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Ooni Volt 12 Pizza Oven Review: Testing Out an Innovative Electric Oven

Ooni Volt 12 Pizza Oven

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Updated May 7, 2024

One culinary activity that many people find intimidating is making pizza from scratch at home. Aside from having to learn and master an entirely new cooking skill, you’re left with some decisions. There are pizza stones that can be used in a traditional oven. However, most home ovens don’t get nearly hot enough, and because of the large size of the oven, the heat distribution isn’t ideal for cooking a pizza. Not to mention that you’ll either need multiple stones or plenty of time if you want to cook more than one pizza since the stone needs to be reheated for every new pizza.

So if you’ve decided that you want to get a pizza oven for your home, buy an investment that you’ll feel confident in. There are many options for outdoor or “hybrid” ovens, ranging from propane, natural gas, wood-fired, charcoal, electric, and more.

Coming into this endeavor with 10+ years of pizza-making experience in the restaurant industry meant I took my time deciding which models would be a good fit and also had my skepticism on high alert. I decided to take a closer look at the Ooni Volt 12, an electric model that brings a bit more versatility that a home pizza maker would find appealing—it can be used indoors or outdoors, it can reach temperatures of 850 degrees, and it heats up quickly. For the ultimate test, I unboxed the Ooni Volt 12 on Super Bowl Sunday, with the goal of making a bunch of pizzas quickly so we could sit down and enjoy the game. The results were nothing short of impressive for me and delicious for everyone else involved.

Unboxing and first impressions

As previously mentioned, I have a background in making pizzas professionally—so you can imagine the “Christmas morning” level of excitement as I opened the new addition to the appliance arsenal. Right from the get-go, I knew this was going to be a quality machine. The box was sturdy and very big—large enough that our little chef immediately requested to “make a spaceship” with it. It bears mentioning that the box makes the oven seem heavier than you’d think (about 52 pounds in the box, 39 pounds out of the box) and is inside a sturdy corrugated outer box for extra protection.

A lot of care went into protecting this pizza oven, and for good reason. After making my way through the two boxes and layers of inner packaging and cardboard, I was greeted by a gorgeous matte-black pizza oven that was pretty much ready to use out of the box.

Ooni Volt 12 pizza oven price

The Ooni Volt 12 pizza oven is one of the newest innovations from Ooni—a brand that is among the top names in home pizza ovens. Currently, it is $899 at Ooni, though it usually retails for $999.

Key features

Technical specs:

  • Dimensions: 24.2 inches deep x 20.8 inches wide x 10.9 inches tall
  • Cooking area: 13-inch x 13-inch square pizza stone
  • Heating time: 20 minutes; gets the oven to 850 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cooking time: About 90 seconds (once the oven is heated to 850 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Power: 1600 watts
  • Voltage: 120 volts

What it does:

  • Ready to use right out of the box
  • Adjustable dials for top and bottom temperature control
  • Built-in timer and temperature control (with a “boost” feature)
  • Relatively small countertop footprint
  • Entirely electric (no fuels required)
  • Fast heating to top temp and equally fast recovery
  • Heat-retaining triple-paned borosilicate glass door
  • Powder-coated carbon steel and stainless steel construction
  • 13-inch cordierite baking stone
Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Ooni Volt 12 pizza oven design

The Ooni Volt 12 solves several issues when it comes to home pizza ovens. The first (and in my opinion) most important is the fully electric design, allowing outdoor and indoor use. In terms of counter space, it’s relatively economical for a fully functional pizza oven (24.2 inches deep, including the door handle x 20.8 inches wide) and fits on most counters or tables. The carbon steel/stainless steel construction helps to keep the heat inside the oven where it belongs while the door is closed. Simple design elements on the inside make it super easy to clean and maintain.

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Bryan Murray / iStock

Ooni Volt 12 pizza oven performance

One of the most difficult to replicate features from a commercial pizza oven to a consumer model is heating speed and temperature regulation. The Ooni Volt 12 does this better than any consumer oven I’ve seen or tested.

First off, the oven is ready to go after one initial 20 minute heat up and cool down to full temperature. I was impressed that it only takes the oven 20 minutes to reach 850 degrees Fahrenheit. But what absolutely floored me was how quickly the oven “recovers” after cooking a pizza. Placing cold uncooked pizza dough onto a stone causes the stone to drop in temperature rapidly, but the Ooni Volt 12 maintains its temperature steadily. And more importantly, you have simple control over the temperature that takes effect quickly.

