The best pizza peels in 2021
- High-quality pizza peels can transfer your raw doughs from the counter to the oven without mishaps, whether it's pizza or another delicious baked good.
- The New Star Foodservice Wooden Pizza Peel is our top pick because it's lightweight, durable, and inexpensive, and its raw wood surface helps prevent pizza and bread doughs from sticking.
Whether you are working in a corner pizza joint or a home kitchen, you'll need a peel to make great pizza. Also known as "baking peels" or "pizza peels," these paddle-like devices are indispensable tools for moving pizzas easily from the counter to the oven and back again.
I've been making pizza at home for more than 30 years, and have created more than a dozen pizza recipes for home bakers, in magazines such as Cook's Illustrated or my own bread- and pizza-instruction newsletter, Wordloaf. Which means I've literally made thousands of pizzas in my day, so I know what works (and doesn't work) when it comes to pizza-making tools. And I have strong opinions about pizza peels, all the more so now that I've tested the current crop available.
For this guide, I tested five peels, focusing mainly on pizza, using each to load and unload multiple thin-crust pies from my oven. I also used them to load and unload loaves of bread, since peels are supremely useful for baking breads and even pastries. While ergonomics and durability were always on my mind, the main question I had to answer was: Could I get the pizzas in and out of the oven without disaster? You can learn more about my testing methodology below, along with information on wood versus metal pizza peels.
Here are the best pizza peels
- Best pizza peel overall: New Star Foodservice Restaurant-Grade Wooden Pizza Peel
- Best innovative pizza peel: EXO Non-Stick Super Peel Pro Composite
- Best metal pizza peel: American Metalcraft 3016 Extra Large Blade Pizza Peel, 30 Inch
Prices and links are current as of 1/5/21. We rewrote this guide after comprehensive testing, and added information on the differences between wood and metal pizza peels.
The best pizza peel overall
If you only have the funds and/or space to have one inexpensive peel, then the New Star Foodservice Restaurant-Grade Wooden Pizza Peel is the one you want, because it's lightweight, wide enough to accommodate the average pizza, and has a raw wood surface to help prevent the uncooked pizza from sticking.
Pros: Lightweight, so it's easy to move around; raw (but not rough) wooden surface helps prevent sticking; spacious enough to fit the average 12-inch pizza; short, but more than adequate handle keeps its overall size compact
Cons: Thicker than aluminum peels, so it can be a challenge to slide underneath the cooked pie; raw wood stains easily
This pizza peel is lightweight (weighing just 1 pound, 7 ounces) and made from raw uncoated wood. At 12 inches by 13.5 inches, it's just large enough to fit a standard size pizza without being too unwieldy to handle. I used it to make half a dozen pies and two loaves of bread, and every time the pizza and bread dough slid off easily. While it may seem counterintuitive that a raw wood peel with a rough surface would be less sticky than a metal or coated wood peel, the porous surface of the wood actually wicks away moisture from the pizza, preventing sticking. While its handle is compact at just 8 inches, it was more than adequate enough to keep my hands away from the hot oven as I slid the pizza in.
Though pizzas slid off of this peel effortlessly, it takes some finesse to retrieve pizzas from the oven with it, since the paddle is relatively thick. It does have a sharp beveled edge to help with this, but it takes some practice to get the motion down. Fortunately, the potential for creating a mess is much less with cooked pies than raw dough, and you can always use a pair of tongs (or even your fingers if you are swift!) to help guide the finished pie back on the peel. The porous wood surface is prone to staining, but the peel can still be kept sanitary with some soap and water. Overall, this is a solid peel that is compact, efficient, and easy to use no matter your skill level.
The best innovative pizza peel
The EXO Non-Stick Super Peel Pro Composite is the ultimate "pizza-lovers" pizza peel, at least when it comes to loading pizza (and bread) into the oven, since its unique design works like a conveyor belt to move the product from the counter to the baking stone without sticking.
Pros: No risk of the dough sticking to the peel, no matter how wet it might be or how long may have sat on the cloth belt; lightweight; plenty wide enough to accommodate the average 12-inch pizza
Cons: Not really designed for removing pizzas from the oven, so a second peel is necessary; proper use requires practice to nail down; canvas belt can pick up stains
This innovative peel consists of a canvas "belt" attached to a wooden board. It is identical in function to the belted loaders that professional bakers use to load bread into a deck oven, except scaled way down in size. Instead of sliding the pie off of the peel, you pull the belt out from underneath it, and the pizza or bread simply drops straight down onto the baking surface, not unlike a magician's "tablecloth" trick. Which means you can take all the time you need getting the pie topped and loaded into the oven, even when working with the wettest, stickiest of doughs. I used this model to make half a dozen pies and two loaves of bread, and not one stuck to the Super Peel.
At 13.25 inches by 12.5 inches and weighing just under two pounds, I found it roomy enough to hold the average home-sized pie while still remaining lightweight enough to handle. And its 7-inch handle was more than adequate in length to keep my hands away from the hot oven as I slid the pizza in.
While the Super Peel can't be beat for loading pizza and bread into the oven, it's pretty much useless for taking them out of the oven, so you'll still want an aluminum peel as well. And using a Super Peel isn't intuitive — it'll take a few practice tries before you get the correct motion down (hot tip: practice using it outside of the oven, using something other than an actual pizza, until you get the hang of it). The canvas belt can pick up stains from use, but it is washable (don't put it in the dryer though, it could shrink) and replacements are available. Overall, the Super Peel is an excellent choice for the fanatic who wants to take their pizza game to the next level.
