Ooni Volt 12 pizza oven review: Throw out your delivery menus
At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsBeautiful designWell engineeredEasy to useOur VerdictThe Volt 12 is the ultimate way to make homemade pizza from the comfort of your kitchen. Yes, it’s pricey and you’ll need plenty of space for it, but it’s hard to fault its design or performance.
Price When Reviewed$999
Best Prices Today: Ooni Volt 12
Not everyone has been able to get in on the trend for homemade pizza, for the simple fact that not all of us have the outside space needed to use a pizza oven.
That’s where Ooni’s Volt 12 comes in.
Ooni is a pizza oven company that began its life in London and now sells worldwide. We’ve previously reviewed two of their outdoor ovens: the Fyra 12 and the Karu 16.
The Volt 12 is the result of several years of development. Ooni has designed and built an oven that can reach the high temperatures necessary to cook pizza, while still being safe for a domestic kitchen. And what a piece of engineering it is.
The Volt 12 a proper pizza oven, large enough to cook a 12-inch pizza, but the twist is that you can use it indoors – although if you think that wood burning or gas fired ovens are too much hassle, you can use the Volt 12 outside as well. However, it’ll still need to be stored inside.
Design & Build
H28 x W53 x D62cm/ 24.2 x 20.8 x 10.9in
High quality stainless steel and glass build
Three dial controls
When the Volt 12 box arrived, I was floored. Not literally, although I would have been had I tried to lift it. I just wasn’t prepared for the size of it. When it’s unboxed, the oven seems a bit more manageable, although it’s still a mighty size.
The Volt 12 is undoubtedly the best looking appliance in my kitchen
At 28(H) x 53(W) x 62cm(D) (24.2 x 20.8 x 10.9in), it should be able to stand on a standard kitchen counter, which is around 65cm/25in deep. But if you’re thinking of buying the Volt, it’s well worth measuring up first to ensure you have a suitable spot to place it.
And it’s as heavy as it is large, at 18kg/39.2lbs. But there are handholds on the sides and I found that, once free of the packaging, I could lift it onto the counter without much trouble. Still, it’s not the kind of appliance you’ll want to move around often. And you won’t be able to move it at all when it’s hot after use.
But it is beautifully designed. Its shape is bevelled, and its body is matt black, with a stainless steel trim. The door makes up the entire front of the oven, and it’s glossy black, with a viewing window in the centre so you can see your pizza cooking. It’s undoubtedly the best looking appliance in my kitchen.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
Underneath the door are three control dials that light up when it’s switched on. It’s a slick, minimalist set-up. The first dial is a timer (up to 20 minutes), the second controls temperature (up to 450°C/850°F) and the third is a balance dial that lets you adjust whether the heat is coming mainly from the top or the bottom heating element, or whether it’s evenly balanced between the two.
There’s a recommended setting for each temperature, but you can adjust it by hand during cooking. The third dial also functions as a boost to heat up your pizza stone between cooking pizzas.
There’s an On/Standby touchscreen button on the front and a large On/Off rocker switch on the appliance’s side. The placement of the latter is a little annoying as you’ll need to reach down the side of the appliance and feel around to turn it on and off.
The Volt 12 is largely made of stainless steel, with a triple-paned door of borosilicate glass. This is the type of glass Pyrex used to be made from: it’s famously tough and thermally stable. In other words, it’s an excellent material for the door to an oven that’s going to get really, really hot.
The door has a large, easy-to-grasp handle that’s safe to touch throughout cooking.
The Volt 12 comes with a short power cord to reduce the risk of the oven being pulled from the countertop. This does mean that you’re limited to where you can use it and may need to use an extension cord, in which case, see above and take care.
Set up is straightforward. All you need to do find a countertop spot with a few inches of clearance all the way around, insert the Ooni-branded pizza stone into the oven and season the oven by setting it to 450°C/850°F for 20 minutes.
When the oven reaches its set temperature, there’s an audible alert and when the timer runs down, an alarm sounds – and continues sounding – until you intervene. The Volt will not switch itself off at the end of a cooking cycle.
Once it’s cooled, you’re ready to start cooking.
Performance & Features
20 minute heating time
90 second cooking time
I went to the Volt 12 launch event some months ago and saw the indoor ovens in action. The pizza the ovens produced was excellent but, perhaps thanks to letting a bunch of writers and influencers experiment with their own pizza cooking, the ovens did begin to smoke and eventually set off the fire alarms in the building.
