There's no denying the siren call of a fresh-from-the-oven Neapolitan-style pizza: crisp, charred crust; blistered cheese; piping hot toppings; and perhaps best of all, it's ready with blazing speed. Indeed, traditional pizza ovens are designed to cook these doughy rounds in a mere fraction of the time standard ovens require. Some get so hot the pizza goes from raw to ready in just under two minutes.
Unfortunately, the oven in your home is not going to be able to produce that quality, and even with the best pizza stone, you can't really expect to replicate the flavor and experience of a wood-fired pizza. The good news is, however, that pizza ovens are easier to use and cheaper to buy than ever before.
Today's small appliance designers have crafted pizza ovens that can be used with gas, wood, and charcoal, and they're small enough to fit atop a sturdy table. Some electric pizza ovens, while not imparting the smoky flavors of a wood-fired grill, can still perform masterful work on flour, yeast, and water.
Here, we reviewed more than a dozen pizza ovens to find the best-performing, top-ranked pizza ovens for the home cook.
If you're the type who turns to pizza as a fill-in-the-blank option on nights when you can't muster the energy to craft a home-cooked meal, you may not want a pizza oven. Your oven is more than adequate for one of your favorite frozen pizzas. But if you relish the opportunity to turn out pizza dough, paint sauce, and artfully place toppings, the pizza oven may be your next kitchen investment.
Home ovens rarely go higher than 500 degrees F. Classic pizza ovens, like the type that burn wood or gas for heat, easily reach 800 and 900 degrees. Indeed, true Neapolitan pizza is often cooked at about 825 degrees F.
Is that level of heat and the stand-alone appliance necessary? Well, no. Home ovens will still make a mighty fine pizza. But if you're a budding pizzaiolo and enjoy making homemade pizza as much as an amateur baker loves making cakes, the home pizza oven will take your food fondness to the next level. You can turn your backyard into your own pizza restaurant, slinging pies out to friends and neighbors in a matter of minutes. The ease of use, especially for gas or electric models, may make pizza nights a more regular occasion instead of a random spot on the meal calendar.
A home pizza oven is an investment piece. Like a grill, this specialized cooking device is designed for one style of cooking. But a creative cook will find that pizza isn't the only dish that can be made in these ovens. Indeed, they're great for roasting vegetables and baking some flatbreads. You can even use your cast iron skillets to cook fish, meat, and desserts.
But as with any appliance, small or large, there are a few things you want to consider before you press "add to cart." Here, we review the elements that should factor into your decision when buying a pizza oven for your home.
Pizza ovens come in all shapes and sizes. Outdoor pizza ovens will need their own spot for cooking and storage, whether that's on top of an existing table or a special podium is built just for the oven. Indoor pizza ovens are more compact, but you'll still want to consider where they will be stored when in not in use, unless you have the countertop real estate to leave it sitting out.
The hotter the pizza oven, the better. The classic Neapolitan-style pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven that typically heats to 825 degrees F. Today's pizza ovens are built to maximize the heat they produce with insulated walls and domed ceilings. Review the top temperature of the pizza oven you're considering buying, and decide if you're willing to pay more for a few more degrees of heat.
Outdoor pizza ovens follow a very similar pattern: stainless steel exterior with stone interior. Unless you're paying for a custom pizza oven to be built into an outdoor kitchen, this is the look you're likely to find. Consider the style of the oven and if having it as a permanent fixture in your backyard or on your patio works for your space. If not, you may want to consider an indoor pizza oven or one that can work with your existing grill.
For the purposes of this list of the best pizza ovens, we skipped some of the most pricey options (our most expensive pick is $1000). You can certainly buy pizza ovens with price tags of several thousand dollars, like this popular one that's $9000 and available in three heating styles. But outstanding, high-quality pizza ovens can be found in the range of $300 to $400. Indoor models start at $50, and if you don't have the space for an outdoor oven, a top-of-the-line indoor pizza oven may be the best pick, but those can be close to $1000.
This Ooni pizza oven earns the distinction for the best overall because it's easily the most versatile. This pizza oven can be powered by wood or charcoal, and with the purchase of a separate attachment, you can even connect it to gas for faster, cleaner cooking. (No wood ash or debris to clean up after the meal is complete.) The oven reaches astonishingly hot 932 degrees F, and a pizza is ready in just two or three minutes.
The sleek, stainless steel pizza oven is kept hot by ceramic fiber insulation, and a chimney helps you regulate or stoke the oven's heat. When not in use, the legs and chimney are both removable, which makes this pizza oven easier to store and actually quite portable (it weighs just over 26 pounds).
