Everyone loves a good pizza, but you might want to try something new or experiment with new toppings that the pizzerias around you don’t offer. An excellent pizza oven can help you create your restaurant-grade pizza at home. Many outdoor pizza ovens in the market are available in various styles and designs. If you have just decided to get a portable pizza oven for yourself, this guide will help you pick the right oven for your needs.
What is a Portable Pizza Oven?
Portable pizza ovens are lighter and smaller than full-sized pizza ovens but can still give you the same fantastic result as a pizza cooked in a larger oven. However, they are not that lightweight because they can trap enough heat to hit over 800 degrees.
Most ovens are typically gas-powered and made of metal, though modern wood-fire equivalents are now in more portable packaging. Some even require the use of wood pellets to achieve a wood-fired flavor.
They usually cook one pizza at a time, which is great if you’re only cooking for close family. But if you have many guests, you must prepare in advance.
Benefits of Buying a Portable Pizza Oven
Here are some reasons to own a portable pizza oven for your household:
- Real Italian pizza is impossible to achieve using a regular oven, grill, or BBQ. But a portable pizza allows you to bring a bit of Italy to your home and anywhere you want to go.
- It only takes a few minutes to assemble and set them up. You just need to unfold the legs and put the chimney flue and cap in place.
- Portable pizza ovens can reach up to 900 degrees in only 20 minutes, making it easy to achieve the perfect temperature needed to bake a real Neapolitan pizza.
- It allows you to bake pizzas for only 60-90 seconds only! Make sure to turn them a few times to make them crispy and well done.
- It allows you to make festive home moments with a dish everyone loves.
What to Look for In a Portable Pizza Oven
Considering buying a portable pizza oven? Here are some essential aspects that help you identify the type of portable oven you are looking for.
The perfect taste that comes from choosing the right fuel can flame any passion for a pizzaiolo.
There are two types of portable pizza ovens available in the market: wood-burning ovens and gas-fired ovens. Most pizza fans swear by the taste of pizza cooked in wood-fired ovens, but gas-fired ovens offer a lot of benefits, too.
A portable wood-burning oven allows you to have the full, traditional cooking experience without the bulk of the full-size oven. After all, authentic Neapolitan pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven, which adds a hint of smoky flavor and a unique charring to the crust. Cooking pizza with wood can get you the best results regarding flavor, though controlling the fire to achieve and maintain optimal temperature needs constant monitoring.
When cooking with wood-fired ovens, you need to add more wood to reach the temperature required and stop adding it when you need it to decrease. The good thing is most portable pizza ovens fueled with wood need wood pellets, which are easier to handle.
Another nice thing about a wood-fired pizza oven is that you can experiment with different woods. Hickory, maple, mesquite, and other types of wood can impart different subtle flavors to your pizza.
However, if you choose this type of pizza oven, you’ll have to clean out the ash and wood left over after every pizza-cooking session. Also, starting the fire and getting it ready to achieve the right temperature takes longer than gas. And you have to ensure that you keep a supply of wood on hand to keep it functioning – unless you end up with an undercooked pizza.
A wood-fired oven may generate a lot of ash, but these models typically have a removable tray or door to make removal easy. After removing the ash and before throwing it into the trash, give it a thorough stir to make sure there are no glowing embers that might start a fire.
Cooking with wood isn’t always feasible or efficient, and gas-fueled ovens are the more convenient thing to use. It’s easier to light a fire using gas than wood, and they can reach high temperatures needed to cook a pizza – no constant monitoring is needed. Also, you can control your temperature better by using gas rather than adding more wood.
Gas-fired ovens are also easier to clean up since there is no wood ash or debris to worry about. Since you probably want to bring your portable pizza somewhere, the less complicated operation and lower maintenance can be a great reason to consider this type. With it, you can be able to enjoy a simple, worry-free experience with temperature consistency, so you won’t need to keep your eye on the oven.
