Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for Using an Outdoor Pizza Oven

Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for Using an Outdoor Pizza Oven

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Pizza ovens are profoundly incredible. There’s no better food to enjoy with your loved ones, friends, or even for both you and your pet. There’s also a no better way of making one by yourself, cooked with your pizza oven, and having a pleasant time in your backyard.

Thankfully, outdoor pizza ovens can let you throw outstanding pizza parties which are certain to go over perfectly. Everybody loves pizza. And we tend to love someone even more if they can prepare a mouth-watering pizza.

We all deserve the joy and happiness of cooking a hot, crispy, fresh, and tastefully cheesy homemade pizza – exactly how you want it. That said, there are many different choices of pizza ovens. So, choosing can be challenging.

Below is some useful general info about pizza ovens. Learn about the different styles, materials, heat sources, buying and building choices – all aimed at beginners.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into it!

Different Types of Outdoor Pizza Ovens

There is a wide range of classifications, depending on the specific characteristics of a given pizza oven. Based on placement, you can divide pizza ovens into three groups. These include:

  • Freestanding 

They can be massive, based on the available space and individual preferences. If you are looking for an impressive sight to behold, a freestanding, solid brick pizza oven is your ideal option. It’s one of the most preferred choices when it comes to outdoor pizza ovens.

  • Built-in

You can easily integrate a pizza oven into already existing structures, such as fireplaces or brick outdoor grills. The size might differ, based on the base structure. However, generally, there’s quite enough freedom when it comes to this.

  • Portable

The portable pizza oven is my personal favorite. For starters, you can move around a portable pizza oven, and even set it up almost anywhere. It has one major problem though. Because of their size, these portable ovens enable you to prepare a maximum of 1-2 pizzas at a go. Solo Stove Pi and Ooni are good examples of this:

There are also many different variations of pizza ovens. Let’s look at the most popular option, the brick pizza oven.

Brick Pizza Ovens

a backyard brick pizza oven with wood burning

It is a term commonly used for traditional masonry ovens made of bricks, and assembled/ modular ovens built out of refractory materials. Nearly all of them are single-chambered. That means they can utilize the same chamber for both firing and cooking. You can find two common groups of brick ovens, based on their dome’s shape – these include barrel-vaulted or half-spherical/ igloo.

Brick Oven vs. Portable Pizza Ovens: Deciding Which Type Is Right For You

The primary decision is static or portable. If you build your brick oven, it will need to be set in place. You can find a wide range of portable pizza ovens that are fitted with gas burners, or wood fitted. They can still get up to the ideal temperatures to cook your pizza in 90 seconds.

You can buy the static ovens in precast concrete sections which speeds up this skill and build needed. Otherwise, they are made up of insulation materials and firebricks.

When it comes to cost, portable ovens are much more affordable. In recent years, many different manufacturers have become popular. These include the Ooni and Solo Stove Pi, which you can even buy on amazon. Generally, static ovens can vary from inexpensive to costly. You usually make a better pizza oven from more efficient insulation materials, which ultimately add up the cost.

Portable pizza ovens

a solo stove portable pizza oven

It’s the first ready-to-go choice. They are smaller, and you can move them around. Regardless of the size, they can still be great options and can reach the hottest temperatures to cook your pizza in 90 seconds. You can enjoy numerous advantages like compact size, affordable price, and easy storage. They are much more affordable than a bigger, fixed one – despite if you end up making one yourself.

Full-sized options

a full sized pre cast oven

The term, “full-sized” oven generally refers to any large oven that’s made up of real construction material and would never be moved. They can vary from smaller iconic ovens to massive built-in ovens that are usually part of a house design.

One of the biggest advantages of a full-sized oven is its exceptional authenticity of it. You can’t find anything purer than having a full-sized pizza oven, flame-heated and cooking your rustic pizzas within 90 seconds. This is the most real pizza-making experience you can ever get.

Having a full-sized oven is no small thing. If you’d like to get yours, there are two ways you could do this.

  • Pre-Cast Pizza Oven

Pre-cast ovens are the first option. These are built with professionals off-site, who will then deliver the oven to your household and install it for you. Although this is the costlier option, it is also a significant stress and time saver. You can also carry these ovens with you when you move.

  • Modular Pizza Oven

Would you like to consider a DIY approach? Modular pizza ovens would make an excellent choice. These ovens are usually delivered in parts, and it’s up to you to build them. Well, this shouldn’t scare you. You don’t have to be an advanced handyman to do this. With a little bit of determination and elbow grease, anyone can do it!

Using Your BBQ To Make Pizzas

a guy cooking a pizza on a bbq

Would you like to dabble in cooking pizzas? You could also try it on a typical barbecue, provided it has a lid. You’ll require to heat your barbecue to the highest temperature you can safely do. Next, put the fresh pizza onto your pizza stone and put it inside for a few minutes. Your result will be a tastefully crisp barbecued pizza.

What Kind Of Fuel Do You Need For A Pizza Oven?

