Blog: Ooni Tips and Tricks by Oven Depot Co-Founder, Jared Filart

It’s been a long time since I first started using my Ooni back in August 2020. After a lot of trial and errors in the process of making amazing pizzas and so much more, I learned amazing things along the way that really helped me get the most out of my Ooni oven and maximize my cooking experience.

Whether you’ve had an Ooni Oven for 2 years like me or just got one because you saw an amazing deal, here are some tips and tricks I want to share with you so you can have fun throughout your Ooni journey!
On Preparation:

1. Have all your gear and Ooni essentials ready. Think you’re ready to start using the oven? Make sure you have at least these two:

  • Pizza Peel - Having a pizza peel is a MUST and you’ll really need it especially if you’ll be cooking those authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas. It’s what you’ll be using to launch and retrieve your pizzas and more from deep inside the oven. Pro tip: Get a turning peel as well if you want to make sure that you’re evenly baking your pizza inside the Ooni within that 60-second timeframe!

  • Fuel - Whether you will be cooking with gas, wood, or charcoal, make sure you have enough of your fuel source to light up the oven!
    • If you are using a gas tank, keep in mind that Oonis sold in Singapore will also need a hose and regulator attachment to connect the oven to your tank, which can vary depending on your tank provider.

2. Fire up your Ooni. Do this especially once you open and take your Ooni out of the box, as well as every time for a few minutes before each time you use it.
  • Preseason your Ooni - Leave it on high heat for at least 30 minutes to make sure that all the bad stuff from manufacturing is removed.
  • Get it to temperature - Once you’ve pre-seasoned, all you have to do is fire up your Ooni on high for about 10-15 minutes before you launch your first pizza to get it up to that blazing hot 400C temperature. If you’re not using the Karu 16’s built-in digital thermometer, you can simply buy the Ooni infrared thermometer to check if your oven is ready to rock.

3. Other Ooni accessories that will make your pizzaiolo journey easier.

  • Modular Table - This allows you to have a dedicated space for your oven, your peels, and more all in one spot because you only have 60 seconds to cook the pizza!
  • Pizza Topping Station - Working fast is part of creating great pizza, so having everything you need in one go is definitely going to help make things run quicker and smoother.
  • Oven Brush - To avoid that burnt flour flavor after the first pizza, make sure you brush the pizza stone while its still hot so you can keep your oven clean at all times.

On Stretching and Launching your Pizza
1. Mind the 5 Minute Rule. Based on my experience, the general rule of thumb is that you only have 5 minutes maximum from the time you start stretching until you launch the pizza in the oven.
    • That means you need to make sure your oven is hot and preheated to temperature already. Leaving it out too long will eventually make your pizza stick to the surface.
    2. Keep the shape of the dough ball. Starting out, I used to break up the dough and try to stretch it out with my hands. While that’s doable with other types of dough and pizza styles, it’s not recommended for Neapolitan-style pizza.
    • Try watching YouTube videos on how to hand-stretch pizza, that’s how I learned!
    • Practice makes perfect, so learn through trial and error!

    3. Generously flour your surface. Especially in a humid country, the dough (which normally has a higher percentage of hydration) tends to stick to any surface it touches, so flour it up!
    • If you’re a beginner, it’s okay to put more so it will be easier to transfer and launch your pizzas to and from your workstation to the oven. But be mindful: too much flour can leave you with more burnt crusts because it does burn quicker in the oven than the dough.
    4. Dust your peel with flour as well. Much like your surface, if your peel is not dusted with flour, your pizza will stick to it and can tear your pizza as you launch it. Dust it up with some more flour before putting it in on there
    • This makes it easier to launch the pizza in the oven as well. Pro tip: Use the Ooni Perforated Pizza Peel to make those launches easier and hassle free!
    5. Launch with confidence. When I first started using the oven, it can get overwhelming (especially when you start feeling the heat literally). But the Ooni can sense your fear! Launch your pizzas with confidence inside the oven so it doesn’t break!
    • Try to keep your hand and peel as steady. Align the tip of your peel to where you want your pizza to stay on the stone and when you’re ready, just pull out the peel in one confident movement.

    On Cooking

    1. Cook with a low flame. Preheat your oven to your desired temperature (ideally 400C) and when you’re about to launch the pizza, drop the oven flames to low.
      • This will give more time to cook the base of the pizza without the topics and crust getting burnt.
      2. Turn the pizza when you see crust bubbles. Generally, once you see those crust bubbles form, especially on the side of the pizza closest to the flame, it’s time to start turning.
      • The best way to turn your pizza is using the Ooni Turning Peel. Not only is it more convenient, but it makes you feel like a real pizza pro (at least, it made me feel that way!). Pro tip: heat your peel up by the flame before you start turning to minimize your pizza from sticking.
      3. Keep the temperature consistent. This will allow you to ensure that you’re cooking everything at the right heat level and it will give you those good-looking pizzas every time.
      • Use the Ooni Infrared Thermometer to know what temperature your oven is at all the time. Point the red light of the thermometer at the middle of your stone for an accurate temperature check.
      4. Do not leave your pizza unattended! It only takes about 60 seconds to cook a pizza in an Ooni oven, so you can only imagine what will happen if you leave it unattended.
      • Everything happens fast and quick, so make sure you keep an eye on your pizza. No need to leave it alone!

      This isn't the definitive list of tips and tricks for you to enjoy your Ooni. One thing is for sure, not every pizza will come out great (especially the first few) and even after a few years, you'll still have more to learn each time. I think that the most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy the process. So enjoy your Ooni oven and see what you can make with it!