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  • Writer's pictureMatt Swieton

Product Review: Nordic Ware 2-Piece Ceramic Pizza Stone (Walmart)

“Here we go: A pizza guy is going to crucify the cheap pizza stone from Walmart…”

Just you hold those horses.

Tomato Pie made with Nordi Ware Pizza Stone
Tomato pie made on the cheap stone. Still came out killer!

I’ve always believed that good pizza should be accessible to everyone suffering from the craving. Sometimes, as the expression goes, if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. Let me just say before I really get started on the review that this cheapo Walmart stone far surpassed my expectations and produced a crispy and aesthetically pleasing tomato pie without any technical issues (i.e. sticking).

When Sarah and I spoke about making pizza in her apartment, she would regularly mention that she needed a stone in her house. Although, the pie she was slingin’ in a pan is killer! As we would have these conversations we would take trips to Walmart and see the same stone over and over; the Nordic Ware 13-inch–sold for less than 12 dollars.

I would say things to Sarah like, “I bet we could sling killer pie on that piece-of-shit stone!” But the reality: how crappy could the stone be if the pie really was killer?

One day we went to Walmart and Sarah pulled the trigger; she bought this two-piece kit and we planned the first pizza: Tomato Pie!

Nordic Ware pizza stone, Walmart.
Here's the stone with a few beauty marks! Photo: Sarah Basile

I immediately disagreed with the instructions. First, we were to put the stone in the cold oven, which I agreed with. Second, we were supposed to set the oven at 450ºF (I set it to 500ºF instead). The oven she uses takes a longer time to heat up and it heats irregularly. Third, the box instructed that we let the stone sit at temp for 15 minutes (we let it sit at temp for 30 minutes).

We had proofed dough and homemade sauce that Sarah made. The dough was stretched and laid on top of parchment paper. Tomato sauce, fresh basil from my garden, and Pecorino Romano were added.

Pizza was launched onto the 13-inch stone and the paper slipped out after the dough set - about 3-4 minutes. We noticed that the pizza cooked slower than on my cordierite stone but we weren’t in a rush; just observing our little pizza experiment while waiting for our dinner. The pie was removed and more sauce was added to the pie along with a little more Pecorino Romano and launched back onto the stone.

After about 15 minutes or so, the pizza was done. Dressed one last time with fresh basil and Romano; and the result is featured in the first photograph. The photo below is a killer tomato pesto pie Sarah made just yesterday!

Pesto pizza made with Nordic Ware Pizza Stone
Sarah's pesto pie. Yum! Photo: Sarah Basile

We were so pleasantly surprised to see that by using the cheap stone and tweaking the instructions based on our knowledge of the oven we were able to highlight the potential of this product that would otherwise be dismissed as a shitty Walmart pizza stone.

There were some notable differences that, perhaps, only the folks who really pay attention to pizza-details could detect. Our tomato pie had a slightly ‘drier’ crunch to it, which makes it difficult for us to attribute this quality exclusively to the stone since the oven itself is volatile and sometimes inconsistent.

Our verdict: If you are a family that loves making pizza but can’t afford to take the family out every week to satisfy your collective pizza addiction, this stone is worth its weight in pie.* Moreover, it’s not inconceivable to think that for $25 a family could buy the stone and the simple ingredients to make, perhaps, four pizzas–2 pizzas for 2 different pizza nights. How could you beat 2 family pizza nights for $25?

*Since we knew how Sarah’s oven worked we went right to 500ºF and checked on the stone as the oven was heating up, which staggered the rising temperature of the oven in a manner that reduced the chances of thermal shock. Maybe if the stone was left uninterrupted in a newer oven the stone would be more likely to fracture? I’m still unsure but it is interesting to think about.

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