The best metal pizza peel
The American Metalcraft 3016 Extra Large Blade Pizza Peel, 30 Inch is an inexpensive, durable, and lightweight aluminum peel — the best option when it comes to removing pizza and bread from the oven.
Pros: Super thin, flexible blade gets under baked pies and breads with ease; very durable; lightweight, at just under 2 pounds; wide enough to accommodate the average 12-inch pizza
Cons: Slick, entirely non-porous surface can cause raw pizza and bread doughs to stick; best used primarily as a tool to remove finished products from the oven
This pizza peel is lightweight and made from aluminum, with a wooden handle. At 14 inches by 13.5 inches, it's roomy enough to fit a standard size pizza without being too unwieldy to handle. I used it to move half a dozen pies and two loaves of bread in and out of the oven. Raw pizza dough had a tendency to stick to the peel, particularly when the dough was wet, or if I took too long getting the pies ready to bake (breads were less prone to sticking, since they spent so little time on the paddle).
But the peel worked wonderfully once the products were in the oven. The thin, lightweight blade slides easily beneath pizzas or bread, and the 12-inch handle provides plenty of distance between your hand and the hot oven. The aluminum surface of the peel is easily cleaned with soap and water. Overall, this is a solid peel that is compact, efficient, and easy to use no matter your skill level, especially when used in tandem with another style of peel for loading. It's also very durable; I've used one for more than 10 years, and it continues to work as good as new.
What else we considered
We tested five peels in total; here are a few of the other peels I tested that didn't make the cut:
- SPLENDR Aluminum Metal Pizza Peel with Foldable Wood Handle ($28.99): The handle on this aluminum peel does fold up to make storage in small spaces easier. It performed much like the other aluminum peels I tested, and the handle was comfortable to use. But the handle doesn't sit entirely flush with the peel when folded, making it awkwardly shaped for storage. That said, it might be a good option if space is at a premium.
- Heritage Acacia Wood Pizza Peel ($27.99): This attractive, lightweight, and roomy wooden peel didn't make the cut because its slick, finished surface made pizza doughs prone to sticking on it. You'll get best results with an uncoated wood peel, which is porous enough to absorb moisture from the dough and prevent sticking.
Our testing methodology
I've been making pizza regularly for more than 30 years, including developing recipes for publications like Cook's Illustrated and my own newsletter. I relied heavily on my own experience when testing for this guide and incorporated each peel into my regular pizza and bread making routine over the course of three weeks. Here's what I considered:
Pizza: I used the peels to load thin-crust pizza in and out of the oven. I worked with a fairly wet dough recipe, one that tends to stick to a peel unless I coat the peel with a lot of flour and/or I get the pie ready to bake very quickly.
Bread: I also used the peels to load and unload bread, both with and without the use of parchment paper beneath the loaf.
Ease of Use: I considered how easy the peels were to move around and to insert beneath baked pizzas and doughs easily. After each use, I cleaned the peel according to manufacturer instructions, evaluating how easily they cleaned up and noting their appearance after use and cleaning.
Durability: I considered the durability of the materials from which each peel was constructed and looked for any wear and tear over the three weeks I used them. I also factored in my many years of personal experience using several of the products in this guide.
What we're looking forward to testing
Here are some pizza peels we're currently considering for future updates:
American Metalcraft 14" x 16" Large Blade Peel, 54 inches ($27.75): A long-handled version of our best metal pizza peel like this should be very useful for loading bread and pizza in and out of my wood-fired oven. I'm looking forward to testing it out when the weather gets warmer.
Wood versus metal pizza peels
Though one of my top picks — the EXO Non-Stick Super Peel Pro Composite — is in a category by itself, there are two main types of baking peels: wooden and metal. Wooden peels are typically made of wood or bamboo, while most metal peels are made of aluminum.
My personal take after 30 years of making pizzas and using peels is that if you only have the money and/or space to own one inexpensive peel, you should get a raw, wooden peel since it's the most "nonstick" choice among the inexpensive baking peels. Though they are a challenge to slide beneath finished pies, it can be done with practice, and baked pies are not nearly as risky to move around as raw ones, anyway. But if you can afford — and have the room for — more than one peel, you might consider a wooden peel for loading the pizzas into the oven, and a metal one for taking them out. (Having two peels also means you can get busy saucing and topping the next pie while the first one bakes.) Here are the key differences between the styles:
Wooden peels: Many wooden peels are coated with a slick finish, while others are unfinished. Coated peels are easy to clean and are "slippery," which can let the dough slide off the peel more easily. But with wet doughs — or even just doughs that have been left on the peel for too long before baking — that slick texture can actually cause the pizza to stick when moisture collects between the dough and the peel. "Raw," unfinished wood peels have a rough, porous texture and hence more grip, but because they can wick moisture away from the dough, they actually tend to be more nonstick than coated peels. Another downside to wooden peels, coated or not, is that they are generally thicker than metal peels, which can make it hard to slide under the pizza once it has finished baking.
Metal peels: Metal peels usually have an aluminum paddle or blade that is flexible and thin enough to easily slide between the pizza and baking stone for quick removal. Even with their wooden handles, they are lightweight compared to all-wood peels. But just like coated wooden peels, a metal peel's non-porous surface can cause raw dough to stick, spelling potential pizza-night disaster.
Check out our other pizza-related buying guides
The best pizza ovens
The best pizza stones
The best pizza making tools
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