I’m used to cooking pizza at around 650 degrees, and it was easy to keep the stone in that temperature range. The two dials allow you to divide the temperature how you choose between the top and bottom heating elements, how hot each element gets, and offers a “boost” option to get one element very hot and very fast. I was about to cook eight 12-inch pizzas in about one hour. If you aren’t familiar with pizza making and/or baking on a stone, this is very efficient.

How to use the Ooni volt 12 pizza oven

Ease of use/user Friendliness

I took this pizza oven out of the box, brought it to full temperature, cooled it to room temperature (required before first use), brought it back to full temperature, and had it ready to use in under an hour. Very little to no pizza-making had this pizza oven out of the box, brought to full temperature and cooled to room temp (required before first use), brought back to full temperature, and ready to use in under an hour. Very little to no pizza-making experience is needed to get started with this oven

Maintenance and cleaning

The first time using the Ooni Volt 12 was on Super Bowl Sunday, so I definitely took a gamble (as far as anticipating clean-up goes) on a machine I hadn’t used previously. I made eight 12-inch pizzas with a variety of toppings. If you haven’t made homemade pizza before, it’s a messy process. Even after eight pizzas, the cleanup took roughly three minutes (not including the hour or so it took to cool down to room temperature). I then used the optional brush to clean the pizza stone, which took less than a minute. The inside of the oven is constructed with virtually no gaps or hidden spaces for stray crumbs or flour to make their way into.

Storage

The counter footprint is always a consideration with any new kitchen appliance, but with an item like this, it also requires some forethought regarding storage after use. Not every kitchen has the counter surface area to house a 24-inch x 20-inch appliance (when not in use), I can tell you mine doesn’t. I’ve found any typical garage or storage room shelf is ideal. You can potentially stow this away vertically but be sure to make sure it is safe and secure. Keeping the weight in mind (just under 40 pounds), your best bet is to find somewhere on a bottom shelf or a sturdy metal or heavy-duty plastic shelf.

Quality of the pizza stone

The pizza stone is made of cordierite ceramic, which is one (if not) the best materials for pizza/baking stones. It’s safe, non-absorbent, durable, and handles rapid temperature changes like a champion.

Quality of temperature control

The oven heats up to 850 degrees in 20 minutes, cooks a 12-inch pizza in 90 seconds at that temperature, and returns to cooking temperature in two to four minutes. This means you can make several pizzas very quickly. The temperature control is just three dials with a few functions for each.

Quality of construction

You can feel the durability from the moment you position the oven on your counter or cooking surface. This is built to last for years.

Ooni volt 12 pizza oven pros and cons

Pros:

  • Super user-friendly.  Out of the box and the first pizza made in 90 minutes
  • Precise and effective temperature control
  • Durable carbon steel/stainless steel construction
  • Relatively small countertop footprint
  • Fully-electric, good for indoor or outdoor use
  • High-quality cordierite ceramic pizza stone
  • Very easy to clean and maintain

Cons:

  • Storage may be difficult if you don’t have a garage, closet, or den with sufficient shelving
  • The oven can reach 850 degrees, so there is a risk of smoking/grease fire if you spill liquids or cook with fats/oils
  • It’s an investment at $999, but a worthy one at that
  • You’ll need a safe area and surface to use the oven; read the instructions carefully before your first use for the best advice

Ooni volt 12 pizza oven: Is it for you?

I spent a long time working in pizzerias and restaurants, and love cooking at home. There are two barriers of entry that I considered when deciding if an in-home pizza oven was the right fit for my needs. First, I needed something that was easy to set up and then put away because of the limited space in my modest condo kitchen.

The Ooni Volt 12 handles this by taking up a relatively small amount of space on your counter. Just make sure you are ready for “pizza night” by making sure your prep area and oven area are planned out and close to one another.

The second question I asked myself was: Will this oven not only work for warmer months for outdoor gatherings, but is it going to be able to safely and effectively perform indoors during the colder months? There are a few indoor electric pizza ovens on the market, and they vary widely in performance, cleanup, and other features. The volt was a pleasure to use and easy to clean up. And it didn’t turn my condo into a sauna because the heat stays inside the oven where it belongs.

