Today, outdoor pizza ovens are one of the hottest culinary trends going. Chefs and cooks everywhere, whether in established restaurants or pop-up eateries or back yard kitchens, are taking the plunge and enjoying the benefits of cooking in a real pizza oven.
Until recently, the pizza oven was the preserve of the professional chef, being too unwieldy and expensive to be suitable for all but the most die-hard pizza aficionados on the domestic market. Now, they’re more affordable than ever – and more portable, with a much smaller footprint.
What’s more, buying an outdoor pizza oven doesn’t have to mean you’ll be eating pizza for every meal; a good outdoor oven can cook almost anything you could cook indoors, including bread, roasted meat and vegetables, and even baked desserts.
If you’re in the market for an outdoor pizza oven, there are hordes of manufacturers on the market, from big names like Cuisinart and Blackstone to artisanal pizza specialists like ilFornino and Pizzacraft.
As with any significant purchase, the outdoor pizza oven that’s best for you will depend on your baking needs, so it pays to think carefully about how you plan on using your oven before taking the plunge.
Below are some of the best outdoor ovens for cooking pizza in your backyard.
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|Name||Fuel Source||Our Rating|
|Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven||Gas||9.6 / 10|
|Pizzacraft PizzaQue PC6500 Outdoor Pizza Oven||Gas||9.6 / 10|
|Pizzacraft Pizzeria Pronto Outdoor Pizza Oven (PC60000)||Gas||9.4 / 10|
|Palm Springs Outdoor Pizza Oven||Gas||9.2 / 10|
|Mont Alpi MAPZ-SS Table-Top Gas Pizza Oven||Gas||9.2 / 10|
|Pacific Living Outdoor Large Capacity Gas Oven with Pizza Stone||Gas||9 / 10|
|My Barbecue Maximus Portable Wood Fired Oven||Wood||9 / 10|
|ilFornino Professional Series Wood Burning Pizza Oven||Wood||9 / 10|
|Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven||Gas||8.8 / 10|
|KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit (for 18.5” & 22.5” Kettle Grills)||Gas or charcoal||8.6 / 10|
|Cuisinart CPO-600 Alfrescamore Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven||Gas||8.4 / 10|
1. Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven
Camp Chef are outdoor cooking specialists, and their Italia Artisan Pizza Oven is a simply gorgeous gas-fueled portable outdoor pizza oven.
With the exception of the temperature controls, the entire exterior is stainless steel, and the elegant barrel vault design and symmetrical side vents give this Camp Chef offering a sleek, almost science-fiction look. Aesthetics may not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to pizza ovens, but this is a seriously impressive bit of kit, with performance to match its looks.
With a single, custom-designed gas burner which can get the oven over 700 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 15 minutes, built-in temperature controls and a temperature gauge which accurately monitors the oven’s internal temperature, this is a high-performance pizza oven that will turn out authentic crispy pizza time after time.
It’s easy to carry, easy to use and easy to clean: there may be more affordable pizza ovens on the market, but whether there are more affordable ones that can match the Italia Artisan’s performance is another question entirely.
- The innovative double-layered ceiling design and ventilation system Camp Chef have built into this outdoor pizza oven make a difference when it comes to retaining heat and ensuring its even distribution across the surface of the pizza.
- The pizza stone in this oven is ceramic, helping to draw out moisture from the pizza while it’s cooking and making sure the Italia Artisan Pizza Oven turns out crispy crust after crispy crust.
- Amazingly for such a sophisticated model, the oven requires almost no assembly, simply needing you to hook it up with propane before use. Camp Chef have even made your life easier here, by including an adaptor so that the oven can be connected to bulky propane tanks as well as disposable propane bottles.
- With one-touch ignition and a micro-adjust valve, the Italia Artisan is simple to operate and manipulate, meaning you can get it to the right temperature for your baking needs. The accurate temperature gauge makes a big difference here as well.
- Camp Chef’s offering is easy to carry, easy to use and easy to clean: if want good pizza but don’t want any added hassle, the Italia Artisan could be the outdoor pizza oven for you.
- The Italia Artisan gets over the magic number of 700 degrees Fahrenheit in about 15 minutes, making it hot enough to cook authentic pizza and quick enough that your stomach won’t be growling before it’s started cooking.
- The pizza stone in this outdoor pizza oven is not circular but rectangular. If you only want to cook circular pizza, you’ll be limited to a 13” diameter – if you go rectangular, you can get up to 13” x 20” of crispy pizza without any trouble.
