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The Benefits of Cooking with a Pizza Oven

Academy Staff
13 min read
Man pulls pizza out of his portable pizza oven at group gathering
It’s party – and pizza – time!

Turn Up the Heat on Al Fresco Dining with Outdoor Pizza Ovens

There’s nothing like a backyard cookout. Grills and smokers are essential for outdoor entertaining, but if you want to cook outside of the (pizza) box, consider adding a pizza oven to your patio playbook!

Ooni pizza ovens take the gusto of a traditional backyard brick pizza oven and adds the convenience and portability of a grill. From enhanced flavors and consistent cook temps to energy efficiency and ease of use, they can’t be beat.

Not sure where to start? Read on for the benefits of cooking with a pizza oven vs a regular oven, the different types of pizza ovens, and everything else you knead to know to help you choose the best outdoor pizza oven for you and your family.

Freshly cooked pizzas being served
Delicious and Gram-worthy every time.

Benefits of Cooking with a Pizza Oven

Ultra-High Temperature + Quick Cook Times

Pizza ovens provide ultra-high, consistent temperatures to create the perfect pizza at a shorter cook time than your average kitchen oven or pizza stone on the grill can achieve. That means your dough will quickly crisp on the outside while staying deliciously chewy on the inside (without becoming soggy). Your toppings will also benefit from high heat for a short amount of time, becoming evenly cooked and tenderized without losing nutrients or flavor. Even cheese will melt quickly without burning.

The ideal temperature for pizza tends to be between 788°F to 852°F and the typical max temperature on a kitchen oven is just shy of 600°F. While traditional brick pizza ovens hold heat differently, and can be a little finicky, all Ooni pizza ovens can reach consistent temperatures of 950°F. With your pizza placed directly on the baking stone your dinner can be cooked in as little as 60 seconds.

Enhanced Flavor

It’s because of this high heat and quick cook time that outdoor pizza ovens deliver an authentic Neapolitan-style flavor and texture that just isn’t achievable with a home oven or grill. Think springy, charred bubbles in the crust, perfectly melted cheese for photo-worth cheese pulls, and a crispy, sturdy bottom to support your toppings load.

If you choose a wood-fired oven, your food will also benefit from the wood you choose to fuel it. Cooking with a pizza oven at home also means you have total control over the freshness and quality of the ingredients you use.

Couple enjoying a steak dinner made from an Ooni Pizza Oven
They’re not just for pizza! Sizzle up steak and other delicious dishes on your Ooni Pizza Oven.

Versatile

There is so much more you can cook beyond pizza in your portable pizza oven! Unlike traditional brick pizza ovens, Ooni pizza ovens combine several cooking methods into a single appliance. By simply adjusting the temperature and adding a few common kitchen tools — like a cast iron pan, metal cake pan, and tongs — you can use your pizza oven for convection, conduction (stovetop-like), and radiant cooking.

Grill steak and fish, roast a turkey, bake sourdough bread or cinnamon rolls, and slow cook some BBQ ribs — the food options for your Sunday Funday are endless. Your food will be enhanced by the smokey flavor, and this versatility is especially beneficial in summertime, allowing you to avoid turning on the oven in an already warm house or standing over a hot grill in the scorching heat!

Cooking Temperature Chart

Cooking Temp Cooking Method Food Type
750°F+ Pizza Cooking Pizza, naan, garlic bread
540° - 600°F+ Grilling Steak, shrimp, salmon
450° - 540°F Roasting Roasted potatoes, turkey, tilapia
400° - 450°F Bread Baking Pizza rolls, foccacia, sourdough baguettes
320° - 400°F Dessert Baking Cinnamon rolls, cobblers, carrot cake
210° - 250°F Slow Cooking BBQ ribs, pulled pork, stews

Safe and Cost-Effective

Traditional pizza ovens require a lot of space, fuel, and commitment. Wood-burn brick ovens need dedication to a steady, well-lit flame to function properly, and in other brick varieties it's up to you to rearrange hot bricks yourself in a completely enclosed environment.

Furthermore, traditional ovens can be more expensive, take more time to heat up, and require more space for the actual oven as well as the wood storage. Bricks and stone used for the base and shell may need to be replaced every so often, which is an added cost as well as a safety hazard if not properly maintained. Heating elements and electric also need regular upkeep and replacement.

