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Helen McCue

Ooni Fyra 12 review: a wood fired pizza oven that’s small, compact and easy to use

Mixed vegetable pizza next to the OOni Fyra.

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like pizza. But you haven’t had great pizza until you’ve had pizza cooked in a wood fired oven, it’s simply a different class. Not only do you get to enjoy a deep smokey flavour, but the texture is better too.

Though its HQ is in Scotland, Ooni is now a worldwide brand with a cult following. It makes wood fired, gas, and even electric pizza ovens. But it’s fair to say that wood fired is at the core of this brand. And wood fired is the most authentic, as well as arguably, the most rewarding pizza cooking experience you can get.

As the brand moves towards developing multi fuel pizza ovens, the Ooni Fryra 12 is the only exclusively wood fired pizza oven on offer from Ooni. Better yet, it’s one of the cheapest and most portable too. And it’s easier to use than you might think. I’m no pro, but I can make fantastic quality pizzas in this oven. 

Read on for how to make fantastic pizzas on the Fryra, just like me, then head to our best gas grills for cooking more than just pizza in the yard.

Ooni Fyra 12: Key specs

Ooni Fyra 12: Price & availability

With a list price at $349/ £299 the Ooni Fyra 12 is one of the cheapest outdoor pizza ovens you can buy from this cult pizza oven brand. However, if you’re new to pizza ovens, we’d recommend checking out the bundle deals offered by the brand, such as the Ooni Fyra 12 essentials bundle. 

At $484/ £404 the essentials bundle includes the pizza oven, a pizza peel, carry cover, a large bag of wood pellets as well as natural fire starters.

You can buy Ooni Fyra 12 direct from Ooni online as well as on Amazon and plenty of other retailers such as Walmart in the US or John Lewis in the UK.

Score: 5/5

Ooni Fyra 12: Setup

While I wouldn’t consider it a small box, the Ooni Fyra 12 comes in a box that doesn’t look big enough to house an entire wood fired pizza oven. Yet, with its neat foldable legs and removable hopper and chimney, this table-top pizza oven is compact. In fact, if you buy the carry cover, it’s easily portable too. 

The assembly requires no screws or bolts and is little more than what’s required when you’ve dismantled it for storage or transportation. The parts slot and twist together with ease, the pizza stone slides into the base and a surprisingly small tray for the wood pellets slots in at the back.

Overall my first impression is that it’s sleek, streamlined and very well built. It appears to be straightforward to use, though I’m sure there’s a lot to learn when it comes to using it in the right way and perfecting those pizza making skills.

Ooni Fyra 12: Design

It might look simple, but there are some nice, thoughtful design features included in the Ooni Fyra 12. These include the pellet scoop, which doubles as a lid for the chimney when not in use. What’s more, it’s the exact size to scoop the perfect amount of wood pellets for the fuel tray.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

The oven door has a small viewing hole so you can check the flames inside without removing the door and losing all the heat. It also hooks onto the base of the opening so that you don’t have to find somewhere to put it while you’re tending to your pizza.

Once your wood pellets are burning nicely the hopper can be loaded with pellets so that it’ll gravity feed them into the fire and reduce the amount of times you have to tend to it. The hopper can be removed, as can the chimney that breaks into two parts for compact storage and easy transportation.

Score: 5/5

Ooni Fyra 12: Performance

Getting the wood burning, and the pizza oven heating up was easier than I expected. With a scoop of Ooni wood pellets in the tray and a natural fire starter, the pellets began burning quickly.  After the fire lighter has burned out and the first batch of pellets are burning nicely, you can start adding more pellets via the hopper on top.

Adding pellets via the hopper means you’re not putting your hands close to the flames, but you still have to take care. And it can take a few goes to master the art of knowing when and what quantity of pellets to add to keep the fire burning at its optimum level. You do risk smothering it if you add too much too soon.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

If all goes to plan, the pizza stone should be hot enough to add your first pizza in around 15 minutes. But I’d highly recommend you buy a digital infrared thermometer. Ooni sells one for around $50/ £50

With one of these you can accurately check the temperature of the pizza stone before adding a pizza. It needs to be at least 750F/ 400C before you put a pizza in, so if you don’t have a thermometer and have to guess, you’ll risk a disappointing result. 