2. Pizzacraft PizzaQue PC6500 Outdoor Pizza Oven
Pizzacraft are, as you might expect, experts when it comes to cooking pizza. They make a range of products and ovens to help amateur chefs produce authentic, pizzeria-quality pizza, and the PizzaQue PC6500 is their budget entry in the gas-fueled portable outdoor pizza oven category.
With its foldable legs extended, this igloo-domed oven can be set up on a regular wooden table and will be ready to cook in as little as 15 minutes.
The PizzaQue’s baking stones, included to recreate some of the wood-burning flavor, can also be removed so that the oven can be used as a regular gas grill. Be aware, however, that this is very much a specialist pizza oven: it will do a serviceable job grilling, but it doesn’t have the head space to handle much in the way of roasting or baking.
The PizzaQue is about as affordable as a portable outdoor pizza oven gets, but Pizzacraft haven’t let their commitment to high-quality pizza slip.
- The first thing you’ll notice about the PizzaQue is the price: this is available for around half the price of most portable outdoor pizza ovens, and a mere fraction of the cost of a static model. If you want a portable outdoor pizza oven and don’t want to break the bank, you’ll struggle to find anything better.
- Despite its budget price tag, this is a powerful device, capable of pushing the temperature past 800 degrees Fahrenheit and being ready to cook in just 15 minutes.
- Low-price options tend to have inferior capacity compared to more expensive models, but the PizzaQue can cook pizzas up to 14” in width; more than some more expensive models, and sufficient for most needs.
- The PizzaQue is lightweight and easy to transport, making it a great choice for chefs who want to share great pizza on the move: tailgating, camping, family gatherings and cookouts can all be easily catered for with the Pizzacraft PizzaQue.
- Pizzacraft’s baking stones go some way towards recreating the authentic wood-burning flavor, but if you don’t fancy pizza when it’s time for dinner, they can be removed in order to use the PizzaQue as a conventional gas grill. This isn’t just a cheap grill that performs like a more expensive model – it’s a versatile piece of cooking equipment that can make a real difference at meal times.
3. Pizzacraft Pizzeria Pronto Outdoor Pizza Oven (PC60000)
The Pizzeria Pronto is Pizzacraft’s deluxe offering in the portable outdoor pizza oven market. It has the same body and exterior construction as Pizzacraft’s budget oven, the PizzaQue, making the Pizzeria Pronto just as lightweight and easy to transport.
On the inside, however, Pizzacraft have installed some serious upgrades. In particular, three pieces of patent-pending technology serve to significantly up the Pizzeria Pronto’s game.
A hollow-core heat-diffusing pizza stone means there are no hot spots whatsoever, ensuring total consistency; a heat shield reflects heat back into the oven, keeping it at its maximum temperature longer; and a moisture vent removes all moisture created in the cooking process, allowing the Pizzeria Pronto to turn out deliciously crispy crusts, time after time.
This is one of the more expensive portable outdoor pizza ovens on the market, but Pizzacraft have pulled out all the stops in their determination to give you value for your money.
- The Pizzeria Pronto can reach the same high temperatures as Pizzacraft’s PizzaQue model, pushing 800 degrees Fahrenheit, and it reaches that temperature even quicker. The Pizzeria Pronto will be ready to use in 10 minutes, and will have cooked your first pizza less than 5 minutes later.
- The pizza stone in the Pizzeria Pronto is Pizzacraft’s own proprietary technology, having a hollow core which evenly distributes heat across the stone’s surface, removing all hot spots and ensuring the Pizzeria Pronto consistently delivers pizza of the highest quality.
- The heat shield on the Pizzeria Pronto’s interior reflects heat back into the oven, keeping the oven at its maximum temperature for longer and ensuring the heat is focused on the pizza as it cooks.
- The moisture vent built into this outdoor pizza oven quickly and unobtrusively removes any moisture generated during the cooking process, giving pizzas cooked in the Pizzeria Pronto delectably crispy crusts.
- The Pizzeria Pronto is lightweight and ultra-portable: it can be set up anywhere and easily stowed in the trunk of family sedan between uses, making it the perfect choice if you want high-quality pizza wherever you happen to be cooking.
- This outdoor pizza oven can cook pizzas up to 14” in width, which should be more than enough for most needs.
4. Palm Springs Outdoor Pizza Oven
One common complaint about portable outdoor pizza ovens is a lack of head space, making it difficult to use the oven for cooking tasks besides baking pizza. If you only plan on using your pizza oven for pizza that won’t be a problem, but one of the biggest strengths of a good outdoor oven is their versatility, and poor head space seriously impacts on that flexibility.
Palm Springs’ Outdoor Pizza Oven is an answer to this complaint, being a gas-fueled outdoor pizza oven that’s both portable – with its integrated trolley and caster wheels – and versatile, with more than enough head space for roasting, baking and grilling.
