This is the only temperature you should cook your pizza at.

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Pizza is my favorite food. I have spent hours researching, experimenting and finding the best ways to make it at home. I even wrote a pizza cookbook! In my experience, aside from perfecting the dough recipe, the hardest part of baking pizza at home is figuring out how to get my traditional home oven to work for me.

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this, but your home oven will never be as hot as the pizza oven at your favorite pizza joint, which can go above 900°F. High heat is essential when baking a pizza because it helps the dough rise, puff, and bake the toppings quickly without overcooking them. This is what gives you the precious golden crust.

That doesn't mean you can't get great results in your oven.

I've asked around and many pizza pros, including Andres Lugsdin of Baking Steel, a very popular pizza steel brand, recommend setting the oven to at least 475°F and 550°F if your The oven setting allows for this. Although I love generosity, In my experience, the best oven temperature for baking pizza at home is 500°F.. At this temperature, you can get a beautifully puffed, golden pizza that is too hot to eat immediately.

Sally Vargas

In addition to setting your oven to 500°F, here are two steps you can master when making pizza at home:

1. Get an oven thermometer.: The temperature you set your oven to is not necessarily the temperature inside the oven. This is because readings are often taken from a specific area, which only tells you the temperature at that specific location, and who knows where that is!

That's where an oven thermometer comes in handy. You can set (or hang) it right in the center of your oven to get an accurate reading. Some high-end oven thermometers also get a range of numbers as your oven turns the heat on and off to maintain the temperature you set, averaging for a more accurate reading. Adjust the temperature setting up or down depending on what the oven thermometer reads.

For a simple oven thermometer, senior editor Myo Quinn likes this one from Taylor. For a more modern option, editor Laurel Randolph says ThermoWorks can't beat this one,

2. Get a pizza stone or steel.: A pizza stone or steel is a relatively inexpensive way to get great pizza in your home oven. Both absorb and trap heat, which is transferred to your pizza during baking, resulting in a well-done crust.

Place a stone or steel on a rack in the upper third of your oven. The key is to give your stone or steel plenty of time to reach 500°F—you'll want to preheat your oven for at least 45 minutes.

Can't decide between a pizza stone or steel? Our Nerdy Over at Serious Eats dives deep into both. This will help you decide which one is best for you!

Get Sarah's New Cookbook!

The editors at Simply Recipes can't wait to get their hands on Sarah's upcoming cookbook, Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! (One word is so delicious, he named it three times.) It promises to ease our pizza-making angst with smart, highly actionable tips, and accessible recipes. The cookbook will be out on April 30, 2024, and you can pre-order it here.

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