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Are you ready for a Ooni Karu review? Let’s dive in!
Men are notoriously hard to shop for. All of the women in my life all agree on this point. When holidays and birthdays come around it is so easy to draw a blank if a new sports car or tickets to the Super Bowl are out of the budget. But, I hit it out of the park when I surprised my husband with the Ooni Karu 12 pizza oven for his birthday. Shop here if you’ve already read all you need. It’s an unusual enough gift that it wasn’t something he already bought for himself. It’s a splurge perfect for a birthday gift, but not so much of a splurge that it leaves you in the poorhouse. Sorry babe, that Jaguar F-Type is going to have to wait.
The Ooni Karu 12 is really easy to use. I gave it to my husband for his birthday in the morning and by that evening we were making pizzas on it. And, we had a blast doing it! There is a bit of a learning curve. Miraculously, our first pizza turned out perfectly! We did everything people suggest when using a pizza oven. We waited until the oven was ready and up to temp before we started working on the pizza. We got the dough thin, but not too thin. We put down enough flour on the pizza peel to prevent sticking, assembled the pizza quickly with not too many toppings and went straight to the pizza oven. It didn’t slide off our pizza peel completely, so we tried the blow trick and presto! And less than 2 minutes later we had a perfect pizza.
The blow trick is you essentially, pick up a side of the pizza and blow underneath it to create an air pocket which helps unstick the dough from the peel and then it glides right off. See the trick in action:
After we saw how easy it was, we got cocky. And, as a result, our next pizza was a catastrophe. It was over loaded with all.the.toppings, we wanted to test the bounds of the pizza oven and made it both too big and too thin, we couldn’t get it off the pizza peel even with the blow trick and as a result we ended up with a bean shaped thing that called itself a pizza. But, you know what, it was still delicious.
Up next we threw together some dessert pizzas in lieu of birthday cake. As someone who likes to bake but doesn’t love to bake, dessert pizza was the perfect solution over cake and may become a tradition around here. We didn’t do any research, which would have informed us that the high temperatures scorch the sugar in things before the dough is done and that blind baking is the way to go with dessert pizza. So, we ended up with burnt Nutella and strawberry pizzas. But, again, even doing things wrong, it was still delicious.
Let’s review some of the perks of the Ooni Karu 12…
Ooni Karu 12 Review
I debated between the 12″ and the 16″ and I will admit, my ultimate decision boiled down to price with the 12″ version being half the price for only 4″ less pizza space. I was worried that I might regret that decision, but now that we have the Karu 12, it was the perfect choice. While I already believe we will use our Ooni pizza oven often enough to justify the price of the 16 because of how fun and easy it is, the 12 absolutely fits our lifestyle better. The Karu 12 is not small but it is small enough to make it portable. We love to camp (really it’s borderline glamping to true backwoods campers) and the ability to fold it up, put it in a carrying case and take it on the road with us is a major bonus. I can’t wait to make pizzas in the woods. Get yours here.
The Karu 12 being multi fuel is what drew me to it over other models. When I think of a pizza oven, I think of wood fired pizzas and most of the time, that’s probably how we will use it. But, there is a big plus to the ease of using propane, which would make Hank Hill proud. If we are making pizzas for a crowd, the ability to use propane was a bonus. And, a bigger bonus, as mentioned above, we love camping. While it may surprise people not from the rainy PNW, the rainy season is over the winter. In the summer months it is dry which leads to bans on wood fires. So, when we are going camping, being able to use propane means we can still cook dinner. Get yours here.
Easy to Use
I thought it might be a little ambitious gifting the Ooni Karu 12 and then eating dinner on in a matter of hours later. But, it really wasn’t at all. Making the dough was by far a bigger ordeal than figuring out how to use our new wood fired pizza oven. Because it’s so easy to use, I expect that we will be cooking on it regularly. And, not just in the summer. As Ooni states, these pizza ovens were designed to live outside. While we plan on bringing it into the garage during the worst parts of winter, most of the year we plan on having it live outside. Ready to fire up at a moments notice! And, you really only need a moments notice, it gets hot fast! Just make sure you’ve made some dough ahead of time. Get yours here.
Using the Ooni Karu 12 was a blast! It’s the adult version of getting to play with your food. And, it will be great for parties! It cooks so fast that cooking for a crowd will be no problem. And, for fun everyone can personalize their own. I have dreams of having a summer backyard party where we set up our golf simulator in the backyard, use one of the apps to set up a Top Golf style game on it for people to play and then everyone make their own personalized pizzas. How much fun will that be? Read more about our home golf simulator setup here.
I love pizza. It’s up there with sushi and pineapple sorbet as my favorite foods. But, my health and having a healthy body is very important to me. Especially after my brush with death. And, healthy eating is part of that. So I love that the Ooni pizza ovens can be used to make delicious nutritious foods other than pizza. We haven’t tried anything other than pizza yet, but I am very much looking forward to trying out this honey glazed salmon and maple roasted carrots. And, if you want to make a healthier pizza, they have a gluten free dough recipe on their site that the internet raves about which we plan on trying with plant based cheeses and healthier topping.
If we were going to do this, I wanted to do it right. I also wanted to cook on it the same day my we opened it up, so I made sure to get some accessories. The biggest, most important things you need are a pizza peel and a turning peel. The pizza peel is what gets your pizza in and out of the pizza oven. Get your pizza peel here. Before doing research on what we needed, I actually hadn’t heard of a turning peel. However, the good folks over at Reddit assured me that I needed a turning peel. The back of the pizza oven is a lot hotter than the front where the door is. And if you just put the pizza in and take it out you will probably have a completely burnt back half and barely cooked front half. So, you need to turn your pizza every 20-30 seconds while cooking. Because of the size of the Karu 12, a pizza peel is really too big to get in there and turn the pizza. So, I highly recommend a turning peel. Get your turning peel here.
Other accessories are more optional. I’ll be honest calling the Karu 12 a multi fuel pizza oven is correct, but it is slightly misleading. Out of the box, it is not a multi fuel pizza oven, it’s a wood or charcoal burning pizza oven. To use it with propane you need to order a propane converter. Since that was the whole reason I wanted the Karu 12, I got one. Get your gas burner adapter here. I also got a carrying case as I wanted to be able to easily transport it when we take it camping. And, since I plan to have it live outside a good portion of the year I wanted to have it covered, and the carrying case doubles as cover. Get your carrying case here.
To get the best performance out of the Karu 12 pizza oven, I also got the infrared thermometer to be able to take the temperature of the pizza stone before the pizza goes in. The pizza oven gets up to 950 degrees! But you want different temperatures depending on what you’re cooking, so I wanted us to be able to get the best results. We also do a lot of grilling and smoking in the summer, so this will work great for those as well. Get your infrared thermometer here.
Lastly, while completely unnecessary, I did order the 5″ wood bundle and fire starter kit. You can absolutely use your own wood. It just needs to be cut down small enough to fit inside the firebox at the back. 5″ is the perfect size for the Ooni Karu 12. Again, I wanted to use the pizza oven the day it was taken out of the box, so I wanted to make sure we had wood that was the correct size and we wouldn’t have any problems starting the fire. Get your fire starters here and your precut premium wood bundle here.
Links for Everything
To make this easier and you don’t have to go back and forth through this whole post, here is the list of everything I purchased with links.
As a side note, these are affiliate links. I purchased all of this on my own with my own money and loved the products so much I applied to be an affiliate. Using my links means that at no cost to you, I get paid a small portion of the sale by Ooni for sharing their products. So, I greatly appreciate when you use my links for your purchases. Ooni has not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.