The Outdoor Pizza Oven even comes complete with both a pizza stone and a cooking grate, allowing you to customise it to meet your cooking needs.
What this outdoor pizza oven lacks in heat and speed – it can’t push much past 500 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning a thin pizza will take at least 15 minutes and won’t get as crispy as it would in a hotter oven – it makes up in flexibility, making this a great choice if you don’t already own a gas grill and are looking for an outdoor jack-of-all-trades.
- The Outdoor Pizza Oven can handle pizzas up to 16” in diameter, so unless you want to cook truly monstrous pizzas, this outdoor pizza oven is big enough for your needs.
- Palm Springs have gone out of their way to enhance the versatility of the oven. Besides the pizza stone and the steel cooking grates, there’s a smoke box to turn the Outdoor Pizza Oven into a smoker, or just to impart some of the rich smoky flavor associated with wood-burning pizza ovens.
- The Palm Springs Outdoor Pizza Oven is available at a midrange price point compared to other portable outdoor pizza ovens, making it good value for money if you’re looking for something that can serve as a grill or an oven, depending on the situation.
- The wheeled trolley which is part of the Outdoor Pizza Oven’s design helps when it comes to wheeling the oven into position or stowing it away again once dinner’s over and done with. This is too large and unwieldy a model to be used on the move, but for mobility around the home and yard it’s a breeze.
- While the maximum temperature on the Outdoor Pizza Oven may not be as high as other models, it’s more than enough for most cooking tasks, making this a versatile oven for the yard.
5. Mont Alpi MAPZ-SS Table-Top Gas Pizza Oven
Mont Alpi are a Californian company specialising in sleek outdoor cooking equipment, from grills to ovens. The MAPZ-SS Table-Top Gas Pizza Oven is an attractive tabletop oven in the barrel vault style, built almost entirely from stainless steel.
It uses a single gas burner, similar to that which you’d find in a barbecue grill, to rapidly reach its operating temperature. The integrated temperature gauge means you can monitor its progress with ease.
The MAPZ-SS can cook a single 12” pizza, so it might not be the right choice if you’re looking to cater for the masses, but it will suffice for the regular household.
The Mont Alpi MAPZ-SS Table-Top Gas Pizza Oven is a lightweight, good-looking and easy-to-use outdoor pizza oven, and is available at a mid-range price point compared to similar models.
- The MAPZ-SS features a simple ignition system, and the temperature controls and accurate temperature gauge mean you’ll find it simple to get your pizza exactly how you like it.
- The single gas burner has been designed specifically for this oven, having an innovative tubular wraparound design to ensure good and even coverage across your pizzas.
- The MAPZ-SS can be fitted to use either propane or natural gas, making this one of the most versatile models on the market.
- This is a lightweight outdoor pizza oven that’s easy to carry, making it great for use on the move wherever you are: camping, the beach, family gatherings and more.
- The MAPZ-SS reaches its maximum temperature in an incredible 5 minutes, so you’ll be ready to cook almost as soon as it’s set up.
- This oven isn’t only easy to use, it’s easy to clean: a removable floor pan and a pull-out fat tray make the task even easier than it would be otherwise, and the use of stainless steel reduces worries around staining or rusting. All of the MAPZ-SS’s removable parts are dishwasher-friendly.
- The pizza stone inside this oven recreates some of the texture and flavor of an authentic wood-burning outdoor pizza oven. It’s not the same as wood, but you’ll notice the difference compared to your indoor oven.
6. Pacific Living Outdoor Large Capacity Gas Oven with Pizza Stone
The Pacific Living Outdoor Large Capacity Gas Oven with Pizza Stone is a sleek, professional-looking gas-fueled outdoor pizza oven crafted almost entirely from stainless steel.
The oven itself is barrel-shaped and attached to a mobile cart for ease of maneuver before and after cooking. Pacific Living are careful to emphasise that this is more than just a pizza oven, and this has indeed got considerably more head space than most comparable ovens.
With the movable and removable cooking racks, you could even cook a medium-sized turkey and a large pizza at the same time – great if you want to give your guests choice when meal time comes around.
Pacific Living want a serious investment if you’re considering buying their Outdoor Large Capacity Gas Oven, with a price tag comparable to some wood-burning ovens, but they’re offering a package that’s ready to go out of the box.
This oven even comes bundled together with a heavy-duty canvas covering, which can be used if you plan on leaving the oven out in the elements between uses.
