Commercial Pizza Pan Buying Guide

Commercial Pizza Pan Buying Guide

There’s nothing better than a hot pie fresh from the oven, which is why restaurants, pizzerias and food service operators everywhere are getting a slice of the action.  

Deciding to serve pizza isn’t a snap decision; a lot goes into choosing the type and style of pizza you serve, and as much thought and planning should go into the types of pizza pans to use.  

Our commercial pizza pan guide will help you choose the best one for your kitchen.  

Pizzas 

Types of Pans  

There are plenty of types of pizza pans out there for you to choose from, depending on your kitchen needs and the pizza style you’re looking to serve. Here are six types of pizza pans for commercial kitchens. Sizes can range from personal pizza (6”) to invite the whole team (20”) and easy to find the right size for your operation. 

Regular (coupe) 

If you’re looking for an all-purpose pizza pan, the coupe pan is your best bet. You can bake the pizza on it, slice it, and serve it to your customers without skipping a beat, which is especially helpful in busy kitchens.  

This type of pan is usually made from durable aluminum or hard-coated anodized aluminum, so it’s perfectly suited for commercial kitchens that serve up plenty of wear and tear. Coupe pans are what you picture when you think of pizza pans; they’re thin, round, flat and perfect for standard pizzas.  

Deep Dish 

Deep dish pizzas are incredible, but they do require a specialized pan to make. Deep dish pizza pans have high walls to create that distinctive, thick crust that’s still soft and chewy.  

The high walls also allow you to stuff the pizza with plenty of toppings for a loaded, delicious pie. These pans come in square, rectangular, and round options depending on the style you want to serve.  

Deep dish pizza pans are usually made of aluminum, non-stick, or tin-plated stainless steel but all are commercial grade and can be used for serving pizza to customers. 

Screens 

Pizza screens, also called pizza disks, are excellent commercial pizza pans because they are designed to help pizzas cook faster. They’re flat and round with a mesh screen as the pan base itself, which helps improve heat distribution. 

This type of pan produces crispy crusts and works well for thin crust pizzas. It’s important to note that pizza screens should only be used to cook the pizza and to cool the pizza after cooking; you’ll need to transfer to a serving tray to protect your customers from falling toppings or grease.  

Perforated 

Perforated pizza pans are another versatile option for commercial kitchens. Perforated pans are just like regular (coupe) pans except they have holes on the bottom of the pan. These holes are designed to increase airflow and produce a crispier crust with a darker hue to ensure you’re never left with a soggy or undercooked crust.  

Perforated pans are round and typically made from lightweight aluminum and come in a variety of perforation options to choose from, including large holes, small holes, holes in just the middle, and half perforated pizza pans with fewer holes.  

Keep in mind you can bake and slice on a perforated pan but will need to transfer to a serving tray.  

Pizza Stones 

Pizza stones are becoming more and more popular because they create pizzas like those cooked in a pizza oven or wood-fired oven.  

A pizza stone is simply a round (although you can find rectangular) ceramic or cordierite surface that can be used in any oven. The stone absorbs excess moisture as the pizza bakes, creating a crispy crust. You’ll end up with incredible, artisan pizzas but keep in mind stones require more maintenance than the standard pizza pan and stay in the oven rather than being used to transfer, slice and serve pizza.  

Rimmed 

Rimmed pizza pans are like regular pizza pans except they have a raised rim at the edges. This makes handling the pan quite easy, and you can also use it to bake, slice and serve pizza to customers without transferring it to a serving tray. They’re usually round and made of aluminum. They’re a fantastic option for bustling kitchens that serve plenty of pie. 

Types of Pizza Pans

Materials 

Commercial pizza pans come in a large variety of materials. The material you choose is important because it affects everything from heat distribution to cooking speed.  

Some common, commercial grade pizza pan materials include cast iron, aluminum, stainless steel or aluminum and steel combined.  

