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One of my favorite foods in the whole world is a nice thin crust pizza, but making perfect, crispy restaurant-quality pizza at home used to be impossible. Well, not anymore: because the Ooni pizza makes that a reality. Last Father's Day, we got my dad an Ooni pizza oven, and it makes some of the most incredible homemade pizza you'll ever have, right in your backyard.
These unique pizza ovens heat up to insanely high temperatures, cooking the pizza dough perfectly to make a delicious crust. No more chewy dough in the center! If you're a pizza fan like me, you'll go crazy for the Neapolitan-style pizza you'll be whipping up in your outdoor space with these ovens -- they're super easy to use and make an amazing gift for anyone who loves carbs and experimenting in the kitchen. These pizza ovens aren't just great for pizza-making, because they'll make the most delicious loaf of bread you've ever had. Ooni shared a simple recipe here. You can also make tasty wood-fired shrimp, salmon, and crab in the Ooni pizza ovens, too. Here's our picks from the Ooni line:
Ooni Pro 16 Outdoor Pizza Oven
The Ooni Pro 16 oven reaches 950°F in just 20 minutes and has an extra-large cooking area for 16-inch pizzas (XL pizzas), roast meals, fresh bread, and more. You'll have stone-baked fresh pizzas in just one minute.
There are a few fuel options for maximum cooking versatility. You can use wood & charcoal to cook or gas with the compatible Ooni Pro pizza oven gas burner that's sold separately. Ooni recommends wood and charcoal for a smoky, aromatic flavor and gas for consistency and low-maintenance cooking that gives you temperature control. From my own personal experience, the best way to cook your pizzas evenly on these pizza ovens is to rotate them 180 degrees after about 45 seconds or so. Keep an eye on the flames while you're cooking, the high heat can burn the edges if you don't move the pizzas while they cook. The Ooni Pro Pizza oven reviews are great, with over 1,000 positive reviews, this oven averages a 4.7-star rating out of five stars.
Ooni Koda 12 Outdoor Pizza Oven
The Ooni Koda 12 can fire up in 15 minutes and cook 13-inch pizzas simply by turning a dial. This is a gas-powered oven -- and the built-in gas ignition means instant flames with an adjustable heat control dial for effortless cooking. The insulated steel shell also means optimum heat retention, so Ooni Koda is ready to go within 15 minutes. The Ooni Koda 12 is similar to the Ooni 3 but uses a gas burner instead of wood pellets to heat the oven. Hook it up to a propane tank, and you'll be pizza making in no time.
Some More Pizza-Makin' Must-Haves
A few recommended gadgets for these pizza ovens will make a huge difference and allow you to use your ovens more frequently and easily! Getting a good pizza peel makes insertion and removal of the pizzas way easier than any other method. Remember, you're sticking the dough in an oven, not on a pizza stone, so you'll probably want a good stainless steel pizza peel to easily slide in and out. Ooni makes a perforated one that works awesomely and fits really well. Ooni notes that the Ooni 16-inch Pizza Peel (sold separately) is only compatible with Ooni Pro 16 without the pizza door attached.
An infrared thermometer will tell you when your oven is hot enough to start making pizzas, that way you don't stick them in too early and end up with a chewy center and overly crisped edges.
There are tons of other ways to use a pizza oven. Stick a cast-iron skillet inside and sear up some veggies, fish, or meat, or fire up some breadsticks in a flash. We've used it for countless uses, and it's still so much fun (though pizza making is still my favorite use for it). It's a must-have for a summer of outdoor cooking!
READ MORE: Whatever Happened To Dine-In Pizza Huts?