Outdoors - Home and Garden

How To Make Perfect Pizza At Home With the Ooni Karu 12

In this guide, we'll show the basic steps in crafting the perfect pizza at home using the Ooni Karu 12. Additionally, we'll explore the strong and weak points of the Ooni Karu. We will also answer questions most people have about the Karu 12. Is it worth it? Find out here by reading this guide!

Jan E.M.
May 14, 2023
19 min read
Seasonal - SpringSeasonal - Summer
Ooni Karu 12 Outdoor Pizza Maker

Does pizza making on the beach, campsite, or in your backyard sound like something you and your family would enjoy? And do you want that subtle wood-fired taste on your homemade pizza? If so, you've come to the right guide as we explain how to create a stone-baked or wood-fired pizza with the help of one special oven.

This special oven is none other than the Ooni Karu 12! It's perfect if you want a small multi-fueled oven that is portable to make your favorite pizza recipes.

But still. with all that said, we understand you want to know is if it's worth buying. We've prepared this guide so you can learn more about the pros and cons of the Karu 12. We'll also throw in our overall assessment at the end.

We trust that you'll find your next favorite item from the list we've researched for you below. All of these products have been hand-picked by our editors and we won't recommend something we wouldn't use in our own family. Some may even be items that we already use! We may receive a small compensation if you decide to buy something (that's how we keep the lights on). Some reviews have been edited for length and clarity. Have fun searching for your next fav product!

Does the Ooni Karu 12 Really Make Fresh Flame-Cooked Pizza?

Ooni Pizza Oven - Karu 12

MULTI-FUEL OVEN: Portable Wood Fired or Charcoal Burning Right Out of the Box, or add the optional Ooni Gas Burner attachment (sold separately).

Check Price on Amazon!

People have received Ooni pizza ovens with open arms and wide smiles for years thanks to the value and quality of their ovens. And the Ooni Karu 12 certainly meets the Ooni standards and is likely to surpass your expectations.

The Ooni Karu 12 is a portable pizza oven that is specifically designed to make fresh flame-baked pizza. It is known for its ability to reach high temperatures quickly, allowing you to achieve that classic wood-fired pizza taste in the comfort of your own backyard or outdoor space.

Guide to Making Pizza With the Karu 12

Making the perfect pizza at home with the Ooni Karu 12 is an exciting and rewarding experience that allows you to unleash your inner pizzaiolo.

Follow these steps to create a delectable pizza:

Preheat the Ooni Karu 12: Start by firing up your Karu with either wood or charcoal. Allow it to preheat for about 20-30 minutes until it reaches the optimal temperature of around 900°F (480°C). This ensures a quick and crispy cook.

Prepare the Dough: While the oven is preheating, prepare your pizza dough. Use a high-quality dough recipe or store-bought dough for convenience. Allow the dough to rest and rise according to the recipe instructions.

Shape the Pizza: Dust your work surface with flour and stretch the dough to your desired thickness. Aim for a thin and evenly shaped pizza to promote even cooking and a crispier crust.

Add Toppings: Once your dough is shaped, it's time to add your favorite toppings. Be creative and experiment with different flavors. Use high-quality ingredients, including fresh mozzarella, flavorful sauces, and a variety of toppings such as meats, vegetables, and herbs.

Slide it into the Oven: Carefully transfer your prepared pizza onto a pizza peel or a lightly floured surface. Then, swiftly slide it into the preheated Ooni Karu 12, placing it directly onto the hot pizza stone.

Rotate and Monitor: Keep a close eye on your pizza as it cooks. Use a pizza peel or long-handled spatula to rotate it every 20-30 seconds, ensuring an evenly cooked crust and toppings. This process will take only around a  couple of minutes, given the high heat of the oven.

Remove and Serve: Once your pizza has achieved a golden brown crust and perfectly melted toppings, carefully remove it from the oven using the peel or spatula. Allow it to cool for a minute or two, then slice and serve your masterpiece to enjoy the delightful flavors.

What Exactly is the Ooni Karu 12?

The Ooni Karu 12 operates using wood or charcoal as fuel, which provides the authentic flavor and smokiness that many pizza enthusiasts enjoy. It is designed with high-quality materials, including stainless steel, which helps to retain heat and distribute it evenly throughout the oven. This ensures that your pizza cooks thoroughly and quickly, resulting in a crispy crust and perfectly melted toppings.