Sharp, smart, and capable of reaching almost 700 degrees Fahrenheit – impressive for a gas-fueled oven with this much head space – this is a heavyweight in the outdoor pizza oven market.
- The Outdoor Large Capacity Gas Oven can reach temperatures of almost 700 degrees Fahrenheit, good enough for all but the most die-hard pizza purist.
- Interior cooking lights and a simple ignition system contribute to the Outdoor Large Capacity Gas Oven’s user-friendliness, helping you quickly start cooking and see clearly into the corners of the oven while it’s on.
- The cooking surface in this Pacific Living oven is enough to handle a 16” (X-Large) pizza with ease. The cooking racks, included with this outdoor oven as standard, allow you to cook on multiple levels at once, so you can provide your guests with 2 or even 3 pizzas at a time.
- With so much head space and the cooking racks to help you make the most of it, this is a versatile outdoor oven which can serve almost all of the functions of its indoor cousins. The foldable side shelves built into the mobile trolley further contribute to this versatility, allowing you to store ingredients and implements within reach.
- Pacific Living have provided a few accessories to make the Outdoor Large Capacity Gas Oven even easier to use. Protective feet can be attached to the oven itself if you want to remove it from its mobile stand, a pizza stone ensures your pizzas will come out with the right texture and crispness, and a wood chip smoker box is also included to give your gas-fired pizzas some of that authentic wood-burning flavor.
- The caster wheels on this outdoor pizza oven’s mobile stand make a big difference when you’re rolling the oven into position, or putting it away after use.
7. My Barbecue Maximus Portable Wood Fired Oven
If you’re looking for a portable outdoor pizza oven, you’re primarily confined to gas-fueled models: the space required for wood-burning simply takes up too much room, on most designs, to allow the resulting oven to be truly portable. My Barbecue have gone out on a limb and produced something which most manufacturers simply don’t offer: a portable wood-burning outdoor pizza oven.
The Maximus is an attractive item, being a barrel vault oven cast from stainless steel and aluminum and finished with a red coat. The front of the oven has even been finished with a steel door set into real Portuguese brick, which helps the oven hold its temperature for longer but also complements the oven’s overall aesthetic: your guests will be almost as likely to comment on the appearance of the Maximus as they will on the quality of your pizza.
With a cooking surface of around 23.5” x 23.5”, the Maximus can cook two medium or one X-Large pizza with ease, while also being able to handle almost any cooking task you could think to throw at it.
This oven is not cheap: it’s among the most expensive portable outdoor pizza ovens on the market. There’s a reason for that, though, and that’s the fact that the Maximus is a truly unique offering: an opportunity for the home chef to experience the authentic taste of wood-burned pizza that’s also portable enough to be set up in lots of locations.
My Barbecue have even thrown in a pizza peel and a terracotta cooking pan to sweeten the deal on what is a top-of-the-class example of pizza engineering.
- Like most wood-burning outdoor pizza ovens, the Maximus produces a rich authentic flavor in the pizzas it cooks; and like most steel ovens, it reaches maximum temperature in just half an hour.
- The maximum temperature in the Maximus is close to 800 degrees Fahrenheit – something that can be easily monitored with the integrated temperature gauge – meaning the pizzas this oven turns out won’t just have the right flavor, they’ll have the deliciously crisp texture that makes authentic pizza such a delight. With the door closed, the Maximus can cook a small pizza to perfection in less than 2 minutes: 30 pizzas in an hour is a seriously impressive rate of production.
- The Maximus is a genuinely portable wood-burning outdoor pizza oven: a rare specimen indeed. When not in use, it fits easily into the trunk of any standard car, making this a great choice if you’re planning on cooking on the move.
- This is one of the most attractive outdoor pizza ovens on the market, with a smoothly curving red body and real Portuguese brickwork making up the front of the oven. The brick does serve to increase this oven’s weight, but not its footprint, keeping it portable as well as aesthetically pleasing.
- My Barbecue have thrown in a few extras with the Maximus: a pizza peel and a terracotta cooking pan may not be enough to convince you if you’re on the fence, but if you know the Maximus is the outdoor pizza oven for you then these functionality-increasing accessories are a nice bonus.
- The Maximus’ cooking surface is larger than most outdoor pizza ovens, and you’ll be able to cook two medium pizzas or one truly massive pizza without any trouble. Be aware that the cooking time will increase as the oven gets fuller, and if you want properly crispy crusts you should avoid overfilling it.
8. ilFornino Professional Series Wood Burning Pizza Oven
ilFornino make artisanal pizza ovens: that’s their whole business, and they charge the kind of prices associated with specialist products, so you should expect the highest quality from anything with their name on it.
