You can bake, broil, grill, roast, or braise pretty much anything under the sun in your pizza oven.
According to Forno Piombo, the uniformity of every dish you cook in these specialized ovens comes from the interplay of heat retention, the design of the pizza oven dome, and the presence of radiant heat.
With some practice, you can make everything from braised meats, roasted vegetables, and fajitas to breads and desserts in your pizza oven. I have also made paella in my Ooni with great success.
Determining the ideal cooking temperatures and durations for each dish is key to success here. This article will give you an overview of the variety of dishes you can make in a pizza oven as well as some great recipes to get you started.
But before we get to the recipes, let’s clear up a few things about the oven itself.
Common Foods That You Can Cook in a Wood-fired Pizza Oven:
Other than pizza, you can prepare a variety of savory dishes as well as baked goods in a pizza oven. Some examples include:
- Regular bread loaves
- Flatbreads like naan and pita.
- Casserole dishes like lasagna.
- Croissant, pain au chocolate, and other viennoiseries
- Roasted meats (chicken, pork, etc.)
- Roasted vegetables
- Grilled meats (steak, fish, etc.)
- Desserts (fruit pies, roasted fruit, cookies, etc.)
Please note that the above is a general list. There are other foods that you can cook in a wood-fired pizza oven, depending on the temperature you can reach and maintain in your oven and your own cooking skills, imagination, and preferences.
3 Things I Love to Cook in My Ooni Pizza Oven (With Recipes)
Your Ooni pizza is capable of making so many more delicious foods than just pizza. You can easily whip up a 3-course meal in this oven. Below, you will find the top 3 dishes you can make in your Ooni pizza oven, along with detailed recipes!
Here we go:
I started cooking salmon in my pizza oven about a year ago. And since then, I haven’t looked back. The pizza oven imparts a unique smokiness to the salmon.
The combination of the initial sear and the finish on the hot side results in a perfect balance of a crispy exterior and a soft, flaky interior.
I also like to add some vegetables, such as onions and peppers to your salmon, which will add another layer of flavor.
- A salmon filet. I like to use thick, center-cut fillets, around 6-8 ounces each.
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Any other seasoning of your choice
- High-quality extra virgin olive oil. I use California Olive Ranch.
- Preheat your oven for 8 minutes
- Line your pizza stone with aluminum foil and place it in the oven while it’s preheating, making sure that the foil is not touching the heating element or flame.
- Coat both sides of your salmon filet with a small amount of butter or olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and any other seasoning of choice (i.e., cumin).
- Place your salmon on top of the preheated pizza stone and close the lid for about 15 minutes or until it turns flaky.
Words of Caution
Cooking any kind of fish in such a hot oven can be a little tricky at first. When I first began cooking fish in my pizza oven, I faced a few issues:
- Uneven Cooking: I have lost count of times I have either overcooked or uncooked my salmon. I finally got rid of this problem by investing in a probe thermometer. I aim for145°F or 63°C internal temperature for salmon. Anything above that will dry out the fish.
- Difficulty in Flipping: Flipping delicate salmon fillets without breaking them was another big challenge for me as well. Grilling the salmon with the skin side first solved my problem. The skin added a sort of protective layer to the fish. I also opted for long-handled grill tongs to gently flip the salmon.
Reverse searing is my go-to method for making steaks. The method gives you a really tender, juicy steak with an amazing crust on the outside. It’s also one of the best ways to ensure your steaks turn out perfectly charred but not burnt!
- 1 ribeye steak. I usually go for a thick-cut, bone-in ribeye steak, around 1.5 to 2 inches thick
- Kosher salt, pepper, and smoked paprika for seasoning the meat.
- 4 tablespoons of butter for basting
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- A sprig of rosemary
For this cut of steak, my preferred method is the reverse sear. Here’s how I do it:
- First, I season the steak with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and a hint of smoked paprika for that extra kick.
- I preheat the pizza oven to 275°F and place a cast iron skillet right in there, letting it preheat alongside the oven. I like to cook the steak low and slow first.
- I cook the steak until the internal temp reaches 10-15 degrees below my target doneness. It usually takes about 45 minutes for this particular cut and thickness of meat.
- Next, I’d take out the pan and give the steak a good sear on the stovetop.
- At this point, I’ll also add a knob of butter and a sprig of rosemary for basting.
- Now, it’s time to let the steak rest for a good 10 minutes. This crucial step is the secret to a juicy steak.
- The last step – slice and devour!
Words of Caution
- One thing I’ve learned is to be meticulous with temperature control. Pizza ovens can get scorching hot, and a few extra degrees can mean the difference between a perfect medium-rare and an overcooked steak. Keep a close eye on that temperature gauge.
- Thick cuts are fantastic, but they require patience. If you’re dealing with a particularly thick ribeye, like mine usually are, understand that it might take longer in the low-and-slow phase. Rushing it could result in uneven cooking.
This is one of my favorite types of bread. It’s a simple recipe, but it’s also very versatile. You can use it as an appetizer or serve it with any dish you want!