One of the notable features of the Ooni Karu 12 is its versatility.  You can convert the this pizza oven to gas with their optional gas burner.  So in no time you can also be cooking with gas.  In addition to pizza, it can also be used to cook other dishes such as steaks, fish, vegetables, and even desserts. This makes it a popular choice among outdoor cooking enthusiasts who appreciate its flexibility.

It's important to note that while the Ooni Karu 12 is highly regarded for its pizza-making capabilities, the outcome also depends on factors such as the dough recipe, toppings, and cooking technique. With proper preparation and practice, you can certainly achieve delicious and crispy pizza using the Ooni Karu 12.

Ooni Karu 12 Fuel Source

The Ooni Karu 12 is a pizza oven that can be fueled by wood or charcoal right out of the box.  We like this particular model because it gives you the flexibility of wood, charcoal, or adding an optional gas burner.  These options give you lots of flexibility to choose the fuel source that suits your preferences and availability. Wood-fired pizza ovens are often preferred by those who enjoy the traditional smoky flavor, while charcoal provides a convenient and consistent heat source.

Ooni Karu 12 pizza oven with accessories as sold on Amazon
We like this Ooni Karu 12 Bundle Available on Amazon | Ooni Karu 12 with Optional Gas Burner, Pizza Peel and Carry Cover | FavReviews.com

Ooni Karu 12 Fuel Consumption

The fuel consumption of the Ooni Karu 12 varies depending on the type of fuel used, the temperature you're cooking at, and the duration of your cooking sessions. Generally, wood-fired ovens tend to have slightly higher fuel consumption compared to charcoal.

It's important to note that the Ooni Karu 12 is designed to reach high temperatures quickly, so it's relatively efficient in terms of fuel consumption.

Ooni Karu 12 Dimensions and Weight

The Ooni Karu 12 is designed to be portable and compact, making it easy to transport and store. The dimensions of the oven are approximately 30.31 inches (77 cm) in width, 15.75 inches (40 cm) in depth, and 31.5 inches (80 cm) in height when fully assembled.

As for the weight, the oven itself weighs around 26.5 pounds (12 kg). These dimensions and weight make it convenient for outdoor use, whether in your backyard, patio or while camping.

Ooni Karu 12 BTU

The British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a unit of measurement used to quantify the heat output of appliances such as pizza ovens. The Ooni Karu 12 has a heat output of approximately 15,500 BTU. This high heat output allows the oven to reach temperatures of up to 950°F in as little as 20 minutes, providing the ideal conditions for making Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Ooni Karu 12 Price

The Ooni Karu 12 is regularly priced at around $549 on the official Ooni website. At the time of this writing, on Amazon, the retail price is only $299!  Amazon also has several bundles available.  We like the Karu 12 bundle with Optional Gas Burner, Pizza Peel and Carry Case. Be sure to check the link above for the best price today.

What Makes Ooni Karu 12 Great?

Ooni Karu 12 Backyard Pizza Oven

Multi Fuel Option: Wood, Charcoal or add optional gas burner. See our favorite bundle on Amazon! 

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Authentic Wood-Fired Flavor:

This was already mentioned but we feel that it's worth mentioning again!
Using wood or charcoal as fuel, the Ooni Karu 12 imparts that unmistakable smoky flavor into your homemade pizzas. It recreates the taste and texture you'd typically find in a traditional wood-fired pizzeria.

Also, the oven's stainless steel construction helps retain heat and evenly distribute it, resulting in pizzas with a delightful charred crust and beautifully melted toppings.

Easy to Use and Clean

The Ooni Karu 12 is designed to make pizza-making hassle-free. It features a sleek, user-friendly design with a removable chimney and a wide opening, allowing you to easily monitor and access your pizza while it cooks. Cleaning is a breeze too, thanks to the oven's stainless steel interior, which is quick and straightforward to wipe down after use.

Compatibility with Various Cooking Styles:

While the Ooni Karu 12 excels at making pizzas, its versatility extends beyond that. You can experiment with different recipes and cooking styles, including searing steaks, grilling vegetables, baking bread, or even whipping up delectable desserts. It's a multi-purpose outdoor cooking companion that adapts to your culinary preferences.

Compact and Durable:

The Ooni Karu 12 is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor cooking. It's compact size and lightweight construction make it easy to transport and store. It can be broken down without much fuss.

The oven's high-quality materials, including stainless steel, ensure durability and longevity, allowing you to enjoy countless pizza-making sessions for years to come.

