How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – How I Make Amazing Pizza In A Regular Home Oven

I own lots of pizza making tools (including several pizza ovens), but making pizza in a regular home oven has always been a passion of mine. I enjoy the challenge of baking pizza in a conventional low temperature oven, especially when the results are this good. To do this, I rely on the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 to emulate many of the qualities of a professional pizza oven. In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how you can, too.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Ooni Pizza Steel 13, you can read my full review of it here. But if you’re here to learn exactly how I use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13, keep reading.

The Ooni Pizza Steel 13 is basically a heavy 1/4″ thick slab of steel measuring 13.46” x 13.46” and weighing 11.51lbs. It’s made of 430-grade stainless steel with a sandblasted finish and is optimized for conventional home ovens that reach temperatures of around 500F (275C). The basic idea behind this pizza steel (or any pizza steel) is to preheat it until it’s super hot then cook a pizza on top of it for a crispy yet still tender crust.

pizza steel slice underside How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – How I Make Amazing Pizza In A Regular Home Oven
Photo: A well cooked pizza crust in a home oven is almost impossible without a pizza steel.

How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13

Using your Ooni Pizza Steel 13 correctly is essential to make amazing pizza with an evenly cooked crust every time, as well as to ensure its longevity.

Thankfully, it’s not a difficult process. Just follow these simple instructions and enjoy the results!

How to use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 for the first time

ooni pizza steel 13
Photo: A pizza steel is designed to get super hot in a conventional oven.

Before using the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 for the first time, wash it by hand using only water (no soap), rinse it thoroughly, and dry it completely. The aim here to is rinse away any debris from the packaging or manufacturing process, so no vigorous scrubbing is necessary.

Make sure to only use paper towels or a lint free towel so nothing is left on the surface that might burn in the oven or produce smoke.

Cooking Pizza With The Ooni Pizza Steel 13

pizza slice open crumb gluten How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – How I Make Amazing Pizza In A Regular Home Oven
Photo: A hot pizza steel helps pizza crust rise in the oven.

First start by preparing your ingredients according to whichever pizza recipe you’re following. If you need a dough recipe or instructions on how to use a pizza peel, head on over to my easy overnight pizza dough recipe and follow the links to get started.

Make sure your pizza dough is fully proofed and relaxed before you start shaping it into a pizza. This step is absolutely crucial and if you rush it, you won’t get the same kind of results you see here. For more information on that, you can check out my pizza dough proofing guide.

For the purposes of these instructions, I’m going to assume you already know how to handle most of the ingredients you need to make a pizza. This rest of this tutorial will focus mainly on specifically how to use a pizza steel, as well as a pizza peel.

Note: In order to use a pizza steel, you absolutely need a pizza peel. A pizza peel is what’s used to get the pizza from your kitchen counter into the oven and onto the Ooni Pizza Steel 13. If you need a pizza peel, this inexpensive peel from Amazon works great for my home oven.

How to Use Ooni Pizza Steel 13 Video

Video: This short video on using a pizza peel demonstrates how a pizza steel works.

How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – Step by Step Guide

How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – Step by Step Guide

Total Time: 1 hour

  1. Place Pizza Steel On Middle Rack

    Ooni pizza steel 13 sitting on the rack of a small home oven

    Place the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 on the middle rack of your home oven and set it to the maximum temperature, which is usually around 500F (260C).

  2. Preheat Pizza Steel

    Preheat the pizza steel until it stops getting hotter. The best way to determine this is by using an infrared thermometer, but if you don’t have one just let it preheat for at least 1 hour. In my home oven set to 500F, for example, the cooking surface of the pizza steel reaches 530F after around 45-60 minutes, but this can vary from one oven to another.

  3. Assemble Your Pizza

    making homemade pizza

    When the pizza steel is preheated and ready, start assembling your pizza. If you’re new to making pizza on a pizza peel, I recommend stretching the dough by hand then transferring it to the peel before adding toppings. This can help to avoid tearing when you pull the pizza onto the peel when its heavy with sauce and toppings. Just be sure to dust the peel with flour and work quickly to prevent sticking.

  4. Launch Pizza Onto Pizza Steel

    homemade pizza dough recipe

    Slide the pizza onto the pizza steel by lining up the peel with the back of the steel at a 45 degree angle and wiggling slightly as you pull it back. Unless your pizza is sticking to the pizza peel, it should slide off quite easily. Again, follow the instructions I’ve linked to above if you’re insure on this step.

  5. Rotate Pizza When At Halfway Point

    homemade margherita pizza cooking on a pizza steel in a home oven

    The total cooking time should be around 10 minutes from start to finish, but you want to make sure to rotate the pizza 180 degrees at the 5-6 minute mark. This will ensure that the front and back of the pizza crust are cooked evenly.

  6. Watch Pizza Closely

    browned puffy crust on a homemade pizza

    Somewhere around the 8 minute mark, you should start watching your pizza closely for color and texture. When the pizza is fully cooked, the crust will be a brown to golden-brown color, but not blackened, and the cheese should be bubbling but not crusted over and brown.

