Ooni Karu 16 review: a pro pizza oven fit for beginners

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There are 2 ways to bask large pizza astatine home. One is to effort each section pizzeria until you've recovered 1 worthy of your regular business, and exclusively bid successful from said pizzeria done eternity. The different is the Ooni Karu 16.

Both fulfill the pizza craving, successful precise antithetic ways – but lone 1 lets you hone your trade arsenic a pizzaiolo (i.e. 1 who makes pizzas) until you've reached a level of pizza perfection you mightiness ne'er person experienced otherwise. I'll fto you infer which is which. The much I usage the Ooni Karu 16, and much importantly the much I devour the pizzas it creates (in a substance of seconds – the cooking, not the eating), the amended it gets. But – afloat disclosure – don’t expect an casual ride.

A narration with the Karu 16 requires its proprietor to flooded self-doubt, work rather a batch of instructions, rebuild mislaid assurance and, supra all, beryllium wholly engaged with the process. I’m inactive successful the learning signifier (having tried retired the Karu fractional a twelve oregon truthful times), but I volition accidental I've made strides that person fixed maine assurance that perfection is connected the adjacent horizon. I’ve besides tried a just fewer competing pizza ovens and tin archer you that the Karu is by acold the smartest, astir rewarding and best-equipped pizza oven of all. 

Keep speechmaking to perceive more, past instrumentality a look astatine our database of  best pizza ovens to comparison the Ooni Karu 16 with different top-performing outdoor ovens for your backyard.

Ooni Karu 16 merchandise  shot

(Image credit: Ooni)

Ooni Karu 16 merchandise spec:Fuel type: wood oregon charcoal, oregon usage state with the Ooni Karu 16 state burner (sold separately) Pizza size: up to 16"Oven temperature: up to 950°F (500°C)Cooking surface: 16.7 x 16.7″ (42.42 x 42.42 cm)Unboxed dimensions: 33 x 32 x 20″ (50 x 81.5 x 83.7 cm)Unboxed weight: 62.6 lbs (28.4 kg)Top tips for cooking the cleanable pizza

The 3 things that no-one ever tells you astir utilizing a apical pizza oven: 

It takes clip to master.

You won’t get your pizzas close archetypal time. Or the 2nd time. There are tons of parts of the process that tin spell incorrect – galore not the responsibility of the pizza oven, per-se, but inactive a cardinal happening to see erstwhile you’re shelling retired a superior magnitude of wealth to go your ain pizza chef. 

Firstly, you'll request to hone your dough recipe, due to the fact that that volition beryllium the happening that makes the pizza bad, bully oregon amazing. Secondly, determination isn’t a location pizza shaper successful the satellite who hasn’t suffered from peel-stick. Get your program (and plentifulness of semolina) successful spot earlier you get the somesthesia up. The much you bash this, the easier it volition get – similar with immoderate cooking experience.

Ooni Karu 16 cooking a pizza

(Image credit: Ooni )

Timing is everything.

The unusual happening astir cooking connected a pizza oven is that it messes with your accustomed attack to cooking. Regular cooking is usually affluent successful prep, followed instantly by cooking the nutrient truthful that everything dilatory comes unneurotic astatine the end. 

Using a pizza oven is huffy successful this regard. You’ll hole the dough a fewer hours earlier you privation to eat, past bash thing else. And past astir each of the existent ‘cooking’ clip is really getting the pizza oven up to somesthesia – earlier the existent cooking, which typically takes nary much than a infinitesimal oregon two. And past you’re into the quick, aggravated accumulation enactment of pizza cooking. This past spot – there’s nary uncertainty – tin beryllium rather stressful. You recognize that you’ve been making the pizza for fractional an hour, and really cooking for astir 5 minute.

Ooni Karu 16

(Image credit: Ooni)

Temperature is (also) everything.

The occurrence of a bully pizza navigator lies wholly successful some the somesthesia of the benignant of flame. If you can’t power the somesthesia past you can’t marque a bully pizza. And this, ultimately, is wherefore the Ooni Karu 16 is the champion pizza oven I’ve ever tried. 

There are 2 main reasons the Karu succeeds here. Firstly, the Karu 16 is casual to capable – the woody substance hatch has a removable screen and you tin easy capable the grate with wood arsenic you request – it takes 5 seconds (the Karu besides comes with an optional state burner). But secondly, and champion of all, it comes with a integer thermometer show connected the beforehand of the oven, which takes each the guesswork – and accent – retired of the full process. 

When you cognize you’ve got to get the oven to 750˚F, each you person to bash is ticker the numbers spell up – and erstwhile they spell down, adhd immoderate much wood in. It’s transformational.

Ooni Karu 16 cooking pizza

(Image credit: Ooni)

We tried a just fig of recipes – some for pizzas and my favorite, calzone. The oven tin bash a batch more, but let’s maestro the basics first. As the dough got amended and we regulated the somesthesia much easy – and kept it precocious – the pizza got amended and better, and the process got easier and little intense. That’s wherefore it pays to enactment astatine it, and get done the hard times, and beryllium consenting to marque mistakes. 

This pizza oven delivers connected galore levels – but don’t expect you to get done the acquisition process without getting covered successful flour (I managed to get flour successful my oculus connected 1 occasion); find yourself racing done the room to get different pizza successful earlier the somesthesia falls and, arsenic I mentioned, getting a basal stuck connected the peel conscionable arsenic you unfastened the door.

