Ooni Pizza oven is one of the hottest pizza gifts of the year and it’s the type of Kitchen Appliance innovation that we typically give a bad review. Like the Air Fryer or Sous Vide Machine it immediately begs the question, does everyone really need this thing or only a select few?
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The "Free or Cheap" Oonie Alternatives
Ok assuming you have an oven you can just crank that bad boy up to 400 degrees and throw in a pizza. This is how home cooks made pizza for decades. Was it as good as the paisano with their coal oven at the local delivery joint? No, but it works.
The Pizza Stone
Then along came me the pizza stone which assures a nice crisp, crackling crust on your oven baked pizza. Instead of a thin baking ship bleeding heat the stone gets piping hot and mimics a proper large scale pizza oven surface.
Grill Pizza (The BBQ Pizza Method)
Assuming you have a grill, this became popular to get some charcoal or even wood-fire aroma on your pizza. Start on a pizza stone and finish on the rack. The grill can get hotter than an oven and get you closer to that 900 degree environment (within 400 degrees) of Neapolitan style pies.
The Expensive Oonie Alternatives
The Wood-Burning Pizza Oven
The Rolls Royce for the suburban Dad pizza cook. They are incredible if used properly, the only downfall is they take finesse and some time to heat up.
Enter The Oonie Pizza Oven
Along comes this pint-sized, pellet burning thing and even our first reaction was "this has to be a gimmick right?"
Well we used it and here are our immediate takeaways:
- It gets crazy hot, fast, which is important if you don’t want to wait an hour before making pizza. By the time your roll out your dough and organize you toppings the pizza oven is hot.
- You can make many small “custom” pies. This sounds like a throwaway piece of feedback but in today’s world everyone is on a diet or cutting out something so the ability to rip off 5 pies in 20 minutes is incredible. People can make their own and it becomes a sort of oonie pizza party.
- You live and die by your dough (as with all good pizza). Either get good are making it or find a good resource. If your dough is wack you may be better off using an oven.
- Your first couple pizzas will suck but if you get the hang of it dinner becomes a fun family activity which is when dinner is actually worth the effort.
Your Oonie Pizza Dough Recipe Matters...
So is the Oonie Pizza Oven worth it for you?
While like the Sous Vide Machine if you use it every week or so, absolutely. But if you don’t cook at home often, or grill at home, stick to oven baked pizza for your annual party and delivery for anytime you want to eat some pies with some friends.
However, the Oonie can be one of the funnest things to do in the kitchen even for people who don’t like to cook. It’s more like playing a pizza video game than anything else. There are also periodic Oonie pizza oven sales to take advantage of.
Bonus Tip: Get The Oonie Pizza Peel if you pull the trigger.
What would the Italians say?
Who knows but it’s more respectable than Digiorno (we think).
PS: If you are looking for Ooni pizza oven tips check out this blog post from our Pizza Expert Leopard Crust 5 Ideas For A Hot Pizza Summer.
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