A pizza peel is a perfect tool for making your pizza come out with the perfect crust while keeping your hands out of the oven. While the benefits of a pizza peel are pretty clear, choosing the right one for you sometimes isn’t. After all, there are enough pizza peels on the market to overwhelm even the most seasoned pizza maker.
To help you wade through the choices and end up with the perfect one for you, Sophistiplate compiled a list of our favorite pizza peels. Read on to find out the history of the pizza peel, how it’s used, and the best options on the market today.
What Is a Pizza Peel?
If the word “peel” conjures up images of fruit and vegetables, then you’re definitely not alone. A peel is indeed a tool used to, well, peel the skin off produce.
However, there’s another not-as-common definition for the word: a paddle-like tool with a flat base and long handle that’s used for baking. While the origins of the word are a little murky, some historians believe that it came from the French pelle, which stands for “shovel.”
The peel was used for centuries in Europe to slide baked goods in and out of large brick ovens—a must, considering that brick ovens can reach temperatures 800℉. And while pizza peels continue to be used by professional bakers (and, of course, pizza makers) they’ve also made their way into our homes to help us make pizzas that will rival the best pizzeria.
Can I Make Pizza Without a Pizza Peel?
There’s a reason why a pizza peel is an absolute must-have for at-home pizza makers. That’s because to get that perfectly crispy crust, you need to bake the pizza on a pizza stone—a flat piece of clay. A pizza stone exists because home ovens don’t get hot enough for the raw pizza dough to develop into crust properly. So, as you can imagine, it can get pretty hot.
If you’re baking pizza pies on this incredibly hot baking stone, you definitely don’t want to get your hands even remotely close to it. Instead, you need something that allows you to keep your hands out of the pizza ovens (such as a folding handle) and something that’s thin enough to slide under the pizza. Like a pancake and a spatula, a pizza peel is a must-have when trying to maneuver a large pizza royale out of the oven—or even a 12-inch pizza for a casual night in.
Of course, if you don’t bake pizza all that often, then it might feel a bit wasteful to invest in a kitchen tool dedicated solely to this purpose. Fortunately, pizza peels aren't just for professional chefs. There are tons of other things you can do with a pizza peel.
If you frequently bake pastries, quiches, and casseroles, then you can benefit from having a pizza peel for getting those baked goods in and out of hot ovens. And if you rarely bake, then you use a beautiful pizza peel as a serving tray (cheeseboard, anyone?) or a cutting board.
Our Favorite 10 Pizza Peels
Now that we have a good idea of what a pizza peel is and why you might need one, let’s browse some of the pizza peels available on the market today. From traditional wood to sleek aluminum to everything in between, here are ten of our favorite pizza peels:
1. Maplewood Pizza Peel
Maplewood goes first on our list thanks to the many benefits of wood. We love wood because it’s an all-natural material that’s antimicrobial, absorbent, and non-toxic. All of these qualities make it perfect for working with wet pizza dough and hot baked goods. Plus, you won't accidentally burn your hands on a wooden handle, like you might on a metal peel.
And when it comes to sturdy wooden pizza peels, nothing beats maple. This type of wood is creamy white in color, which gives it a fresh and elegant appearance. In addition, it’s a hard type of wood, which makes it incredibly scratch-resistant.
2. Acacia Wood Pizza Peel
Acacia trees are native to Australia and are instantly recognizable against their natural desert landscapes. Besides that, they make a perfect material if you prefer the appearance of a dark wooden surface.
Besides being incredibly durable, acacia wood comes in a variety of chocolatey hues with warm undertones. On top of that, it displays a prominent wood grain. All of these factors come together to make it an elegant pizza peel that’s unlikely to stain. Best of all, these peels are less prone to warping, splinters, splitting, or cracks if you treat them with care.
3. Bamboo Pizza Peel
While bamboo isn’t technically considered a type of wood, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference. Similar to wood, natural bamboo has natural antimicrobial properties, high porosity, and hardness that make it scratch-resistant. Plus, since bamboo is so easy to grow, it tends to be relatively inexpensive. While the appearance of bamboo isn’t visually striking, it’s still a solid choice for a pizza peel.
