Pizza Stones Are A Cheap Fix For Uneven Oven Heat

The oven is simply an indispensable part of the kitchen. Whether you are making a casserole that will feed an army or broiling fresh fish collar for dinner, the oven is the one appliance that will do it all. Without the oven, many of our favorite sheet pan meals will simply be impossible.

However, not all ovens are built equal. Whether it is due to age and use or manufacturer defects, some ovens do not heat evenly, which creates issues when you are cooking. An unevenly heated oven has cool spots that will leave your baked goods underdone on one side, and hot spots that will render them into carbon. Most recipes and cooking instructions will tell you to rotate the dish in order to heat everything evenly, but opening the oven lets precious heat escape, prolonging the cooking process while you wait for the oven to return to temperature. Instead, find a pizza stone, which will absorb and radiate heat evenly in the oven, and save yourself the trouble of rotating a pan.

Why pizza stone helps

For those who are uninitiated, a pizza stone is a large slab of ceramic or stone that is placed directly on the rack in your oven. Since it absorbs heat very well and radiates it evenly, a pizza stone is a fantastic tool when you are making baked goods that require an evenly heated surface. In fact, a pizza stone is named such because its evenly heated surface makes it easy to create an evenly cooked pizza crust.

But outside of making pizza, a pizza stone's characteristics can save your dishes from an uneven oven. Simply purchase a wide one that fits atop your oven rack, and leave it there. Preheat your oven as usual, and let the pizza stone absorb the heat. When you are ready to put your dish into the oven, place it on top of the pizza stone and let the stone radiate heat evenly into the bottom of the dish, saving you from adjusting it every so often. The result is dishes and baked goods that are evenly cooked, without worries of burnt corners and mushy, undercooked pockets.

Using a pizza stone (and not for pizza)

Aside from helping your oven cook evenly, a pizza stone can serve as a helpful cooking tool in its own right. Of course, you can use it to make homemade pizza, but thanks to its heating properties, it is perfect for items that need toasting to create a crust. For example, it is a great way to create quesadillas. Simply place your stuffed and folded flour tortilla onto the preheated pizza stone and let it toast before flipping halfway through. The result is an evenly toasted quesadilla that is crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside.

For an even crunchier twist, you can even make potato chips on a pizza stone. Slice potatoes very thinly using a mandolin — don't forget the finger guards! — and toss them with plenty of oil and seasonings. Preheat your pizza stone and arrange your potato slices evenly on the stone. The accumulated heat will sizzle them as soon as you place them on the hot surface. Close the oven and let it cook and crisp up the potatoes, and then turn the slices over halfway through. The result is a crispy, crunchy, and savory snack that goes great with a beer or lemonade.