An outdoor pizza oven is the best way to replicate wood-fired pizza cooking at home. Here is our guide to building your backyard pizza oven. It’s never been easier to make homemade pizza.
A pizza oven is one of the best ways to do pizza justice. Pizza cooked in them is the closest thing to the authentic wood-fired pizzas of Naples.
The seven best outdoor pizza ovens were chosen after spending over 20 hours and eating over 50 pizzas (which I regret no part of). Over the past few years, outdoor pizza ovens have become increasingly popular, and it’s easy to understand why.
In addition to replicating authentic wood-fired pizza, they are more efficient than regular ovens or grills for cooking them. Similarly, an oven should be as simple as pizza since it is convenient.
You can get your pizza cooked and ready using the best home pizza oven in just a few minutes since they are easy to use, quick to heat up, and retain heat well.
What is the best pizza oven?
In the end, after reading extensively about pizza making, testing more than a half dozen ovens, and roasting more than 40 pies, we think the best outdoor pizza oven for most people is the Ooni Koda 16. This oven’s large cooking area and L-shaped burners at the back ensure that every pie comes out cooked through and nicely charred no matter what the recipe is.
This is the ultimate pizza oven buying guide.
Choosing a pizza oven can be easier than you think, with only a few features to consider. Simple devices such as pizza ovens are carried by their raw performance, mostly evident in their construction and materials. It’s better if it’s made of higher quality materials and assembled better.
Insulation is important.
The most common metal used for construction is steel. Steel is sturdy, lightweight, and retains heat well. Silicone and ceramics are ideal for the outer layer of better models, and they improve insulation. As far as heat radiation is concerned, ceramic will have a more profound effect on heat reduction and make the surface more comfortable to touch (although it will still be extremely hot on the exterior since ceramic conducts heat well).
Dimensions and portability
Consider the weight of the device. Even the best pizza ovens are designed to be relatively portable, especially indoor pizza makers, and the average weight is about 30 lbs, sometimes even less. In addition to being lighter, it can also be set on softer ground, such as grassy backyards, clay, or soil, instead of needing to be placed on a concrete table or garage.
The design should be domed through a chimney or smoke port and provide great ventilation. Nothing is more important than making sure your pizza is not too smoky or moist. If your crust is charred and smoky, it should come out crisp and not blackened with soot.
The best way to achieve this is through better ventilation without sacrificing heat retention, and every model has its method. Smoke escaping from a domed and lidded interior of a pizza oven should not be consumed by default; by the time it rolls out, the smoke has already adversely affected the taste of the pizza.
It should also be considered. Most excellent pizza ovens (even our top pick) are quite reasonably priced at or below $300. Because of this, they are quite affordable, especially if you intend to use them regularly and make the most of your money. A few models are considerably more expensive, and most of these are built-in models (which have to be installed on a countertop and cannot be moved).
Even then, a built-in grill or other cookery range is likely to be more practical and cost-effective in the long run. Built-in ovens offer high performance, but they are exceedingly expensive, making them unsuitable for most outdoor chefs.
In what way do outdoor pizza ovens work?
A wood or propane stove will generate heat that will heat up the oven’s interior surfaces. The best pizza ovens are built to retain heat and radiate it across the stone or cooking surface, which results in a tasty dish.
A good pizza oven can retain heat for a long time, which means you can cook pizza after pizza without having to refuel it frequently.
Temperatures above and below the pizza must be the same for best results.
A cordierite pizza stone is required for this. Make sure your oven is well-insulated and has food airflow.
What is the best way to use an outdoor pizza oven?
It will depend on whether your oven is wood-fired or propane-fired and how you use it.
Unlike ovens or BBQ gas grills, propane models are intuitive and simple to use.
It is more challenging to use wood-fired ovens (but the results are worth it!).
Your chosen hardwood will be used to build your fire in the center of your oven. Make sure that your oven reaches a temperature of 700°F (350°C) using a grill surface thermometer.
Depending on the size of the oven, this process may take up to 30 minutes in smaller models.
Using a scraper, carefully push the fire to one side of the oven once the oven is ready. Put your oven in the middle of your pizza stone.
To ensure even cooking, turn your pizza over at the 45-second mark. It should only take about 90 seconds.
In what way do outdoor pizza ovens work?
A wood or propane stove will generate heat to heat the oven’s interior surfaces. Pizza is cooked in a well-built (either modern or traditional brick) oven using heat radiated across the cooking surface or stone.
You can cook pizza after pizza in the best pizza ovens without constantly topping up the fuel.
A consistent temperature above and below the pizza is crucial to achieving the best results.
To accomplish this, you will need a well-insulated, well-ventilated oven as well as a cordierite pizza stone.
Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens for up to Medium-sized Pizzas
You can quickly cook pizzas up to 12″ (the size of a medium pizza) with the following outdoor pizza ovens:
- Ooni Koda 12
- Ooni Frya 12
- Ooni Karu 12
Ooni Koda 12
The Ooni Koda 12 is an excellent gas pizza oven. The oven is exclusively powered by gas and requires propane gas to function. More information on the Ooni Koda 12 may be found here.
Ooni Frya 12
If you’re searching for a wood-powered pizza oven, the Ooni Frya 12 is a fantastic choice. You don’t need to transport another huge object, such as a propane tank, because the oven is made of wood. As a result, it is the most portable 12″ outdoor pizza oven. More information on the Ooni Frya 12 may be found here.
Ooni Karu 12
If you wish to move between different fuel sources, this is the route. As a multi-fuel oven, it can cook with gas, wood/charcoal. It is the most lightweight oven on the list. However, if you intend to use gas, remember to include the weight of the propane tank, as this does not have a direct connection option either.
