You can also cook other things using the Ooni Fyra 12, provided you have cookware that fits inside the oven slot. Ooni provides recipes on its website for things like duck breasts and banana bread, which you cook the same way you would in any wood-burning oven—rotating to give every angle equal time facing the heat source. A tiny cast-iron pan will work here, but you’ll need to pull it out and rotate the food inside the pan rather than turning the pan itself, since the handle of the skillet will stick out of the oven; Ooni sidesteps this problem by selling its own cast iron skillet that features a removable handle. I think this is fussy (the pan is also a little flimsy and small, IMO), so I will stick to pizza.
What does the Ooni Fyra 12 do well?
The Ooni Fyra 12 makes great pizza. Regardless of the dough you use (I’ve tried a few homemade recipes as well as store bought), the results are puffed, spotted, and cooked in record time—a far cry above anything I could hope to produce in a regular oven, even with the use of a pizza stone. It’s a delight to use for a fun dinner for two and amazing as a centerpiece of a party, once you get a handle on your personal system and best practices. The compact nature of the oven also means that whenever it’s not getting the party started, it can easily be stowed away in its box, which is relatively narrow and stackable. As a hater of one-trick kitchen gadgets and large appliances generally, I was surprised how much I loved the Ooni, and how readily I made space for it in my home—the payoff is just that fun.
My favorite thing about the oven is how easy it is to use. The wood pellets and fire starter combo could not be simpler, and so long as you keep the hopper filled to the top (and don’t, as I did on one occasion, forget about it while eating pizza for 45 minutes), you’ll be rewarded with consistent, very high temperatures. The first time I used the Fyra, I was scared about getting the pizza off the peel and into the oven, not maneuvering the pie around the oven correctly, or otherwise ruining dinner by having no experience working with a pizza oven before, but the entire process was intuitive. Without ever interacting with live fire, you reap all of the flavorful benefits in your cooking.
What are the biggest drawbacks of the Ooni Fyra 12?
It was a huge bummer to receive my Ooni with the plan to make pizza that very day, only to discover that I did not have a bunch of the requisite materials—namely, a pizza peel, fire starter, or wood pellets, none of which come in the box. If you do not buy the pizza peel from Ooni, be sure to get a model that is thin and narrow enough that you can fit it, plus a pizza, into the oven with enough clearance to shake, shift, and angle each direction. I got this one and really like it. You could presumably use a wooden peel as well, but I found I needed the thinness of metal to successfully maneuver.
For my maiden pizza voyage, I sourced all-natural fire starters and organic wood pellets from a local hardware store, which initially seemed to work fine. But the oven never reached the temperatures that the website claimed it could, and the cook time for each pizza was more like 4-6 minutes. When I used the actual Ooni branded starter and hardwood pellets, the fire lit much faster and was much stronger, to the point that I could cook the same dough in a fraction of the time (1-2 minutes total).