We Tested 5 Versions of the Internet-Famous Ooni Pizza Oven

We've tried nearly all of the models on the market, and can confidently say this is a kitchen must-have.

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August 06, 2021
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Photo by: Ooni USA

Ooni USA

By Leah Brickley, Ginevra Iverson and Rachel Trujillo for Food Network Kitchen

Whether you like to make your homemade pizza loaded with toppings, served on crispy, thin crust or heavy on the sauce, one fact remains: you need the proper oven to cook it in. Luckily, thanks to the surge in popularity of indoor and outdoor pizza ovens, the right equipment is more accessible than ever. Ooni is the gold standard of pizza ovens on the market right now, and we have it on good word from Food Network Kitchen chefs that they’re worth the hype. Collectively, we tested out five of the six different sizes and models of the Ooni pizza oven, including wood- and pellet-fired and gas-powered ovens. Here's everything you want to know about using an Ooni pizza oven.

How to Choose Between Wood, Pellet and Gas Ovens

Ooni currently offers six model options with the main differentiator being size and power source. There are three multi-fuel options, which means you can fire with wood or charcoal or connect to a gas line; two gas-only options; and one that runs on wood pellets. Our testers cooked with the Frya (a wood-pellet-burning oven), the Koda 16 and 12 (the two gas-only ovens), the Ooni Pro Multi-Fuel oven and the Karu 12 (another multi-fuel oven). Test Kitchen Director, Ginevra Iverson, started out with the Frya, and, while she appreciated it while she had it, she prefers the Koda and Ooni Pro ovens. The Frya tended to burn too quickly and intensely for her preference.

When deciding which firing source is right for you, there are a couple things to consider. While you might miss out on some of that wood-burned flavor, gas can be a better option if you need the ability to control your temperature. Gluten-free pizzas, for example, need to be cooked at a lower temperature, so having the ability to control and manipulate the temperature can come in handy.

You’ll want to consider how much space you have to allot to your pizza oven when deciding on a size, but you also want to consider how many pizzas you’re going to be preparing. If you opt for the smaller oven, you might spend more time making multiple 12-inch pizzas. If you have a larger family, it might be worth making room and splurging on the larger, 16-inch pizza option.

Assembly Is Basically Done for You

If you’re worried about the logistics of setting this pizza oven up, we have great news. “The assembly could not have been easier,” said Ginevra. “You literally unbox and unfold the legs.” When it comes to cooking, there is not much to worry about prep-wise either, especially when cooking with gas. For wood, recipe developer Leah Brickley, who uses the Karu 12, mentioned that there was some trial and error when wood-burning, but recommended turning to Ooni’s site for helpful resources.

Pizzas Really Do Cook in 60 Seconds

Reaching a temperature of 900 degrees F, these ovens are able to quickly cook your pizza perfectly, delivering a crispy crust and melted, gooey cheese. When it comes to cooking any additional toppings like veggies and meat, our testers recommend being cognizant of the short amount of time the pizza will be in the oven. Depending on what toppings you’re adding, it might be a good idea to give them a quick precook on the stove and cut them into small, thin pieces. While Ooni lists a recipe for dough on their site, both our testers have found success with other preferred recipes.

What Accessories are Necessary?

Both of our testers stressed the importance of having multiple pizza peels on-hand to get your pizza in and out of the oven — they are essential. But, a couple more accessories can easily make your outdoor pizza more versatile than you might think. French steel or cast iron pans make it easy to cook in your pizza oven, and this griddle plate makes cooking steaks in the oven a no-brainer. “They get super charred and come out perfectly done,” said Ginevra.

Don’t Worry About Storage or Cleanup

Ooni recommends storing your pizza oven indoors when not in use, especially when heavy rain and snow are a possibility. Both of our testers admitted to storing and using their ovens outdoors year-round without issue. “[I] literally have been knee-high in snow using it…,” said Ginevra. “So far they are no worse for the wear.”

Both testers also boasted about the virtually nonexistent cleanup. “I haven’t had to really clean it besides brushing off soot and the occasional rouge pepperoni,” said Leah.

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