More information on the Ooni Karu 12 may be found here.
3 of the Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens for Large and Extra Large Pizzas
Here’s some good news: cooking enormous, extra-large pizzas doesn’t need a larger pizza oven. You may use the smaller 12″ ones by dividing the pizzas into 2-4 pieces and cooking each section separately. However, if you plan on making vast and extra-large pizzas on occasion, a larger pizza oven is recommended.
These are three of the best outdoor pizza ovens for cooking large and extra-large pizzas:
- Ooni Koda 16
- Ooni Karu 16
- Ooni Pro 16
Ooni Koda 16
You will only be able to make pizzas on the Ooni Koda 16 using gas. You won’t be able to obtain that dark, rich, and smokey flavor with this oven. It is, nonetheless, a viable possibility. If you want to learn more about how this will benefit you (if at all), go here.
Ooni Karu 16
Unlike the Ooni Koda 16, the Ooni Karu 16 can cook with wood, charcoal, or gas. As with other ovens, you’ll need a propane tank to operate it with gas. However, little hardwood pellets are used when the wood is employed as a fuel source.
These pellets are incredibly portable and burn considerably more efficiently than regular wood. Although large enough to comfortably handle a 16″ pizza, this makes it an excellent portable outdoor pizza oven.
If you want to learn more about how this will benefit you (if at all), go here.
Ooni Pro 16
This is not for the faint of heart. If you host pizza parties regularly or have a lot of expertise with pizza ovens, this is the perfect option. The high learning curve and handling are intimidating for novices. To read an in-depth review of Ooni Pro 16, click here.
Bertello Pizza Oven
You’ve probably heard of ovens that operate on wood, gas, or a combination of the two, but this one is unique. It can be powered by wood, gas, or both. You read that right. Both gas and wood may be used in the Bertello pizza oven. If you want to learn more about how this will benefit you (if at all), go here.
Surfaces for cooking
Moreover, you should pay close attention to this factor as well. When choosing an oven for cooking pizza, be sure to accommodate the volume without compromising taste, quality, or authenticity. You should pick one with a smaller cooking surface if you have a small family.
Alternatively, if you’re planning to purchase a wood-fired pizza oven for commercial use, you should select one with a large cooking surface so that it can meet your needs.
Also, consider future capacity requirements. In 5 years, what will your needs be?
Type of material
An oven’s quality of the material is also very important. The quality of the material determines the efficiency of the equipment. Aside from that, it will also influence the oven’s durability.
To make a wise decision, take the time and research to learn what types of materials are available and which ones are the best. You can also consult an expert for guidance.
It is equally important to select the right design and the right material for your oven. The most common mistake people make is buying a model that has a low price but cannot retain and absorb sufficient heat to cook pizza evenly and efficiently. It must also be convenient to use when preparing pizza and blending well with other accessories in your home.
Furthermore, if you are using wood for cooking your pizza, you must ensure that the oven’s ventilation system will prevent the air inside from filling with smoke.
What kind of warranty does the oven come with? Manufacturers often offer warranty offers to consumers to ensure that they are buying quality products.
Wood-fired pizza ovens that come with warranties are usually of higher quality than those without. Ensure the pizza oven you are buying has a warranty of at least 2 years if you want to make sure you are buying quality.
Do I need to close the door in a pizza oven?
An essential thing to remember is that the door should always be left open if you are cooking with flames in your outdoor wood-fired oven. This is because the oxygen from the outside air fuels the fire and assures flames, which are essential for a pizza party.
Keep the door open while cooking since pizza requires high heat and enough air circulation, and this enables you to use your rotating peel (also allows you to use your turning peel).
You may also use your door to put out a fire, although it is most effective while roasting or baking at much lower temperatures.
The temperature of your wood-fire oven must be pretty high in order to cook pizzas. Therefore keep the door closed when lighting the fire and attempting to heat the oven.
You’ll need to check the temperature of the oven, and there are numerous methods for doing so, including counting, sprinkling flour on the oven floor, and using a thermometer from a hardware shop.
When the oven temperature is correct, and the fire is out, sweep the floor to remove any ash before closing the door and allowing the heat to distribute evenly inside the oven. The chimney should be blocked as well.
When you don’t close up the chimney and the doors, the heat won’t disperse, and you may end up with hot areas, causing your pizza recipes to burn.
However, whether you are cooking meat, fish, veggies, or other sorts of food, close the oven door to keep the heat from the fire contained.
Can You Grill in a Outdoor Pizza Oven?
One of the most significant advantages of a pizza oven is that it can also be used as a barbeque grill and smoker. If all you want to do is grill some burgers, though, you definitely don’t want to have to wait for a large pizza oven to heat up!
Both the barbeque grill and the wood-fired oven can grill, but the oven is superior. The grill heats your food, but it also burns it, giving it that charred appearance.
Instead, the heat from the oven covers the items uniformly, cooking but without overcooking, resulting in flavorful and nutritious cuisine. Bread, sweets, and pasta can all be baked in an oven. That is something a barbecue cannot accomplish.
Another consideration that many people overlook is that a wood-fired oven may also function as a patio warmer. Consider yourself on the patio or in the garden on a late summer night when it is a little cool.
The wood-fired oven comes into play here. By keeping the oven door open while cooking supper, the oven will work as a patio heater, allowing you to warm yourself as well as your family and guests, making that night more enjoyable.
A patio heater also has a cost, and a decent one will cost you more than $300, so why not use a wood-fired oven?
There are also gas-fired ovens that perform the same functions as wood-burning ovens but require just the addition of an LPG tank.
To summarize, a grill can only grill. A wood-fired oven, on the other hand, can grill meat and prepare delicious delicacies.