What is a Pizza Peel?

Alyssa Simon

A pizza peel is a large, flat shovel with a long handle used to place pizza in an oven and remove it when it's done. It's usually made of wood or sometimes metal and is also called a pizza shovel. Both wooden and metal pizza peels are thought to each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Wood can burn or warp and become stained; metal is thinner, but may transmit heat easier. A metal pizza peel may also increase the danger of burns, and some feel a peel made of metal is less authentic or visually pleasing than a wooden one.

A pizza in an oven.
A pizza in an oven.

Some pizza chefs prepare the pizza directly on the peel, which may come in handy if there is limited cooking space. For a home kitchen, it is thought best to buy a pizza peel with a handle that is no longer than 6 inches (15.24 cm). It is not advised to cut the cooked pizza on the peel, however, as that may damage the surface. When using a wooden pizza peel, some cooks recommend oiling it to keep the wood from cracking. It is also recommended that individuals dry it right away after cleaning, so it does not absorb water and swell out of shape.

A pizza peel is a flat shovel used to place pizza in an oven and remove it when it's done.
A pizza peel is a flat shovel used to place pizza in an oven and remove it when it's done.

The surface of both metal and wooden pizza peels should be floured to prevent raw pizza dough from sticking to it. Some cooks substitute cornmeal for flour because they feel it adds a desirable texture to the crust. A chef may also use a pizza stone made out of granite or terracotta clay. Pizza stones are supposed to conduct a lot of heat and distribute it evenly, but that may make it harder to take the pizza out of a heated oven. A pizza peel can be used to safely remove the cooked pizza from the stone, and some pizza peels are sold with a pizza stone as a set.

Many pizza chefs recommend purchasing a pizza peel with tapered edges to make it easier when placing the peel under the pizza to remove it from the oven or stone. Also, it is thought best to only buy a pizza peel with a handle thick and wide enough to provide the proper leverage when lifting the pizza and moving it to and from the oven. Wooden pizza peel handles are most recommended, as they are less likely to conduct heat than handles made out of other material.

A pizza peel is also referred to as a pizza shovel.
A pizza peel is also referred to as a pizza shovel.

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Discussion Comments


@ddljohn-- Yep. And metal peels also tend to be thinner so it's much easier to pick up the pizza when its done. Even wood pizza peels with slants at the edge don't work too well sometimes. I once struggled a lot to get the pizza out with a wood peel and almost burned the pizza.

At the end of the day though, it's a personal preference.


I use an aluminum pizza peel and it works great. I think metal pizza peels are more popular than people realize. My aluminum one is a best seller for example.

The advantages of a metal pizza peel is that it's lighter than a wooden one, it's easier to clean and less prone to damage. I can prepare the pizza directly on the peel and I can slice it on the peel when it comes out. Slicing a pizza on a wood peel on the other hand is surely going to damage it. Wood peels also form tiny cracks on the surface in time and as it gets exposed to heat and water. Those cracks can fill with flour and ingredients and become difficult to clean. That's not an issue with a metal peel at all. So I definitely prefer my aluminum peel over a wooden one.


As far as I know, most pizza makers in the world prefer a wooden pizza peel. It has been around for a very long time and the very first pizza peel was certainly made of wood. There are no issues involved with its use. Like another commenter said, the peel doesn't stay inside the oven for it to catch fire or become damaged. The baker places the pizza into the oven and pulls out the peel right away. The peel only goes back in there to remove the pizza when it's done. All in all, these actions take just a few seconds.


@Terrificli -- Uh, wouldn't the same logic apply to a metal pizza peel as a wooden pizza peel? If a wooden one won't be in an oven long enough to warp, burn, catch fire or whatever else, how would a metal one stay in there long enough to get hot and burn someone?

That aside, I prefer a wood pizza peel. Has that classic, old world look to it. I am not sure if a wooden or a metal peel works better, but I do know that the wooden one looks a heck of a lot cooler. That ought to count for something.


I am not sure why there is a lot of concern about a wooden pizza peel warping, catching on fire or anything else. Someone who knows what he or she is doing will not have one in an oven long enough for anything bad to happen to it.

Meanwhile, a metal one can get hot in a hurry and burn someone who brushes against it. That, I think, is a far bigger problem than the remote possibility that something could catch on fire.

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