It is a time for joy and celebration when people get together to cook a meal in the outdoors. Oftentimes, outdoor cooking is associated with grilling and barbequing but there is another equally well-loved dish around the world that holds a special place in everyone’s hearts: pizza!
Bread and cheese remain one of the most favorite food items of all times. The modern pizza is now served in almost every country with big box brands and local shops filling in the massive demand for this delightful dish.
Pizza is one of the few dishes that aren’t restricted to any class; students order it at their dorm during their college life while privileged food connoisseurs visit Michelin-starred restaurants to experience its high-end version. Either way, they are having the Italian pizza that’s loved around the world.
The 5 Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens
If you’re ready to take your pizza game to the next level, then you are in the right place. Keep on reading for our picks of the top outdoor pizza oven.
Things to Look for in an Outdoor Pizza Oven
Before we share the list, consider these factors when choosing the outdoor pizza oven most suited for your needs.
Fuel Source – Wood, Propane, etc.
Large, conventional brick-and-mortar pizza ovens involve the use of wood chunks/logs as their main heat source. The reason is that a wood-burning oven can reach temperatures as high as 800 degrees and allow for a quick, even cooking which makes both base and crust crispy.
However, newer outdoor pizza oven models have introduced alternate heat sources such as propane and wood pellets. The newer models are less messy (handling wood logs and chunks is a big hassle), still their efficiency of a great cook and can provide high enough temperatures.
Size and Portability
As with all other outdoor cooking accessories, pizza ovens come in various sizes and have a distinct cooking capacity. For patios and terraces, smaller pizza ovens are better suited as they take up less space and take up less fuel but provide adequate temperatures so that the cooking time remains the same. Larger-sized pizza ovens offer more room to move and alter the fire and fuel to adjust the heat distribution in accordance with your taste.
If you have less room outside or your pizza oven requires to be kept away in storage, make sure your potential model is portable. Larger models are generally quite heavy so be sure to check for wheels and locking mechanisms so that it remains secure when in use.
One of the most important characteristics of any pizza oven is the ability to maintain and exhibit high temperatures for an even cook and delicious crust. To this end, inspecting the exterior (dome and hearth) for insulation is necessary. The insulation makes sure the pizza oven retains heat and the outside of the dome is not a hazard for users during high temperatures.
The Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens
ilFornino Professional Plus Wood Fired Pizza Oven
For our topic, we chose this ilFornino model. It is double-insulated, spacious, mobile, and has thicker gauge stainless steel, making it the perfect choice for a backyard cookout. The size is an impressive 1000 square inches of cooking space, allowing it to accommodate six smaller pizzas at a single time.
Having a weight of around 280 pounds without the stand, this outdoor pizza oven is certainly on the heavy side but for good reason too. The heaviness is due to the fact that it contains double-walled insulation (4-inches thick), a high-gauge stainless steel dome, and refractory stone flooring that’s 1.5-inches thick. The same stone is used in commercial-grade pizza ovens. The use of top-notch materials might add to the weight but it more than makes up for it as the oven has even heat distribution, retention, and is ready to be used in approximately 25 to 30 minutes which is less than half the time of similarly sized pizza ovens.
The ilFornino pizza model is versatile as it can be used to sear, grill, and bake other types of dishes with the purchase of additional accessories. A thermometer that is mounted on the oven’s door; it’s easy to read and can record temperatures at even 900 degrees.
Cleanup has been made very easy for this model as it contains an ash dump at the back of the oven. The stand makes the pizza oven portable and contains 4 heavy-duty casters with locking mechanisms. The stand also provides storage space for wood and other cooking items.
Ooni 3 Portable Wood Pellet Pizza Oven
One of the most well-known names among pizza lovers, the Ooni 3 was previously called the Uuni. The main concept behind this model was to provide an oven that was lightweight, portable, and mobile.
All the features of a large conventional oven have been condensed down in this model—a 0.4-inch thick stone floor, a significant amount of heat retention, and an insulated body topped by a stainless steel dome. A point to be noted is that stainless steel is vulnerable to below zero temperatures as it can crack, hence this oven should be stored inside or covered up when not in use.
One of the most important features of this model is that the Ooni 3 uses wood pellets as the main heat source. These wood pellets are not only friendly for the environment but also allow for high temperatures and even distribution of heat. Wood pellets are easier to clean up and, at the same time, heat up to 900 degrees in less than 10 minutes. This reduces the waiting time on each cook as it allows a single 13-inch pizza to be cooked in just a minute.
