What is better than a wood-fired pizza with fresh ingredients? If you’re not sure, don’t worry, because the crew here at Busted Wallet isn’t sure either. We love pizza, and we were extremely excited to test out the Ooni Pro outdoor pizza oven. The Ooni Pro is the big brother to the Ooni Koda and Ooni 3 which we’ve tested in the past. Ooni is an innovator in portable pizza ovens for homeowners. Hosting your own backyard pizza party has never been more easy or affordable.
We’ve had the Ooni Pro on-hand for a few weeks. Were we able to cook excellent wood-fired pizzas at home? Here’s the scoop…
- Large cooking surface (17.7 x17.7’’) that provides plenty of room to cook 16’’ pizzas and bread on the provided baking stones, or meat, vegetables, or pretty much anything else you can cook in a cast iron skillet.
- Can be used with multiple varieties of fuel, including wood, charcoal, wood pellets, or gas.
- Insulated steel body provides excellent heat retention.
- Fast preheat time – can get up to top temperatures within 20 minutes.
- Comes with a baking door with built-in thermometer and a pizza door with an opening to get pizzas in and out of the oven.
- Dimensions: 25.2 x 14.1 x 8.6″ (excluding chimney)
- Weight: 48.5lbs
Setting up the Ooni Pro is very simple. First, open up the four table legs on the main body of the oven. Next, align the chimney and use the clip to attach it securely to the main body. Once the chimney is attached, align the holes in the stone guard with the bolts located at the front of the oven, and secure it in place by tightening the provided flange nuts by hand. This protector keeps the baking stones secure inside the oven. Next, place all 4 baking stones in the oven. Each stone rests on 4 bolts that are at the base of the oven. Next, attach either the baking door or the pizza oven door. Attach the fuel hatch door at the back of the oven and install the charcoal/wood burner by sliding it to the back of the oven.
On paper, this might seem like a lot of steps. It took me maybe 5 minutes to get the entire thing put together. If any of this seems unclear, Ooni has provided an instructional video to help guide you.
When comparing the Ooni Pro to the Ooni Koda or the Ooni 3, the first thing you will notice from looking at the ovens is the size. The Ooni Pro is the largest of the three. The cooking surface in the oven is 17.7 x 17.7 inches, which is much larger than both the Ooni Koda, which has a cooking surface of 13.25 x 13.25 inches, and the Ooni 3, which has a cooking surface of 13.2 x 13.2 inches. This additional space gives you plenty of room to cook a 16 inch pizza (where as the other ovens can only cook a 12” pizza), or room to cook your favorite meats or vegetables in a larger cast iron skillet. The oven comes with four 15mm cordierite baking stones. These stones are thicker than the stone that comes with both the Ooni Koda and the Ooni 3, which is 10mm thick.
Despite its larger size, it is important to note that the oven is still easily transportable. I had no problem getting the oven in and out of my SUV by myself when taking it to a family party. It might not be as easy to move as the other two ovens which are slightly smaller and weigh less, but at 48.5lbs, it is definitely manageable.
The body of the oven is made out of brushed stainless steel with ceramic fiber insulation. Not only does the oven look sleek, but it also heats up quickly and retains its heat, as we note in the performance section below. The oven has a chimney with an adjustable lever that allows you to tweak the amount of airflow through the chimney. Putting the lever in the vertical position allows maximum airflow which encourages a hot burn of the charcoal or wood. Moving it to the horizontal position reduces the airflow which will reduce the flame and temperature. There is a ceiling vent on the inside of the oven that also allows you to adjust the airflow.
One of the most exciting features about the Ooni Pro is that it allows you to choose between 5 fuel sources: charcoal and wood, wood only, charcoal only, wood pellets, and gas. This gives you great flexibility depending on what you want to cook and how you want to cook it. The oven comes with the charcoal/wood burner standard and you can buy the pellet burner or the gas burner separately.
The oven comes with two doors. The first is a baking door, which has a glass window and a built in thermometer. The door helps retain heat inside the oven, and is perfect for baking bread, meat, or vegetables. The second door is a pizza door, which has an open slot big enough to slide your pizzas in and out of the oven. When preheating the oven, I used the baking door to prevent heat from escaping out of the front and so I could monitor the temperature using the built-in thermometer. Once the oven temperature was where I wanted it to be, I let the stones heat up and installed the pizza door just before making my first pie.
