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When my husband and I traveled to the Amalfi Coast a few years ago, we made a point to stop in the crowded yet elusive city of Naples, home to the world’s best pizza. That’s a bold claim, I know, but it’s simply the truth. We tried to recreate the crisp, flavorful Neapolitan-style pizza at home only to fail over and over, deciding that barring another trip to Naples, we’d probably never enjoy that kind of pizza again. Thankfully, we were wrong! We recently tested out an Ooni Pizza Oven, and while I can’t claim it’s an exact replica of what we devoured one hot afternoon in southern Italy, it comes pretty damn close.
Cooking With Fire: Neapolitan-Style Pizza In Minutes
Let’s start with a little bit about the oven and how it works. First off, it’s easy to use - simply open up the 3 legs, connect to any standard propane tank and flip the ignition switch in the back to get it going (on a windy day, it did take me a few tries to light it up). For a Neapolitan style pizza, the oven heats to over 850°, but can also maintain lower temperatures that are more favorable for traditional style pies. Proper heat is key for cooking pizza, and about the Ooni, Wired notes, “Most home and industrial pizza ovens are enormous, with multiple layers of metal, ceramic, or brick insulation to retain heat. The Koda instead relies on a thin, powder-coated, carbon steel shell and its pizza stone.”
With the oven at temperature, my husband and self-proclaimed “head-chef” prepped our pizzas, using dough from a local pizza shop, Passata sauce, and topping combinations like pesto and mozzarella, squash and burrata, and a classic three-cheese. Once the oven was hot (it took about 10-15 minutes to heat up), we used the Ooni peel to slide the pizza into the oven, where it started cooking immediately - within a few seconds you can literally see the crust bubbling!
The Ultimate Pizza Chef Is… You
Like many others who quarantined at home for the better part of 2020, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Making great homemade pizza was a goal of mine and thanks to the Ooni, I can officially check that off the list. While there is definitely an initial learning curve, this practically foolproof oven turns any decent cook into a full blown pizza chef (how’s that for a party trick?) - it is just so convenient and easy to use. Just be sure to follow their handy tips, like starting with room temperature dough, using a generous amount of flour to prevent sticking, and moving quickly to rotate the pizza every 20 seconds or so. After a test pie or two, you’ll be churning out restaurant-quality pizzas in no time.
"This practically foolproof oven turns any decent cook into a full blown pizza chef (how’s that for a party trick?) - it is just so convenient and easy to use."
Size Matters: Testing The Ooni Koda 12 And 16
Deciding between the Ooni Koda 12 and the Ooni Koda 16? The great news is both gas powered ovens make spectacular pizzas, but there are pros and cons to each. The smaller Koda 12 is great for couples or smaller families with limited outdoor space - its small footprint fits easily on our small outdoor deck, making it perfect for those living in city apartments. We were able to easily churn out a few small, 12-inch pizzas to feed ourselves and our toddler. It’s also a bit more portable at only 20.4 lbs. The Koda 16, on the other hand, has a bigger footprint but also offers an extra-large cooking surface for 16” pizzas and an L-shared flame for one-turn cooking. Overall it feels less cramped and makes handling and cooking the pizza a bit easier. You really can’t go wrong, but we think the Koda 16 is an ideal choice if you’ve got the space and want the option to feed a bigger group (or host a pizza party).
It’s All About The Accessories
While the pizza oven itself comes practically fully assembled and is ready to go right away, Ooni offers a large selection of accessories that will help up your pizza game. To start, I found the Infrared Thermometer, Pizza Peel, and Rocker Blade to be incredibly helpful, in addition to the convenience of buying everything all at once. If you want to up your game, the Pizza Topping Station makes entertaining a breeze (and is guaranteed to garner bonus points from your friends). Ooni has also tapped renowned chef Tony Gemignani as a brand ambassador and his Pizza Bible is a must-have item in my book.
Overall, my husband and I have been so impressed with the Ooni. From ease of use to restaurant-quality results, it’s perfect for al fresco dinner parties (with an Aperol Spritz in hand of course). Ready to make your own Neapolitan pizzas at home? Check it out and learn more here.
Five More Reasons to Love Ooni
- The Ooni recipe index has something for every home chef (from BBQ chicken pie to artichoke dip and a killer pizza dough recipe) -- and the oven is versatile enough to bring these delicious pizzas, veggies, and sides to life.
- High temperatures make for high-quality pizza -- and Ooni has perfectly combined design, versatility, and approachability for next-level outdoor cooking and pizza making.
- For more experienced pizza makers, there are additional, fancier oven options, including the Ooni Fyra and Ooni Karu.
- Ooni offers a 60-day guarantee if you decide the pizza oven doesn’t work for you, and a 3-year warranty if you run into issues along the way.
- The convenient carry cover helps protect your oven and allows for increased portability.