Aluminum: This is the most common material for pizza pans because of how durable but lightweight it is. It’s also incredibly easy to clean and dishwasher safe, which is super useful in a busy kitchen. Aluminum also heats evenly, making it a reliable pizza pan option, even if the pizzas it produces aren’t particularly unique or artisan. 

Stainless steel: This is another good option for kitchens that churn out many pizzas because it heats up very quickly and cooks pizzas fast. However, this means they can also easily burn pizzas, so they require a watchful eye in the oven. Stainless steel is inexpensive and durable, which is great for a thin budget.  

Aluminized steel: This combination of aluminum and steel is a happy medium. It cooks pizza evenly but fast and produces a delicious, crispy crust.  

Stone or clay: These are great for simulating a wood-fired oven pizza, but they can take a long time to heat up (although once they’re ready, they stay ready). Pizza stones need to be cleaned carefully.

Cast iron: These heavy pans are phenomenal in terms of the taste they bring to the crust. But they are high maintenance in terms of care; they’re not dishwasher safe and shouldn’t even be cleaned with soap or detergent. You’ll need to season the surface of the pan a few times per year (seasoning means using heated fat or oil to treat the surface and create a corrosion-resistant and non-stick coating in the oven).  

The material you choose for your pizza pan depends on a few factors: 1. The type of pizza and crust you’d like to serve (e.g. crispy crust versus deep dish). 2. How busy your kitchen is and how much time can be spent on each pizza. 3. How well your staff will be able to maintain and clean the pizza pans. 

Prepping Pizzas

Thickness  

Pizza pan thickness can dictate not only how quickly your pizza cooks but also how evenly. The thicker the pan, the longer it takes to cook, while thinner pans tend to create crispy crusts.  

Pizza pans are referred to by gauge, which gives a sense of how thick it is. A higher gauge means a thinner pan. 

14-gauge: Here is your heavyweight aluminum pan that’s 0.064 inches thick. It produces a doughy crust. 

16-gauge: This is a standard weight aluminum pan at 0.04 inches thick, creating a slightly doughy crust. 

20-gauge: Another standard weight aluminum pan that’s 0.032 inches thick. It produces a slightly doughy but slightly crispy crust. 

22-gauge: This is a tin-plated steel pan at 0.03 inches thick for a slightly crispy crust. 

26-gauge: This is aluminized steel at a very thin 0.018 inches thick to create a crispy crust.  

Depending on how crispy or doughy you want your crust, you should choose your thickness accordingly.  

Customers enjoying pizza

Finishes 

Pizza pans come in a variety of finishes that also affect how the pizzas cook and the baking time. Some common finishes include:  

Dark coated vs. light coated pizza pans:  Lighter pans will reflect heat and slow the cooking process, while dark coated pans absorb more heat and speed up the baking process. Faster cooking time isn’t necessarily better: thicker pizzas need longer to cook thoroughly and cooking the crust too quickly could burn your pizza before the toppings have had a chance to cook all the way through. 

Anodized hard coated pans: These pans have an anodic oxide finish that resists corrosion and flaking. It also gives the pans a dark coating, which will speed up the cook time.  

Uncoated pizza pans: These are lightly coloured pans, meaning you’ll need to cook your pizzas longer. They also need to be seasoned because there’s no coating to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.  

Silicone glazed pans: These pans have both an anodized coating and a silicone glaze that prevents dough from sticking, helping you use almost 50% less oil or cornmeal to coat the pan. However, the silicone glaze can wear away over time and be scratched/chipped, so keep that in mind.  

Choosing the best pizza pan for your restaurant will mean finding the right combination of finish, thickness, pan type, and material.  

Three cooked pizzas

The Last Slice 

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to commercial pizza pans. Not only do you need to think about the best type of pizza to serve and how to make it consistently every time, but you also need to think about how fast you need pizzas to cook, how to serve them efficiently, and how to ensure a high maintenance pizza pan doesn’t derail your kitchen’s workflow.  

The best commercial pizza pan for your venue is one that serves the best quality pizza in an efficient way that you can repeat over and over.  

Written by River Street Writing