For our tests, we used a mixture of charcoal and hardwood as our fuel source. To get the charcoal started, I used a charcoal chimney that I picked up from a local store. I filled the chimney with lump charcoal, put a few pieces of paper underneath the chimney, lit them on fire, and waited about 15 minutes for the charcoal to heat up. I then opened the fuel hatch at the back of the oven and poured the charcoal in. It’s as simple as that.
I then let the oven heat up. With the amount of charcoal that I put in, the oven quickly got up to 600F. I added in some hardwood to boost the temperature even more, and within no time, the oven was up to 750°F. I can’t stress this enough, this oven gets hot, and it gets hot FAST.
Once the oven got up to temperature, I waited for the baking stones to heat up. I used an infrared thermometer to get the temperature of the stones. The stones towards the front of the oven were measured at 694°F, while the stones towards the back of the oven were at least 1000°F (it maxed out my thermometer). This is one thing you need to keep in mind while baking with wood and charcoal: you will need to rotate the pizzas frequently because the back of the oven gets significantly hotter than the front of the oven due to the wood and charcoal being in the back of the oven.
Before putting the first pie in, I put on my Ooni Gloves, removed the baking door, and put on the pizza door. The latching system that Ooni uses to perform these steps is easy to use and makes this process simple. I also added in a few more small pieces of wood so that there would be a flame inside of the oven. The temperature in the oven was around 750°F.
As someone that has baked countless pies in my kitchen oven, I should be able to just start baking great pies in the Ooni Pro, right? Not so fast. The crust on the first pie that I put in got burned pretty badly. I slid this pie in towards the back of the oven and even though I knew I was going to need to rotate the pizza based on the temperature of the baking stones and the location of the flames, I didn’t realize how quickly I needed to do this. After several seconds (probably in the range of 30-45 seconds), I pulled the pizza out to rotate it, and noticed the crust that was closest to the flames was black. I continued cooking the rest of the pie and waited less time to rotate it, and it worked out fine. The crust on those sections did not get burned as badly. It took about 2 minutes to cook the pizza.
This is when I learned my first lesson of baking with the Ooni Pro: baking pizzas using charcoal and wood is not as simple as “put the pizza in the oven, wait, then pull it out once it is done”. Unlike baking in a regular kitchen oven, you will need to keep an eye on the pizza and rotate it before the crust closest to the heat source starts to burn. It is a more “active” style of baking. It takes some getting used to.
I got the second pie ready and again, before putting the pizza in, I put in a few small pieces of hardwood to get a flame going inside the oven. I rotated this pizza much more quickly this time and it came out much better. There were still a few dark areas of the crust. Like the first time, it took around 2 minutes before the pizza was done.
I believe part of my problem was the thickness of the pizza. When stretching the dough out, I couldn’t get the proper thinness I was looking for with this particular dough. Since this dough was not streching as much as I would have liked, I thought I would try to cook another pizza with just charcoal. My hope was that this would reduce the flame, which would hopefully prevent the crust from burning. Using just charcoal, I put the pizza in the middle of the oven and waited. I still rotated the pie, but I didn’t do it as frequently as I did when I had a flame inside of the oven. The crust didn’t burn at all and the pizza turned out excellent. The crust was crispy, the cheese was gooey, it was just how I like it. By not using wood, the temperature inside the oven didn’t get as hot as it did when I was using wood, but it was still very hot (between 600 and 650). I left the pizza in for around 4 minutes.
This experience really highlighted one of the pros of the Ooni Pro. Since you can use multiple types of fuel, you can find the fuel source that best meets your style/method of cooking. If you want an extremely hot oven with a roaring flame, use wood. If you prefer to cook things slower, only put in charcoal. If you want a mixture of the two, use charcoal and only add little pieces of wood when you want. It is completely up to you.
The Ooni Pro has an MSRP of $599. This is essentially double the price of the Ooni Koda ($299) or Ooni 3 ($279). If you are looking for flexibility when it comes to the fuel type or a larger cooking space than the other two ovens, we definitely think this makes the Ooni Pro worth it. If you are looking for something cheap to quickly grill food outside and don’t necessarily care about cooking flexibility, there are probably cheaper alternatives. If you are looking for an excellent oven that can be configured to use a variety of fuel sources and that can cook a large variety of food, look no further. The Ooni Pro is an amazing outdoor oven.
- Love having the option to use multiple fuel sources
- Heats up very quick. Ready to cook in 20 minutes.
- Large cooking surface
- Will take some work to get the cooking technique down