Crisps pizza crusts well
Might fit in your countertop oven
Can be used on the grill
Can't use soap to clean
Tight fit for 12-inch pizzas
Unicook Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone
I know my way around pizza, so I looked forward to testing the Unicook Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone. I made pizza dough and stocked up on sauce, cheese, and toppings. I also picked up a few frozen pizzas, just to make sure I had all my bases covered. After the final pizza, I made some bread dough, just to make sure I tested everything this stone could do. Keep reading for my findings.
Design: A bit small
This rectangular stone measures 15 x 12 inches, so it’s about the size of some cookie sheets. That size is certainly convenient for cookies, but when we’re talking about pizza, the 12-inch width is just a little small. Many frozen pizzas are 12 inches in diameter, and homemade pizzas can be any size. While getting a frozen pizza perfectly centered on the stone was simple enough, I made my homemade pies smaller so I wouldn’t risk having them falling off the edge of the stone if my aim wasn’t precise. The shape was a bit better for oval or long loaves of bread, and it was fine when I made burger buns.
The upside of the smaller size was that the stone fit into my countertop oven. That doesn’t mean it will fit every countertop oven, but it’s worth doing some measuring if you have a countertop oven and want to use it for baking pizzas.
The upside of the smaller size was that the stone fit into my countertop oven.
When the stone arrived, it was an even tan color all over, but it didn’t take long before it began to discolor from cooking. While that doesn’t affect the cooking performance, people who like their equipment to look pristine may not like the inevitable patina. Eventually, the stone will darken all over, but it will still be a bit splotchy.
One thing missing from this stone is some kind of handgrip that would make it easier to get in and out of the oven. It was difficult to raise the stone to get my fingers under it to lift it, particularly when wearing oven gloves or mitts. Still, the stone doesn’t need to be removed from the oven right away, so it’s fine if it stays there until it cools off enough to use bare hands for lifting.
Performance: Nice crust
Overall, I had no quibbles about any of the pizza or bread I baked on this stone. Once the stone was hot, pizza or bread didn’t stick to the stone, so it was easy to turn and to remove the baked goods. I got a crisp crust, whether I was baking a frozen pizza or a homemade one, and it also worked well for bread.
While this can handle super-high heat on a grill, that doesn’t mean this stone will make it possible to cook a pizza in 60 seconds, the way a pizza oven can. The problem is that at super-high heat, the bottom of the pizza will cook faster than the top. It’s much better to keep the heat at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, fresh, thin-crust pizzas were done in about 6 minutes, which is still pretty quick. Thicker crusts took just a little longer. For frozen pizzas, I used the recommended time and temperature.
Like many pizza stones, this is made from cordierite, which is a manmade material. It can handle high heat, it’s not as vulnerable to thermal shock as some materials, and it creates a crisp crust on pizza because it wicks moisture out of the dough as it cooks.
This is the same material that’s often used in small pizza ovens for home use, so it’s able to handle very high heat. While most home ovens don’t reach super-high temperatures, the stone can easily handle the heat of a grill, although lower temperatures may actually give better results.
While it wouldn’t harm the stone to cut the pizza right on the stone, that would end up spilling more sauce, cheese, and grease onto the stone where some of it would likely soak in or stick to the stone, making cleaning more troublesome.
Cleaning: No soap, ever
Unfortunately, this stone shouldn’t be cleaned with soap or any kind of cleaner because it’s porous and would absorb the cleaners. This would make the food cooked on the stone taste soapy.
Instead, the stone needs to cool, and then it can be scraped with the included plastic scraper. If that’s not enough to clean the stone, it can be soaked in water to loosen the food residue so it can be scraped off. If the stone is soaked, it needs to be dried thoroughly to thwart any mildew growth, so it needs about an hour in a 500-degree oven after cleaning.
Alternatively, it may be possible to burn off the residue simply by leaving the stone in the oven at 500 degrees to burn up the food residue. Then, when the residue is cold, you may be able to brush or scrape it off without any soaking.
Once the stone was hot, pizza or bread didn’t stick to the stone, so it was easy to turn and to remove the baked goods.
There are plenty of stones that clock in at a lower price and plenty at this price. For folks who need a stone of this shape and size, it’s a reasonable price.
Unicook Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone vs. Cast Elegance Round Pizza
The main difference between the Unicook stone that I tested and the Cast Elegance Round Pizza Stone (view at Amazon) is the size and shape. While the Unicook is a 15- x 12-inch rectangle, the Cast Elegance is a 16-inch-diameter round stone.
The upsides of the Unicook are that it may fit in a countertop oven, and it’s easier to store. However, I like the larger 16-inch diameter of the Cast Elegance because it can accommodate pizzas of any size, along with bread, buns, and more.
Unless someone needs a smaller stone, I’d suggest looking at the Cast Elegance.
Good, but small.
Overall, this is a good stone. It works well, and it’s compact for storage. The fact that it may fit in some countertop ovens is a plus (but measure first!). Anyone who needs a smaller stone should take a look at this, but keep in mind that there are larger stones that have more usable space.
- Product Name Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone
- Product Brand Unicook
- Price $39.99
- Weight 6.6 lbs.
- Material Cordierite
- Warranty None
- What's Included Plastic scraper