What can you cook in a pizza oven apart from pizza? The list is more extensive than you might have thought. But how versatile your oven is really depends on the model you choose.
So while the best pizza ovens are perfect for cooking a whole array of dishes – from meat to veggie skewers – you may also need a cast-iron plate or skillet to place your food upon. It’s worth bearing in mind that the oven temperature for many of these dishes won’t need to be as high as it would be to make pizza, so you should either reduce the heat manually (if cooking with gas) or just cook on it right away before the oven reaches super high temperatures.
'One of the many benefits of a gas-powered pizza oven is the ability to control the temperature and large cooking space,' says Francesca Fay, brand manager at Ooni. 'This means that not only can it produce perfect pizzas, it’s also great for slow-roasting or searing meats, fish, vegetables as well as baking breads or something sweet. Cast-iron skillets work perfectly in your oven to create pies, fondu or even a giant Yorkshire pudding.'
Experts reveal the answer to what can you cook in a pizza oven
If you've already learned how to use a pizza oven and want to make the most of your latest outdoor accessory, our 10 suggestions for what to cook in a pizza oven are a great place to start.
Tom Gozney, founder of Gozney pizza ovens says: ‘With a smaller pizza oven you can easily pop a small skillet pan in and then cook everything from burgers, steaks, prawns and eggs or you can bake things like flatbreads and calzones directly on the stone floor. With bigger ovens, such the Gozney Dome, you can do so much more. With its range of accessories, you’ll be able to bake bread, steam fish, slow cook meat… the list goes on and on.’
1. Pizza (of course!)
Cooking pizza is probably the main reason why most people opt to buy a pizza oven. The results you can get in a pizza oven are far superior to those in a standard oven, and once you've tried them you'll no longer be questioning are pizza ovens worth it.
'Having a pizza oven has been a game changer in our house,' says Beth Murton, editor of Gardeningetc. 'It's so easy to get great results, and they're super fast to cook with too, with each pizza oven recipe taking less than a minute in the oven.'
Not overloading your pizza with toppings is key for Beth. 'My top tip for getting great results is to go easy on the toppings,' she says. 'For a crisp, restaurant quality base, ease off on the tomato topping as adding too much will mean your pizza just goes soggy in the oven. I also tend to cook our tomatoes on the hob beforehand to reduce some of the liquid, which makes for a richer, thicker consistency for your tomato topping.
'Also, make sure you remember to rotate your pizza halfway through cooking for better results,' she adds. 'If you don't do this, the likelihood is one half of the pizza will be burned, while the other is undercooked.'
2. Freshly baked bread
The secret to great bread in the pizza oven is to keep turning the loaf as it cooks to ensure even baking. For DeliVita's sour dough loaf recipe you need the right pizza oven temperature – they recommend placing it into the oven at around 390˚F (200˚C) for about 30 minutes, and rotating as necessary to brown/cook evenly.
It's important to leave the dough to rise for a few hours beforehand to allow the yeast to do its work. But if you're an impatient chef, you could try flatbreads like garlic pizza bread which can be rolled out like you would with pizza and put straight in the oven.
3. Slow-cooked meat
Whatever meat you're planning on slow-cooking the most important thing is the container you're cooking in. Theo Michaels, the creator of this slow cooked beef brisket recipe for DeliVita uses a tight fitting casserole dish which is further sealed with aluminim foil.
If you want to be able to slow-cook meat in your oven, when searching for pizza ovens look for an option which has a door. This will need to be kept closed to allow the meat to cook for around four hours at a temperature of 320˚F (160˚C). If cooking with a wood-fired oven, Theo advises 'checking the oven temperature every hour, then topping up with kindling if it falls below.'
4. Tasty fish
Delicious fish dishes are easy to make in your pizza oven. Whether you opt for one-pot dishes like a tasty fish stew, or something like the mouth-watering Teriyaki salmon fillets recipe from Ooni, you won't be disappointed.
For one pot dishes, be sure to use roasting trays which are made completely of metal. Just like in a regular oven, plastic handles will not withstand the high heat of pizza ovens.
If you prefer to sear or grill fish, you'll need to use something like a skillet or Ooni's cast-iron Sizzler pan to cook it in your pizza oven.
5. One-pot wonders
On a fall day there's not much better than a hearty bowl of chilli. And what gives a pizza-oven chilli the edge over a standard pot is the deep smokey flavor. Ideal for a wood-fired oven, the experts at DeliVita recommend adding a fist-full of smoking wood to the embers every 30-45 minutes or so to ensure the smokey flavor infuses properly.
You can start this recipe off as you would your usual chilli and then give it 2-3 hours to slow-cook in a pot in the pizza oven. Cook at around 250-320˚F (120-160˚C).
6. Delicious sides
We all know the importance of sides in an outdoor cookout. For some people, side dishes can be even more exciting than the main event! These mouth-watering jalapeño bacon poppers are a great example of a delicious side that can be made in your pizza oven in a matter of minutes.
You will want to make them in batches using pizza oven accessories such as a skillet pan, or a pizza stone is fine too. You'll know when they're cooked as the bacon will start to go crispy. Don't put these in when the pizza oven is at too high a heat as the bacon will burn before the rest of it has time to cook.
7. Vegan dishes
The list of what can you cook in a pizza oven also includes classic dishes like curries. And as most veggie curry recipes are plant based they make perfect dishes for your vegan guests. The trick is to gently fry up your spices or shop-bought paste on the stove first to release their flavors. Stir in your onions and veg and allow them to cook for a few minutes before adding coconut milk and vegetable stock.
Transfer your curry to cook in a pre-heated pizza oven until the vegetables have softened. Turn the pan and stir the mixture regularly to ensure an even spread of heat. Make this recipe even more personal by using seasonal crops from your small vegetable garden ideas with a sprinkling of cilantro.
Padron peppers make the perfect bitesize veggie side snack to make up part of your spread. They're ideal for throwing into the pizza ovens as barely any prep is needed, they just go in as they are with a sprinkling of oil and salt.
Ooni say to preheat your skillet pan in the pizza oven until it reaches 390˚F (200˚C) and cook the peppers until they are blistered and browning.
9. Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey
Pizza ovens can be used all year round for your garden party ideas, not just during the summer months. And this means what can you cook in a pizza oven extends to some festive, holiday recipes. If you manage to find a pizza oven large enough, or a turkey small enough to fit in whole then kudos!
But the likelihood is that your Thanksgiving turkey will need to be cooked in smaller portions in your pizza oven, which is ideal if you're celebrating in a small group. A meat thermometer is a useful tool with a recipe from Ooni’s favorite Canadian backyard grilling guru James Synowicki, to ensure you cook your bird to perfection.
James designed the recipe for a wood- or charcoal-fired oven. He even recommends having a go at your making your own cranberry sauce to have along side these juicy turkey breasts.
If you're catering for larger groups or want to cook an entire turkey, one of the best BBQs will be up to the job.
10. Tasty desserts
If you're still wondering what can you cook in a pizza oven, you'll be pleased to know the options also extend to desserts. Following along the Thanksgiving theme this candied pumpkin seed pie by Ooni is perfect for cooking in a cooler oven.
So if you decide to try the turkey breast recipe above, then stick your pumpkin pie in to bake once you've taken it out. The residual heat as the oven cools down will ensure that your pie cooks without scorching your pastry. Remember to factor in cooling time once your pie is cooked, which should take about 30 minutes, depending on your pizza oven.
Other great options for rustling up in your outdoor kitchen include pizzas with sweet toppings, chocolate brownies baked in a skillet pan, cookies or even baked fruit.
Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.
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