Outdoor Pizza Party

This Gas-Powered Ooni Pizza Oven Is a Worthwhile Investment for Pro-Level Pies — Plus, It’s on Sale Right Now

updated May 25, 2023
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pizza on a pizza peel
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

This piece is part of our Outdoor Pizza Party series. Read all of the stories — including a trend report and plenty of recipes — here.

I used to make homemade pizza all the time, but at some point, I had to stop because I couldn’t stomach eating another bad slice. My homemade pies were never as good as I wanted them to be because my oven just didn’t get hot enough (even with a baking stone). The crust was always flabby, the center was consistently underdone — my dreams of homemade pizza were dashed nightly. After months of researching and waiting because my dream pizza oven was out of stock, I finally got my Ooni Koda 16 Gas Powered Pizza Oven.

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What’s an Ooni Pizza Oven?

Ooni is the company behind the portable, backyard pizza ovens. They’ve been around since 2012 with a portable pellet pizza oven and have come out with several different types of ovens since then. There are gas-powered ovens , wood pellet-fueled ovens, and multi-fuel ovens that let you to use wood, charcoal, or gas. They all use open flames to cook your pizza, and come in two different sizes for 12- and 16-inch pies. And while plenty of other outdoor pizza ovens definitely exist, Ooni has really dominated the market thanks to their various options, competitive price points, and performance.

While Ooni’s pizza ovens are not inexpensive, they’re at least half the price of other comparable pizza ovens and a solid investment that you can use year-round or at the very least, summer after summer. In fact, if you’re looking for a deal, Ooni is having a huge Memorial Day sale right now through May 29 with up to 30 percent off select pizza ovens, accessories, and more. My Koda is on sale for $479.20 instead of the usual $599, a huge 20 percent discount. Even if it wasn’t on sale, I’d still buy the Koda in a heartbeat. Here’s why.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

My Initial Impressions of the Ooni Pizza Oven

The Ooni arrived almost entirely assembled, which is a refreshing change of pace — I once spent five hours putting together a grill before I could test it. After I connected it to my propane tank and added the oven’s stone baking board, it was ready to go.

If you don’t have a sturdy outdoor table, I suggest that you buy one specifically for the Ooni. It’s a safety thing (an oven shouldn’t be placed on, say, plastic), but having your pizza oven perched on something high like a table also means you don’t need to bend down so much to add, rotate, and retrieve your pizza. Plus, the tables that Ooni sells have wheels so they’re easier to roll around your space.

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

How Do I Use an Ooni Pizza Oven?

Once I was ready to cook my first pizza, I turned on the gas and the oven with the little ignitor button. After about 20 minutes, I temped it with my infrared thermometer and saw that it was hovering around 950°F — just like Ooni said it would and just the temperature needed to cook a pizza in 60 seconds. I added my pie and hung around, rotating it every 20 seconds or so.

The Ooni Koda 16 Gas Powered Pizza Oven that I tested features an L-shaped burner that’s located at the back left of the oven. This means the oven has multiple heat zones — the hottest is right by the burner and the coolest is by the upper right corner, which is the farthest away from the heat. Because of these zones, it took some trial and error — and some seriously charred pizza crust — before I felt like I had a better grasp on using the oven. But by my third pizza, I was pulling out pro-level pies! Seriously, I was making the best pizza I’d ever cooked, with a beautiful, bubbly top and brown spots on the crust and the pizza’s underside. The key: Rotate your pizza often as it sits in there, so that it cooks evenly.

I appreciated that the Ooni oven also had a wide opening, which makes it incredibly easy to fit a pizza peel when adding, turning, and removing the pie. I suggest buying one or two of their pizza peels: I used the bamboo one for adding the pizza and the metal one for retrieving and rotating the pizza.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Can You Cook Other Things in the Ooni?

Absolutely! Ooni even sells cast iron cookware to use in their ovens and the ovens come with a recipe book that includes a couple of non-pizza dishes. I’ve bookmarked the roast pork chops and a fruit crumble, but I’m really excited to try some “wood-fired” vegetables in my Ooni (broccoli, beets, and cauliflower come to mind first). We’ve also got recipes for a slew of dishes you can cook in a pizza oven.

How to Clean and Store an Ooni Oven

You should wait 1 1/2 hours before touching, moving, or attempting to clean the oven, according to its instruction manual. It’s incredibly hot, after all! This oven brush is helpful for brushing off excess flour post-cooking and scraping off any burnt-on food.

As far as storage goes, the oven’s legs fold up so it becomes more compact, and should definitely be housed indoors for longer periods when not in use and during harsh weather conditions such as rain and snow. And, as with any grill, I’d recommend getting a cover to help protect it. I certainly want to protect mine as much as possible — after all, I waited almost a year for it.

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Should You Get an Ooni Pizza Oven?

If you make or want to start making great pizza at home, yes. Having only used the gas-powered option because I have a propane tank at home, that’s the one I’d suggest. If you like options, go for a multi-fueled oven. There’s also a version that uses wood pellets, which I’ve heard good things about from fellow Kitchn editors. The gas-powered Ooni oven that I tested is incredibly easy to use and makes pro-level pies.

Does the Ooni Pizza Oven Ever Go On Sale?

Yes! Ooni’s currently having a Memorial Day sale now through May 29 with up to 30 percent off select pizza ovens, accessories, and more. My Koda is discounted by 20 percent, so it’s $479.20 instead of the usual $599.

Buy: Ooni Koda 16 Gas Powered Pizza Oven, $479.20 (originally $599)