The pizza oven has become the cool way to cook al fresco. Usually powered by wood or gas, it’ll turn out a crispy margherita in a minute or two, but you’ll also be able to use it to slow-roast meat or bake artisan breads. Plus, it’ll look totally amazing on your patio.
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We’ve rounded up the best options on the market, whether you’re serious about cooking or just want a heavenly Hawaiian served up quicker than a Dominos delivery.
Best pizza ovens
1. Delivita – best posh portable pizza oven
Enjoy pizza anywhere and any way you want it with this transportable oven. Handmade in Yorkshire, it’s one of the most beautiful ovens out there.
A full-size oven could swamp a small garden or balcony – but not this pint-size retro cutie.
Powered by gas and seen above in a lush Aubergine, this design was made to stand out, with the colour enhanced by its Mid-century style sleek oak legs You can opt from a choice of five alternative colours; fiery Lava Red, Black Charcoal, Azure Blue and Cream.
There’s an optional stand, so you can set up in the garden or pack it up and take it camping or to festivals. And it’s perfectly equipped to cook all manner of foods aside from pizza. That’s thanks to an optional griddle, £125, which means it doubles up as a BBQ.
Hungry? The best news is that the Firepod can reach optimum cooking temperature in just 6-8 minutes – an impressive feat considering that’s how long it takes to make a pizza!
Nothing says authentic quite like cooking pizza in a clay oven. This stylish design consists of a cooking dome and chiminea made from traditional, crack-resistant clay, which is guaranteed for 5 years against cracking due to thermal shock.
The rustic oven cavity needs to be heated from within first. One firing is then good for cooking two to three pizzas, one at a time.
Go from stone-cold to stone-baked in just 10 minutes! The Uuni 3 is powered by fast-burning wood pellets that get the oven temperature up to 500°C, and it takes just 60 seconds to cook up a heavenly Hawaiian pizza – you can’t ask for better timing when it comes to entertaining.
What’s more, the removable chimney and foldable legs makes it easy to sling in the boot of the car and take it wherever you may be required to host a pizza party.
How to buy a pizza oven – everything you need to know
Image credit: Morso
Check the weight of your pizza oven
Pizza ovens – particularly clay or brick ovens – can be VERY heavy and tricky to manoeuvre without equipment or a team of helpers. It’s always worth looking at the weight before you order, and check that if it is a beast, that the supplier will move it into position for you.
Alternatively, pick a design on wheels that you can move around the garden.
Know your fuels
Pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven for that signature smoky flavour. However, some pizza ovens have gas burners that will get your oven cavity up to temperature much quicker. Charcoal and pellet burners are other options.
The temperature of your oven will peak somewhere between 400 and 500 degrees C, and the better your oven maintains its temperature, the more pizzas you can produce from one ‘firing’.
Image credit: Sandtex
Note the cooking times
A small oven will take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes to heat up (around 10 if you’re using gas, and closer to 20 if you’re opting for pellets or charcoal. Larger ovens can take anything up to an hour. You’re typical pizza will take around six minutes to cook, though remember to turn it for an even bake.
The smallest gas-powered ovens, however, can do the job in as little as 60 seconds. Every oven is different, but it won’t take long to ‘learn’ its optimal cooking time.
Treasure those little extras
A temperature gauge is handy, as you’ll always know when you’re ready to cook. A few ovens come with a pizza paddle designed to fit the cavity perfectly, though this is the exception rather than the rule.
Look out for models with griddles, as then you’ll be able to use your oven as a barbecue and not have to own two separate outdoor cookers.
‘For a 10-inch pizza with an authentic thin base, roll out a piece of dough just larger than a golf ball, certainly no bigger,’ says Digital Editor (and pizza aficionado) Amy Cutmore. ‘Also, don’t go too crazy with your toppings – overloading can cause your pizza not to cook properly.’