You have a few options for adding a pizza oven to your home. While you might dream of a fancy outdoor wood-fired or gas oven, you might be resigned to cooking your pie in your kitchen rather than on your patio for now.
An electric pizza oven is an ideal option for indoor use, and the right pizza oven can help you create a much tastier pizza in much less time than you can bake in your conventional oven. Some people claim their homemade pizza baked in their pizza oven tastes better than any local pizzeria.
But how do electric pizza ovens work, and why do they seem to turn out a better pizza than a conventional oven? To understand that, you first need to learn a few things about creating the perfect oven environment for a perfectly cooked pizza.
How Is a Pizza Oven Different from a Regular Oven?
The best pizza is baked over intense, evenly distributed heat. The right ambient temperature over the top of the pizza is also needed to cook the toppings before the crust burns. Brick ovens create the ideal ambient temperature because the bricks conduct heat during the cooking process.
The need for high heat is why you really can’t perfectly cook a good pizza crust in a conventional oven without a pizza stone. Even then, it can be challenging. The oven simply cannot get hot enough unless you have a model that comes with a pizza setting that can heat to 600°.
To create the proper pizza-baking environment in a conventional oven, you need to heat the oven to its maximum temperature. You will need to preheat a pizza stone for about an hour. Then you can start baking your pizza. The high heat of the pizza stone will help ensure the crust cooks quickly yet rises properly and retains enough moisture.
Not only does cooking pizza in a conventional oven use a lot of electricity, but it also will make it very hot in your kitchen. If you’re a genuinely authentic pizza lover, a better alternative is to invest in a pizza oven.
A pizza oven, whether electric, gas, or wood-burning, is typically designed to provide the high temperature and ambient heat necessary to cook a good pizza crust. An electric pizza oven is an affordable way to master your pizza-making skills before investing in an outdoor gas or wood-burning model.
How Do Electric Pizza Ovens Work?
So, how do electric pizza ovens work? A good electric pizza oven works by creating a high heat environment that can cook a pizza quickly. Quick cooking at a very high temperature will crisp the outside of the crust but leave the interior moist. Cooking pizza at a low temperature requires a longer cooking time, typically drying out and toughening the crust.
A good electric pizza oven will evenly bake a chewy, thick or thin crust. The crust can be slightly crisped on the bottom (unless you like an extra crispy crust). It should completely melt your cheese without burning it, your toppings, or your crust. Not all electric pizza ovens can accomplish this.
Just as no two pizzas are truly alike, no two electric pizza ovens are precisely alike. Each electric pizza oven model has different features and temperature settings and even accommodates different size pies. Some have dual heating elements, while others only have one.
So how do you know which electric pizza will work best for creating your favorite pies?
Basic Electric Pizza Makers
Basic electric pizza makers are sometimes not much more than a round-shaped griddle with a dome lid to enclose the pizza while it cooks. They do typically have upper and lower heating elements to cook both the bottom and top of the pizza.
They are self-regulated, meaning they only have one heat setting. Presumably, it is the best temperature for a perfectly baked crust. Many don’t get as hot as your conventional oven, and few can provide the proper ambient temperature.
Some have a pre-set time setting as well. You simply turn it on and bake your crust. An indicator light will usually alert you when to add your sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
The problem with basic electric pizza makers is that you must rely on the manufacturer’s simple settings and hope they work for whatever type of pizza you’re cooking. If you’re aren’t a true pizza connoisseur, this might be an affordable option for quickly making homemade pizza for your family, but true pizza lovers may scoff at your efforts.
Basic electric pizza ovens are portable and easily stored if your kitchen has limited counter space.
You can pick up an electric pizza maker for less than $100.
An Ideal Electric Pizza Oven
A high-end electric pizza oven will often utilize upper and lower heating elements to ensure sufficiently even heat for cooking your pies. Some have heating tubes that can reach temperatures over 750°, allowing you to more closely create the high-temp ambient heat environment you’d get in a brick oven pizza. It allows for a perfectly balanced baking effect that can let you get a perfectly baked pizza on the table. Much faster than if you’d have had one delivered.
Another feature common to high-end electric pizza ovens, is the ability to set the upper heating tubes to a lower temperature than the heating tubes that sit below the pizza. The high heat below the crust will evenly bake it, while the heating element above will provide a lower ambient heat to get your cheese and toppings cooked without burning.
If you are thinking of getting a high-end electric pizza oven, you need to pay close attention to the voltage and wattage. While some manufacturers claim their ovens are suitable for home use, they are really designed for commercial kitchen use. Closely check the specs on these higher-end models to ensure your kitchen can handle the energy load without tripping breakers or causing a fire.
Some high-end electric pizza ovens retail at $1,000 or more, although people rave about them.
Benefits of Electric Pizza Ovens
Besides allowing you to make pizza at home, electric pizza ovens have a few other benefits that can make them worth the investment.
- Cooking pizza in an electric pizza oven is much faster than a conventional oven.
- You won’t heat your kitchen as much as with a conventional oven.
- Cleaning is much easier than those times when you’ve had cheese drip down and burn onto the bottom of your conventional oven.
- Many pizza oven models come with a pizza peel to make it easy to slide your pizza out and slice it up.
- Electric pizza ovens are typically far more affordable than built-in or outdoor pizza ovens.
- Most electric pizza ovens, including the low-end models, can be used to cook things other than pizza.
Are Electric Pizza Ovens Worth It?
If the reviews on Amazon are any indication, people love their pizza ovens and swear they cook up a much better pie than at a pizzeria. Buying an electric pizza oven can be a good investment if you cook pizza often.
It’s worth keeping in mind that if you are a novice pizza maker, you will still need to know how to make a good pizza in order to get the best out of the pizza oven. Having the right oven is essential. Knowing how to make a great crust, use the right amount of sauce, and find the right blend of cheeses is even more critical for creating the perfect pizza.
Many pizza ovens come with a recipe book that can help you make a crust best-suited for that oven. You may need to learn a few new baking techniques, such as stretching the pizza dough.
You will also need to learn how to use your oven for making different types of pizza. For instance, pan pizza requires a lower heat setting than classic pizza.
If you invest in an electric pizza oven, pick up a pizza peel if the oven you buy does not come with one. Besides making you look like a pizza making-pro, a peel can also:
- Help you get the pizza in and out of the oven safely
- Allow you to easily turn your pizza to ensure even cooking
- Provide you with a large surface on which to slice your pizza
Electric Pizza Ovens Work Well for Homemade Pizza Pies
So, how do electric pizza ovens work? An electric pizza oven works much the same as your conventional oven, but most get much hotter, much faster. If you want your homemade pizza to taste more like the brick-oven pizza from your favorite pizzeria, consider picking up an electric pizza oven.
Perhaps someday you can build that outdoor dream pizza oven. Until then, you can enjoy freshly baked pizza with an electric pizza oven for a reasonable investment. Here are our picks for electric pizza ovens.
A good electric pizza oven coupled with the right tasty recipes can have you making homemade pizza. It’s also a much quicker and cheaper option than having pizza delivered.