If you’re acquainted with the process of making homemade pizzas, chances are you already know what a pizza peel is. If not, it’s basically a shovel-like object that is used to slide the pizza off of the pizza stone when it’s cooked.
Most people will tell you that you can’t do without one. I’m here to tell you that they’re wrong!
To be honest, though, in this day and age it’s no excuse to not own a pizza peel, so you’re better off just buying one—it’ll cost you $10, max.
However, it’s just a pizza peel, man! There are so many other similar things you can use to get the same results. So, let’s look at your options.
What Are the Best Pizza Peel Substitutes?
As I’ve already said, you have several options. The good news is that you’ll probably find most of these objects are already in your possession.
So, without further ado, here is a list of a few substitutes for a pizza peel that I will be covering in this article:
- Rimless cookie sheet
- Cutting board or serving platter
- Upside-down rimmed baking sheet
- Baking paper/parchment paper
- A stiff piece of cardboard
- Skipping the pizza stone and frying the pizza
Let’s look at how to use these as pizza peel alternatives below.
Rimless Cookie Sheet
As a baker, you probably already have this item in your kitchen. This is undoubtedly the most popular alternative to a pizza peel, so this is the one I’ll be talking about first.
The first thing you need to know is that a cookie sheet is not the same thing as a baking sheet. A cookie sheet has only one raised edge as opposed to a baking sheet’s four raised edges. This facilitates an easier transfer of cookies.
This very design is what makes the rimless cookie sheet such a good alternative for a pizza peel. It’ll help you slide the pizza off easily onto the pizza stone in the oven, and also take it out when it’s ready.
However, keep in mind that you’ll have to use a cookie sheet with a non-stick surface. Furthermore, also remember to take the size of the sheet into account relative to your desired pizza size.
Cutting Board or Serving Platter
Yes, this one does sound like it may be a bit far-fetched but hear me out. Not all cutting boards are large and clunky; in fact, the slimmer variants are available more and more these days.
So, if you have one of those, you can definitely use it in lieu of a pizza peel. Your cutting board will work best if it comes with handles. In that case, not only will it function like a pizza peel, it even looks like one! Hacks, am I right?
See Also: Best Pizza Cutters for Money
Keep in mind that since most cutting boards are rectangular, your pizza shape will probably have to be altered to accommodate accordingly. This shouldn’t be a problem, however; all you have to do is slightly stretch your dough length-wise in order to make it fit the shape better.
Another note about cutting boards—they usually come in wooden and plastic variants, but you’re safer not using the latter kind. If it touches your hot pizza stone, the board may melt. What a catastrophe! So be careful with this one!
Alternatively, use a wooden serving board. The idea behind this is similar to that of the cutting board. Make sure it’s wooden and make sure it has handles.
Upside-Down Rimmed Baking Sheet
As we have already seen above, a baking sheet has four raised edges. Obviously, this makes it a less ideal candidate as a pizza peel alternative than a rimless cookie sheet.
However, you can usually get the same results by flipping the sheet upside down. Be warned, though, that using this technique smoothly will require you to have a little bit more patience.
This is more likely if the raised edges of the sheet are too large. In that case, your pizza will have to drop from a higher point and thus create a mess on the stone. Your best bet in this scenario involves using the thinnest sheet you can find.
Also known as baking paper, this is another popular alternative as it sort of works like a disposable non-stick surface. This method involves building the pizza on the parchment paper, instead of transferring it.
Stretch out your dough on the parchment and add your desired toppings. Then, pull out the rack you’ve placed your preheated pizza stone on, and place your pizza-loaded parchment onto the stone.
Do not worry about the high temperatures affecting the parchment paper, as they are, after all, designed for baking.
Be warned that the parchment paper may turn brittle in the heat of the oven, and thus break apart when touched. To avoid this, your best bet is to use something like a pair of tongs to retrieve your pizza. Otherwise, the paper might tear.
Warning: Do not use waxed paper and double-check that it is not what you’re mistakenly using. Wax will obviously melt when placed inside a hot oven, and that’s the last thing you want!
A Stiff Piece of Cardboard
If you ask me, this should probably be the last resort. That doesn’t mean that it won’t work, as cardboard is thin and well-suited to the job.
However, to improve your chances, you must find a piece of cardboard that is very stiff. Otherwise, it won’t be able to support the weight.
And that might not be so difficult—poetically; you can use the cardboard of an old pizza box to get it done! Cut out a square about 14 inches wide, and you’re good to go.
Warning: Do your best not to let the pizza sauce touch the cardboard. You don’t want to end up with soggy cardboard, right? So careful with the toppings!
Skipping the Pizza Stone and Frying the Pizza
The last item on the list involves saying “bye-bye” to pizza peels and pizza peel alternatives entirely. You won’t even need a pizza stone for this one!
The basic idea behind this is, obviously, frying the pizza dough on your stove top. This gives your pizza a crispy bottom.
Here’s a step-by-step of how to fry yourself a pizza:
- First, pre-heat your frying pan.
- Simultaneously, also pre-heat your broiler (that’s the grill at the top of the oven if you didn’t already know).
- Now, take your dough, stretch it out, and plop into the preheated pan; remember, it must be dry—do not add oil.
- Cook the pizza until its bottom is brown. This should only take a few minutes.
- Now for the fun part! Add your pizza sauce and toppings.
- Take your pizza as close to the broiler in your oven and cook until golden.
Voila! Fried pizza.
So, the next time someone tries to tell you that you can’t make a pizza at home without a pizza peel, just show them this article!
Or—even better—use one of the methods I’ve discussed to make a delicious pizza and shut the naysayers up forever.