Let’s face it; not everyone has a pizza peel lying around in their kitchen. And it’s fine because you can easily substitute it with things everyone has in their kitchens. Today, I’ll be talking about pizza peel alternatives that will do the trick just fine.
For example, you can use a baking sheet turned upside down, parchment paper, a pan lid, or even a piece of cardboard. Yes, you read that right – cardboard! Trust me on this one.
But that’s not all! In this article, I’ll be sharing my personal experiences with each of these alternatives and giving you all the nitty-gritty details you need to make them work flawlessly.
So without any further ado, let’s get improvising!
Do You Really Need a Pizza Peel?
Short answer, no.
Let’s start with the basics – a pizza peel is a tool used to transfer pizzas from the preparation surface to the oven. It’s typically made of wood, metal, or plastic and has a flat paddle-like shape. While it may seem like an essential tool for any pizza maker, I’m here to tell you that you don’t necessarily need one.
In fact, some of the best pizzas I’ve ever made were done without a pizza peel. My grandfather was an avid pizza maker and taught me a trick that has stuck with me to this day – using a baking sheet pan upside down generously coated with semolina flour.
The key here is the semolina flour – it prevents the dough from sticking to the pan and gives it that perfect crispy crust we all love.
Of course, if you’re serious about making pizzas on a regular basis, investing in a good quality pizza peel can make things easier and give you more control over your pie.
But for those just starting out or looking for an alternative solution, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to get creative in your pizza-making process without breaking the bank or sacrificing quality.
Pizza Peel Alternatives: 6 Ways to Load Your Pizza into the Oven
Pizza peels can be expensive and take up valuable storage space in your kitchen. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives that work just as well. Below I have listed things you can use in a pinch if you don’t have a pizza peel lying around:
1. Baking Sheet
Using a baking sheet to launch and transfer pizza into the oven is a great alternative to using a pizza peel. It’s an effective method that I’ve personally used many times with great success.
To use a baking sheet for this purpose, you’ll want to start by selecting a sturdy baking sheet without sides. Then, flip it over so that the flat side is facing up. Generously coat the surface with semolina flour or cornmeal. This will help prevent the dough from sticking and give your crust a nice crispy texture.
When it’s time to transfer your pizza to the oven, carefully slide it onto the prepared baking sheet. You can then use the baking sheet as a makeshift peel to slide your pizza onto your preheated pizza stone or directly onto your oven rack.
Speaking of preheating your pizza stone, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you place your pizza stone in the oven before turning it on. This will help prevent cracking due to sudden temperature changes.
2. Parchment Paper
Using parchment paper as an alternative to a pizza peel is another effective method that can make your homemade pizza-making process much easier. Not only does it eliminate the need for a peel, but it also makes cleanup a breeze.
To use parchment paper for this purpose, start by assembling your pizza directly on the parchment paper. This can be done on a flat surface or even directly on your preheated pizza stone or steel.
Once the pizza is assembled, gently lift up the edges of the parchment paper and transfer the entire thing onto your preheated stone or steel.
Once your pizza is in the oven, keep an eye on it. You’ll want to remove the parchment paper once the base starts browning. This will allow the crust to crisp up nicely and give you that perfect texture we all love. From there, you can finish cooking your pizza directly on the stone or oven rack.
There’s one caveat, though. While using parchment paper can be effective for smaller pizzas with lighter toppings, it may not be suitable for larger 12″ or 14″ pies loaded with heavy toppings.
3. Pizza Screen
A pizza screen is a mesh-like disc made of aluminum or stainless steel that allows air to circulate freely underneath the crust. While it’s primarily used as bakeware instead of a stone or pan, it can totally double up as a peel.
To use a pizza screen for this purpose, start by assembling your pizza directly on the screen. Then place it directly onto your preheated pizza stone. Using a screen on top of a stone also leads to a better crust.
That’s because the mesh-like surface of the screen allows hot air to circulate freely underneath the crust, which helps prevent any soggy spots from forming. This not only gives you a perfectly crispy crust every time but also ensures that all of your toppings are cooked through evenly.
4. Pan Lid
In a pinch, sub a pizza peel with a pan lid. Mind you that this method will only work for small pizzas unless you have a huge pan.
Simply dust the bottom of the lid with flour or cornmeal to prevent sticking and assemble your pizza directly on top. When it’s time to transfer the pizza to the oven, slide the lid onto the preheated stone or steel and give it a gentle shake to release the pie.
5. Cutting Board
I’ve done this numerous times during outdoor gatherings. It totally works!
All you have to do is make sure the cardboard is clean and do the usual dusting. Assemble your pizza on it and launch it into the oven. Because you need to constantly rotate the pizza in the outdoor oven, you have to improvise a little bit more.
What I do is tape a long wooden stick onto the back of the cardboard, creating my very own DIY pizza peel.
You can skip this step if you are using a regular oven.
6. Wooden Serving Platter
Not only is it a space-saving solution, but it’s also convenient and mess-free. The natural wood grain of the platter provides just enough texture to prevent sticking without the need for excess flour or cornmeal.
Just lightly coat the platter with some flour, and assemble your pizza directly on top. When it’s time to transfer the pizza to the oven; slide the platter onto the stone and give it a gentle shake to release the pie.
This trick is so handy that even many small cafes use this method in their kitchens!
In conclusion, while a pizza peel may be the traditional tool for transferring your pie to the oven, there are plenty of substitutes out there that can do the job just as well.
From baking sheets to cutting boards to wooden serving platters, it’s clear that resourceful home chefs can make do with what they have on hand.
So don’t let a lack of equipment discourage you from making your own delicious homemade pizzas. Just get creative and see what works best for you! After all, as long as you end up with a piping hot slice of pizza in your hands, does it really matter how it got there?