The one negative? The Ooni Karu does not have a temperature control device, so it's not easy to know the pizza oven's temperature. Invest in an infrared thermometer if you plan to purchase this option.
Buy it: $350; williams-sonoma.com
Most pizza ovens are outdoor ovens; they're fueled by wood, charcoal, or gas, all things safer to use outside. But this one most certainly has to be used outdoors because it's fed by wood pellets. The wood-fired pizza oven is the classic option, and many traditional versions can be thousands of dollars. This Ooni Fyra is a fraction of that cost, but produces outstanding results as good as any restaurant.
Like the Ooni Karu, this one easily and quickly heats to temps over 900 degrees F, and the manufacturer promises the 12-inch pizza space can cook a whole pie in just 60 seconds. That's thanks to the insulated dome and fully insulated door, as well as the cordierite (a composite of clay, ceramic, and cast iron) baking stone.
Like the Karu, this Ooni pizza oven can be disassembled to be smaller and easier to store, with the legs and the chimneys easily coming off. And at just 22 pounds, you could carry this pizza oven with you to a weekend at the lake or a tailgate. You'll be the most popular cook there.
Buy it: $299; williams-sonoma.com
It's difficult to replicate the wood-fired flavor and speed of an outdoor pizza oven with an electric indoor option, but Breville has managed to do it. Their Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven is designed specifically for the task of cooking pizza. The highly-insulated pizza oven comes with pizza cooking presets, like frozen, pan, New York, thin and crispy, and wood-fired, but you can manually control the oven's three heating elements (two on top and one on bottom) to cook the pizza precisely the way you want.
The wood-fired heating preset cranks the heat of this stainless steel oven up to 750 degrees F. That's not quite as hot as outdoor ovens, but it's much hotter than the standard oven can reach. So that makes this appliance capable of turning out Neapolitan-style pizza in as little as two minutes.
The oven's insulation also protects the exterior from becoming blazing hot, so you don't have to worry about melting or burning surrounding elements in your kitchen. But it has a large footprint — over 18 inches long and 18 inches wide — and it weighs more than 37 pounds, so you might want to make sure you have the counter space to keep this pizza oven out to prevent damage while trying to store.
The one downside? The price. At $1000, this oven is the priciest one on the list, but it's replicating the incredible heat and cooking capabilities of much larger ovens, so for the pizzaiolo who prizes their pies, it's an investment worth making. Plus, it comes with a stainless steel peel (the tool used to slide pizza in and out of the oven) and a carbon steel pan with handle for cooking for thin- and thick-crust pizzas.
Buy it: $1000; williams-sonoma.com
How can a $50 pizza oven stack up against the $1000 Breville version? Just fine, actually. No, this pizza oven isn't going to produce the wood-fired flavor, and it won't ready a pizza in just two minutes, but it will make even the cheapest frozen pizza cook faster and taste better.
The Presto Pizzazz Rotating Pizza Oven features two separate heating elements (one on bottom and one on top) so you can control how your pizza cooks. It also has a timer, and when the minutes are expired, the heating elements turn off so you don't risk a burned dinner.
Timewise, it does cook faster than your traditional oven, though not by a significant percentage. (And you don't have to wait for this oven to preheat.) This pizza oven is more about control — and let's be honest, the look. How fun is it to watch a rotating pizza?
For the best bang for your buck, you can even use the Presto Pizzazz to cook snacks like cheese toast, mozzarella sticks, and chicken wings. For storage, the non-stick pan separates, so it takes up less space on a counter or in a cupboard.
"Best thing I've ever bought. This is my third one!!! You can re-heat pizza on it and it's actually good!! Re-heat french fries and all kinds if left overs," writes one Walmart reviewer.
Buy it: $54; walmart.com
If you have a gas grill, you may not have the room for a separate appliance like a pizza oven. Instead, use your grill to make your own pizza oven. The Only Fire pizza oven kit uses the heat of your gas grill to cook a pizza. It doesn't have its own heating elements, so it will only get as hot as your oven, but you can still enjoy the beauty of high temp-cooked pizza.
The 17 inch-by-17 inch grill insert won't work on all gas grills, so be sure to measure the cooking surface of your grill before ordering. The interior cordierite stone is 14 inches, and it comes with a 13 1/2-inch peel so you can easily remove the pizza from the oven.