Put disconnected yet? I anticipation not. Because determination truly is thing similar the pizzas you’ll make. Ooni advertises its pizza ovens arsenic portion of the process of making puerility memories, which is simply a spot of a agelong – but the Karu 16 is the eventual culinary summation to an outdoor surviving acquisition and if mastered, tin beryllium a regular portion of your summertime evenings.

Setting up the Ooni Karu 16 

Setting up   the Ooni Karu 16

Setting up the Ooni Karu 16 volition instrumentality approx. 15 minutes

(Image credit: Future / Jason Orme)

I went consecutive retired of the container to acceptable up successful astir 15 minutes. The oven is dense (28kg / 61lbs) and hardly portable, but with decent instructions was a breeze to get into shape. All of the elements acceptable unneurotic quickly. Setting it up entails putting unneurotic the 9 antithetic elements – chimney, the main assemblage of the oven, the solid door, etc. – and felt intuitive and casual to follow. 

Using the Ooni Karu 16

Unlike immoderate different pizza ovens, Ooni’s Karu 16 is simply a breeze to use. We tried the multi-fuel enactment but owing to a shortage of propane successful our area, we’ve been utilizing wood. The substance hatch is astatine the backmost of the oven and aft chucking successful a mates of firelighters and 2-3 bits of wood to get things going, you’ll rapidly physique a flame. You’ll request a flameproof mitt to entree the hatch safely arsenic the flames tin flare up erstwhile you region the hatch to adhd much wood, which you’ll request to bash each 5-10 minutes oregon truthful to get it up to temperature.

Adding wood   to the substance  hatch astatine  the backmost  of the Ooni Karu 16 to assistance   get   up   to temperature

Adding wood to the substance hatch astatine the backmost of the Ooni Karu 16 to assistance get up to temperature

(Image credit: Future / Jason Orme)

The oven itself is precise dense and designed for outer retention alternatively than a genuinely mobile cooking/camping acquisition similar immoderate of Ooni’s different products. Ooni sells a beauteous good-value scope of tables, arsenic good arsenic covers. The assemblage itself is good insulated and sturdy. The clear-view solid connected the doorway is simply a large win, and enables you to cheque connected the advancement of your pizza without having to unfastened the door, which inevitably reduces the temperature.

Once lit, the oven took astir 20 minutes to get to temperature. The debased and dilatory attack to getting to somesthesia decidedly pays off, but you could easy conscionable the 15-minute people Ooni acceptable by putting much wood successful early.

Ooni Karu 16 getting up   to temperature

Here the Ooni Karu 16 is getting up to the desired somesthesia for cooking pizza (750˚F)

(Image credit: Future / Jason Orme)

We started to navigator the pizzas erstwhile the oven reached 750˚F. The pizzas took astir 90 2nd to navigator and, well, were delicious – the crispy, bubbled basal you imagination of.

Once used, the oven cooled down rapidly and needed small maintenance. Our solid doorway blackened up a bit, but it’s casual to hitch down with damp paper oregon insubstantial towels.

Cooking connected  the Ooni Karu 16

Cooking connected the Ooni Karu 16 was quick, casual and served up a delicious pizza

(Image credit: Future / Jason Orme)

How does the Karu 16 comparison to Ooni’s different ovens?

Ooni has a scope of ovens – the Karu, Koda, Fyra and Pro. Of the 12” (meaning you tin navigator a 12” pizza successful them) ovens, the Fyra is the entry-level exemplary – it uses wood pellets. Only the Karu and Pro are multi-fuel (wood and propane), and present 16” pizzas. The Karu 16 is the premier option, with a bigger viewing doorway and easier accessibility. In different words, it’s the highest-spec, though not suitable for anyone looking to unrecorded the cooking-pizza-by-the-camper-van imagination – the 12” models are amended for that.

Our verdict

Pizza ovens instrumentality a spot of getting utilized to, and reward a spot of effort. Make definite you person a fistful of goes to effort it retired earlier inviting your friends implicit for the pizza enactment you’ve been dreaming about. When they come, they’ll spot that Oonu’s Karu 16 is by immoderate region the starring pizza oven of its benignant available. For a pizza oven of this size and spec – a existent crossover betwixt the pro models and consumer-friendly versions – it’s precise intuitive and casual to use, with immoderate astute features (not slightest the integer thermometer). It’s not a portable model, but for summertime afternoons connected the patio, it truly tin beryllium the halfway constituent of an al fresco lifestyle.

About our reappraisal – and our reviewer

Jason Orme is 1 of the UK's starring homes and spot experts. He has worked successful homes media for implicit 20 years, appearing successful each the mainstream nationalist newspapers arsenic good arsenic galore specializer magazines, including Homebuilding & Renovating, which helium edited for 12 years. Author of The Self Build Dream, helium gives proposal to hundreds of homeowners looking to renovate and physique their ain location each year, and has renovated and built houses from scratch.

He was sent this merchandise to trial astatine location successful the backyard, which is however we similar to trial each pizza ovens and BBQs. We are not fixed immoderate compensation for our reviews, but whitethorn beryllium allowed to support the product, meaning we tin trial it implicit a greater magnitude of time.

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