The Best Homemade Pizza
Just saying the word “pizza” brings me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. I can smell the sauce bubbling on the stovetop, and I remember exactly how loved I felt as she leaned over my shoulder and taught me how to sprinkle mozzarella on top of the pizzas. My first slice of Chicago deep-dish pizza stands out sharply in my memory, too. Inspired by those memories, I've been making a lot of pizza at home. Here’s all the kitchen equipment I use to achieve the best homemade pizza. To start, our favorite grater has big, sharp teeth that make shredding cheese a breeze—and it’s flat, so it’s easy to store. Our top-rated pizza cutter has a thin, sharp, tall blade that rolls right through loaded toppings and crisp crusts. For the foreseeable future I’ll be making memories (and pizza) at home with my wife. I hope you will be creating—or reflecting on—your own pizza memories, too.
—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews
Just 30 minutes after you plug in the Pizzaiolo, you can be sitting down to homemade pizza that rivals the pizzas served at top thin-crust and Neapolitan pizza joints. Heating coils below the baking stone blast the bottom of the dough with heat, while upper coils cook the toppings and outer edges of the crust. Thin-crust and Neapolitan pizzas cook in just 2 to 4 minutes, which means that their crusts remain impressively tender but still chewy. The downsides are its hefty size and weight, its high cost, and the fact that you’re limited to pizzas 11 inches or smaller in diameter.
This steel did an excellent job browning our pizza crust uniformly while leaving the interior tender and moist. It’s heavy, at 16 pounds, and very flat, so it’s hard to pick up and transfer into the oven, though two corners have cutout circles designed to help lift it (or to hang it on the wall), which we didn’t find particularly helpful. Otherwise, this tough, unbreakable steel is a great choice for home pizza making or bread baking.
Supereasy to handle, compact to store, and a great boon for those who can’t lift heavy objects, these four lightweight 7.5-inch-square ceramic tiles (each weighing less than 1.5 pounds) are also inexpensive. (Note: You don’t have to fuss with arranging them. Just push them together on an oven rack; nothing falls between the cracks.) While they lack the mass of a thick ceramic stone, they still produced nicely browned, crisp pizza that was just a shade more chewy than the pizza we got from baking on steel or thick, heavy stone. From our temperature monitoring, we saw that the tiles were fully preheated to 500 degrees in just 30 minutes compared with the full hour it took the rest of the lineup. We liked their versatility: Two tiles would fit in most toaster ovens, or you could set all four in a row to bake long breads in the full-size oven.
Fitted with an innovative cloth conveyor belt, this peel excelled at unloading raw dough without misshaping it and was surprisingly effective when it came to removing the finished breads and pizzas as well. Because it’s on the thick side, though, it wasn’t great at rotating half-baked food, and it takes a little practice to set it up and to learn how to use it comfortably. While we didn’t notice a performance difference in the new wood used to make the peel, we did appreciate its new polymer coating, which guards against moisture in case you wash your peel (or get a lot of sauce on it) often.
The deeply beveled edge of this scraper cut through pizza and bread dough quickly and scraped the work surface effectively. The textured polypropylene handle was easy to hold on to, even with greasy or floury hands, and was thinner than other scrapers’ handles, helping us hold it flat to the work surface for easier, more effective scooping and scraping.
Everything prepared in this sturdy, warp-resistant sheet cooked appropriately and evenly. Best of all, our new favorite is a few bucks cheaper than our old winner.
This easy-to-store, flat grater made shredding a breeze, thanks to big, sharp holes; a large surface for better efficiency; and a solid, rigid frame that enabled continuous grating (rather than short bursts). It fit over medium and large bowls, or testers could hold the grater at any suitable angle; grippy rubber feet stuck securely to the work surface. Since most recipes call for coarse shreds—and we have a rasp-style grater for fine grating—we don’t mind that it grates only in one size.
Everything we did with this ladle felt easy and controlled, from scooping chunky stew out of a small saucepan to reaching into a tall stockpot to collect broth. The 45-degree angle of the offset handle put our arms and wrists at a natural angle, giving us full control. The slightly shallow bowl worked well for scraping the bottom of a pot, though it was less convenient for collecting and retaining springy noodles than a deeper bowl would be.
This ultraclingy wrap was the thickest in the lineup, making it strong, resilient, and nearly impossible to rip or puncture. At an unusual 15 inches wide, it was the only consumer-grade product that could cover our large cutting board with a single sheet, though it was great for smaller jobs as well. And we liked its durable dispenser, which came with both a serrated blade and a slide cutter. While the blade worked just fine, the slide cutter was a revelation: It takes just a second to attach and makes it a breeze to produce smooth, perfectly sized sheets.
BUY FOR $54
Although the grid pattern on this rack is slightly larger than on the other two models, it’s reinforced with an extra support bar that runs perpendicular to the three main bars. It had a touch more wiggle room in the baking sheets, but it kept pace with the other racks during recipe and durability testing.
BUY FOR $12
Accurate and extremely durable, this set snaps together for compact storage. The handles are seamless with the cups themselves, making them easy to level off.
Our winning spoons had a simple design that allowed for a continuous, bump-free sweep, with a ball-chain connector (similar to what military dog tags hang on) that was easy to open and close. This set's metal construction felt remarkably sturdy, and ingredients didn't cling to the stainless steel. And while the 1-tablespoon measure did not fit into all spice jars, it was a minor inconvenience for an otherwise easy-to-use set.
This model, our previous favorite, was not as heavy as the Batali wheel, so we had to use slightly more force, and roll back and forth a few extra times to cut through chewier crusts, but it did the job. It won points for its well-designed wheel, which was easy to clean, its thumb guard, and the large, soft handle that absorbed extra pressure.
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