The Wood Burning Pizza Oven in their Professional Series doesn’t disappoint: this is a barrel vault outdoor pizza oven in the Neapolitan style, built from heavy-duty stainless steel and lined throughout the oven with ceramic fiber insulation.
This Professional Series oven reaches a maximum temperature of around 900 degrees Fahrenheit in about 30 minutes, at which point it will cook a pizza to crispy perfection in little more than a minute.
ilFornino know what pizza chefs want, and they’ve even included a handy ash drawer at the back of the oven to make clean-up even more straightforward than it already is.
This is not a cheap oven, but in return for your investment you’ll be receiving a professional-grade pizza oven which will last you just as long as you keep using it.
The Wood Burning Pizza Oven comes with a stainless steel stand with integrated caster wheels, for ease of maneuver, although it can be detached and fixed to a stationary island if you’d prefer.
- This is a steel wood-burning pizza oven, which means you’re getting the authentic results from a real pizza oven without having to wait 2-3 hours for it to heat up, as you would with the brick or clay equivalent. Steel wood-burning ovens give you the best of both worlds, and they’re easy to clean.
- The maximum temperature of the Wood Burning Pizza Oven – a whopping 900 degrees Fahrenheit – means that this outdoor pizza oven can produce an authentic pizzeria-quality pizza very fast.
- Perhaps in recognition of the price tag, ilFornino have included a few useful extras with this Professional Series oven. A brush and scraper for cleaning, a pizza peel for cooking and moving pizzas inside the oven, and some carrying handles for maneuvering the oven into position are all useful additions which will make your life easier.
- The ash drawer at the rear of the oven is a simple innovation, but one that makes a real difference when it’s time to sweep the oven clean. Little touches can really improve the usefulness and feel of a product, and ilFornino don’t disappoint here.
- The ceramic fiber insulation in the Wood Burning Pizza Oven ensures that it’ll stay at its maximum temperature a lot longer than most comparable steel models. It might not have the heat retention of a brick oven, but it’s closer than some traditionalists might think.
- With almost 1000 square inches of cooking surface, this offering from ilFornino will be more than enough to meet the needs of all but the most ambitious backyard chef. It can handle two large pizzas with ease, and is suitable for a wide range of cooking tasks besides baking.
- Built almost entirely from stainless steel, with the smooth curve of a barrel vault oven, this is a smart and professional looking bit of kit that will make an impression in your yard or wherever it’s used. It’s also rust-resistant, although you will probably still want to invest in a cover if you plan on keeping it outside between uses.
9. Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven
The Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven (also sold as the Blackstone Patio Oven) is a gas-fueled outdoor pizza oven that comes complete with its own portable stand, making setting up and putting away a doddle.
Boasting a seriously powerful single gas burner that can push the oven past 700 degrees Fahrenheit, along with simple temperature controls and a one-touch ignition system, getting this oven ready to cook is a quick and easy task which should yield great results.
It is a powerful gas oven with enough cooking surface to handle a large pizza with ease, making this offering from Blackstone well worth a look if you want quality outdoor cooking at your convenience.
- A one-touch ignition system, coupled with the integrated temperature controls, makes the Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven simple to use.
- The Outdoor Pizza Oven uses a single gas burner, but it’s an incredibly powerful one and the oven has no difficulty pushing 800 degrees Fahrenheit – the perfect temperature for authentic, crispy pizza.
- The caster wheels on the oven’s trolley help when it’s time to maneuver the oven into place or put it away when the party is over. This Blackstone offering might be a tad unwieldy to be a reliable option for use on the move, but for movement around the yard the wheels are a big help.
- This is larger than most portable outdoor pizza ovens, cooking pizzas up to 16” (comparable to an X-Large in a pizzeria). For most size parties, this should be more than enough when you consider the speed at which it is capable of churning out pizzas.
- The pizza stone in this oven can be easily rotated, improving consistency and coverage in the pizza’s cooking, and it imparts some of the flavor and authenticity of a traditional wood-burning oven.
- The cooking shelf has enough space to fit anything up to a standard roasting pan, so you can make use of the quick cooking potential of the Outdoor Pizza Oven for foods other than pizza.
10. KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit (for 18.5” & 22.5” Kettle Grills)
KettlePizza boast that they can “pizzafy” your grill, and their Basic Pizza Oven Kit offers to do just that. It’s a stainless steel insert for any conventional kettle grill – gas or charcoal – which turns a simple grill into a heat-retaining cooking chamber.
For such a simple bit of kit – the insert is essentially a ventilated steel ring which is placed between the kettle grill’s base and lid – it yields impressive results. A kettle grill equipped with the Basic Pizza Oven Kit is capable of reaching temperatures up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it will cook a pizza to a crispy finish in about 5 minutes.