Most pizza ovens available are wood-fired. However, many portable models operate on charcoal, gas, or electricity (the latter are often made for commercial purposes). Mostly, a wood-fired oven is considered the ideal option for pizzas. This kind of fuel provides them with a specific taste that allows pizza to be a dish beloved by many people.

Gas vs. Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens

Generally, the choice comes down to what you want. If you’d like to have a clean, convenient, and efficient method of cooking pizzas, you should go for a gas-fired pizza oven. If you’d like to get an authentic, smoked pizza taste with a fire that can be a party center-piece, choose a wood-fired pizza oven.

The wood fire’s wow factor will never disappoint and there’s something both special and primitive cooking with wood fire. And that’s why most pizza ovens on the market are wood-fired.

Wood-Fired Oven Pros & Cons

Below is a breakdown list of the pros and cons of a wood-fired oven.


  • Can reach the hottest temperatures in just a short period.
  • Ideal for Neapolitan pizza.
  • The wood brings a smoky aroma.
  • Authentic baking experience.
  • Eco-friendly, since burning wood never adds up to carbon footprint.


  • Easy to burn foods.
  • It’s hard to control the fire temperature.
  • Requires regular cleaning of residue and ashes after every cooking.
  • Fire requires monitoring

Gas-Powered Pizza Oven Pros & Cons

Below is a breakdown list of the pros and cons of a gas-powered oven.


  • Clean fuel, and there is no cleaning up of ash and soot.
  • Easy to ignite.
  • Faster preparation.
  • Continuous flame to avoid burning your food.
  • Easy to adjust flame temperature and size.


  • It’s costlier in the long-haul than the wood-powered oven.
  • High-maintenance.
  • You can run out of gas during your cooking.

Should You Consider A Dual Fuel Option?

Typically, dual fuel pizza ovens are uniquely designed to potentiate these ovens’ efficiency. You can cook using wood and then use gas to stabilize temperatures.

Gas pizza ovens usually exhibit improved performance when utilized together with wood. Generally, the efficiency of gas is because the dome reaches 600 + degrees immediately you turn it on. On the other hand, wood takes its time tube on and raises the oven’s temperature.

In most restaurants, this wood is set at the center of the oven. They usually turn on the gas to the needed temperature. Once the temperature reaches 374 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit, wood burns without lighting a match. The procedure provides homeowners and chefs with excellent convenience because they are set free of the danger of tendering the fire.

After the wood catches fire and that fire gets to its full swing, you should turn the gas off and transfer that coal to the side. Based on the model you choose, dual fuel ovens can heat up to 10-20 minutes quicker.

As aforementioned, dual fuel ovens usually exhibit authenticity and efficiency. And if you are concerned about the food’s reliability, the right solution for you is double fuel ovens. With these appliances, you get a similar flavor as a wood-powered pizza oven yet with a much lesser effort.

Besides, a gas-powered oven with wood will make a consistently great product. Its management also minimizes the burden on the skill and involvement of your cooking staff. Essentially, dual fuel ovens are uniquely made to consider comfort for the users and modern convenience. These ovens are truly a bond of suitability and quality.

Dual fuel ovens are mostly professional grade. They’re well-made to perform, to make the best flavor – and they’re built to last. Primarily because of their quality and endurance, some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world use dual fuel ovens.

Using a Pizza Oven For The First Time: How To Cook The Perfect Pie

Using a wood fired pizza oven for the first time? Jamie Oliver has great how-to video demonstrating how it’s done:

Are you planning to start using your pizza oven? You should remember that it requires to be cured correctly beforehand. It reduces the likelihood of your pizza oven dome having a crack once you fire it up during its first use.

Each pizza oven must have its guidelines for curing the first time. Nevertheless, it typically entails lighting a series of small fires, slowly increasing in heat and size over about five days. It gradually lets moisture evaporate from the dome. In case all the moisture available is forced to evaporate at a go, it can lead to irreparable damage.

It’s worth noting that you are only required to cure your pizza oven the first time you operate it. It won’t be necessary later on. Perhaps you haven’t used your oven for some time? Or it might have been sitting outside in the rain? Dry drying it out before using it by burning a small fire first. Nonetheless, you can do this the same day and it doesn’t need the full five-day procedure.

Continue reading as this guide walks you through some fundamentals tips. Most relate to wood-powered ovens because these are the ones with such variability and intricacy. These tips include:

  • Always start your pizza oven early. That is around 30 minutes to 1-hour for a gas oven and 2-3 hours for a wood fire oven.
  • Check the temperature inside before you cook. You need the dome to be fully white with all of the previous carbon/ ash burned off.
  • If you’d like to prepare a traditional Neapolitan pizza, ensure that you have got flame in the oven. Although a pizza can cook without a flame, the lack of additional heat on the top alters the procedure. Apart from taking longer, the top will likely be less crispy/ charred.
  • Ensure that your dough is well floured. The common traditional method is to have a flour container and dip the dough ball in there.
  • In case the pizza is becoming charred much quicker, hold the peel that’s between the fire and the pizza to help it out.
  • While cooking, avoid moving the pizza from the location you placed it on. The oven’s base is very, very hot. If you put a pizza, that area cools down a little. And this is a good thing. If you’d like to rotate the pizza, try keeping it in the same spot. But if you shift its position, the base will burn in a few seconds.
  • And if you check the base and realize that it’s not cooked like you’d expect, quickly move your pizza to a different location for a few seconds. Afterward, take it out. These few seconds will provide you with a significant increase in the base’s charring.
  • For more char on the top, get your pizza onto the peel and then hold it up close to the dome. With this extra exposure, your cheese and toppings will have that additional bit of fire-kissed attention.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Pizza in an Outdoor Oven?