Good Controls

The Ooni Karu 12 provides good control over the cooking process, allowing you to adjust and fine-tune various aspects to achieve the desired results. The Karu has a fully insulated oven body which makes it easier to control the heat.
The oven features adjustable airflow controls and a responsive chimney damper, which gives you the ability to regulate the heat and airflow inside the oven. This level of control enables you to customize your cooking experience, whether you prefer a crispier crust or a more delicate bake for your pizzas.

Easily Converted Multi-Fuel System

One of the standout features of the Ooni Karu 12 is its ability to be easily converted into a multi-fuel system. While it comes standard as a wood and charcoal-fired oven, you have the option to add on additional accessories to convert it into a gas-powered oven. This flexibility allows you to choose the fuel type that best suits your needs and preferences, making it a versatile option for different cooking scenarios.

What We Don't Like About the Ooni Karu 12


While the Ooni Karu 12 is relatively easy to clean after use, some users may find that maintaining the oven requires periodic upkeep. The ash from wood or charcoal fuel needs to be regularly emptied, and the interior surfaces may require occasional scrubbing to remove any residue or build-up.

Although this is a common aspect of using any outdoor cooking appliance, it's worth considering the additional maintenance involved.

Learning Curve for Temperature Control

Achieving and maintaining the desired temperature can take some practice with the Ooni Karu 12. Due to its high heat output, it may require a bit of trial and error to find the optimal amount of fuel and airflow adjustments to reach and sustain the desired temperature for consistent cooking.

While the adjustable controls provide flexibility, it may take a few attempts to become comfortable with the temperature control process.

Limited Cooking Space

The Ooni Karu 12's compact size, which is a benefit for portability, can also be seen as a limitation in terms of cooking space. While it can accommodate standard-sized pizzas, the size of the cooking surface may restrict the number and size of pizzas that can be cooked simultaneously. This can be a consideration if you plan to cook for a larger group or want the flexibility to cook multiple pizzas at once.

Dependence on External Fuel

The Ooni Karu 12 relies on external fuel sources, such as wood or charcoal, which may require additional planning and preparation compared to electric or gas-powered pizza ovens.

Ensuring you have an adequate supply of fuel on hand and properly storing and handling the fuel can be factors to consider when using the oven. Additionally, the cost and availability of wood or charcoal can vary depending on your location.

Of course though, if you have the Ooni gas burner attachment then it's all good on this end.  You can use propane gas easily if you have that accessory.

Our FavReviews Final Assessment

We like the Ooni line of pizza ovens.  The Ooni Karu 12 is a worthy investment for pizza enthusiasts seeking an authentic wood-fired pizza experience. With its ability to impart a smoky taste, create a charred crust, and evenly melt toppings, this oven replicates the results found in traditional pizzerias. Furthermore, its user-friendly design, easy cleaning process, and compatibility with various cooking styles make it a versatile outdoor cooking companion.

The Ooni Karu 12's good control features allow you to adjust heat and airflow, providing customization options for your desired pizza crust texture. Its easily converted multi-fuel system adds flexibility, enabling you to choose between wood, charcoal, or gas as fuel sources. Additionally, the oven's compact and durable construction, along with its ability to be broken down, makes it convenient for transport and storage.

While there are a few drawbacks such as maintenance requirements, a learning curve for temperature control, limited cooking space, and dependence on external fuel sources, these considerations are relatively minor when compared to the overall benefits of the Ooni Karu 12. With its exceptional performance, versatility, and price point of around $299, this pizza oven offers excellent value for those looking to elevate their homemade pizza-making experience.

Keep Your Ooni Karu 12 In the Best Shape With These Maintenance Tips

Regular Cleaning: After each use, allow the oven to cool down before cleaning. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any ash, residue, or food particles from the cooking surface and interior. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that could damage the oven's stainless steel finish.

Empty Ash and Debris: If you use wood or charcoal as fuel, regularly empty the ash and debris from the firebox and ashtray. This prevents the build-up of ash, which can affect airflow and heat distribution. Safely dispose of the ash, following local regulations.

Wipe Down the Exterior: Give the exterior of the oven a wipe-down to remove any dirt or grease. Use a damp cloth and mild detergent if needed. Dry the oven thoroughly to prevent any moisture-related issues.

Clean the Chimney: If you notice any residue or soot buildup in the chimney, clean it periodically. Remove the chimney by unscrewing it from the oven and cleaning it with a brush or cloth. Ensure the chimney is fully dry before reattaching it.

