or wire bristled brush to get out whatever you can!

Remove any Bacteria

Next, you'll want to get rid of any bacteria and other materials that could be found in the crevices of your baking steel. The reason for this is two fold: It's gross, and it can spoil the taste of future pizzas!

To do so, take a dry cloth and rub it into the corners of your steel baking surface. Be very careful to avoid getting even a drop of water on your steel, as this can cause rust and ruin future pizzas!

If you feel that there is still stubborn material being left behind you might want to take a scrubbing brush or metal scouring pad and get in deep.

Clean with Hot Water

Now it's time to take the extra step and make sure your baking steel is completely free of any burnt food or bacteria.

To do this use a sponge with warm water and wipe down the surface from top to bottom using small circular motions. Make sure to avoid getting water in any crevices, as mentioned previously. Rinse off any remaining water with warm water and then pat it dry with a clean cloth, making sure to not use anything too abrasive like steel wool.

Dry Your Pizza Steel

Do NOT let moisture stay on your baking steel for long periods of time! This will cause it to rust. After you get any water off the surface, pat it dry with paper towels and then use a dishrag or cloth towel and lay it on top of your steel until there is no moisture left.

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Tips for maintaining your pizza steel (Seasoning)

Once you are satisfied that your baking steel has been cleaned properly, wipe down the entire surface using a small amount of oil (olive, sunflower, peanut, flax seed or coconut oil all work), taking special care to coat the corners and ridges.

Apply the oil in the center of your metal surface and use paper towels to apply evenly around both sides for an even coating. The next step is crucial--bake! Bake at 375˚-400˚F until you see that there's no more liquid on top, then turn off oven and let cool inside so it doesn't sweat when finished outside later or if stored away from heat source ever again (this process may take up four hours). This technique will give you not only a flavorful crust but also crispy texture every time without having to add any ingredients into dough mixture.

After cleaning your steel you should also check for any rust on your baking steel. If you see rust occurring, it might be time to invest in a new pizza pan!


How Often Should You Clean Your Pizza Steel?

Stainless steel is a great material for providing even heat for cooking, but it's not perfect. Over time, small amounts of burnt food will build up causing your steel to lose its ability to provide even heat for cooking. This is why it's important to clean your baking steel after every use. If this schedule seems too difficult, you can always set aside some time on the weekend or a day off from work and spend an hour cleaning your baking steel!

What is the difference of aluminum and steel pan for pizza?

Aluminum is a reactive metal. It gets hot fast and cools down quickly. We think benefits of using aluminum for pizza are less when it is about baking pizza. Steel gets hot slowly and stays hot longer. If you use an alumimum pan as a baking surface, it may result in undercooked pizzas close to the edge of the pie where the heat is the hottest. Stainless steel absorbs and distributes heat more evenly.

What cooking method should i use with pizza steel?

To get the best results from your pizza steel you'll want to bake in a preheated oven. Preheat your oven to at least 500 degrees and a good rule of thumb is to set the temperature in the upper third of your oven's range. This will allow you to take full advantage of the steel's ability to hold heat and maintain an even cooking surface for perfect pizza crust!

Final Thoughts

It is important to know how you should properly care for and maintain your pizza steel in order to get the best possible tasting pizzas! If you encounter any spot of rust on the pizza plate, we recommend not to take any risks and replace your pizza steel immediately to avoid any unpleasant consequences! Your health is paramount, so take care of it!

To avoid rust issues in long-term, you may apply baking steel coating to make the surface water proof. In this way, your pizza steel will have a longer life and no need to replace.

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About the author 

Dianne Centeno

Dianne is the editor-in-chief and also one of the main writers of Use&Cook. She has an endless curiosity for new kitchen ideas and products which keeps her motivated. Her technical background is also the key to make complex kitchen issues easier with the right set of cooking tools.

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