Everybody loves pizza. Its potent mix of crunchy and chewy crust, melty cheese, and delicious toppings have made it one of the world’s most popular foods. And when it comes to fresh pizza, well, there’s really nothing that beats it. The trouble is, fresh pizza can be hard to come by these days. With much of in-restaurant dining still closed due to COVID-19, your pizza options are often limited to frozen, delivery, or making your own from scratch and baking it in your oven. But none of these choices are ideal, and none will give you that distinct fresh-from-the-pizzeria taste you crave. For that, you’ll need to purchase one of the best pizza ovens on the market for at-home use.
So what makes a pizza oven different from your regular oven? Pizzas require even heating on the top and bottom of the pie, and regular ovens usually have trouble distributing heat evenly — a problem that’s amplified when you have a small pizza inside a cavernous and poorly-insulated oven that’s struggling to maintain a consistent temperature. Then there’s the issue of the temperature itself. Your oven likely maxes out around 450 degrees, while some pizza ovens can get twice as hot. Pizzas are best cooked very quickly at high heat, which is something your oven just isn’t capable of doing. So now that you know why you should get a pizza oven, here’s what you need to know about choosing the best pizza oven for you.
Indoor Vs. Outdoor
Which Environment Is For You?
When shopping for an at-home pizza oven, the first question you should ask yourself is where you’re going to put the thing, as there are both indoor and outdoor pizza ovens available for at-home use. Now, if you’re an apartment dweller with no access to an outdoor space, then your choice is easy: indoor. But if you live in a home that does have a decent-sized outdoor space, then you’ll want to figure out whether indoor or outdoor is better for you. Generally speaking, an indoor pizza oven is going to be smaller — sometimes a lot smaller — so if the footprint of the oven is a major concern, then you may want to go this route.
On the other hand, indoor ovens typically don’t offer the same variety in fuel sources as you’ll find in outdoor options. With going the indoor route, you’re mainly going to be limited to ovens that use electricity or make use of other appliances already in your kitchen, like a gas stove, whereas outdoor ovens frequently make use of fuel types such as gas and wood. So if you prefer one of those heating methods and size isn’t an issue, then an outdoor pizza oven is probably the best option for you.
What Size To Get
From Pint-Sized Pies To Mammoth Margheritas
After you’ve decided on indoor vs. outdoor, there’s still the matter of what size pizza oven you should get. This applies mainly to outdoor ovens, because if you’re going the indoor route then your options are going to be limited to smaller devices — unless you want to redo your kitchen with a custom-built pizza oven. And when it comes to outdoor pizza ovens, there are various sizes. Some are large and are meant to remain a static part of your yard. Others are more medium-sized and can be moved for storage, similar to a grill. And some are nearly as small as the ones intended for your kitchen countertop, making them suitable for travel but not suitable for outdoor storage. Making your choice will depend on how you plan to use your pizza oven. Will it strictly be used in your backyard? Do you envision taking it on camping trips? Do you have room to store it when it’s not in use, if necessary? These are the types of questions you’ll need to answer.
Fuel & Heating
Ways To Fire Up Your Dough
Wood: Wood is considered the ideal source of fuel for making pizza, and it’s not just because of tradition (though that is a factor). Wood burns very hot, which pizza loves, and it also imparts a subtle and pleasant flavor on the pizza that other forms of fuel do not. It’s like comparing a gas grill to a charcoal grill. Gas may be more convenient, but gas-cooked food will never have the same flavor as food cooked on a charcoal grill.
Gas: Most at-home pizza ovens utilize propane gas, and there are a number of reasons as to why that is. For one, gas can also heat up the right kind of oven just as well as wood can, creating a hot environment. And while it may lack the flavor of a wood oven, it’s a lot more convenient, as you don’t have to mess around with logs. Gas ovens generally offer more control over your temperature than wood ovens as well, which can come in handy as you become more adept as a pizza chef.
Electric: Anyone who’s cooked with an electric oven knows that they’re not the best option for creating an evenly-heated cooking environment, and that’s mostly true for pizza ovens as well. In general, you’ll want to avoid electric pizza ovens when possible, which is unfortunate since that’s the umbrella under which most indoor ovens fall. But as you’ll see on our list, there is at least one electric option worth considering.