- 3 1/2 cups (about 500g) of King Arthur 00 flour
- 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and a pinch more to sprinkle on top
- 1 tsp of sugar to feed the yeast. Don’t worry, it won’t make your focaccia sweet.
- 1/2 cup (120ml) of olive oil. A good focaccia requires a generous amount of EVOO.
- 1 1/2 cups (355ml) lukewarm water
- 4 cloves of garlic
- A handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until they form a smooth, supple dough ball. I do it by hand and it takes me 10 minutes tops.
- Foccacia dough needs to be proofed twice. For the first rise, put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until it doubles in size. Mine takes an hour at room temperature.
- After the one-hour mark, I’d gently punch down the risen dough and transfer it to the oiled pan. The next part is quite therapeutic. Press it down evenly with your fingertips, creating those iconic dimples in the process.
- Time for the second rise which takes around 45 minutes. If your kitchen is cold, it will take 30 minutes or less.
- Finally, add the toppings of your choice. I opt for the simple rosemary, garlic, and sea salt combination.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 600 degrees for 10 minutes or until the sides are dark brown in color with slightly charged edges.
Words of Caution
- The contrast between the crisp exterior and soft interior is a key characteristic of focaccia. AP flour or anything other type of flour other than 00 flour won’t bring that texture. King Arthur 00 flour has been my go-to for this exact same reason.
- Choose the right pan size for baking. If it’s too large or too small, it will impact the thickness of the finished product.
- I like to add the garlic halfway through the baking process to prevent it from burning in a high-heat pizza oven. You can also cover it with foil if it starts to brown too early.
Guide to Cooking Temperatures in Pizza Oven
A traditional wood-fired pizza oven can reach up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Ooni can go as high as 932 degrees F.
The high cooking temperature of pizza ovens allows you to cook pretty much anything that needs to be braised or baked at a blazing hot temperature.
Below is a tentative list of things you can cook in your pizza oven with approx. temperature and cooking time:
|Item||Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Cooking Time|
|Yeasted Bread Loaf||450-500||15-20 minutes|
|Roasted vegetables||400-450||20-30 minutes|
|Roasted meats (chicken, pork)||400-450||30-40 minutes|
|Steak||400-450||10 minutes or less, depending on the thickness|
|Desserts (pie, fruit)||350-400||20-30 minutes|
Note: Every pizza oven acts differently, so the cooking time and temperature will vary. Hence, expect some trial and error.
Also, for fish and meat, I would strongly recommend using a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food.
Please note that the above chart is just a general guideline, and the actual cooking time and temperature may vary depending on the type of food, the size of the items, the oven, and personal preferences.
Also note that the above chart is in Fahrenheit; if you prefer to use Celcius the conversion formula is °C = (°F – 32) x 5/9
How I Manage Different Heat Zones in a Pizza Oven
Pizza ovens are designed for one thing – intense, radiant heat. While this is fantastic for creating that perfect Neapolitan crust, it also means the heat is incredibly concentrated.
This intensity can result in uneven temperature distribution within the oven while cooking other dishes. After spending weeks grappling with this issue, I finally found a workaround.
- Strive to maintain a temperature range between 535–565 °F (275–295 °C) to create a stable cooking environment for diverse cooking methods, such as grilling, roasting, and baking.
- A steady open flame will help you maintain the temperature within the designated range. I recommend constructing the fire about 12 inches inside the oven doorway. This strategic placement makes flame management and ash removal easier.
- Spot-check surface temperatures frequently with an infrared thermometer. Make sure the radiant temperature range of the oven stones is between 800-950°F (426-510°C).
- The area closest to the flame tends to be the hottest. So, make sure to rotate the food periodically with a pizza peel or utility tong.
What Makes A Pizza Oven Different from a Regular Oven?
Let’s quickly understand the primary difference between a regular oven and a wood-fired pizza oven as well.
In an electric oven, the heat comes from both the top and bottom of the oven. On the other hand, in a wood-fired pizza oven, the heat comes from above and around the cooking surface.
Apart from precise temperature control, you can also individually adjust the heat level of the top and bottom chambers in an electric oven.
You don’t get this option in an Ooni or similar pizza oven. This, in my opinion, makes electric pizza ovens much more utilitarian than traditional pizza ovens.
So, I would suggest using a probe thermometer to monitor the temperature of your food and then adjust the cooking time accordingly. You can also use an infrared thermometer, but the results might not always be accurate.
Why a Pizza Oven Is More Versatile Than an Outdoor Grill?
As someone who has spent years perfecting the art of outdoor cooking, I can confidently assert that a pizza oven is a far more versatile and indispensable tool than an outdoor grill.
I’ve navigated the nuances of both, and here’s why I find the pizza oven to be a more versatile piece of equipment:
A top-tier pizza oven can reach temperatures exceeding 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The blistering hot temperature rapidly cooks the meat, fish, veggies, as well as laminated doughs. This level of heat is precisely what you need to get a nice sear on meat.
Maintaining a consistent temperature is also easier on a pizza oven than on an outdoor grill. You can execute a wide spectrum of culinary techniques, from low and slow cooking to baking in a wood-fired or electric pizza oven.