Boasting 3 legs instead of 4, the Ooni 3 pizza oven offers higher stability and ease of use on any surface while allowing the model to be portable. The click mechanism of the chimney allows the removal of the flue for quick dissembling and transport. The model is versatile regarding the use of an alternative source for fuel and can be used with a compatible gas burner.
Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven
Weighing in at just 47 pounds with propane as a fuel source, the Camp Chef outdoor pizza oven was designed with portability in mind. The model can be used in conjunction with 1-pound camping fuel tanks. It comes with a 5-foot long adapter hose for bigger fuel tanks. Boasting temperatures of up to 700 degrees, the Camp Chef pizza oven is a perfect companion for campers and cooks on the go as it becomes ready for use in just 15 minutes.
With a cordierite pizza stone and a double-layered ceiling for enhanced heating dynamics, this propane-powered pizza oven is designed to cook pizza the same as any other wood burning pizza ovens.
The burners are specially designed to replicate the traditional pizza cooking experience and the Chef Camp pizza oven cooks the perfect pizza every time. A built-in gauge allows you to read the inside temperature easily, while the adjustable ventilation and built-in ignition allow for easier control over the temperature.
The gas fuel source means that there no hefty ash cleanups are required and the stainless steel construction makes the cleaning even easier. The model is versatile as it allows other items to be cooked alongside pizza such as baking bread and grilling steaks.
It should be noted that the door is not hinged but rather it comes out completely so that the food can be placed inside with ease. However, this design makes it easier for heat to escape while the pizza is cooking, so it is advisable to rotate the food being cooked inside the oven to allow for even heating.
Pizzacraft PizzaQue PC6500 Outdoor Pizza Oven
A basic pizza oven which is optimal for use by those who are starting on their journey of diving in pizza making, the PizzaQue PC6500 is a light and portable pizza oven making it perfect for tailgating, campers, and a day on the beach. This pizza oven weighs approximately 25 pounds making it easy for even a single adult to carry.
The model is designed to run on propane and can connect to a 1-pound tank or even the larger 20-pound tank by utilizing the hose provided with the oven. The pizza oven is a bit old-fashioned when it comes to accurate temperature gauging. The control knob located on the front only gives the options of Low, Medium, and High temperature settings which makes being precise about heat much harder.
The built-in thermometer does allow for monitoring of the internal temperature but additional gauges are required for complete accuracy. The pizza oven can cook a pizza under 6 minutes, and is able to heat up to 700 degrees in less than 15 minutes. This particular model by PizzaQue does not include a pizza peel and will have to be purchased separately.
The stone is made from pizza cordierite that ensures even distribution of heat on the cooking surface. The dome is built with an insulator that bounces heat back to the food as it is being cooked.
The materials used in the making of this model were thinner to keep it light and portable. Therefore, it has to be protected from adverse weather conditions such as wind and rain as it might affect the cook of the pizza.
Zenvida Grill Top Pizza Oven for Gas or Charcoal Grill
The Zenvida grill top pizza oven was designed to be used in conjunction with an already existing grill as it just needs to be placed on top. It was made for consumers who have limited outdoor space and wish to make the most of what they already own. This pizza top weighs in at about 12 pounds and is extremely easy to use. It just needs to be placed on top of a charcoal or gas-powered grill and heated.
The temperature gauge located at the top ensures accurate reading of the temperature inside. The design was made to replicate the cooking experience of a wood-fired pizza oven. It has a stainless steel body and cordierite ceramic stone that distribute and reflect heat evenly throughout. Considered as a versatile cooking accessory, this pizza oven is able to cook vegetables, bake bread or pies, meat, and fish.
With handles situated on both sides of the pizza cooker, it is very easy to move and transport. Maintaining the temperature is fairly easy as it will have the same temperature as the grill it’s placed on. The pizza oven will heat up more quickly if the lid of the grill being used is shut. As the stainless steel body is not double insulated, the internal temperature is vulnerable to adverse weather conditions.
Decision Time: Which Outdoor Pizza Oven is Best for You?
To experience authentic Italian-style pizzas, go for the ilFornino Professional Wood Fired Pizza Oven. It replicates a real brick-and-mortar pizza oven and will last users a lifetime with the right maintenance.
However, as it may be too large or too expensive, another great option to choose is the Ooni 3 portable pizza oven which uses wood pellets.
For on-the-go pizza making, the Camp Chef and PizzaQue are suitable models as they both use propane gas and are easy to transport.