All Ooni pizza ovens are designed and certified for outdoor use only. They are insulated so that very little radiant heat comes through the legs, but the rest of the surface will be hot. Avoid touching the outside of the oven unless it is completely cool, which can take up to 90 minutes (depending on ambient temperatures). Wearing cooking gloves is recommended, even when using your pizza peel or perforated pizza peel to rotate or remove your pizza from the oven to help protect your hands from the high-heat.

Fun and Easy to Use!

Whether at home, camping, or a cookout, with Ooni, you can enjoy cooking with a pizza oven in your backyard and beyond. Compact in size and designed for easy use, Ooni pizza ovens are among the top-rated portable pizza ovens.

Most notably, Ooni pizza ovens create a complete cooking experience. Get everyone involved in meal prep for a fun-filled get-together or simply let your friends and family sit back and enjoy the unforgettable ambiance a pizza oven creates in addition to the delicious food.

Cookout gathering with an Ooni Pizza Oven

Wood vs Gas Pizza Ovens

While traditional brick pizza ovens are wood-fired only, Ooni offers two different types of pizza ovens for your convenience: wood-fired and gas-powered. While there is no difference in performance, you may notice a subtle difference in flavor between the two. But your fuel choice is completely up to you and the cooking experience you are after. You will produce superior pizza either way!

Cooking with Wood

Cooking with wood, specifically wood pellets, will give you the authentic, subtle smokey flavor of a traditional pizza oven. The smells and sounds can also add to your overall cooking experience. The difference in flavor will be slight for pizza due to the short cooking time, but you may notice it more when using your Ooni oven for other types of dishes and cooking methods.

The Ooni Fyra 12 is a great choice for those new to cooking with a pizza oven or are looking for an ultra-portable option. With room for up to a 12-inch pizza, it is the most affordable Ooni oven and is fueled by wood pellets, which you can use to your advantage in enhancing the flavor of your food. For example, cherry wood pellets will give a deeper smoke flavor while pellets made of applewood produce a lighter, fruity flavor.

It is a pellet-only oven, meaning you do not need any additional wood outside of the pellets and it is not compatible with a gas attachment. Wood pellets have a low moisture content, burn easily, and are low maintenance. A full hopper of pellets in an Ooni Fyra 12 oven will last about 15 minutes and is meant to be topped off a little at a time and often. A 6-pound bag of pellets will typically provide 2–3 hours of cook time.

Cooking with Gas

Gas is a convenient fuel source for pizza as well as dishes that require a lower, constant temperature for a longer amount of time. Temperature on a gas-powered pizza oven is controlled with a dial and does not require maintenance throughout the cook.

The Ooni Koda 12 is a wonderful, compact option for easy stone-baked pizzas. The smaller of the Koda ovens, it can also accommodate pizzas up to 12-inches in size. It is designed to be fueled using propane gas, which are readily available at fuel stations, hardware stores, garden centers, and online, but has also been certified for use with butane and LPG gas. Although similar, butane will produce a somewhat sootier flame. This oven is not compatible with natural gas.

Gathering of friends to enjoy a pizza fresh from the Ooni Pizza Oven
Bon Appétit!

Portable Pizza Oven
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can you cook with a portable pizza oven indoors?
A. Ooni pizza ovens are strictly for outdoor use only.

Q. How long does it take to cook a pizza?
A. Cooking times vary depending on the style of pizza you’re making. A classic Neapolitan style pizza is typically ready after about one minute of baking in the oven.

Q. Can I cook in the cold or wind?
A. Cold weather or any ambient temperatures should not affect your oven’s temperatures while cooking, but you should avoid cooking in windy conditions. Try to use a spot sheltered from the wind when using your oven.

Q. Can you keep Ooni Pizza Ovens outdoors all year round?
A. Ooni Ovens can be stored outdoors all year long, but is it recommended to store them indoors for extended periods without use or during harsh weather conditions (this is especially true for the baking stone, which you may want to consider storing by itself indoors when not in use). Covering your pizza oven will also offer the best protection from the elements when not in use.

Shop Academy Sports + Outdoors

Whether it’s pizza baking or paddle boarding, Academy Sports + Outdoors is your destination to help you try something new in the great outdoors or for your great outdoor kitchen! Shop Ooni Pizza Ovens online or in-store to find everything you need to have fun out there!

All images courtesy of Ooni