Pizza Peels are great, but what if yours is broken or you don’t have one?
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What is a Pizza Peel
What is a pizza peel? It’s the vaguely shovel shaped tool with a flat area and a long handle that you use to get pizzas into and out of ovens safely. By safely I mean for you and for your pizza! You won’t get burned and your pizza won’t get dropped or shaken.
There are two types of pizza peels:
Entry Pizza Peel
Entry pizza peels are used to put pizzas into the oven. They are typically made of wood, and the flat area is not particularly thin. They look like a nice wooden cutting board with a long handle. It doesn’t need to be thin because you will be working with this pizza peel in the cool comfort of your kitchen, not trying to leverage it under your hot pizza in the oven.
Many people build their pizza right on their entry pizza peel. The finish on your wooden entry pizza peel is perfect for your pizza to slide off into the oven with ease.
Entry pizza peels are not used as exit pizza peels because they aren’t thin enough to slide under the pizza in the oven, and because wood will quickly wear if used to slide under pizzas in an oven.
Exit Pizza Peel
Exit pizza peels are typically made of stainless steel and are very thin. They are used to be leveraged under a hot pizza in the oven, without moving the pizza too much and without getting much wear on the pizza peel.
Exit Pizza Peels are not used as entry pizza peels because the moist, raw pizza dough of a freshly made pizza will stick to the metal. You won’t be able to get the pizza to slide off into the oven, and if you start shaking the pizza peel to nudge the pizza off you will simply shake your cheese and toppings all over the oven interior.
Pizza Peel Alternative
There is probably a good pizza peel substitute already in your kitchen. Most of these make good entry pizza peels, not so much as exit pizza peels.
I will look at alternatives like rimless cookie sheets, stiff cardboard pieces, serving platters, and cutting boards.
Pizza Peel Substitute
Rimless cookie sheet
This pizza peel alternative is designed to allow the easy sliding of cookies after cooking. The design is just perfect for pizza preparation. You can slide your pizza off effortlessly to the oven’s cooking surface. Generally, cookie sheets have non-stick surfaces.
You will need help from another tool to use your cookie sheet as an exit pizza peel. While wearing oven mitts, preferably a style that covers your forearms, you can use tongs or a long metal turner/spatula in one hand to nudge the pizza from the oven onto your cookie sheet.
Related: Spatula vs Turner
Stiff cardboard piece
A thin cardboard piece can easily transfer the pizza into the oven. But make sure that the cardboard is stiff enough to support the pizza’s weight. Old pizza boxes work perfectly for this, although you may need to gently nudge the pizza into the oven.
You will simply have to cut an appropriately sized side from a box and you will be in business.
We don’t recommend using cardboard as an exit pizza peel substitute.
Your kitchen may have a wooden serving platter without a rim. The wood surface finish will enable easy sliding of the pizza, just like a genuine entry pizza peel. If your serving platter includes a handle, so much the better.
You will need help from other kitchen utensils to use your serving platter as an exit pizza peel. While wearing long oven mitts, you can use kitchen tongs or a long metal spatula/turner in one hand to nudge the pizza from the oven onto your serving platter.
Many cutting boards are quite similar to an entry pizza peel, minus the long handle. If you proceed with caution and oven mitts, you will likely have good success using a cutting board to get your pizza into the oven; cutting boards make an excellent entry pizza peel alternative.
If your cutting board isn’t the exact right shape, you can simply stretch your pizza dough as needed.
To use a cutting board as an exit pizza peel substitute, you will need to grab some tongs or a long metal turner (spatula). With long oven mitts on both hands, you can use the tongs or spatula in one hand to nudge the pizza from the oven onto your cutting board.
There are quite a few excellent entry pizza peel alternatives, but it’s a little more work to have a good exit pizza peel substitute. Based on the ideas above, you can probably come up with other ideas. Remember to proceed safely, for your sake, and the sake of your pizza.