Ooni Koda 12 pizza oven review | Portable, easy, and great results

by W. Andrew Powell
Ooni Koda 12 pizza oven

Great, home made pizza just takes a few key things; good dough, tasty ingredients, a little time, and a pizza oven. If you have always wanted to make that great pizza in your own back yard, the Ooni Koda 12 pizza oven is very impressive.

The gas pizza oven is light and compact, it’s easy to use, and it’s safe for on top of a glass or wood tables since it’s so well insulated.

Is the Ooni Koda 12 pizza oven right for you? Here’s my full review.

Design and features

Ooni Koda 12

At 24.4″ long, 15.5″ wide, and 11.7″ tall, the pizza oven is about the size of a small, table-top BBQ, and it hooks up to a standard propane tank, or you can use an adapter to connect it to a 1 lb propane tank to make it extra portable.

The outside has a powder-coated finish, it’s weather resistant, and it weighs just 20 lbs.

On the back of the oven you’ll find the dial, for starting the oven and adjusting the temperature down low, or cranking it up to 950°F or 500°C. The bottom of the oven features three legs that pivot out, and they’re very sturdy and stable. And the oven opening is 13″ across, so you can make up to a 12″ pizza.

Inside, the oven has a cordierite baking stone that holds heat and radiates it nicely into your pizza, and it works well for metal pans too, so you can make steaks, roasted vegetables, and more.

The oven also has a safety feature that will cut the gas if the flame goes out.

I was really impressed with how the insulation of the pizza oven keeps the outside from heating up, so it’s safer in many ways than a BBQ or other propane stoves. The design overall really impressed me for simplicity and efficiency.

Using the pizza oven

Pizza in the Ooni Koda 12

To start using the oven you just need to attach your gas supply, and then push in the dial at the back and turn it counter-clockwise. After a few moments, you’ll hear the gas light, and you can set the dial to your preferred temperature. I found that the middle worked fairly well, but you can test this out, as it will also depend on the thickness of your pizza and dough.

Before you start using the Koda 12 though, the pizza oven needs to be warmed up the first time for 30 minutes, to properly season the baking stone. Once that’s done, you can start cooking.

After the pizza oven has been seasoned, you can use it immediately, or you should warm up the oven for about 15-20 minutes to get a good temperature inside. Wind can be a factor in getting a good inside temperature, so if you have a space that’s a little more protected from gusts, that’s a little easier to cook.

I’m still a novice at making pizzas, but it just takes a little practice, and the right dough goes a long way too.

If you want a full breakdown on how I recommend making a great pizza, I’ll have a story on that soon. For now just know that pizza ovens like this work best with lighter and thinner dough, and cooking just takes about 60 to 90 seconds when the temperature is set higher. You’ll make the pizza on the peel, using well-floured dough so it slides off inside the oven, and you just give it a bit of a push to slide off the peel.

There’s a trick to that part, too, as pushing too hard can knock off the ingredients inside, but practice makes perfect, and you get to eat the results.

Every 20 seconds or so, you should turn the pizza, to keep it evenly cooking. The best pizza will have a slight char, bubbly spots, and otherwise a golden brown colour crust, with all the cheese melted and a little crispy in places.

Cooking with the Ooni Koda 12

If you want to experiment for a slower-cooked pizza, you can dial it down a little and try cooking pizza for around 2-3 minutes.

With the Koda 12, I did find that thicker dough, if it wasn’t rolled out enough, it could be tough to cook through to the centre, but that’s just a sign that you need to adjust temperature, and make sure the pizza is sitting in the middle of the stone.

For other food, like steak or roasted vegetables, you will need a solid steel or cast iron pan, thick oven mitts, and metal utensils. You won’t believe how great a steak can taste when it’s made at 900 degrees. The fat renders beautifully, and when it’s done right, the whole steak will be incredibly soft and tender.

Overall, I was impressed with the cooking and the results. The more you cook, the better the food gets, and the oven retains great heat, even when it is a little windy.

The Koda 12 is available with the option to burn wood or charcoal, and those models come with a chimney, but I love the gas version of the pizza oven for the sheer simplicity.

Should you buy it? Yes!

Ooni Koda 12 control dial

If you love pizza, and you like cooking, plus you want to experiment with sauces and doughs, and create the perfect dish, the Ooni Koda 12 is a great pizza oven. It’s especially perfect for anyone who wants to take their pizza-making camping or to the cottage. It travels incredibly well, but it’s also fine if you just want it for your back yard.

Learning to cook steak, chicken, roasted potatoes, or any number of other recipes that Ooni has on their website is also a lot of fun, and the oven produces vastly different results from your average stove or BBQ. Trust me when I say that you need to try making a steak in the oven. All you need is 6 minutes of cooking and you’ll be amazed.

For anyone looking for their first pizza oven, I think the Koda 12 is excellent, it’s well-priced, and it will last you a long time. In Canada the pizza oven is available for $549 and be sure to check out all the accessories Ooni has available.

Watch my video below to see some of the results from using the pizza oven.

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