Getting a result comparable to a genuine outdoor pizza oven from a basic kettle grill is no mean feat, and this simple offering from KettlePizza will be a talking point at your cookouts for that reason alone.
It’s not just a novelty item, though: available for significantly less than most portable outdoor pizza ovens (and orders of magnitude cheaper than wood-burning models), the KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit is a great option for the aspiring amateur pizza chef who doesn’t want to break the bank.
- This model of the KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit works with 18.5” and 22.5” kettle grills (the most common sizes on the market). Because of this, they’re able to cook some seriously large pizzas; and there are even bigger sizes available if those aren’t big enough to match your appetite.
- The nature of the Basic Pizza Oven Kit means it couldn’t be easier to use, simply requiring you affix it to your kettle grill. Once in place, your new pizza oven will use the same fuel as your kettle grill, so it won’t increase your running costs either.
- By creating a sealed cooking chamber, the KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit can reach temperatures of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to cook authentic crispy pizzas wherever you are. As long as you keep the lid on, you can count on high temperatures and evenly distributed heat across the grill.
- The Basic Pizza Oven Kit is made from high-quality stainless steel, making it durable, lightweight and incredibly easy to carry. If you’re a pizza and camping enthusiast, this kit can give you what you need.
- Price: there’s no denying that this offering from KettlePizza is less substantial than a conventional outdoor pizza oven, but as a result you can enjoy it at a markedly lower price point than anything else covered here. If you want a novel way to cook pizzas but don’t want to spend the earth to do it, the Basic Pizza Oven Kit is an excellent option.
11. Cuisinart CPO-600 Alfrescamore Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven
Cuisinart are a well-known name in the world of cooking appliances, and their Alfrescamore Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven is a characteristic offering. It even looks like a Cuisinart product, having a flattened barrel vault shape and being made from a combination of sleek steel and hard black plastic.
It’s not got the biggest cooking surface, managing a 12” pizza but not anything larger, so it won’t be the oven for you if you go big in the kitchen, but Cuisinart have pulled out all the stops to pack the Alfrescamore with features and value.
The combination of a pizza stone and a wood chip cup means this is a gas-fueled oven which does a decent job of recreating the authentic smoky flavor of a wood-burning oven, and it comes with a pizza peel and a warming tray as standard. Not only is the Alfrescamore easy to set up and use; it’ll even keep your pizza warm once it’s done.
- The Alfrescamore features hard plastic legs, meaning it can be easily set up on many surfaces and tables.
- The Alfrescamore features the usual pizza stone, but goes one step further in an attempt to recreate the unique smoky flavor of wood-burning ovens. It does so using a smoke chip cup – really just a block of wood in a cup of water, set to the side of the pizza stone – which creates natural wood smoke while the oven’s being used. It’s impossible to recreate the flavour of authentic wood-burning ovens, but the Alfrescamore comes closer than its competitors.
- This outdoor pizza oven has been cleverly designed to trap heat inside the oven using reflection, keeping temperatures higher for longer.
- Steel-and-plastic construction means the Alfrescamore is lightweight and easy to transport, making it a solid choice for all sorts of traveling and social events.
- This is a simple oven to operate, being easy to activate and having straightforward temperature controls to help you cook your pizza the way you want.
- Cuisinart have bundled some accessories in with the Alfrescamore: a warming tray to be used underneath the oven itself, keeping your pizza warm long after it’s done cooking, and a pizza peel to help with rotating and removing your pizza once it’s in the oven.
What are outdoor pizza ovens?
Outdoor pizza ovens are cooking devices designed to create and retain a high heat (in some cases as high as 800 degrees Fahrenheit), making them perfect for rapidly cooking authentic pizzas.
Once fully heated, a good wood-burning oven can cook a thin pizza to crispy perfection in 2 or 3 minutes (5-6 minutes for a gas oven). As an added bonus, the best wood-burning ovens will also impart a unique smoky flavor that’s simply impossible to recreate indoors.
The speed of cooking outdoor pizza ovens can provide doesn’t only apply when you’re making pizza: raw meat can be cooked to your liking just as quickly as pizzas, making an outdoor oven an excellent option for any cookout or backyard party.
If you’re looking to buy an outdoor pizza oven, there are a few different styles and shapes available. The most common shape, sometimes called an igloo, has an arched front opening and a rounded dome, giving rise to the igloo name.
The other common shape, most often referred to as a barrel or barrel vault oven, more closely resembles half a cylinder (or barrel) with a front opening and a chimney.