BakerStone Indoor Series Gas Stove Top Pizza Oven Box
If you’re not looking to take the plunge and splurge on a pizza oven just yet, then this stovetop device is a great way to dip your toe into the homemade pizza waters. Constructed of stainless steel with a refractory stone interior, the BakerStone Pizza Box sits on top of your gas range burner and uses its flame to reach temperatures of 600 to 800 degrees — hot enough to cook up to an 11-inch pizza in two to four minutes.
Ooni bills themselves as the “world’s number one pizza oven company,” and it’s easy to see why. Their ovens are designed like works of modern art, they’re made to be easy to set up and use, and most importantly, they make a heck of a pie. This compact, gas-powered outdoor oven can reach 950 degrees and can cook a 12-inch pizza in a minute flat. It also comes ready to use out of the box and weighs just 20 pounds, making it a versatile choice for traveling pizzaiolos.
Camp Chef Italia Artisan
In case you couldn’t tell by the name of the company producing it, this portable outdoor oven was built with campers in mind. Constructed of durable and easy-to-clean stainless steel, the Italia Artisan mimics an authentic wood-fired pizza oven experience by way of its double-wall construction, ventilated oven door, and cordierite ceramic pizza stone. It works with disposable propane bottles (for when you’re on-the-go) and can be hooked up to a propane tank when at home.
Giving Ooni a run for their money in the looks department is Gozney with their popular Roccbox. The company also makes commercial pizza ovens, and the Roccbox was built with the intention of making restaurant-quality pizza portable. It does so thanks to its patented rolling flame cooking method that keeps the heat the perfect height above the pizza. This outdoor oven can use either gas or wood as fuel, its foldable legs and detachable burner make transport a breeze, and its silicon jacket keeps it cool to the touch even when burning at 950 degrees.
Ooni Pro 16
As the world’s top pizza oven-maker, Ooni deserves two spots on this list, and the Ooni Pro 16 is the company’s top-of-the-line unit. Large enough to cook a 16-inch pizza, this outdoor oven can use wood, charcoal, or gas as fuel, making it ultra-versatile. The Pro heats up to 932 degrees in just 20 minutes, and the temperature is adjustable using the oven’s dual airflow control system. A chimney aids in evening out the oven’s heat distribution, while its superb insulation is capable of maintaining a consistent temperature for hours on end.
Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
If you find yourself needing a compact indoor pizza oven, there is simply no better option than the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo from Breville. Though it uses electricity, this countertop appliance is still able to reach temperatures of 750 degrees and can cook a pizza in two minutes by replicating the three types of heat generated by a brick pizza oven: conductive, radiant, and convective. Plus, Breville’s Element iQ system uses algorithms that can adjust the cooking experience to perfectly match different types of pizza, like New York-style, pan, or thin crust.
Forno Venetzia Pronto 500 Wood Burning Oven
If it’s the authentic Italian pizza oven experience you’re looking for, then this is the pizza oven for you. Designed and engineered in Italy, the Pronto 500 is about as authentic as you can get. It’s wood-fired, brick-lined, ceramic-insulated, and sports a traditional flue. It also boasts a 20 in. x 24 in. cooking surface and comes on a convenient wheeled stainless steel cart with shelves for wood, tools, and other cooking supplies. Bellissimo!
Kalamazoo Countertop Artisan Fire Pizza Oven
If nothing but the best will do for you, then you owe it to yourself to check out the offerings from Kalamazoo. Hand-built in Michigan, their ovens are considered luxury products, and they certainly live up to that billing. This outdoor countertop example is beautiful in stainless steel, and plenty capable, too. Two burners control the gas-powered top and bottom flames separately so you can fine-tune your heating, and the hollow-core ceramic cooking deck is ultra-responsive to temperature changes. Plus, just look at it.
The 10 Best Pellet Grills & Smokers
Pizza is awesome, but let’s be real: you can’t eat it for every meal. And for those times when you feel like cooking something else — like a nice ribeye or some smoked salmon — you’ll want to have a look at our list of the best pellet grills & smokers.
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