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To achieve that perfect, crisp crust on a homemade pizza, it needs to be baked directly on a pre-heated surface (ideally a pizza stone or baking steel). But transferring a thin sheet of raw dough in and out of a hot oven without the right utensil is a tricky proposition. It's easy to burn yourself or destroy all the hard work you’ve put into shaping it—or both. You've probably watched pizza parlor pros move pies from their work counter to an oven and back using long-handled, paddle-shaped tools. Fortunately, smaller versions of these handy tools, also known as “pizza peels," are now available for home cooks and chefs alike.
Most pizza peels are made of either wood or metal, and each material has its own pros and cons. A wood peel tends to stick less to uncooked dough and stays cool to the touch. Plus, you can slice your cooked pie directly on top of wooden peels, but they're also heavier, bulkier, and tougher to clean. On the other hand, metal peels are thin enough to effortlessly slide between a pizza and stone, and they're lightweight and durable, but they can’t be used for slicing or serving, can be prone to rust or warping, and tend to stick more to raw dough.
Because of this, most dedicated home pizza chefs say that you should own two pizza peels if you plan to make pizza regularly: one wooden, for sliding pizzas into the oven, and one metal, for removing them once they’re cooked.
Whether you're a self-proclaimed pizzaiolo, or just looking for a safe way to cook your pizza, here are the best pizza peels for your kitchen.
Best Overall: EXO Non-Stick Super Peel Pro
The unusual design of this baking peel makes it easy to transfer pizzas, bread, and even intricate latticed pie crusts without stretching them or damaging their shape. The 14-inch-wide paddle is made from an eco-friendly composite of recycled paper and wood fiber. It’s covered with a pastry cloth that won’t stick to soft doughs and features a clever rod that functions as a conveyor belt. You'll be able to effortlessly slide the peel under delicate doughs and similarly slip it out from underneath them in the oven, and then place them precisely on a hot baking stone or steel with ease.
Unlike wood peels, the EXO is dishwasher safe, washable, and resistant to warping and stains, and the cloth is also removable and washable. While it’s a bit pricey, it’s a worthwhile investment for anyone serious about home pizza-making.
Best Budget: Eppicotispai Birchwood Pizza Peel
This made-in-Italy birchwood peel is a great starter peel since it's broad at 15 inches wide and thinner than most wood peels. It features a beveled edge, which makes it lightweight and easier to slide back under pizza once it’s baked. While it’s not dishwasher safe or as durable as some other options, it’s very affordable and broad enough to hold large pies. Although the handle is a bit shorter than on other models, it features a hole so that the paddle can conveniently be hung from a hook or loop when not in use.
Best Wooden: TOSCANA A Picnic Time Brand Acacia Wood Pizza Peel
This handsome acacia-wood peel is shaped like a large paddle and features a smooth finish that won't stick to raw dough. Its handle is a good length for a home oven, and the curved edge is beveled all around to make it easier to slip under your pizza. At approximately 14 inches wide, it has plenty of room for even large pies, and the handle has a hole at the end for easy hanging storage. We love that the peel is attractive enough to double as a serving board for your pizza, or it makes for a beautiful cheese or charcuterie board. It also comes with a lifetime manufacturer guarantee, making it a worthwhile investment.
Best Metal: Honey-Can-Do Kitchen Supply Aluminum Pizza Peel
This aluminum peel is perfectly flat and features a smooth, shaped wood handle that swivels down for space-saving storage when not in use. The thin, lightweight square paddle is 14 x 16 inches, spacious enough to hold a sizable pizza, and thin enough to easily slide between a crust and baking stone. While it’s not dishwasher safe, the wood handle is removable, so the two parts can be hand-washed separately.
Best Perforated: Ooni Perforated Peel
Ooni is a leading manufacturer of high-end home pizza ovens, and its anodized aluminum paddle doesn't disappoint. This paddle features rows of narrow slits that serve multiple purposes: They allow steam to escape, make a crisp bottom crust, minimize burnt flour clinging to the bottom of your pie, and reduce surface area, making it easier to slide pizzas in and out of an oven without them sticking to the peel. The lightweight peel also has a stay-cool handle made from glass-reinforced nylon.
These peels were designed for use with Ooni’s pizza ovens, but they work just as well with a home oven or backyard grill. Available in two sizes (12 or 14 inches wide), it's easy to choose the right size for your desired pie.
Best Long Handle: American Metalcraft 64-Inch Handle Pizza Peel
If you’re baking your pizzas in a backyard wood-fired oven or blazing grill, then a peel designed for a home oven is not going to do the job. You’ll need a peel that’s built to withstand blazing temperatures and that has a longer handle to keep your hands safely away from the blasting heat. These 12-inch-wide aluminum peels from American Metalcraft feature rounded wood handles in a range of lengths, from 26 inches up to 64 inches. The base of the handle is attached to the paddle with three rivets, for sturdy and stable handling.
Most Versatile: Q's INN Pizza Peel With Detachable Handles
This flat, 14 x 16-inch rectangular peel is made from sturdy aluminum and comes with a set of detachable, rounded wood handles that adapt to several cooking situations. The shortest handle, at 16 inches, is perfect for a home oven, while the longer handle is great for grills or smaller pizza ovens. You can even attach both of the handles for the longest length, creating a professional-length peel that is perfect for use with a wood-fired oven. What’s more, the longest handle can be used as a rolling pin for shaping your dough, and all of the handles detach for space-saving storage.
Best for Turning: Chef Pomodoro Aluminum 9-Inch Turning Pizza Peel with Detachable Wood Handle
For those with a backyard wood-fired oven, a pizza-turning peel can turn you into a real pizza pro. Pizzaiolos often use long-handled peels with round metal paddles to turn pizzas as they bake in the oven for even cooking and browning. You can also use this type of peel to gently lift the pie and move it toward or away from hot spots in the oven for the perfect finish.
While this type of peel is more specialized, this particular model from Chef Pomodoro is more versatile than most. It comes with interchangeable long and short wooden handles, so it can also be used in a home oven or a smaller pizza oven. It also features long perforations to minimize sticking, allows steam to escape (for a crisper crust), and allows excess flour or cornmeal to fall away, which minimizes burning in the oven.
The EXO Non-Stick Super Peel Pro (view at Amazon) is easy-to-use, eco-friendly, and versatile, making it an all-around good choice for pizza makers of all skill levels. If you don't want to spend a lot—maybe you're just dipping your toe into pizza making—go with the budget-friendly Eppicotispai Birchwood Pizza Peel (view at Amazon).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Danette St. Onge, formerly the Italian Food Expert for The Spruce Eats and a features editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine (part of America’s Test Kitchen). An avid kitchen appliance and utensil junkie, she spends hours combing the Internet, comparing options, reading reviews, and testing to find the best tool for every job.