The Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens for Fresh, Homemade Pizza

A deliciously crisp and gooey pizza doesn’t happen by accident. It takes working with the best outdoor pizza oven to get that oven-fired taste from the pizza’s edge to the delicate center.

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The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Options

Photo: amazon.com

When cooking a homemade pizza, a pizza oven can provide the high, consistent temperatures required to evenly crisp the crust and create a hot and gooey center. Outdoor models take the heat outside, where you can cook bigger and hotter pizzas.

In the hunt for the best outdoor pizza oven, you’ll find models fueled by wood, gas, charcoal, and pellets. They’re made in different sizes, from grill-top and portable models to large professional-grade ovens on a wheeled cart.

Take a look at our shopping considerations for tips on buying an outdoor pizza oven, and then explore our top picks for some of the best products on the market to serve up fresh, homemade pizza in your backyard.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Harbor Gardens KUK002B Monterey Pizza Oven
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: BakerStone O-AJLXX-O-000 Portable Gas Pizza Oven
  3. BEST WOOD-FIRED: U-MAX Outdoor Pizza Oven Wood Fire
  4. BEST MULTI-FUEL: Bertello Outdoor Pizza Oven
  5. BEST GRILL-TOP: only fire Universal Stainless Steel Pizza Oven Kit
  6. BEST HIGH-TEMPERATURE: Ooni Pro 16 Outdoor Pizza Oven
The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor Pizza Oven

Outdoor pizza ovens rely on different fuel types, come in unique sizes, and offer varying levels of portability. Some models boast extra features like built-in thermometers, while others can utilize multiple fuels for greater versatility. Here are the most important features to keep in mind as you choose the best outdoor pizza oven for your cooking style, outdoor space, and family size.

Fuel Source

Outdoor pizza ovens require a fuel source to reach optimum cooking temperature, which is usually around 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Various fuel sources have their pros and cons. Some sources offer more convenience, and other sources can affect the pizza’s taste.

  • Wood: Wood gives pizza a slightly smoky flavor. It heats quickly but requires close attention to maintain the correct temperature. Wood-fired models offer the most flavor options by burning different types of woods, like cherry and maple. However, temperature adjustment isn’t as precise as it is with a gas, charcoal, or pellet oven.
  • Propane/gas: Most gas ovens use propane. Propane provides better control over the cooking temperature, allowing minute adjustments. These models typically have an ignition knob with a dial to adjust the flame. They’re also more likely to include a built-in thermometer, though many outdoor oven types may have this feature.
  • Wood Pellets: Wood pellets offer many of the same benefits as wood. For example, pellets are made with different woods that provide smoky flavors, like hickory and maple, to the pizza. Some people find pellets easier to store and manage—instead of splitting wood, just pour the pellets into the oven.
  • Charcoal: Charcoal, like wood and pellets, gives the pizza a smoky flavor. Charcoal takes more time than the other fuel types to reach cooking temperature, but it can be easier to manage than wood. Charcoal doesn’t have to be split, and it comes in a convenient storage bag.

Many outdoor pizza ovens offer the versatility to accommodate two or three fuel types. For example, a wood-fired oven may also work with charcoal or pellets. Some models are even outfitted for use with wood, propane, and pellets.

When deciding on a fuel source, consider the fuel’s price, its availability, and the level of convenience for your lifestyle. Propane tends to be the least expensive, but the other sources offer more control over the pizza’s final flavor.

Size

Size encompasses both the pizza size the oven can hold and the size of the oven itself. Some outdoor ovens limit pizza size to 10 to 12 inches, but others are large enough to hold two 16-inch pizzas.

Consider how many people do you typically cook for at lunch- or dinnertime. Large families or those who frequently entertain may want a larger oven that makes enough pizza to accommodate more people. However, smaller families may only need a small grill-top outdoor pizza oven that cooks a 10-inch pizza.

As for the size of the pizza oven, built-in and freestanding models take up more space but offer a larger interior cooking area. Portable pizza ovens can be surprisingly large but feature collapsible legs and removable design elements like stovepipes that take up less overall space when the oven is not in use.

It’s best to base the size decision, both interior cooking space and exterior square footage, on the number of people for whom you typically cook and the available outdoor cooking space.

Design

Outdoor pizza ovens are available in several designs that may include features that make a difference in performance.

