Pizza is at its very best when it's right out of the oven, which is why a good homemade pizza (which, admittedly, takes practice) is better than most of your delivery options. You can get pretty decent pizza from a home oven or your backyard grill (especially if you use a pizza stone or steel), and if you're really committed you might splurge on a specialized pizza oven.
Of course, getting your carefully-crafted pizza in and out of the oven is a whole skill set in itself, and doing it well requires a specialized tool called a peel. That's the paddle you see professional cooks using to sling pies in and out of the oven, and there are plenty of options for home cooks to choose from as well. Stay tuned as we break down the best pizza peels for home use, and what sets them apart.
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What to Consider When Purchasing a Pizza Peel
Material: The two main options are wood and metal, though you'll also see bamboo (which is basically wood) or composite options. Wooden pizza peels are great for sliding a pie into the oven because they're naturally non-stick. Metal is better for taking a pie out because it's thinner and easier to slide underneath the cooked crust. Enthusiasts may use a wooden peel for putting the pie in, and a separate metal peel for taking it out. Perforated pizza peels try to bridge the gap, with the perforations helping the uncooked pie slide off while retaining the thinness of a metal peel.
To help your pie slide easily from the peel, dust it well with cornmeal before loading up the pizza. The cornmeal acts like thousands of tiny rollers, helping it slide into your oven. Alternatively, you can put a sheet of parchment on the peel and build your pie on that, then slide the parchment and all into the oven (just don't do this on a grill or in an oven with open flames because the parchment will burn).
Handle: If you're working indoors in your home oven, you'll want a short handle that's easy to maneuver. If you're working outdoors at a grill or standalone pizza oven, you'll want a longer handle that keeps your fingers away from the intense heat source. If you do both, you can compromise on a "long enough" handle, or a peel with interchangeable handles. Storage is also an issue (most of us have less storage than we'd like) so some models have foldable or removable handles.
Paddle Size and Shape: If you plan to make big pies, you need a big peel. If you want to manage multiple pies in the same oven, you'll need the smallest peel that will still fit your pizzas. If you're doing one at a time, square edges are the most convenient. If you're doing multiple pies, rounded edges work better. Again, pizza enthusiasts may have a separate peel for each use. There's also a third use, which is turning the pies as they bake to ensure even cooking. For that, you want a smaller, rounded peel called (surprise!) a turning peel.
The Best Overall Pizza Peel
Ooni Perforated Pizza Peel
Ooni makes our top-rated home pizza oven, so it's unsurprising that their pizza accessories are also well thought out and well made. The paddle of this one is hard-anodized nonstick aluminum, the same material used in many premium brands of nonstick cookware, so between the slick surface and the perforations, your pies will slide into the oven easily. The lightweight but sturdy, square-edged paddle will handle well-loaded pies up to 14 inches in diameter (though there's a smaller 12-inch version if you prefer). The handle is made of glass-reinforced nylon, an unusual choice. It's long enough to provide decent balance when there's a pie on the peel, and it's more heat-resistant than handles made from other materials. It does the job beautifully and looks good doing it.
The Best Classic Wooden Pizza Peel
Heritage Wooden Pizza Peel
You'll find acacia wood used in a lot of kitchen utensils, and for good reason: It's durable, lightweight, sustainable, and above all, it's beautiful. That makes it a compelling choice for a pizza peel over slower-growing traditional hardwoods like maple or beech. This one from Heritage is a solid example of the breed, with its oiled surfaces bringing out the beauty of the wood very effectively (oil it periodically with cutting board oil to keep it from drying out). At 14 inches wide, it's big enough for most pies, and the handle is long enough for all but the hottest of ovens. The beveled edge makes it easier to retrieve your pie from the oven, though you'll still probably need a pair of long tongs to lift the pizza's edge and slide the peel beneath.
As a bonus, this peel works just fine as a cutting board for your pizza, and it's beautiful enough to serve as a charcuterie board as well.
The Best Professional-Style Pizza Peel
Winco APP-36 Pizza Peel
If you've splurged on a backyard pizza oven in order to have restaurant-quality pies, it makes sense to match it up with restaurant-quality tools. This Winco peel is exactly that: A commercial product used in pizzerias across the continent. At 36 inches long including the handle, it'll keep your hands well away from the intense heat of a wood-burning oven, and the sturdy paddle will handle a fully-loaded pie, no matter how you pile it with toppings. As with most commercial products, this peel is short on polish and long on durability. It's not the prettiest option in our roundup, but it will last you for years with minimal maintenance (you'll want to oil the handle occasionally to keep it from drying and cracking).
The Best Budget Pizza Peel
American Metalcraft 3512
You can't do much better than this for a solid, well-made, basic peel. The aluminum blade is securely riveted to the wooden handle, and it's big enough to handle 12-inch pies (that's a medium at most pizzerias). It's also sturdy enough—made of 14-gauge aluminum—to hold up under a teenager's most enthusiastically-loaded pie. The handle is 19 inches long, giving the whole peel a total length of over 35 inches, which is plenty for a grill or outdoor oven. If you're working primarily with an indoor oven, you may find it inconveniently long, but that's something you can fix in seconds with a saw. Overall, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better peel for the money.
The Best Turning Pizza Peel
Chef Pomodoro Aluminum 9-Inch Turning Peel
If you're all-in on homemade pizza, you'll need a turning peel to move your pies around the oven and ensure that they bake evenly. The difficulty is that you'll need a long handle to get all the way to the back of a big outdoor oven, but that same handle is inconvenient when you're working at the grill or an indoor oven. This peel from Chef Pomodoro has an ingenious solution: The handle can be used at a standard length of 28 1/2 inches for smaller ovens or extended to 47 inches by adding another section to the handle. This means you're "future-proof" if you've got a small oven for now, but you see the possibility of a larger one looming in your future. On a practical note, you can also remove both handle sections to make the peel smaller for easy storage when it's not in use.
The Best Pizza Peel Bundle
Camp Chef PZK4 Pizza Accessories Kit
If you're looking for an "all of the above" option to meet your pizza-making needs, this might just fit the bill. You get not one but two wooden pizza peels, each 14 inches wide (that's a large when you order takeout). They double as cutting boards for your pizzas, so you can be cutting and serving on one while the other is actively in use with the next pie. The smaller aluminum "pizza spatula" works as a peel for smaller pies, or as a turning peel for compact pizza ovens. You can also use it to lift the edge of a cooked pie while you slide the wooden peel underneath, eliminating the need for tongs. Finally, the bundle also includes a rocking 14-inch pizza cutter for use on your finished pies. It's everything you need, all in one well-thought-out package.