Forget delivery; having your own pizza oven gives you the ability to make delicious wood or gas-fired pizza any day of the week. Still, all good things take time; before you have your next dinner party, you should know how long it takes to heat your pizza oven.
A wood-fired pizza oven takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to heat up, while most gas-powered pizza ovens preheat in just 15 minutes. A pizza oven needs to reach anywhere between 575°F (302°C) and 800°F (427°C) and will typically cook a thin pizza in 1-2 minutes.
The rest of this article will explain how pizza ovens work, the best way to heat a pizza oven, the temperature ranges you’ll need, and some tips and tricks for cooking with your pizza oven at home. Throw those delivery menus in the trash because, with a residential pizza oven, you’ll never go back to take-out.
How Do You Heat a Pizza Oven?
The specific process for heating a pizza oven changes depending on what type of oven you have, but most ovens have the same basic requirements.
To heat a pizza oven, you must start a fire in the inner heat chamber. The heat of the fire will grow as it transfers heat from the flames to the oven and the air inside the oven. Using a temperature gun, check the heat level intermittently until you have reached the desired temperature.
While your pizza oven is heating, it may be necessary to use a pizza oven rake to stoke the fire. Be sure to wear heat-resistant gloves while working with your pizza oven, as it will reach incredibly high temperatures and can cause injury if you are not careful.
Some pizza ovens have built-in temperature gauges that eliminate the need for a handheld temperature gun. This is a convenient feature that is often found in smaller, steel pizza oven options.
Because a pizza oven can take as long as 2 hours to become fully preheated, you will want to ensure you begin this process ahead of time. Once hot, the pizza will cook quickly, but preheating takes time and patience.
How Do Pizza Ovens Work?
A pizza oven works by using fire to heat the floor and inner dome of the oven, transferring heat to the air and creating a super hot chamber that can cook your pizza in 2 minutes or less.
There are many different types of pizza ovens, including brick, stone, and even steel. There is also a multitude of heating elements used to heat the firebox. The most commonly used elements are wood, gas, and charcoal.
Because of the pizza oven’s dome shape, the pizza is cooked using radiant heat. This means that the heat used to cook your pizza comes from the fire at the base of the oven as well as the air all around it. Radiant heat makes it possible to reach super high temperatures, resulting in a super quick cooking experience and a delicious, smoky flavor.
What Temperature Is Needed for a Pizza Oven?
A pizza oven needs to reach between 575°F (302°C) and 800°F (427°C) to cook a pizza. For a thin, crispy pizza, you’ll need a higher temperature, whereas, for a softer, less crispy pizza, you’ll want to aim closer to 575°F (302°C). You can adjust this temperature based on your personal preference.
The ideal temperature for your pizza oven depends heavily on what you are cooking. Conveniently, pizza ovens can be used to cook more than just pizza. In fact, these ovens are an excellent cooking device for a wide variety of delicious foods!
Next to pizza, here are some of the best options for foods you can cook in a pizza oven:
- Savory Steak
- Saucy Ribs
- Seasoned Chicken
- Homemade Bread
- Corn on the cob
- Thanksgiving Turkey
- Tender Potatoes
You can also use your pizza oven to whip up delectable desserts like s’mores, cinnamon rolls, or a tasty cheesecake!
While pizza and flatbreads are almost always cooked in the 600°F (316°C) to 800°F (427°C) range, other types of foods may require different temperatures. Take a look at this table to get an idea of what temperature you might need for your next meal:
|Food Type||Temperature Range|
|Most breads, seafood||215°F (102°C) – 400°F (204°C)|
|Seasoned vegetables, corn on the cob||400°F (204°C) – 650°F (343°C)|
|Pastries (scones, muffins, etc.)||475°F (246°C) – 825°F (441°C)|
|Turkey, chicken, potatoes||450°F (232°C) – 540°F (282°C)|
|Desserts (cakes, brownies, cupcakes)||320°F (160°C) – 400°F (204°C)|
If you are cooking more than one dish, you can start with the food item that requires the highest heat and rotate in other dishes as the pizza oven cools down. This will help to make sure everything is hot and ready at the same time!
You can also use a pizza oven to reheat leftover dishes! Just be sure that whatever you are heating is in a fire-safe dish that will catch any drippings as the food warms up.
Tips & Tricks for Cooking With a Pizza Oven
Now that you know how to get your pizza oven up to temperature, we’re ready to share with you some of the most important tips and tricks for cooking with your pizza oven at home. Whether you are cooking pizza or reheating last night’s tuna casserole, these tips will have your pizza oven working up to its full potential.
- Use a pizza peel. It is essential that, along with heat-safe gloves, you use a pizza peel for placing the pizza and removing it. This tool will help create distance between yourself and the heat, reducing the potential for burns and discomfort. We recommend the Cieso Aluminium Pizza Peel on Amazon.com because it is excellent for commercial and home use and has a nice, long handle at 15.5 inches (381 mm).
- Set a timer. Because pizza ovens cook each pizza so quickly, you might think you don’t need to use a timer. After all, 90 seconds is so quick; you could probably eyeball it, right? Wrong. This common mistake often leaves pizzas crunchy and burnt because the person cooking it got distracted or lost track of time. Be sure to set a timer every time.
- Allow the pizza time to cool. Cutting your pizza too soon after cooking can cause toppings to slip and slide right off the crust. Be sure to give it adequate time to cool before cutting and serving so that your toppings stay intact and no one burns their mouths.
- Make sure the oven is fully preheated before cooking. Because pizza ovens take so long to preheat, throwing your pizza in a little bit early can sometimes be tempting. Don’t make this rookie mistake! Wait until your pizza oven has reached the recommended temperature, or your pizza could end up less than crispy and unevenly cooked.
Pizza ovens take about 1.5 to 2 hours to heat up when heated by fire. If you have a gas-powered pizza oven, it will typically come to temperature in just about 15 minutes. There are many different types of pizza ovens available, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to produce delicious pizza!