Homemade pizza brings my family together. After too many soggy deliveries, we decided to start making our own pizzas on Friday nights. It’s become our favorite weekend tradition and we’re so excited to share our favorite pizza oven recipes.
There are so many pizza oven options out there, from basic ovens to fancy outdoor wood-fired models. I wanted to share what has (and hasn’t) worked for us as we’ve figured out how to make delicious pizzas at home.
In this post, I’ll cover the different ovens we’ve tried, simple recipes that appeal to even my pickiest eaters, and tips to help you craft pizzas that rival your favorite beachside pizza shop. My goal is to help families like mine bring that tasty homemade pizza experience home.
Putting Pizza Ovens to the Test
My buddy has a fancy wood-burning brick oven in his backyard. It takes some work to get a fire going, but man, it makes a mean crispy Neapolitan style pizza with that authentic smoky flavor.
We had a blast testing out one of Ooni’s gas-fired pizza ovens. It was incredibly easy to use and cooked pizzas with an impressively crisp crust. While it didn’t quite achieve the complex smokey flavor of wood-fired pizza, it was still delicious and so much fun for making fast, convenient pizzas at home. The Roccbox oven seems comparable to Ooni’s models and would also be a great option for effortless homemade pizza nights. If you’re looking for convenience and crisp crust, these high-temp ovens deliver big time.
We tried a simple propane pizza oven from Camp Chef that sits on the countertop. It cooks pizza decently fast and crispy. But the pizzas still don’t quite compare to a real brick oven.
Years ago I picked up one of those Pampered Chef pizza stones for our regular oven. I gotta say, I still love that thing. It makes the crust so much crispier compared to just baking the pizza directly on the oven rack. The stone heats up to mimic a brick oven. Now, it doesn’t quite achieve the same level of crispiness and char as a 700+ degree wood-fired oven. But for a basic at-home option, it does the trick to make tasty pizza with that crispy crust we love. With a good pre-heat, my old reliable pizza stone is still my go-to for pies in our standard oven.
I recently tested out Ooni’s new Karu pizza oven which lets you use wood or charcoal as fuel. I’ll be honest, it took some trial and error to get the hang of managing the fire and dial in the right airflow/temperature. Once I figured it out, I was able to make some pretty legit wood-fired pizzas at home. The crust came out nicely charred with that smoky flavor you can only get from real hardwood.
It’s more effort than just flipping a switch on a gas oven. You gotta be willing to put in time preheating, stoking the flames, and learning the quirks of your oven. For me though, the hands on experience was rewarding and the wood fired taste is hard to beat.
I was able to get my hands on Ooni’s biggest and baddest pizza oven, the Pro model. This thing is a beast! It’s much larger than other Ooni ovens with a cooking surface that can crank out pies one after another. I fired it up to over 900°F with the wood pellets. It took a while to preheat but once it was hot, that baby was ready to cook. At those crazy temps, I could bake a pizza in just 60 seconds flat. The crust came out so crispy and well charred.
Now the Pro isn’t cheap, but for an oven that size with that kind of power it’s definitely worth it. I also like that it held the heat even when it got windy out. With the built-in thermometer and digital controls, the Ooni Pro takes homemade pizza to the next level.
I tested out Ooni’s Napoli oven which is one of their wood fueled models designed for Neapolitan style pizza. I pitted it against Ooni’s other popular ovens like the Karu and their gas-powered Koda and Fyra. Gotta say, the Napoli put out some darn good Neapolitan pies once I got the hang of managing the wood fire. That smoky wood fired flavor and the way the heat radiates down from the domed ceiling gave such an awesome authentic pizza taste and texture.
The cooking surface is smaller than other Ooni ovens at only 12 inches, so you can’t pump out pies as fast. For me though, it was worth the extra effort of firing up and stoking the wood oven to get those delicious Neapolitan results.
When I first started using my wood-fired pizza oven, I grabbed any old bag of wood chunks at the hardware store without thinking too much about it. Big mistake! I quickly realized not all firewood is created equal when it comes to flavor. I’ve since tested everything from mesquite to apple to find what works best. Mesquite gives a potent smokey taste – maybe too strong for my preferences. Oak has a nice mellow profile. Fruit woods like apple impart a subtle sweetness that’s nice in moderation.
But my go to? A combo of oak and hickory. It gives just the right savory, complex smokiness to complement the pizza without overpowering it. The lesson here? Take the time to try different hardwoods to find your perfect flavor combo. Seasoned hardwoods give the cleanest burn too. The wood-fired taste is part of the fun and makes homemade pizza so memorable.
I jumped on board the pellet grill train like everybody else. Gotta admit, I mainly wanted it for low and slow smoking. But I realized this thing gets hot enough to maybe try making pizza too! Fired it up with some hickory pellets, tossed a pie on there, and whaddya know – got myself a nice crisp crust without charring it to oblivion like my old propane grill would. The woodsy smokey flavor from the pellets gives the pizza a different taste than your average slice. These pellet grills don’t cook pizzas as fast as those trendy dedicated ovens though. However, for a 2-in-1 grill that can smoke meats and wood-fire pizza, I can’t complain. Just have to keep an eye on that crust so it doesn’t burn. Pretty pleased with the pizza potential of the pellet grill so far!
When I think artisan, I think hand-crafted gourmet pizza like you’d get at one of them fancy Italian restaurants. The crust’s gotta have just the perfect char and chew – getting the Caputo 00 pizza flour helps. I go pretty basic on toppings – quality mozz, fresh basil, tomatoes, and a drizzle of nice olive oil. The prep is part of the experience – gently kneading the dough, spinning it out by hand, cooking at 700+ degrees in a blazing oven. Takes more time but you taste the effort. I’m not an expert pizza chef, but trying to get that perfect crispy artisan crust is satisfying.
Pizza oven recipes come in all kinds of fun regional varieties beyond plain cheese. My kids love it when we do “pizza tours” at home, trying different styles. There’s the buttery deep dish from Chicago or Detroit style with its thick crispy crust and burnt cheese edges. Hawaiian adds a tropical vibe with pineapple and ham. We even do dessert pizzas with sweet toppings for something different. Making mini pizzas lets you sample a bunch in one meal. Discovering new favorites beyond basic pepperoni is a blast for pizza night. The options are endless if you use your imagination.