  7. Let Pizza Cool, Serve & Enjoy!

    sliced homemade pizza on a blue plate with brown bubbles on the crust.

    When the pizza is cooked to your liking, take it out of the oven and place it directly onto a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes before cutting. This allows steam to escape from the underside of the crust and prevents sogginess (the whole point of using a pizza steel).

If you’re interested in buying a pizza steel, check out my full review of the Ooni Pizza Steel 13.

Care and Maintenance of the Ooni Pizza Steel 13

how clean pizza steel 15 How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – How I Make Amazing Pizza In A Regular Home Oven
Photo: In most cases, all you need is a stiff brush to keep your pizza steel clean.
  1. Clean the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 with hot water and a brush after each use. Avoid using soap, as it can damage the steel. In many cases using water isn’t even necessary, all you need to do is brush off loose flour and scrape off any baked-on debris.
  2. After cleaning, thoroughly dry the steel and store it indoors to prevent rust.
  3. It’s normal for the appearance of the steel to change with extended use. This is because the steel will develop a patina over time, which is a natural process that occurs when the steel is exposed to high temperatures.

Pizza steels are generally very durable, and the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 is no exception. With good care, your pizza steel can last a lifetime, making it a good, inexpensive investment.

For more information and detailed instructions, you can refer to my post on how to clean a pizza steel here.

My Special Tip for Using the Ooni Pizza Steel 13

The Ooni Pizza Steel 13 will work just fine by itself as I’ve described above, but what I like to do is double them up for an even better tasting crust. By this I mean, place the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 on the middle or bottom rack of your oven, then on the rack directly above it, place another pizza steel. When both pizza steels have preheated, slide your pizza onto the bottom pizza steel and cook it until it’s done.

pizza cooking on pizza peel How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – How I Make Amazing Pizza In A Regular Home Oven
Photo: This pizza is baking between two pizza steels.

What this does is emulate the properties of a pizza oven even more by emanating a uniform heat from above and below. Using this method, I can place one pizza steel closest to the bottom heating element for maximum heat absorption, while the pizza steel on top emanates heat to cook the crust and toppings at the same time.

Some people like to replicate this by placing the pizza steel on the top rack of the oven and turning on the broiler, but I personally don’t like this method. Most broilers are too hot, and don’t have a way to adjust the heat, so the toppings end up burned before the underside of the crust has had enough time to fully cook.

Using two pizza steels causes a little pocket of extremely hot air to form between the two baking surfaces, while also maintaining close proximity to the hottest heating element at the bottom of the oven (or at least most ovens).

homemade pizza cooling rack How to Use the Ooni Pizza Steel 13 – How I Make Amazing Pizza In A Regular Home Oven
Photo: Notice the beautiful coloring on this pizza crust, top and bottom.

In my experience, using double pizza steels provides the perfect amount of heat to cook the top and bottom of the pizza evenly at the same time.

Of course, you don’t need to use an Ooni Pizza Steel 13 as your second pizza steel (or even the first one), but as one of the least expensive pizza steels out there, it’s probably a good idea anyways. That said, the top pizza steel you see in the photo above is actually the 14” Baking Steel Original, which is also a great baking steel if you need one that’s slightly larger than the Ooni.

Does a Pizza Steel Go on Top or Bottom of Oven?

Whether you put the pizza steel on the top or bottom of your home oven is mostly a matter of personal preference and how you like your pizza cooked.

That said, many people, and even some pizza steel manufacturers, recommend placing the pizza steel on the top rack of the oven and turning on the broiler. This helps to cook the toppings and cheese of the pizza for those who like them well done.

Personally, I find that placing the pizza steel on the top rack of the oven doesn’t bring enough heat to the bottom of the steel and impedes heat conduction and browning of the underside of the crust. Likewise, turning on the broiler overcooks the toppings and the cheese. This can lead to a pizza that’s not quite done on the bottom and overcooked on top, which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid by using a pizza steel in the first place.

Ultimately, this question comes down to personal preference and your what kind of home oven you’re using. The best way to figure out which is best for you is to try both and compare the results. The middle oven rack in often a happy medium in either case.

Related Questions:

Is pizza stone or pizza steel better?

The Ooni Pizza Steel 13 (or any other pizza steel) is much better at conducting heat than a pizza stone. This gives your pizza a crispier crust and better coloring. But if you can’t afford a pizza steel, a pizza stone can still get you good results as well.

Do you put oil on a pizza steel?

The Ooni Pizza Steel 13 comes pre-seasoned, as do most other pizza steels. However, after significant use you may need to reseason it to preserve the non-stick surface. For more information about reseasoning a pizza steel, read my post on it here.

Do you need a pizza peel to use a pizza steel?

In order to use a pizza steel, you need to use a pizza peel to get the raw dough from the kitchen counter to the oven. Alternatively, you can use parchment paper, just be sure to slide it out as soon as the crust has settled after about 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you need a pizza peel, this inexpensive wooden one on Amazon works quite well.

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