However, gas-fired ovens don’t add quite the same smoky and authentic flavor as wood-fired ovens. It also has a longer cooking time.
When it comes to baking pizza, hotter is almost always better. Authentic Italian pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven at a minimum of 800 degrees or only 60-90 seconds for a puffy, crispy crust with beautifully melted cheese. Some portable pizza ovens can achieve that, and it’s best to choose a high-powered model.
Check the design to see if the oven can achieve and maintain high temperatures. Many ovens come with insulated or double-layered ceilings to keep the heat concentrated inside the oven. Some have dual-heating elements on the top and bottom parts of the oven to help regulate the cooking of both the crust and toppings. Still, you may need to rotate the pizza once or twice so that the heat is perfectly distributed throughout the oven, even for pizzas that can be cooked for a minute or two.
Size and Style
Decide where you want to store and use your pizza oven. Most portable pizza ovens require a stable wood, stone, or metal surface that is large enough to put your oven on without the risk of toppling over. If you only have a small balcony, you may not be able to use large models, but even an oven that can handle 16-inch pizzas isn’t more significant than a medium-sized gas grill.
One of the many styles and shapes of ovens is the dome-shaped oven with ample cooking space. It saves time and fuel as it allows multiple dishes to cook simultaneously. But that depends on the size of the oven as most people do not have enough space to adjust them in their gardens. It’s best to choose one with wheels, so it’s easier to transport it into your garage when they are not in use.
Portable pizza ovens are designed to be assembled and disassembled quickly. It also often comes with a carrying bag. While the oven you choose may be portable, keep in mind that it’s not usually light. Some can weigh as light as 25 pounds, while some top the scale at over 50 pounds. Decide what weight is acceptable for you.
Consider how much you are willing to pay for a portable pizza oven. A portable model is often a lot cheaper than a full-sized one. There are more within the $150 to $800 range or more, depending on the brand, features, and model itself. Higher-end models come with features like better insulation, more quality built, larger cooking chambers, temperature gauges, and longer warranties that can make them worth the investment.
The brand is another great consideration when buying anything, and it rings true when it comes to portable pizza ovens. Here are some brands you might like to consider looking into:
Scotland-based Ooni makes home pizza ovens and only home pizza ovens. Its pizza oven models are one of the top-rated ones in the market. Initially launched through Kickstarter in 2012, a pizza-obsessed husband and wife first started the brand. Now, it has become legendary among foodies and pizza enthusiasts. It makes a lot of beautifully-designed wood-fueled and gas-powered ovens, along with a range of accessories.
Founded by Tom Gozney, the brand started in the food business by making stone ovens for restaurant kitchens before he created the hybrid-fuel model named Roccbox for home use. That portable pizza oven gained popularity worldwide due to its ultra-modern design, versatility, and ability to cook great pizza. The brand released a more recent and more heavy-duty Dome model that offers a luxurious wood-fueled pizza-baking experience. However, be prepared to pay a luxury price.
Known for its espresso machines, juicers, and air fryers, Breville makes a variety of small appliances in its signature stainless-steel finish. Though it doesn’t sell portable outdoor pizza ovens, many of them come with settings for pizza. Its Pizzaiolo model is designed to achieve super-high heat for an indoor oven.
OnlyFire created Mimiuo Pizza Ovens that were designed by engineers and chefs who wanted to give people a healthy, quick, and easy way to cook pizzas at home. They offer innovative pizza ovens with sleek, modern designs. The brand also sells a range of pizza oven kits focused on making your existing valuable grill for cooking pizza. Their pizza-oven inserts are available in many styles to fit many sizes and shapes of the grill. Under normal circumstances, a gas grill won’t be quite hot enough to make pizzas, but OnlyFire’s pizza oven kits can change that.
In addition to using portable pizza ovens, there are also other ways to make pizza at home. To learn more about this, you may check out our Ultimate Guide to Making Pizza at Home.