A fully heated pizza oven will typically cook a pizza anywhere from 90 seconds to 3/4 minutes. It depends on the oven’s temperature, the type of dough, the pizza’s thickness, and the toppings.

What Is the Best Temperature For Wood and Gas Powered Ovens?

Wood, or gas-powered oven, is there a specific temperature range or temperature at which you should cook a pizza? There’s no one method to make pizza and no specific temperature to put the dough. That said, there is a reasonable temperature range that you need to heat the pizza oven to before putting in the pizza dough.

It’s also worth noting that the level of temperature at which you heat your pizza oven will influence the cooking duration. Temperature variation will directly impact the cooking time.

The right temperature will also rely on the style of pizza you are intending to prepare. For instance, Napoletana pizza usually cooks at an extremely high temperature, but it would be prudent to keep the dough in for around 2 to 3 minutes to prevent it from burning.

When it comes to most pizza recipes, you’ll need to heat the oven to a temperature of 450°F and above. It is safe to say that the right temperature at which you should cook must range between 400°F – 600°F. That said, this can vary considerably, based on your preference and experience.

If you’re reheating, you won’t necessarily need to wait for an extremely high temperature, because 350°F – 375°F is enough to reheat pizzas. Most people think that cooking frozen pizza demands a higher than normal temperature level. However, the opposite is true.

It would be smart to leave your pizza out to thaw before considering throwing it in your oven. Alternatively, you could move frozen pizza into your fridge hours before you have to cook to curb pollution from thawing in the open air.

Common Outdoor Pizza Oven Mistakes To Avoid

Handling a pizza oven can be challenging for beginners. Because a wood-fired oven is the most common option, there are some common mistakes you can avoid.

Remember that wood fire cooking is generally an involved procedure that requires choosing the right wood, correctly building and adjusting the fire, constant monitoring of the temperature, etc. So, before you start cooking, try to avoid these mistakes:

  • Using the wrong wood
  • Cooking in an uncured oven
  • Incorrectly positioning the fire
  • Poorly maintaining the fire

Does Your Oven Need To Be Covered?

It is recommended to bring your oven inside during winter, either into a shed or garage. This will protect it from extremely cold temperatures. Because pizza ovens are generally easy to move around the garden, then it is a very simple task to bring yours inside.

In case you leave your oven outside all through the winter, it needs to be covered up and insulated to protect it. You should also be aware that the pizza oven is prone to frost and might be damaged in cold weather when not properly protected. However, it’s perfectly okay to use your oven in any weather and at any time of year.

If you’d like to maintain your oven, it’s prudent that you remove any old embers from the pizza oven after it has cooled down. That will ensure that the cooking area remains as clean as possible. Buy a bespoke weather cover for your pizza oven such that it is protected from harsh elements when not being used.

Outdoor Pizza Oven Safety Tips

Whether you’re looking to buy a pizza oven, or you already own one, there are some measurements you could take to make it safer.

  • Buy an oven with a heat-resistant body. It will help regulate the exterior temperature and minimize burns. You might even find some with silicone casing which significantly lowers the casing temperature.
  • Read the manual, particularly the safety section. Although it could be in fine print and difficult to read, this section is crucial!
  • Place and install it properly. It needs to be more than 10 ft away from your home and shouldn’t be close to anything flammable, e.g., fences or washing lines. There also shouldn’t be any item directly above it, such as over-hanging branches, electric power lines, or gazebos.
  • Ensure that it’s stable and secure, and allows for ventilation. And if you’d like to relocate it, you can only do so after it has completely cooled. If need be, you might also need to protect it from the wind.
  • Use insulated gloves. Make sure you do this whenever operating your pizza oven, no matter if it’s cooled. It will help avoid unexpected burns.
  • Ensure proper maintenance. You can always clean it up between uses. If you’re using a wood-powered pizza oven, you can remove the ashes.
  • Switch the gas off when not in use. Lastly, if you’re using a gas-powered oven, ensure that you switch off the gas and properly store it whenever not in use. Always inspect the oven’s hoses between uses to ensure that there is no wear or damage. And if you detect any, avoid using the hose and replace it immediately.


Pizza ovens are undoubtedly a fantastic thing to have in the garden. Apart from allowing you to create the tastiest homemade pizzas, they allow you to throw unique parties with families and friends. They’re something that never gets old, and will never fail to deliver a great time.

With numerous options available, it can be a bit confusing to find the right one for you. Hopefully, this has been a helpful guide. You should be closer to being able to prepare your pies at home.

We all deserve amazing pizza, even someone as lovely as you. You should be enjoying some mouth-watering home-made creations with your friends soon!


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