  • Built-in: Outdoor kitchens are far more common now than in the past. A built-in outdoor pizza oven works within this type of design. The oven fits into an existing, often brick, structure or requires building a permanent, nonportable structure in which to fit.
  • Freestanding: These models are technically portable in that they typically have wheels, so users can push them to various locations in the backyard. However, they tend to be quite large. A freestanding outdoor pizza oven is built as part of a cartlike structure with space underneath to store cooking utensils or fuel.
  • Portable: A portable outdoor pizza oven has short legs so it can sit on top of a table in the backyard. These models may feature collapsible legs and a removable stovepipe to increase portability.
  • Grill-top: All of the other outdoor pizza oven designs provide their own fuel source. A grill-top pizza oven does not. These models sit atop a gas or charcoal-fueled outdoor grill and rely on the grill’s fuel source to cook the pizza. They are small but highly portable and inexpensive in comparison to other outdoor pizza ovens.

Within these various designs, certain features can affect the performance and ease of use. For example, wood, pellet, and charcoal-fueled outdoor pizza ovens perform better when the ventilation opening is near the front of the oven. This causes the heat and smoke to circulate over the entire pizza on its way toward the opening.

Additionally, some models feature built-in thermometers, and gas-powered ovens typically include dials that allow for quick, precise heat adjustments.

Insulation

Outdoor pizza ovens need to reach between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then maintain that temperature to safely and fully cook the pizza. Efficient insulation like added thickness or double-walled designs offer more consistent cooking temperatures and better results. Lack of insulation leaves the oven susceptible to outdoor temperatures, resulting in extra fuel consumption and unevenly cooked pizza.

Features like double-layered, insulated, or double-walled stainless steel and double-layer brick hearths hold in the heat. Models with a built-in or removable pizza stone also offer better results. The stone retains heat and pulls moisture away from the pizza for a crispier crust.

Maximum Temperature

Pizzas usually cook at temperatures between 350 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit in a standard oven. However, they can cook at even higher temperatures in an outdoor pizza oven, with some models reaching over 900 degrees.

At the highest temperatures, some outdoor ovens can cook a pizza in under two minutes. Beware—it takes practice to successfully cook a pizza in such a short time without burning it. The thickness of the crust, the amount of sauce, and the number of toppings all factor into the cooking time. High maximum temperatures offer more cooking options, though it may take time to learn how to use the oven at its maximum without burning the pizza.

Our Top Picks

The outdoor pizza ovens on our list of top picks come from trusted brands with efficient oven designs. The following ovens stand out for their performance and consistent results, with picks featuring different fuel sources and varying sizes.

Read on to discover some of the best outdoor pizza oven models on the market to create a homemade pizza worth craving, from crust to center.

Best Overall

The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Option: Harbor Gardens KUK002B Monterey Pizza Oven
Photo: amazon.com

The Harbor Gardens KUK002B Monterrey Pizza Oven uses firewood to give pizza a smoky flavor and crisp crust. This model reaches a high of 700 degrees Fahrenheit and holds that high temperature to cook 12-inch pizzas faster than a standard oven. It includes a removable pizza stone that’s also helpful to cook meat and breads. Remove the stone to cook directly on the grill.

Measuring 16.5 by 51.2 by 23.5 inches, the pizza oven features a built-in temperature gauge, offering precise readings of the interior temperature. While the stainless steel dome does grow hot during cooking, it retains the heat for a better and more even cooking experience. A convenient shelf underneath the oven can store firewood or cooking utensils.

This pizza oven balances performance and price for those who want a freestanding oven and wood-fired pizza. The finish isn’t as high quality as some more expensive models, but the size, results, and versatility are very comparable.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Option: BakerStone O-AJLXX-O-000 Portable Gas Pizza Oven
Photo: amazon.com

The BakerStone O-AJFLXXO-00 Portable Gas Pizza Oven comes at an affordable price and offers impressive portability. It’s actually made of two pieces—a bottom burner piece and a top oven piece. These two pieces come apart, and the collapsible legs fold underneath the bottom piece, all of which allow for easier portability and storage. With the oven removed, it’s easier to clean as well. This pizza oven measures 22.6 by 22.2 by 17.7 inches when fully assembled.

The propane-fueled oven reaches a maximum temperature of 800 degrees Fahrenheit to bake pizza in under two minutes. It includes a pizza stone, and an optional full griddle, grill grates, and half griddle/half grill grates are sold separately. The oven’s 15-inch opening provides enough space for 12- to 14-inch pizzas.

Best Wood-Fired

The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Option: U-MAX Outdoor Pizza Oven Wood Fire
Photo: amazon.com

The U-MAX Outdoor Pizza Oven Wood Fire features a 63.4-by-19.5-by-14.5-inch freestanding design with wheels. A thermo-resistant handle lets users safely maneuver it through the yard for easier cooking and storage. The powder-coated stainless-steel exterior resists rust and corrosion and is supported by high-density insulation to reach and maintain a consistent temperature of 700 degrees Fahrenheit in 20 to 30 minutes.

