The popularity of creating restaurant-quality food at home has boomed in the wake of lockdown restrictions across the UK. People are keen to get inventive in their own homes and enjoy their own creations. Setting up your own pizza oven is a great investment and you will soon be enjoying authentic, restaurant-quality pizza in a matter of minutes.

A new way of cooking?

Whilst pizza ovens have grown in popularity over the past decade, similar ovens have been used globally for thousands of years. There is evidence of ancient Egyptians utilising clay ovens, whilst in Pompeii, ovens have been unearthed that would be still usable today. With Italy being the birthplace of pizza, it’s not surprising that many Italian homes had wood-fired ovens in their kitchens until the middle of the 20th century.

How does a pizza oven work?

Pizza ovens are unique in that they reach incredibly high temperatures in order to quickly cook your pizza, without losing any of the moisture within the dough. All pizza ovens should feature a chimney, but the location of the chimney can vary depending on your preferences. If you choose to go without a chimney, it will be easier to retain a high cooking temperature. However, the smoke produced whilst cooking your pizza will not have an easy exit route, so from a health and safety perspective, you should only have this type of oven outside.
logs for pizza ovens

Choosing a location for your pizza oven

When deciding where you will locate your pizza oven, the main deciding factor is the space you have available. You also need to consider any safety limitations, such as access by young children or pets, as the oven will get incredibly hot. They are ideal to build in many outside spaces, such as in the garden, on a patio or as part of a terrace. There are two essential rules when building a pizza oven. It should not be exposed to high winds as this will jeopardise the oven’s cooking ability, and it must not have any flammable materials in its vicinity for safety reasons.

Getting started

Once you have decided on a location, you can then consider whether you want to buy a pizza oven or take on the project of building your own. If you decide to buy a pizza oven, there is a wide variety of sizes and looks, as well as portable pizza ovens. You can even find hybrid barbecues which also feature a pizza oven. Whatever you decide on, the quality of the wood you use to cook on will impact the quality of the food you cook. Using specially prepared oak logs for pizza oven use will give an authentic taste to your food, as well as making it easy to ignite and maintain the heat within your oven. Another way of ensuring your wood is of good quality is by choosing kiln dried wood for pizza ovens. By removing the moisture from the wood, your cooking process will be much more efficient.

Buy one or build one?

Depending on their size and cooking space, wood-fired pizza ovens can cost from £700 to several thousand pounds. Regardless, a purchased pizza oven does not have significantly different cooking results from a home-built one. If you are DIY savvy and have the time, constructing your own can be more cost-effective and a satisfying project at the same time. A home-based pizza oven will feature an arch-vaulted dome, which is usually constructed from clay, cob or bricks and cement. Cob is created using a mix of 25% clay and 75% sandy gravel. You can buy these materials from your local builders’ merchant, and they are usually relatively inexpensive. Some hybrid barbecues have additional pizza stones which can be added to your grill. Whilst these will not reach the high temperatures of a pizza oven, you can still use kiln dried logs underneath the stone to achieve a similar smoky taste to your pizza, without the commitment of a full pizza oven.

Using your pizza oven

To get your fire started, you will need wood. The best choice is properly dried hardwood logs for your pizza oven, such as the dried oak logs offered by Cozilogs. Light a small pile of kindling and newspaper, gradually building this up with small sticks of soft wood beneath the chimney of your oven. Slowly build the fire up as it catches, adding kiln dried logs, moving it towards the back of the oven once the flames are sustainable. Once the fire is roaring, add more logs periodically to keep it going.  

Cooking in a pizza oven

Once you have your pizza oven set up, the process is suitable for all cooking abilities. You will need to create a fire to begin with, building a heat source to cook on. The best way to do this is by using kiln dried logs, which will heat up quickly and produce a stable high temperature, as well as adding an authentic smoky flavour to your pizza. The shape of the oven will allow the temperature to build and be dispersed throughout the oven, with the heat concentrated in the centre. There are two methods once your pizza oven has reached the temperature needed. The first is to remove all ashes and embers to create a clean cooking space for your pizza dough. The alternative is to push the embers and burning logs to the back or to use a log grate for pizza oven purposes, which will leave you enough space to cook on. This second option is much faster and will mean your pizza will be cooked in just a few minutes. Remember to rotate your pizza periodically to make sure it is cooked evenly. Pizza ovens can also be used for a multitude of other dishes. Its versatility allows you to cook a wide variety of food, such as barbecued meat and vegetables, bubbling stews and casseroles, fresh bread, kebabs and even meringues.  
heating a pizza oven with logs

How hot does a pizza oven get?

When it comes to pizza ovens, the hotter, the better. Depending on what you choose to burn, a pizza oven can reach temperatures of 500℃ and beyond. However, this temperature is not necessary to achieve an authentic pizza. You can successfully cook a thin pizza base in 90 seconds at 430℃, with thicker bases cooking easily at 300℃. Using kiln dried logs for pizza ovens will help you to reach the temperatures needed for a quick cook. Invest in an oven thermometer to judge when to begin cooking.


Investing in a wood-fired pizza oven will be a great asset to have in your home and will get plenty of use. By using these tips, you can be sure that you will be impressing friends and family with your own authentic home-cooked pizza in no time.