4. Aluminum Pizza Peel
While the many benefits of wood can’t be beaten, pizza peels with a lightweight aluminum blade still come out on top in one department: They tend to be thinner than wood pizza peels.
While you can certainly get by with a wood peel during the entire pizza-making process, an aluminum pizza peel can still be incredibly helpful. Just think about having to slide a peel under the pizza when it’s done baking and it becomes instantly clear that you want a material that’s as thin as possible. So, when it comes to removing pizza from the oven, metal pizza peels can be a life-saver.
But when it comes to placing the pizza inside the oven, you can run into some trouble with an aluminum pizza peel. That’s because aluminum is 100% non-porous, which means that the moisture from pizza dough has nowhere to go. For this reason, aluminum peels have been implicated in quite a few instances of pizza getting stuck right before being placed in the oven.
5. Nonstick Pizza Peel
In response to the stickiness dilemma, manufacturers began to apply a nonstick coating to aluminum pizza peels. Unsurprisingly, it helped to make uncooked pizza slide off easier when being placed in the oven. However, there’s a reason we’re a bit skeptical about this type of pizza peel.
This is due to the fact that nonstick coating can be harmful when exposed to high temperatures. That’s because it breaks down into chemical byproducts that are linked to hormone disruption—which is especially dangerous for pregnant and nursing women, and for young children.
While a nonstick pizza peel may not see high heat that often, there’s another reason why it can be harmful: the nonstick coating has a tendency to flake off, which means that pieces of it can end up in your food.
For this reason, we’d either avoid a nonstick pizza peel or—at the very least—make sure to never scratch it up or expose it to high temperatures.
6. Perforated Pizza Peel
Perforation is yet another solution to the problem of stickiness. This pizza peel basically has tiny holes in its surface that are meant to encourage moisture to evaporate. Plus, thanks to the holes, there’s less surface area for the wet pizza dough to stick to.
While perforating the surface of a pizza peel is a great idea, this type of pizza peel still doesn’t compare to wood’s natural moisture-wicking properties.
7. Turning Pizza Wheel
The whole point of this type of pizza peel is to quickly turn the pizza around so you get an even crust while it bakes. For this reason, it’s made out of aluminum instead of stainless steel, which makes it easier to slide under the cooking pizza. In addition, it tends to be pretty small.
For these reasons, we definitely can’t recommend having this as your sole pizza peel. But once you find yourself a nice full-sized one, it can definitely be a great addition to your pizza-making arsenal.
8. Pizza Peel With an Extra Long Handle
If you’re ever seen a traditional brick oven, you know those things can go deep. To avoid burning their hands in an oven that can reach temperatures of up to 900℉, pizza makers need an especially long handle (we’re talking something like 60” inches).
Of course, your home oven won’t ever get that hot or go as deep, but it’s still not a bad idea to practice all kinds of precautions when baking. For this reason, a pizza peel with an extra-long handle can be just another way to stay safe in the kitchen.
9. Pizza Peel With a Detachable Handle
If you’re short on space, you might be wondering how you can store your pizza peel when you’re not using it. While we love hanging a beautifully crafted pizza peel on the wall for all to see, there’s another solution if storage space is an issue.
A detachable pizza handle can be taken off when you’re washing your pizza peel or when you’re not using it to make pizza. And some models even come with handles of varying sizes, which allows you to adjust the size to your needs.
10. Personalized Pizza Peel
Last (but definitely not least) on our list of favorite pizza peels is the personalized option.
If you’re giving a pizza enthusiast this handy tool as a gift, one way to enhance it is to have their name engraved on it. And, of course, if there’s a special occasion that warrants this present, then you can have the anniversary date engraved, as well.
But don’t think that a pizza peel should only be personalized if it’s a gift for someone else. Make a pizza peel uniquely your own by engraving your favorite image, quote, or even pizza recipe.
Home Is Where the Pizza Is
We hope you’re as enthusiastic about pizza-making as we are. There's something special about flour, raw dough, and tomato sauce that can't be recreated.
Wooden peels, metal peels, composite peels—we want them all! Just make sure you choose the right peel for your needs, meaning you can get a good grip, you like the handle length, and it's dishwasher-safe (if that's how you roll).
Even if you’re new to the art of pizza-making, with the right pizza peel, you’ll be able to make the perfect pie every single time.