As my kitchen is tiny, I was worried that the same thing would happen at home, or that the kitchen would get unbearably hot. So, I started off the testing with a bit of trepidation.
I began by making my own pizza dough from scratch a few hours before using the oven – you need to give the dough time to rise. I’d never made pizza dough before, so I used Ooni’s recipe.
Surprisingly, it was easy enough and a few hours later, I had four pretty convincing looking dough balls – enough to make four 12-inch pizzas.
I switched on the oven to preheat and shaped the dough while the oven was heating. Then came the tricky part: launching the uncooked pizza into the oven.
To do this, you’ll need a pizza peel. The Volt 12 doesn’t come with one but it is an essential tool. Ooni’s own 12-inch peel costs $59.99/£59.99 and as a plus, it’s large enough that you could use it to shovel snow from your driveway if the need arises (please don’t try this).
When your dough is stretched and shaped, you then flour your peel, place your dough on top and add your sauce and toppings. Then, when the oven has reached the target temperature, slide it into the oven.
It’s a bit of an engineering marvel. It’s sturdily built, well insulated and easy to use – the quality of your pizzas, however, will depend on your dough making and dough stretching skills
In my case, this is where things went awry. I’d been worried about over-flouring the peel and making the oven smoke, so the pizza dough got irretrievably stuck to the peel and ended up in a mangled ball in the bin. The second attempt was much more successful.
The oven takes around 20 minutes to heat up, and then only 1.5-2 minutes to cook a Neapolitan-style pizza. You can also use it to make New York, Tavern-style and Detroit pizzas – among other options – and the oven comes with an Essentials Guide to give you some tips as to settings.
The first pizza I made was at least recognisably a pizza, if a bit thick – and every pizza I made afterwards showed an exponential improvement.
As you can see through the oven door, you can check on your pizza and ensure it’s not burning. In spite of my fears, I never had problems with the oven smoking.
As for safety, the sides and top of the oven get warm enough during cooking that you couldn’t comfortable rest a hand there for long – but not hot enough to burn you if you touch the oven.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
And incredibly, the Volt 12 released less heat during cooking than my inbuilt oven .
Altogether, it’s a bit of an engineering marvel. It’s sturdily built, well insulated and easy to use. The quality of your pizzas, however, will depend on your dough making and dough stretching skills.
What’s more, you can use it for other types of cooking, although you’ll need a compatible cooking dish. Ooni also sells a cookbook, Cooking With Fire, with a number of recipes you can try.
As the Volt 12 was just sitting on my counter during the testing period, I used it for all types of cooking, from heating up frozen pizza (use a bit of flour to stop it sticking to the stone) to crisping up gnocci and roasting vegetables.
It proved handy for everything but the best dish I made was roast potatoes, which I cooked in a ceramic tray as I didn’t have a metal pan that fit in the oven. They took less time than in a conventional oven and they were easily the best roast potatoes I’ve ever made. The additional heat helped, as did the precision cooking from adjusting the balance dial: I could choose to crisp the top or the cook from the bottom of the dish as required.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
Bear in mind, though, that if you use a taller dish, you won’t be able to view the progress of your cooking through the viewing window as easily as with a flat pizza.
Price & Availability
The Volt 12 is priced at $999/ £799 and, at the time of writing at least, you won’t get it for less. However, Ooni does have bundle deals available that’ll get you money off useful accessories such as covers and peels.
In the US, you can buy direct from Ooni, or from Amazon, among other retailers. In the UK, you can buy from Ooni, Amazon or John Lewis.
In terms of its cost to run, the Volt 12 is a 1600W appliance, which means that it will still be cheaper to cook in than an inbuilt oven – if you cook for short periods, at least. On my current energy tariff, it cost me around 14p to cook a pizza.
But given that this is a luxury product, it seems absurd to be discussing any kind of money saving. You could order yourself a delivery pizza every week for close to a year for the price of the Volt 12.
Should you buy the Ooni Volt 12?
The Volt 12 is not for everyone: you need the space and budget for one, as well as the desire to cook pizza in your kitchen regularly enough to invest heavily in it. And pizza aficionados will still prefer their wood-fired outdoor ovens, although there is a certain luxury in making pizza from scratch in your kitchen all through the winter months.
But if you want the Volt 12, you certainly won’t be disappointed when you get it. It’s a beautifully designed and engineered appliance, and using it is a pleasure.