Lubricate Moving Parts: Check the hinges, handles, and other moving parts regularly. Apply a food-safe lubricant or cooking oil to ensure smooth operation and prevent rust.

Store Properly: When not in use, store the Ooni Karu 12 in a cool, dry place to protect it from the elements. If possible, cover it with a weatherproof cover to provide additional protection.

Inspect for Wear and Tear: Regularly inspect the oven for any signs of wear, such as loose screws, damaged gaskets, or worn-out components. Replace any parts as needed to maintain optimal performance and safety.

Remember to always refer to the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines specific to the Ooni Karu 12 for the most accurate and detailed maintenance recommendations. Following these tips will help keep your oven in excellent condition, ensuring enjoyable pizza-making experiences for years to come.

Upgrade Your Ooni Karu 12 with These Accessories

Since you're reading this section, you either have a Karu right now or you're mind is set to buy one! Either way is great.

These accessories not only enhance your cooking experience but also provide additional versatility and convenience.

Pizza Peel:

A high-quality pizza peel is an essential accessory for any Ooni Karu 12 owner. It allows you to effortlessly slide your pizzas in and out of the oven, ensuring a smooth and seamless cooking process. Look for peels made of lightweight materials like aluminum or stainless steel, with a thin, durable blade and a comfortable handle. A good pizza peel will help you achieve that perfect launch and retrieval of your pizzas, making you feel like a true pizzaiolo.

Ooni Infrared Thermometer:

Take the guesswork out of temperature control with an infrared thermometer designed specifically for the Ooni Karu 12. This handy tool allows you to accurately measure the surface temperature of your pizza stone, ensuring that it's at the optimal heat level for the perfect bake. With precise temperature readings, you can achieve consistent results and fine-tune your cooking technique.

Ooni Pizza Turning Peel:

To achieve even cooking and a beautiful, evenly charred crust, the Ooni Pizza Turning Peel (okay, we had never heard of this either!) is a game-changer. This accessory allows you to rotate your pizza while it's in the oven, ensuring that every inch of the crust gets that lovely golden-brown color. Look for a lightweight peel with a thin, angled blade for easy maneuverability. With a pizza turning peel in hand, you'll master the art of achieving that perfect, professional-looking crust.

Check out the Selection of Ooni Pizza Accessory Bundles on Amazon

Large Selection of Ooni Accessory Bundles

Ooni has bundled some of the most popular pizza oven accessories. What combination do you use most?

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Ooni Gas Burner Attachment

Ooni Karu 12 Bundle with Optional Gas Burner

Bundle Includes Ooni Karu 12, plus Gas Burner, Pizza Peel and Carry Cover

Check Price on Amazon!

While the Ooni Karu 12 is renowned for its wood and charcoal-fired cooking capabilities, you can enhance its versatility by adding the Ooni Gas Burner attachment. This accessory allows you to effortlessly switch to gas power, providing convenience and consistency in heat control. With the gas burner attachment, you'll have the flexibility to cook with different fuel options, making your Ooni Karu 12 a truly multi-fuel oven.

Ooni Cover and Carry Bag:

If you cooking outdoors, we think this carry bag will become one of your all time favorite accessories for your Ooni pizza oven.

Protect your Ooni Karu 12 and make it easily transportable with a dedicated cover and carry bag. These accessories are designed to fit your oven perfectly, shielding it from the elements and ensuring that it's always ready for use. The carry bag offers convenience when you want to take your Ooni Karu 12 on outdoor adventures or to gatherings with friends and family. Keep your oven safe, secure, and in top condition with these essential accessories.  Visit the Ooni Store on Amazon!

Ooni Modular Table

This durable large Ooni Pizza Oven table is powder-coated carbon steel, with two height- adjustable shelves and hooks to easily store your accessories.  You will love the large table top to hold your portable oven.  The extra shelf is handy for supplies.  The rolling casters make it easy to find the right location for your pizza oven.

FAQs for Ooni Karu 12

Why Wood Type is the Best Choice for Your Ooni Karu 12

Using wood as fuel in your Ooni Karu 12 adds a delightful smoky flavor to your pizzas, replicating the authentic taste of wood-fired pizzerias. Different wood types can impart distinct flavors, with popular choices including oak, cherry, and applewood.
That said, it's hard to say what's the best wood for Ooni Karu 12 because it is subjective. Whatever your choice of wood though, make sure to use hardwoods that are well-seasoned and free from any additives or chemicals for the best results.