Both these styles of outdoor pizza oven work in the same way, which is convection heating: the vents and chimney draw heat and smoke through the oven, creating a regular flow of super-heated air which ensures quick and even cooking while minimizing the amount of energy wasted and protecting the chef from the oven’s intense temperature.
Other styles of outdoor pizza oven are available, including rotatable and detachable pizza oven ‘kits’ for regular kettle barbecue grills, but they all work using this same mechanism. The shape of the oven, the materials used in its construction, and the quality of the workmanship will all affect how efficient and effective a given oven is in practice.
Besides the shape, there are two big decisions to weigh up before examining individual outdoor pizza ovens. The first of these is whether you would prefer a portable or a static oven.
In general, static ovens will provide superior results, reaching higher temperatures and retaining heat longer, ensuring consistent quality no matter how long the oven is used for.
There are real costs associated with the static option, however. The most obvious of these is the lack of mobility: a portable oven can be moved from place to place, whereas anyone wanting to show off their static oven has little choice but to host a cookout.
The second major drawback to static outdoor pizza ovens might be more off-putting: this is the price. Outdoor pizza ovens range in price from a few hundred dollars (less for the oven kits) up to a few thousand, with artisanal models costing considerably more. Most of the expensive outdoor pizza ovens are the larger models, which are either static or have limited mobility: they’re huge, heavy and powerful, and their price tags reflect as much.
The second big decision when it comes to outdoor pizza ovens is fuel type: almost of all of the larger, static ovens will be wood-burning, while their smaller portable cousins are more likely to use gas burners to raise the temperature.
Gas is more convenient, easier and cleaner than wood, and refilling a gas cylinder is less time-consuming than procuring the right kind of hardwood for your wood-burning oven.
On the other hand, wood tends to be easier to find in a pinch than propane, and it’s cheaper. More importantly, if you want your pizza to taste as good as it possibly can, the smoky flavor imparted by a wood-burning oven simply can’t be recreated elsewhere.
It’s worth noting that some outdoor pizza ovens, particularly the larger models, may need some amount of additional preparation or assembly before use. Make sure you know what work you’ll need to do to get the oven ready to use before you buy: some outdoor pizza ovens will need a sturdy base constructing, for example, which might be a strong reason to opt for a portable model if you don’t have the time or the space for base-building.
Why buy an outdoor pizza oven?
Outdoor pizza ovens aren’t for everyone: some people simply won’t get enough use out of one to be worth the cost and the effort involved. The fact that prices are lower than they’ve ever been, however, means they’re a lot more accessible than they used to be; and if you like pizza, they’re worth considering as an investment for that reason alone. Here are some reasons why an outdoor pizza oven should be your next big purchase.
- Outdoor pizza ovens can cook for the family, and they’re great for cookouts and barbecues. They can even be the focus of a pizza party: get your guests to bring their favorite ingredients, and they can assemble and cook their own pizzas in a few minutes. Even if the novelty value wears off – which is a big if – the quality of the pizza won’t.
- Once heated to optimum temperature, outdoor pizza ovens are capable of super-rapid cooking with temperatures up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. A regular pizza takes about 2-3 minutes in a wood-burning oven or 5-6 minutes in a gas oven, with raw meat taking about the same amount of time.
- Outdoor pizza ovens are versatile: almost anything that can be cooked in an indoor oven can be cooked in an outdoor oven. Breads, cakes, roast potatoes and vegetables, halloumi in vine leaves, slow-cooked beans – when you fire up the outdoor oven, it doesn’t have to mean pizza.
- The smoky flavor created by a wood-burning outdoor pizza oven can’t be recreated elsewhere. Barbecue smoke from grilling is similar, but the pure wood smoke from an outdoor oven is truly unique and an authentic recreation of traditional Italian pizza. The crispy thin crust that comes out of an outdoor oven adds to the authenticity, ensuring your pizzas will be real crowd-pleasers.
- If you opt for a portable outdoor pizza oven, you’re not limited to cooking at home. The most portable ovens can easily be taken on vacation, or to a friend’s place, and they’re easier to stow away when not in use. An added bonus to going portable is that these tend to be the cheapest outdoor ovens, making them a great choice for your first foray into outdoor cooking.
- Conversely, if you know a static outdoor pizza oven is the way you want to go, you should be prepared to pay a significantly higher price; but you’ll get something that should last as long as you care for it, and will deliver consistently high-quality results. If you don’t plan on moving any time soon and want an outdoor kitchen that’s the envy of the neighborhood, a static outdoor pizza oven could be the way to go.
Things to consider
If you’ve decided an outdoor pizza oven is for you, there are a number of things to consider when it comes to comparing different models on the market.
