If you’ve ever tried cooking a pizza at home, you may have struggled to get that perfectly crispy crust that your local pizza joint seems to be able to achieve so effortlessly. Whether you wound up with nicely cooked toppings and perfectly melted cheese but a soft and chewy crust, or vice versa, you can take heart that it probably wasn’t your fault. You simply didn’t have the right tools for the job.
Cooking a pizza perfectly requires very high heat that is evenly spread throughout the entire oven, something that most residential ovens simply can’t produce. Your best bet is to buy a dedicated pizza oven like the Breville Pizza Maker. This model reaches well over 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and it features a ceramic cooking stone that draws moisture out of the dough to produce a fully cooked pizza with a crispy crust in as little as six minutes.
Other than obvious differences like size and design, the main thing that sets a pizza oven apart from the standard oven you find in every home kitchen is how hot it can get. Regular ovens top out at 500-550 degrees, whereas commercial pizza ovens usually get to 700-900 degrees. Most residential indoor pizza ovens don’t get quite that hot, but many do reach 550-700 degrees. High temperatures like these are the best way to cook a pizza if you want a nice, crispy crust in a short period of time.
How often you expect to be cooking pizza should factor into your decision-making process when choosing which model to buy. If you’ll be cooking pizzas fairly often, it makes sense to spend the money to buy a dedicated pizza oven that is packed with useful features that improve chances of getting restaurant-quality results.
On the other hand, if you don’t think you’ll be cooking pizzas all that often, it may be smarter to buy a multi-purpose oven that is just as good for roasting a small chicken or reheating leftovers, as it is for cooking a pizza. While these often don’t get quite as hot as dedicated pizza ovens, they should produce adequate results.
Some indoor pizza ovens have a stone or ceramic cooking surface, while others have a steel surface. Stone and ceramic are porous, which makes them good at drawing moisture out of the dough and producing a crispy crust in a short amount of time. The drawback of these surfaces is that they can be stained and potentially broken if not handled properly.
Steel cooking surfaces are easier to clean, especially if you choose a model with a nonstick coating. However, because they aren’t porous and don’t hold heat as well, it usually takes longer to fully cook a pizza and obtain a crispy crust on them.
Pizza ovens have heating elements on the top and bottom to ensure even cooking of both the crust and the toppings. On high-end models, these heating elements may be independently adjustable, which gives you the ability to cook both thin crust and Neapolitan-style pizza and still have everything come out perfectly cooked.
Nearly all pizza ovens allow you to adjust the temperature, but they don’t all accomplish it in the same way. Some models are equipped with thermostats that offer precise control of the oven temperatures. These are usually the best choice if you want to cook other types of food inside your pizza oven that may not require extremely hot temperatures.
Other indoor pizza ovens simply have settings for different crusts thickness that will determine how hot they cook. For example, if you choose “thick” for the crust setting, the oven will cook at a lower temperature to ensure the dough gets cooked all the way through and crispy before the toppings burn. The “thin” setting will cook at a higher temperature.
It isn’t uncommon to get distracted by other things when cooking a meal. And when that happens, the result is often burnt food. To avoid this, you may want to consider choosing an indoor pizza oven that features a built-in timer.
Indoor pizza ovens start around $50 for the most budget-friendly models, while premium options can cost $500 or more. Most people should be able to find one that fits their needs for $250 or less.
A. Though you can cook a frozen pizza in an indoor pizza oven, you might be better off doing so in a regular oven. This is because frozen pizzas will release a lot of steam from the bottom, resulting in a crust that is soft rather than crispy. Instead, try putting it directly onto the rack of your regular oven.
A. In most indoor pizza ovens, you won’t need to precook the dough before adding the sauce and toppings. However, if you have a pizza oven that doesn’t get very hot, precooking the dough beforehand can help ensure the crust gets crispy before the toppings burn. You may need to test out your new pizza oven both ways to determine which is best.
What you need to know: A sleek and compact model that matches high-end appliances, the Breville Pizza Maker is a great buy for anyone that likes to make pizzas often.
What you’ll love: It features several crust settings and can fully cook a pizza in as little as six minutes.
What you should consider: It’s not ideal for thick Neapolitan-style pizzas because it can burn the toppings before the crust gets fully cooked.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven
What you need to know: If you like to watch your food cook, there is no better choice than the Presto Pizzazz, which has a fully exposed rotating pizza tray.
What you’ll love: The upper and lower elements can be operated independently to achieve the perfect doneness of both the crust and the toppings.
What you should consider: Because of its open-air design, you need to take caution when using it around children.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Wayfair and Home Depot.
Oster Convection Oven with Dedicated Pizza Drawer
What you need to know: This multi-purpose countertop convection oven features a drawer for cooking pizzas, making it an ideal choice for those who don’t have room for a dedicated pizza oven.
What you’ll love: It has a wide variety of settings for cooking a range of foods, and the built-in timer helps ensure you don’t accidentally burn your meal.
What you should consider: It doesn’t get as hot as a dedicated pizza oven.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.