Is the Ooni Karu Oven Safe for a Balcony?

The Ooni Karu 12 is generally safe to use on a balcony, but it's crucial to consider local fire safety regulations and the specifics of your balcony setup. Ensure that you have proper ventilation and clearance from flammable materials. Always exercise caution, monitor the oven during use, and follow the manufacturer's guidelines and safety recommendations.

How to Make Pizza Crispy in Ooni Karu 12 Oven?

To achieve a crispy crust in your Ooni Karu 12, here are some tips:

Preheat the oven: Allow the oven to reach the optimal temperature, typically around 900°F (480°C), to ensure a quick and thorough cooking process.

Use a thin crust: Opt for a thinner pizza dough to promote even cooking and crispiness.

Preheat the stone: Make sure your pizza stone is properly heated before placing the pizza on it. This helps create a crispy bottom.

Limit toppings and moisture: Be mindful of the amount of sauce and toppings you use, as excessive moisture can hinder crispiness. Opt for well-drained ingredients and spread them evenly.

Monitor cooking time: Keep an eye on the pizza while it cooks and rotates it as needed for even browning. Remember that cooking times may vary, so adjust accordingly based on your desired level of crispiness.

What is the difference between OONI Koda and Karu?

The main difference between the Ooni Koda and Karu lies in their fuel source. The Ooni Koda is a gas-powered pizza oven that offers quick and convenient cooking, with the ability to reach high temperatures rapidly. It's a great option for those who prefer the ease of gas-powered cooking.

On the other hand, the Ooni Karu 12 is a multi-fuel oven that can be fueled by wood, charcoal, or gas (with an additional attachment). It provides the flexibility to choose your preferred fuel type, allowing you to achieve the unique flavors associated with wood or charcoal-fired cooking. The Karu is ideal for those who want the versatility of different fuel options and the authentic taste of wood-fired pizzas.

Does Ooni Karu smoke a lot?

The Ooni Karu 12 is designed to produce minimal smoke when used correctly. However, some initial smoke may occur during the preheating process or when adding wood or charcoal to the fire. It's essential to ensure proper airflow by using the chimney damper and adjusting the air controls to reduce smoke production. Additionally, using dry and well-seasoned wood can minimize smoke. Following the recommended procedures and using the right fuel will help you enjoy a low-smoke cooking experience with the Ooni Karu 12.

What is the ViewFlame Technology?

There's nothing too fancy about the ViewFlame Technology in the Ooni Karu. You could see whatever it is you're cooking because of the full glass oven door. The feature also kept oven temperature constant thanks to increased oven insulation.

Is there Any Difference Between the Karu 12 and Karu 16?‌ ‌

Aside from the size differences, the Karu 16 has the ViewFlame Technology and a mounted digital thermometer which the Karu 12 does not. The larger wood-fired oven does not offer much additional temperature control compared to Karu 12.

They both have a carbon steel shell and are both gas compatible. All in all, get the Karu 16 if you're cooking for larger groups but other than that, you should be fine with the smaller one.

Fireside Culinary Excellence: Ooni Karu 12 - Unleash Your Pizza Mastery

Picture yourself basking in the warmth of the crackling wood, as this remarkable oven effortlessly transforms dough and toppings into mouthwatering artisanal pizzas.

With the Ooni Karu 12 by your side, you'll experience the thrill of wood-fired cooking, delivering unparalleled flavor, crispy crusts, and perfectly melted toppings for your fav pizza recipes.

Whether you're a seasoned pizza enthusiast or a culinary explorer ready to embark on a delicious journey, the Ooni Karu 12 invites you to elevate your homemade pizza game and create moments of pure gastronomic bliss. Join the ranks of passionate pizza-makers worldwide and savor the unmatched taste and satisfaction that only the Ooni Karu 12 can deliver. Unleash your pizza mastery and ignite a culinary revolution in your own backyard.

Happy Shopping!

Your Fav Reviews Team

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Thank you for reading our article about the Ooni Karu 12!

P.S.S. - You may also be interested in some of our other Ooni Oven articles.

Discover the Top Ooni Pizza Ovens: Which One is Right for You?
If you love making pizza and enjoy the unique flavors of Neapolitan-style pizza, then Ooni pizza ovens might be just what you’re looking for.
Delicious Ooni Pizza Oven Recipes: Try Them Now!
Learn how to make delicious pizza at home with our Ooni pizza recipes! We’ll show you how to make the dough, sauce, and pizzas. Enjoy.

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