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Can you cook other things in the Ooni volt 12 pizza oven?

The Ooni Volt 12 is a high-powered electric oven. So, pretty much anything you could cook in a conventional oven, you could cook in the Ooni Volt 12—just keep in mind the height restriction. I made garlic knots the same night at the pizza, and they came out perfect. While you could possibly cook things like steaks and other meats in the appropriate (and high-temperature safe) pans/baking dishes, keep in mind that fatty foods can smoke up at high temperatures, and the last thing you want is a smoky kitchen with the windows open—or worse, risk a grease fire. To be safe, stick to foods that basically start out with pizza dough (like garlic knots, breadsticks, etc.).

Ooni volt 12 pizza oven accessories

Ooni Perforated Pizza Peel

I have always used a traditional wooden pizza peel (maple is the best, and I’ll plant my flag on that) but I decided to try this peel made specifically for the Ooni brand ovens. I’d also never used a perforated peel before, and I was surprised at how well it performed. It is great for a beginner or pizza-making veteran.

Ooni Perforated Pizza Peel

Ooni Perforated Pizza Peel

Ooni Pizza Oven Brush

You’d think that any brush is adequate for cleaning soot/crumbs/debris off of your pizza stone. But this brush is so much better than the typical grill/oven brush. The bristles are soft but rigid enough to clear the mess easily. And the scraper is safe for the surface of the stone too!

Ooni Pizza Oven Brush

Ooni Pizza Oven Brush

Ooni Digital Infrared Thermometer

If you ask me about essential kitchen tools, I’ll be the first one to tell you that a good infrared thermometer will be at the top of the list. This Ooni model is fast, accurate to 4 degrees Fahrenheit, and takes the guesswork out of determining your oven and stone temperature.

Ooni Digital Infrared Thermometer

Ooni Digital Infrared Thermometer

Ooni Pizza Turning Peel

This is great for beginners who want to be able to keep the pizza in the oven while turning it a couple of times during cooking. Less time off the stone means more time for the bottom crust to get crispy. The perforations let the flour fall through to the stone and decrease the mess.

Ooni Pizza Turning Peel

Ooni Pizza Turning Peel

Where to buy an Ooni volt 12 pizza oven

You can purchase the Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven directly from the Ooni Pizza Ovens website or Amazon. It’s also widely available from many retailers that offer higher-end kitchen appliances, like Williams-Sonoma, King Arthur Baking, Bespoke Post, and Sur La Table.

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Alternatives to the Ooni volt 12 pizza oven

Breville, the Smart Oven® Pizzaiolo

The Breville Pizzaiolo is a quality oven from a trusted brand. With a slew of “smart” features that connect to the Breville mobile app and a 12 inch pizza capacity, it’s the closest you can get to the Ooni Volt 12.

the Smart Oven® Pizzaiolo

Cuisinart Portable Countertop Indoor Pizza Oven

A 12-inch pizza in about 5 minutes at a lower price point than the Ooni Koda. Still boasts a fair amount of features and the high quality you expect from Cuisinart.

Cuisinart Indoor Pizza Oven – Bake 12” Pizzas in Minutes – Portable Countertop Pizza Oven – Stainless Steel - CPZ-120

Cuisinart Indoor Pizza Oven – Bake 12” Pizzas in Minutes – Portable Countertop Pizza Oven – Stainless Steel - CPZ-120

Final verdict

Having made thousands of pizzas over the years of experience I've had in a restaurant setting, I was excited, albeit skeptical, when testing an electric pizza oven. My preferred method of heat was always gas over wood-fired or charcoal, and I had never even considered electric to be able to meet the challenge. I was immediately humbled and quickly impressed by the way the Ooni Volt 12 performed. I can’t stress enough how efficient eight pizzas in 60 minutes are with only one cooking surface. My favorite feature by far is the temperature control and how fast the oven reaches cooking temperatures. The boost feature took some getting used to, and my first two to three pizzas were a little more done on top than on the bottom. But once I got the hang of the temperature controls, I was off to the races. If you have the counter space and a designated storage area/shelf and want to make pizza night a part of your household, then you really can’t go wrong with the Ooni Volt 12.

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

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