Last spring, Alex and I bought an Ooni outdoor pizza oven, and it’s been one of the most fun things we’ve ever purchased! Ooni (previously called Uuni) makes outdoor pizza ovens that sit on a table and cook individual pizzas in about 3 minutes.
We make pizza almost every week, and I wanted to answer some of the most frequent questions I get! Whether you already have an Ooni pizza oven or you’re thinking about getting one, here’s everything you need to know to make perfect pizzas at home!
Types of Ooni Pizza Ovens
There are three types of Ooni Pizza Ovens:
- Ooni Koda: gas-powered outdoor pizza oven- This is a great option if you want a simple pizza oven without having to mess with wood or charcoal. It’s portable, and it connects directly to a gas tank. This one sells for $299
- Ooni 3: portable wood-fired pizza oven- The original style, this one is also relatively portable, and it runs on wood pellets. This is the cheapest option at $279.
- Ooni Pro: multi-fuel outdoor pizza oven- The Ooni pro is the largest oven, and therefore the least portable, but it still fits neatly on a small table. The larger size means you can cook pizza as well as meat, bread, and vegetables. For fuel, you can use wood, charcoal, wood pellets, or gas. This one gives you the most flexibility, and this is the kind we purchased for $599.
How to Choose the Right Ooni Pizza Oven
We opted for the Ooni Pro because we wanted the most flexibility. It allows us to choose our fuel type and we liked the larger size since we didn’t need it to be portable.
The Ooni 3 is a nice option if you want that wood-fired taste for a little less money, but I wouldn’t recommend this option if you wanted to cook pizzas for a crowd.
Although the gas option is the simplest in terms of fuel, refilling a gas tank could be a hassle.
Tips for Using Wood Pellets in the Ooni Pizza Oven
We’ve tried wood pellets, wood chips, and charcoal. Our Ooni would also work with gas, but since we don’t have a gas line outside and we didn’t want to mess with a gas tank, we haven’t tried that method.
Wood pellets were the cleanest option. We didn’t deal with as much ash, and they’re relatively easy to use. But we found it hard to maintain a high temperature for a long time with pellets. It wasn’t bad if we were only making a couple of pizzas, but if we were cooking for a crowd, we pretty much had to add pellets every few minutes. Two things that made this easier were a jam funnel and a small computer fan. (Yes, really.)
The jam funnel is a metal funnel that can sit on top of the hopper where the pellets are stored. This allowed us to pile up more pellets, so we didn’t have to refill the hopper every few minutes.
We also positioned a small fan behind the Ooni, aimed directly into the flame so it would below more of the heat onto the stones and pizza. This might sound crazy, but this worked really well, especially if it was a windy day. It takes about 15-20 minutes to “preheat” until the stones are hot enough to start cooking.
Our Favorite Fuel for the Ooni Pizza Oven
After we got tired of having to refill the wood pellets, we tried wood chips. These worked well and required less attention than the pellets. Don’t worry about the “flavor” of wood chips. We usually get hickory or mesquite, but since the pizzas cook so fast, you won’t taste a difference.
With more research, I found that wood and charcoal would burn hotter, longer. So we bought lump charcoal and paired it with the wood chunks. This has been our favorite method. We add a 50/50 mix of lump charcoal and wood chunks to the back of the oven, add a little lighter fluid, and within minutes, we have a roaring fire. We typically let it burn for 10-15 minutes, then we’ll add a few more wood chips. After 20 minutes, it’s ready for pizza!
Just make sure you buy lump charcoal and not charcoal briquettes. The briquettes produce more ash, and it can start to build up in the oven.
The Best Ooni Accessories
We use a stainless steel pizza peel, which is perfect for sliding pizzas in and out of the oven. I’ve heard that the wooden peels can be a little easier since the pizza dough is less likely to stick, but I like how easy it is to maneuver the stainless steel peel, and it’s simple to clean.
Ooni also sells a “sizzler pan” which is a cast iron pan designed to fit inside the Ooni oven. It tends to be a few bucks cheaper on Amazon, and it has been great for making broccoli and asparagus. We toss the vegetables with a little olive oil and seasoning, then place them in the skillet. After a few minutes in the Ooni, they’re roasted and delicious!
Ooni also sells heatproof gloves, but I found them to be too large for us. If you have big hands, these could be perfect, but for us, they were too big to maneuver safely. We snagged these gloves on Amazon, which are much smaller and easier to navigate. Honestly, we don’t use the gloves much anymore, but it was nice to have them when we were first getting comfortable with using the oven. They can also be helpful if you need to add more fuel to the back of the oven.
The Best Dough for Ooni Pizza Ovens
We like making a Neopolitan style pizza, which tends to work best in this pizza oven. I wouldn’t recommend a thick crust in the oven, because the toppings would likely burn before the dough is cooked through. Because the ovens get extremely hot (like 900+ degrees) it’s essential to use a thin crust.
This recipe from the New York Times has been our go-to pizza dough recipe. I make it in our Kitchen-Aid mixer with a dough hook, which makes it super easy!
If you’re making a traditional pizza crust like the Neapolitan example listed above, you’ll need “00” flour. This is a special type of flour that is very finely ground. It can be a little harder to find, but we can usually get it at Whole Foods. I’d highly recommend splurging for this flour because the texture of this flour in the crust makes such a difference!
Our Favorite Pizza Toppings
When it comes to pizza toppings, less is more. If you add too many toppings, the thin crust might not be able to handle it. I recommend sauce, cheese, and no more than two other toppings. We typically keep it simple with just sauce and fresh mozzarella. We’ll add a sprinkling fresh basil once we’ve removed it from the oven.
Be aware that some toppings can be added after the pizza is cooked. Sometimes we’ll add a dollop of burrata or a sprinkling of herbs. I love caramelized onions and goat cheese, but make sure you add the caramelized onions after the pizza has cooked, or you’ll end up with charred onions. (Trust me, I know this from experience.)
Our Favorite Pizza Sauce
We don’t use real pizza sauce. We use Rao’s Tomato Basil pasta sauce. Technically, the main difference between pasta sauce and pizza sauce is that pizza sauce is uncooked. That tends to be a better option for a slow cooked pizza, but since these pizzas cook in about 2 minutes, I prefer the flavor of a simmered sauce. You can use whatever sauce you like, but Rao’s is my personal favorite!
Other tips for perfect pizza in the Ooni pizza oven
The first time we made pizza, it was a total flop. We tried using Trader Joe’s pizza crust, which was way too thick. The chimney wasn’t open correctly. We couldn’t keep the oven hot enough. We weren’t adding in enough wood pellets. It was a disaster. But you know what? Every time we make pizza, it gets a little better.
Don’t get frustrated if a pizza doesn’t turn out right. We’ve had pizza completely fall apart and get stuck in the oven. (At that point, you pretty much have to burn it until it’s char and then sweep it out of the oven!) But we’ve also made so many delicious pizzas. Honesty, our homemade pizza is one of my favorite things to eat!
Make sure you’re using high-quality ingredients. Splurge on fresh mozzarella. Find the right type of flour. Pick out a delicious sauce. Those little details add up to the best pizza you’ll ever have!
Any other questions? Drop me a comment below!