"This oven performed beyond my expectations! It fit perfectly in my Weber gas grill, and heated up to 800 degrees in short time. The pizza cooked evenly and crisped up perfectly on the edges. I have only had one weekend using the oven, however it performed like a champ!" one Amazon reviewer writes.
Buy it: $210; amazon.com
If you own a kettle-style grill like a Weber, you can use this pizza oven insert to harness the heat of your grill to make fabulous pizza pies. Like the gas grill pizza insert above, this pizza oven insert uses the heat of your grill to cook the pizza, so it gets as hot as your grill will. And because the pizza pan is removable (and washable), you can use it to cook anything you'd want, from fish to vegetables.
The heat will remain stable because the grill's oven stays in place, unlike a traditional grill, which loses heat every time the lid is lifted. Some owners on Amazon report they were able to cook pizzas in just two to three minutes because of this heat-retaining capability.
You can get creative with your grill and use charcoal or wood pellets, depending on your grill's heating style.
"This seems to work as advertised, the challenge is to learn the timing of the cooking process. I am considering adding a pizza stone to diffuse and distribute the intense heat in the kettle. If you want to bring your outdoor cooking to another level, I recommend trying this pizza oven," one Amazon reviewer writes.
Buy it: $140; amazon.com
It is possible to have everything you want — at least when it comes to pizza ovens. The Roccbox by Gozney is a high-powered, fast-cooking pizza oven that reaches temps over 900 degrees F easily, which means it can turn out Neapolitan-style pizzas in just minutes.
This oven can use gas or propane, or with an additional attachment, it can burn wood so you can achieve the true wood-fired flavor. The pizza oven's body is made of an insulating calcium silicate, and unlike other pizza ovens, this one is wrapped in a soft silicone jacket to protect anyone from burns.
Unlike some other pizza ovens on this list, the Roccbox has a built-in thermometer, so you don't need an extra device to keep tabs on the internal temp.
For storage, this oven's legs retract, and it comes with a carrying strap. However, at more than 50 pounds, it's not as easy to carry as the Ooni options.
If you're willing to make a slightly larger investment, you can achieve the incredible results of the best pizza ovens without having to spend thousands.
Easy to start, fast to heat, and quicker to clean, propane- or gas-powered pizza ovens are a popular option. These pizza ovens connect to propane tanks or can be connected to an existing gas line. (Be sure to hire a professional to do this.) They also don't require the dirty task of cleaning up ash or wood debris, and most can get as hot or within 50 degrees or so of wood-burning options.
For the truly classic Neapolitan pizza, you're going to need a wood-burning stove. Period. Nothing replaces the blazing heat and intense flavor that comes from a wood-burning pizza oven. Of course, wood-burning stoves are messy, and they require a steady supply of wood if you plan to keep it going for a period of time. But you can get creative with flavored wood options like mesquite, maple, and hickory.
If you don't have the room to add another appliance to your outdoor cooking space, a grill insert might be the best pizza oven option for you. These non-powered pizza ovens use the heat of your grill to cook pizzas, so it will get as hot as your grill can. Still, these can be pricey, so if you have the space, you may want a stand-alone pizza oven that you can control a bit more.
Electric pizza ovens are the only indoor option, but don't think this is just another toaster oven. These pizza ovens are specifically designed for the high-heat environment a pizza needs, and they're often intended for a bit more control (separate heating elements) than you get from even the most expensive pizza ovens.
This might be the best pizza oven pick for you if you can't decide between the convenience of gas or the power of the wood-fired option. Get both! Several pizza ovens allow you to switch between a propane or natural gas setting and a wood-burning one. However, there may be an additional cost for setting up this option. Some require you to buy separate kits, but to have precisely what you want when you want it, it might be the price you're willing to pay.
Each pizza oven manufacturer often makes a suite of accessories and tools. Some are great to have, and some are necessary to have. One of those necessary pizza oven accessories is an infrared thermometer. Most pizza ovens do not have built-in thermometers, and they don't have temperature controls. You'll need this tool to know how hot your oven is so you can adjust.
If your pizza oven doesn't come with a pizza peel (most do), you'll need one of these to make moving pizzas in and out or rotating them easier and safer for your hands. Of course, if you plan to entertain with your pizza oven, having an extra is ideal so you can easily move pizzas from prep surface to oven and back.
Lastly, don't forget the pizza cutter. You can't bite into a piping-hot pie without slicing it first, so keep one of these in your kitchen and in your outdoor cooking space, too, so every pie is sliced and ready to serve the moment it comes out of the oven.