In contrast, an outdoor grill’s capabilities are mostly limited to grilling and toasting.
What Else Can You Cook in a Pizza Oven – A List of Kickass Recipes
There are so many recipes that you can cook with a pizza oven that I can write a big fat book on it. But I’ll try to keep this list short and sweet. Here are some of the mass-favorite dishes that you can cook in a pizza oven:
Braised Pork Belly
Pork belly is one of the most popular dishes in Chinese cuisine. Braising pork belly in a pizza oven results in meat that is flavorful, tender, and simple to prepare.
All you need is some pork belly and a couple of hours to make it happen. Just rub the meat with a generous amount of salt so that it will draw out the moisture from the meat while cooking at a low temperature.
Once cooked through, remove the pork belly from the oven and let it cool down before slicing it into pieces.
Beer Can Chicken
Beer can chicken can be prepared easily in under an hour. Just stuff a whole chicken with garlic, lemon slices, and onions. Then place the bird on top of a half-filled beer can and bake it inside your pizza oven. It’s the go-to Sunday night meal at our house and is loved by everyone.
You can also use a chicken leg or thigh instead of a whole bird if you’re not feeling up to stuffing it.
A lot of people don’t know that you can cook lamb chops in your pizza oven. It takes about 15 minutes, and they come out perfectly cooked with a nice char around the edges. The best way to cook lamb chops is with garlic- and rosemary-infused oil, along with some lemon juice.
No, you don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to enjoy the turkey roast. You can make a turkey roast in your pizza oven any time of year. It’s great for get-togethers, as it feeds a lot of people and is always a crowd-pleaser.
Try it with garlic and rosemary for a more Mediterranean-style roast. It’s also delicious when served with cranberries and applesauce.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Short ribs are a popular dish for weekend parties, picnics, and barbecues. They’re easy to make and don’t take a long time in the oven, so you can cook them while you’re doing other things. Try braising your short ribs in red wine with garlic and onions.
You can also add mushrooms or carrots to give the sauce more flavor.
Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa
Grilled shrimp is a great summertime dish. It’s easy to make and looks really impressive on a buffet table. Try marinating your shrimp in lime juice and olive oil for an extra kick of flavor. Then, serve them with mango salsa made of diced mangoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapenos, and lime juice.
Herbed Hasselback Potatoes
Hasselback potatoes are one of the most popular side dishes for your next barbecue. It’s a simple recipe that you can use to impress your guests and friends by cooking their favorite potato dish in a pizza oven instead of using an ordinary oven or grill.
Just slice the potatoes into thin strips, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle some salt over them. You can enjoy them as a side dish for lunch or dinner, or you can use them as an appetizer.
You can also use your pizza oven for baking sourdough. Just follow the instructions on your recipe and place the dough on a baking sheet that you’ve greased with butter or oil. You can also add some herbs and cheese for extra flavor.
The Indian flatbread naan is another tasty dish you can make in your pizza oven. Just mix together some flour, yogurt, salt, and oil. Then add a teaspoon of baking powder, water, and sugar.
Roll out the dough into small balls, place them on a greased baking sheet and bake them in your oven until they’re golden brown. Enjoy it with butter chicken or lamb curry.
This is a traditional Spanish dish that’s made with rice, vegetables, and seafood. You can make paella in your pizza oven by cooking the rice in water until it’s soft. Then add the vegetables, seafood, and seasonings. Bake it in your oven until the rice is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed. You can serve this dish with lemon wedges and a glass of Garnacha or Chardonnay.
Apple Tarte Tatin
This is a French dessert that’s made with apples, butter, sugar, and flaky pastry. You can make it in your pizza oven by cutting the apples into thin slices and arranging them in a circular pattern on top of the pastry. Bake it in your oven until the fruit is softened and golden brown.
Then pour some caramel sauce over it, sprinkle some cinnamon on top and serve warm.
Burnt Basque Cheesecake
Basque cheesecakes are having a moment in the sun. This sinful yet simple-to-make dessert has lately taken the internet by storm. Burnt basque cheesecake is a creamier and lighter version of the classic NY cheesecake with a beautifully caramelized top.
Burnt cheesecakes are baked at high temperatures for a short time, making your pizza oven the ideal equipment for the job.
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
There is nothing better than a classic chocolate chip cookie. These are the perfect cookies for any occasion and can be easily customized to fit your taste buds. You can add your own twist to the recipe by adding Nutella, peanut butter, or even white chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless!
Cinnamon rolls are a classic dessert that is perfect for the holidays. The smell of these warm, gooey rolls baking in your oven will make everyone in the house’s mouth water.
You can make the cinnamon rolls ahead of time and freeze them so that all you have to do on Christmas morning is pop them in the oven. This will save you a lot of time.
So as you can see, there are several other uses for pizza ovens. From steaks to sinful desserts, you can make almost anything in a pizza oven. If you’re looking for an alternative to grilling and don’t have a smoker, then a pizza oven is the perfect tool for creating delicious meals.
That’s all for today.
Shoot us an email or leave a comment if you have any questions related to pizza ovens. Happy baking!