The unique construction of this outdoor pizza oven allows users to conveniently store firewood underneath the oven itself. An interior pizza stone large enough to hold a 12-inch pizza absorbs heat and helps maintain an evenly heated cooking surface. However, users can opt to remove the stone when it’s beneficial for the enamel wires underneath to come in direct contact with foods like steak or bread.

Best Multi-Fuel

The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Option: Bertello Outdoor Pizza Oven
Photo: amazon.com

The Bertello Outdoor Pizza Oven uses an impressive three fuel sources—wood, charcoal, and pellets—right out of the box. However, a separately sold kit can also outfit it for use with propane. This oven reaches a cooking temperature of 930 degrees Fahrenheit within 15 to 20 minutes and cooks up to 12-inch pizzas. The compact 22-by-14-by-10.5-inch design allows smoke and heat to escape through the front opening so the pizzas have a distinct smoky flavor.

For those who want ample fuel choices, this model cooks equally well with all of its fuel sources, holding cooking temperatures steady for consistent results. With the fire at the back of the oven, it does require users to rotate the pizza during cooking. At high temperatures, however, this oven can cook pizzas in five minutes or less.

Best Grill-Top

The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Option: only fire Universal Stainless Steel Pizza Oven Kit
Photo: amazon.com

The only fire Universal Stainless Steel Pizza Oven Kit converts a grill into a pizza oven. Since this oven doesn’t include its own fuel source, users must place the oven on the surface of a grill—as long as the grill can accommodate the 17-by-17-inch base. The oven includes a ceramic pizza stone that retains heat and pulls moisture from the pizza for crisp crusts.

This model holds 14-inch pizzas without requiring users to turn the pizza while cooking. A double-walled ceiling helps the oven to retain heat, so it gets hot enough to cook pizza faster than a standard indoor oven. The lid locks in place for safe cooking but is removable for easier storage. In addition to the pizza stone, the kit also includes an aluminum pizza peel and a food thermometer.

Best High-Temperature

The Best Outdoor Pizza Oven Option: Ooni Pro 16 Outdoor Pizza Oven
Photo: amazon.com

The Ooni Pro 16 Outdoor Pizza Oven may be large, with enough interior space for 16-inch pizzas, but it’s still portable. The 19.29-by-29.13-by-31.1-inch dimensions and collapsible legs make this oven easier to store than a freestanding model.

The oven reaches a maximum of 950 degrees Fahrenheit in just 20 minutes. An insulated steel body and stone baking board absorb and retain heat for more consistent cooking temperatures and fast results. Cook a Neapolitan-style pizza in just 60 seconds.

This model comes ready to cook with either wood or charcoal. However, separately sold kits for pellets and gas are also available, creating the potential to cook with all four fuel types. The downside to the Ooni Pro is the high price; however, this product is versatile, as it can also cook items like meat, fish, and vegetables. For individuals looking to make a long-term investment in outdoor cooking, this outdoor pizza oven is a solid option.

FAQs About Your New Outdoor Pizza Ovens

Cooking in an outdoor pizza oven takes practice. If your questions are still percolating, we’ve got answers to a few of the most frequently asked ones.

Q: Do you need a permit to install an outdoor pizza oven?

State, county, and city laws and regulations vary, but many do require a permit to install an outdoor pizza oven. Homeowners’ associations may have guidelines as well.

Q: What wood do you need for an outdoor pizza oven?

One of the fun things about wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens is the variety of wood options. Different woods give off different smoky flavors. For example, food cooked with cherry wood doesn’t taste the same as food cooked with maple or hickory. It might take some trial and error to find the wood that infuses the food with a flavor you like.

Q: How do you use an outdoor pizza oven?

  • Set up the outdoor pizza oven in a well-ventilated area. The area should also be surrounded by plenty of walking space because the pizza oven gets very hot.
  • Preheat the oven. While some wood-burning ovens can reach the appropriate cooking temperature in as little as five to 10 minutes, you’ll get better results if the entire oven has maintained the temperature for 20 minutes or more.
  • Slide in the pizza using a pizza peel. Some pizza ovens cook quickly (less than five minutes), while others take 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Rotate the pizza while it cooks, if necessary.
  • Remove the pizza with the pizza peel.
  • Let the oven reach optimal temperature again before putting in another pizza.