What else can you cook in a pizza oven? Tips and ideas from the experts

I spoke to pizza chefs to find out why cooking these foods in a pizza oven is a really great idea

wood fired pizza oven with logs stored underneath
(Image credit: Alfa Forni)

Domestic pizza ovens are a great way to entertain at home. There's nothing like a homemade pizza party, and the results can be restaurant-quality.

However, domestic pizza ovens are very expensive. The best models are nearly $1000, and that's a lot of money to spend on pizza. When it comes down to it, many people think that it's too much money to spend on an appliance that can only make one dish.

I've tested a lot of the best pizza ovens, and I know first-hand that a good pizza oven can make much more than just pizza. When we put pizza ovens to the test, part of the process is trying out lots of non-pizza recipes to see just how versatile a given oven can be.

Adding wood into a pizza oven

(Image credit: Ooni)

Can you make bread in a pizza oven?

While you can't make loaves of bread in a pizza oven, pizza ovens are incredibly good for some types of bread. If you think about it, a pizza without the sauce or cheese is just a flatbread, and I know first-hand that pizza ovens are great for naan, pitas, and focaccia.

A couple weeks ago a friend made me an amazing flatbread with rosemary, garlic, and thinly-sliced onions. Best of all, because you bake it in a pizza oven, it cooks in around a minute, so it's a fast, easy accompaniment to Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern dishes.

Can you roast meat in a pizza oven?

Making chicken thighs in the Ooni Koda 12

(Image credit: Helen McCue)

You can cook meat in a pizza oven, and in fact, we've seen some incredible results when we've put it to the test.

The flame of the oven and the incredibly high temperatures simulate cooking over a fire, and this makes for incredibly juicy, succulent chicken. The image above is from a test of chicken thighs roasted in the Ooni Koda 12, and they were delicious.

Our tester Helen found that 'After around 15 minutes, the meat was cooked through and the outside of the thighs was charred and crisp and absolutely delicious, with a slight smoky flavor.'

Chef Tyler Fenton says that 'Having the ability to have a ripping hot oven is great for things like roasted chicken, whole fish, or steak.'

Chef Steven Chiapetti agrees. He told me that 'Meats are amazing inside of a pizza oven. The intense heat gives a great sear to the outside of the meat to seal in the flavor. You can also place a whole marinated chicken onto a sheet pan and place it into the oven – watch it slowly roast as you baste continuously throughout the process.'

Chef Steven also gave me a simple but delicious recipe. 'My favorite dish to cook in my pizza oven is shrimp scampi. Place shrimp – topped with garlic herb butter – into a cast iron pan and let it roast in the oven.'

A Headshot of Chef Tyler Fenton
Tyler Fenton

Chef Tyler Fenton is the Head Chef and Owner of Tucson’s acclaimed BATA , Reilly Craft Kitchen + Drink ,and Fentonelli’s Pizzeria + Bar, two other Italian American concepts. A lifelong self taught chef from Tucson, Fenton was raised in an Italian American family with a long history of celebrated home chefs .

A headshot of chef Steven Chiapetti
Steven Chiappetti

Steven Chiappetti is executive chef at the Albert, an Italian American restaurant inspired by his Calabrian heritage, as well as Archive Lounge, a restaurant inspired by his travels in Sicily.

Can you grill in a pizza oven?

Making roasted vegetables in the Ooni Koda 12

(Image credit: Helen McCue)

Technically speaking, you can't grill in a pizza oven. A grill is a series of parallel metal bars over a heat source; a pizza oven uses a pizza stone and a baking tray, so it's technically impossible to grill. However, you can find very similar results in a pizza oven to using a grill.

For example, one of our go-to tests is to roast vegetables in a pizza oven, and because of the open flame, these taste more as if they'd come off a grill than been roasted in an oven.

Because of the incredibly high heat of a pizza oven, vegetables take on a smoky char that's closer to being grilled or griddled than roasted. Our tester Helen tried some bell peppers and onions for fajitas and found that the pizza oven made 'perfect sizzling charred vegetables that were far superior to those I usually cook on my stove.'

Chef Tyler Fenton agrees. He told me that 'Vegetable cookery is amazing in a pizza oven, especially things that benefit from hot short cook times like asparagus.'

Can you bake in a pizza oven?

Brownie cooked in the Gozney Arc

(Image credit: Future)

Yes, you can bake in a pizza oven, but it's a little limited. As I mentioned above, pizza ovens have a flat, narrow entrance, so it can be tricky to fit some dishes in there. However, they're perfect for brownies, blondies, and cookies, and we've tried all of these in our pizza oven tests.

Brownies are particularly good in a pizza oven; if you use a wood-fired oven they take on an indulgent smokiness that's the perfect counterbalance to oversweet chocolate. Chef Steve Chiapetti agrees, and told me that brownies or molten cakes made in pizza ovens 'bring a smoky element that complements the sweetness of the cake.'

Our tester Laura tried some peanut butter brownies in the Gozney Arc, and reports that 'In just six minutes I made some incredible (if I do say so myself) brownies. They had a lovely, peanut butter, glossy crust on top, and they were still gooey (but cooked) in the middle.'

The drawback is that pizza ovens get so hot. If you don't know what you're doing, it's easy to incinerate whatever you're baking. In wood ovens, the rolling flame along the top of the oven can easily char cookies. A little smokiness is nice, but you don't want burnt cookies.

Pizza oven FAQ

Can you bake in a grilltop pizza oven?

You can bake in a grilltop pizza oven, but it will take a long time. Grilltop pizza ovens don't reach very high temperatures, so you'd be much better off baking in a normal oven.

For more advice on pizza ovens, take a look at my guide to 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.