- Cooking surface. What is the oven’s capacity? A decent outdoor pizza oven should at least be able to handle a single large pizza. If you won’t often be cooking for hordes of people, this may well be enough space for you: as a pizza will cook in as little as 2 minutes, you can get through several in short order.
- Fuel type. Does the oven use wood or gas? Gas is cleaner and quicker, as well as being more convenient, but it also increases running costs and fails to impart the rich smoky flavor that so many people associate with outdoor pizza ovens.
- Portability. Is this a static outdoor oven, or can it be moved around? If it is portable, just how mobile is it really? Some ‘portable’ ovens are heavy and unwieldy enough to making transporting them a real chore, so if portability is a big deal for you it may be worth getting up close and personal with some models before committing to buy.
- Warm-up time. How long does it take for this oven to reach its optimal operating temperature? Brick and clay ovens can take up to 3 hours to reach their top heat, while steel models are notably quicker, taking only around half an hour before they’re ready to go. If you opt for an oven that takes a while to get ready, consider using it for other types of cooking while it heats up – for example, baking bread at lower temperatures and then cooking pizza at maximum heat – to avoid wasting energy.
- Heat retention. Brick and clay might take a long time to heat up, but once they’re hot, they’re hot. Steel outdoor pizza ovens, on the other hand, will require you to keep a fire built up if you want to keep them at maximum heat for any length of time. If you only want to cook pizza, steel outdoor ovens will meet your needs; but if you want to bake bread or slow-cook, they might cause you more hassle than they’re worth.
- Price. Prices on outdoor pizza ovens range widely, and will depend in the first place on what style you’re looking at. Brick and clay static ovens will typically start in the low thousands and go up from there, while steel and portable outdoor pizza ovens can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars. The pizza oven kits that can be bought for kettle barbecues are cheaper still.
- Your baking needs. As with any big consumer purchase, the best buy for you will always depend on your particular needs. Do you only plan on cooking pizza in your outdoor oven, or are you interested in using it for a range of cooking tasks? Do you want something you can take camping with you? How crispy do you like your pizza? If you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for before you start shopping, you’re much more likely to find something suitable for your needs.
- Adjustable settings. Is there any way to moderate the oven’s cooking temperature? This will be much more common on outdoor pizza ovens with gas burners, as the flow of gas is easily controlled, but even traditional static ovens can be fitted with ventilation and funnelling systems which offer the chef some flexibility with regards to oven temperature. The wider the range of foods you want to cook in your outdoor pizza oven, the more important adjustable settings are.
- Visibility and ease of access. How easy it is to see right to the back of the oven? If you have to bend at an awkward angle and get your face close to the oven to get good access, you won’t have the visibility you need when the oven’s in use and at full heat. The bigger the oven, the more important ease of access becomes: wasting a perfectly good pizza by accidentally knocking it into a heap of ash is a real downer.
- Accessories. You might have to shell out for some of these yourself, but if they’re included with the oven you’re getting extra value for your money. Some of the more common peripherals used with outdoor pizza ovens include pizza peels for high temperatures, long-handled brushes, rakes and shovels for cleaning, cast iron cookware, pizza stones and covers for the oven.
Risks and warnings
As with any oven or kitchen appliance, outdoor pizza ovens are serious bits of kit which should be treated with the appropriate respect. There are some general principles to keep in mind which will make using your outdoor pizza oven a safer, smoother experience.
- If you’re using a gas-fuelled oven, the usual rules for gas apply. If you smell gas, turn off the oven and stop using it until you’ve identified and resolved the problem. If you’re unable to resolve the problem, call in a professional.
- If you’ve opted for a wood-burning oven, use well-seasoned (very dry) hardwood. It reaches a higher temperature, and burns for longer, than softwood. Under no circumstances should you use charcoal in a wood-burning oven: it won’t generate anywhere near as much heat, and it might void any warranty you have for the oven.
- Before setting up or using your outdoor pizza oven, check you won’t be breaking any local laws by doing so. If you need or want to construct a base for your oven, find out if you’ll need any permits before doing so; and if there are laws against bonfires or wood-burning at certain times or in certain seasons, check that an outdoor pizza oven won’t see you fall foul of these rules.
- Clean your outdoor pizza oven periodically. This will prevent the build-up of any unpleasant by-products from using the oven, and it’ll stop that lovely smoky flavor turning grimy and ashen.
- Be aware that outdoor pizza ovens, whatever they’re made from, get hot on the outside as well as inside. If kids or pets are on the loose when you’re cooking, make sure they know this and be aware of where they are at all times.