Experts reveal the best temperature for cooking pizza – for a perfect al fresco dinner

This is the the optimum temperature for cooking pizza according to expert chefs and pizzaiolos

Removing a pizza from a hot pizza oven
(Image credit: Getty Images / Sportactive)

We're heading into party season now, and there's nothing like homemade pizza to feed a crowd. If you're anything like me, you'll have bought the best pizza oven you can get.

However, mastering a pizza oven is another step entirely. Even once you've learned how to make your dough and sauce, and practiced launching your pie, it isn't immediately obvious how hot your oven should be.

I spoke to expert chefs – including a pizza champion – about the right temperature for your pizza oven. The experts gave me two simple rules. In a pizza oven, you should aim for about 800°F; in a kitchen oven, just crank the temperature up as high as it will go.

Cooking two pizzas in a brick oven

(Image credit: Getty Images / Jimmy69)

What's the best temperature for cooking with a pizza oven?

The chefs I spoke to said it depends on the style of pizza you're trying to cook. New York-style pizza - sugary, heavy dough rolled thin - and Neapolitan - lighter, puffy, crispy dough - need different temperatures.

World pizza champion Michael Vakneen recommends that New York-style pizzas need 550°F, and Neapolitan pizzas need between 775-800°F.

Chef Phillip Bollhoefer agreed and told me that the best temperature for pizza 'depends on the style of pizza you are cooking and the type of oven. For Neapolitan pizza, this temperature can range from 650°F to 900°F depending on the dough hydration.

Pizza chef Frank Kabatas gave me even more precise tips. 'For a dough with 65% hydration, which is typically used for NY-style pizza, you should aim for a minimum of 450°F. However, if your dough has 85% hydration, which is more typically used for a Neapolitan-style pizza, you should increase the temperature to 800-plus degrees Fahrenheit.'

A headshot of pizza expert Frank Kabatas
Frank Kabatas

Frank Kabatas is Owner and Operator of East Village Pizza, the popular New York pizzeria where tradition meets innovation. With a career spanning three decades in the pizza industry, Frank continues to use his experience and expertise to hone his craft of pizza-making

What's the best temperature for making pizza in a kitchen oven?

A pizza cooked in an oven

(Image credit: Getty Images / Capelle.r)

If you don't own a pizza oven, you can still make pizza at home in a regular oven. Thankfully, the rule here is very easy to follow. You just need to get the oven as hot as you possibly can.

Michael Vakneen told me there's no real temperature for making pizza at home. His only advice? 'Crank it up all the way. Most home ovens max out at 500°F.'

Food blogger Aleka Shunk agrees, telling me that 'A kitchen oven cannot get that hot so cook your pizza on the highest temperature your oven will allow, ideally between 450-500°F'. 10 minutes should be enough to cook the pizza - just keep an eye on it so that it doesn't burn.

If you want to get a little fancier, Phillip Bollhoefer suggests using a pizza stone at 500°F. You can get a pizza stone and peel set like this at Amazon for around $40. If you decide to use this method, Philip recommends that 'The pizza stone or cooking surface needs to be properly pre-heated in order to have a restaurant-style crust.'

A headshot of chef Philip Bollhoefer
Philip Bollhoefer

Philip Bollhoefer is a Cordon Bleu trained chef. He is Vice President of food and beverage at Parks Hospitality Group, which owns and operates Soprana Rooftop Cucina, the newest rooftop restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, offering brick-oven pizzas and Italian-inspired lunch and dinner.

Michael Vakneen

Chef Michael Vakneen is a pizzaiolo with years of experience and an impressive background inclusive of opening Pop-Up Pizza in the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Truly Pizza in Southern California, and most recently Double Zero Pie & Pub, also in Las Vegas. In addition to his restaurants, Vakneen is also a World Pizza Champion and has won several awards at the International Pizza Expo.

Alexandra Shunk
Aleka Shunk

Aleka is a recipe creator, photographer and writer, and runs Aleka's Get-Together, a website of recipes for food, drinks, and advice on entertaining.

What's the best temperature for deep dish?

Deep dish is a lot heavier and wetter than other styles of pizza, so it's about as low-and-slow as a pizza gets. Aleka Shunk told me that in an oven, '400-425°F will work well. Pizza ovens should be around 600-700 °F.'

Michael Vakneen suggests a similar temperature with a pizza oven, and told me that 575°F 'gets the bottom nice and crunchy.' He also says to 'use baking steel or stone so that the pizza gets a nice cook on the bottom.'

Chef Philip Bollhoefer roughly agrees, recommending '450°F with a pizza stone. Again, Philp recommends a stone because 'The heat transfer from the deck or pizza stone to the pan is extremely important for the crust to cook fully.'

Pizza oven FAQs

How long should I cook a pizza for?

It depends on the pizza style and topping, but a general rule of thumb is that a pizza in a pizza oven will take around a minute, and a pizza cooked in a regular kitchen oven needs around 10 minutes.

For more help with pizza ovens, take a look at my advice on how to clean a pizza oven.

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.