I’d also suggest heading to the Ooni website before you first use the pizza oven. There’s a tonne of guides, videos, and recipes that I found really helpful. And this information enabled me to get a good result right from the off.

Loading a pizza into the oven requires a pizza peel and is certainly one of the skills that takes some practice. I’ve had my fair share of weird shaped pizzas because of issues getting the pizza off the peel and onto the stone. But again, if you’re up for the learning curve, then it’s all part of the fun.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

Since the heat source is at the back of the oven, the section of crust closest to the back will puff up and brown the quickest. So during cooking, the pizza needs frequent turning. I found it’s best to do this speedily, and close the door as quickly as possible, to keep the heat in. Depending on the size and thickness of your pizza base as well as the temperature of the stone, pizzas can cook in as little as two minutes. So there’s no wandering off, you need to pay attention.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

I’ve made several different pizzas in this Ooni, including pepperoni, margarita, vegetarian, and cheesy garlic pizza bread. The bases and crusts cook well as long as you check the temperature of the pizza stone before you add your pizza. And obviously different dough recipes will cook differently too. I’d also advise that you don’t overload on toppings, as this can cause the base to stay a bit doughy in my experience.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

Another point to note is that you have to leave the stone to heat up again between each pizza, this can take several minutes. So the infrared thermometer comes in handy again at this stage. But it’s also a great idea to make the first pizza a crowd pleasing pizza, so that everyone can take a slice, instead of rushing to make several pizzas back-to-back.

I won’t lie, I’ve had the odd pizza that was a little on the doughy side, but that’s usually because I’ve rushed putting it in. On the whole if you have patience and spend the time honing your skills, it doesn’t take long before you’re producing top notch pizzas. My best pizzas have had light crisp crusts that puffed up, with some authentic charred bubbles on top. 

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

Contrary to what you may think, pizza ovens aren’t just for pizza. With a decent skillet you can cook all sorts of foods in this oven. I’ve used it as a wood-fired oven to cook beautiful smoky meats, vegetables and most recently I used it for fajita night.

For my homemade tortilla wraps, I placed them on the pizza stone just like I would do with a pizza. They cooked super fast and ended up crisper than I’d have liked but I’ll know for next time that the pizza stone probably doesn’t need to be so hot for flatbreads.

Next I popped a sturdy skillet in the pizza oven and let it get hot. Then I threw in bell pepper and onion slices that were coated in seasonings. Every few minutes I gave it all a stir, then once the vegetables were almost cooked, I added raw shrimp for the last couple of minutes. It was just a fun way to cook up everything for fajita night and it made a nice change to do it outdoors.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

There's not a huge amount of cleaning to do. Any debris on the pizza stone should burn off. And the wood pellets leave behind a very small amount of ash residue that can easily be tipped into the trash once cooled.

Score: 5/5

Ooni Fyra 12?

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Ooni Fyra 12 compare?

When I first tried the Ooni Fyra 12, I also tried the Ooni Koda 12, which is the gas powered equivalent from the brand. It's very similar in many ways, except that being gas powered means it doesn't require quite so much attention. The pizzas I made in the Ooni Koda were very similar too, although it doesn't have a door so on a breezy day it can be tricky to keep it hot enough.

An alternative from another brand is the Ninja Woodfire Electric Outdoor Oven. This multi-functional outdoor oven makes fantastic pizza. What's more, it's a real all-rounder that works as a smoker as well as for roasting meats and much more. And though it's electric, its woodfire technology burns similar wood pellets for that authentic wood smoke flavor.

How I tested the Ooni Fyra 12

I've actually had the Ooni Fyra 12 for about a year. I've used it in summer and winter to create pizzas, garlic breads and to cook all sorts of other foods in a skillet. I've spent time perfecting my dough recipe and learning how to get the best out of it.

Having also reviewed gas as well as electric pizza ovens in the past year, I'm very familiar with the art of creating homemade pizzas in an outdoor pizza oven. And even with all that practice, it still sometimes goes a bit wrong. But pizza night should be a fun hands-on experience and doing it outside using a pizza oven makes it more of an adventure for the whole family.

See more about how we test.

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