Product review of pizza oven Ooni Karu 12

If you want to be as flexible as possible when baking pizza and you don’t want to skip having a homemade pizza while on vacation, the Ooni Karu 12* outdoor pizza oven is just right for you! The Ooni Karu 12 can be powered with gas, wood and coal and it’s also very portable due to its size and weight. We have baked pizzas in the Ooni Karu 12 with all three different fuels and would like to share our experiences with you in this article.

What makes the Ooni Karu 12 so special? How much does the Ooni Karu 12 cost? And most importantly: how do the pizzas come out? I would like to answer all these questions here!

Scope of delivery

Ooni Karu 12 - Scope of Delivery
Ooni Karu 12 – Scope of Delivery

The following parts are included when ordering the Ooni Karu 12

  1. Ooni Karu 12 Pizza Oven body
  2. Oven door
  3. Chimney
  4. Cordierite stone baking board
  5. Fuel tray door
  6. Wood & carcoal fuel tray with burner grate
  7. Chimney cap

Please note, in order to be able to operate the Ooni Karu 12 with gas, you need the gas burner*. The gas burner including the gas hose is an optional accessory and is not included with the model. It must be purchased separately.

Compared to its bigger brother, the Ooni Karu 16 (you can find a detailed product review here), the Ooni Karu 12 hardly requires any screws, which makes it very easy to assemble. All you have to do is set up the feet, put on the chimney and slide the pizza stone into the oven, and the oven is ready to be used.

Ooni Karu 12 - Burner tray and grate
Ooni Karu 12 – Burner tray and grate
Ooni Karu 12 Gas Burner
Ooni Karu 12 – Gas Burner

Equipment, dimensions and weight

The Ooni Karu 12 is a so-called multi-fuel pizza oven, which means that it can be heated with different fuels, namely wood, coal and gas. Due to the possibility of heating via wood and coal, the Ooni Karu 12 comes with a chimney, which allows the smoke to escape.

Another special feature of the Ooni Karu 12 is the oven door which can be easily removed. The oven door is used for maximum heat retention, in order to keep heating time of the oven and the baking time of the pizzas as short as possible.

The stainless steel case of the Ooni Karu 12 is insulated with ceramic fibers and thus makes a valuable and visually straight impression. The Ooni Karu 12 stands securely and firmly on its three legs (two in the front, one in the back). The legs can also be folded for transport, for example.

The baking chamber of the Ooni Karu 12 is 33 cm wide, just under 16 cm high and 33 cm deep. This makes it ideal for baking pizzas with a diameter of approx. 30 cm. When the legs of the Ooni Karu 12 are folded out, it is 40 cm wide; with the chimney sweep, it is then 58 cm high and 73 cm deep from the door handle to the fuel flap. You can also see the details in the pictures below. Even though the Ooni Karu 12 has a very high-quality finish, it only weighs 12 kilos and is therefore very portable.

Ooni Karu 12 Front
Ooni Karu 12 Front
Ooni Karu 12 from the side
Ooni Karu 12 from the side
Ooni Karu 12 from the back
Ooni Karu 12 from the back
Ooni Karu 12 Dimensions
Ooni Karu 12 – Dimensions

Starting up

It is especially fun to heat the Ooni Karu 12 with wood and charcoal. This is because the wood and charcoal mixture ensures optimal heat development. Wood burns faster and ensures that the flames develop immediately. Coal, on the other hand, takes longer to catch fire, but it glows longer and ensures a more stable heat development.

To heat up, place the wood and charcoal together with 1-2 natural grill lighters in the burner tray, open the door, push the tray all the way back into the oven and close the door again. Through the rear opening on the Ooni Karu 12 you can then easily light the fuel. I recommend starting with a little less fuel and then gradually adding wood or coal to better regulate the heat development.

Important: When heating up with wood or coal, make sure that the air regulator of the chimney is pushed up to ensure that the smoke can escape through the chimney.

Ooni Karu 12 - Fuel with wood and coal
Ooni Karu 12 – Fuel with wood and coal
Ooni Karu 12 - Fueled by wood and coal
Ooni Karu 12 – Fueled by wood and coal

In addition to wood and coal, you can also use the Ooni Karu 12 with gas. To do this, simply remove the fuel flap, attach the gas burner (it’s a snap: just unscrew or screw in two screws) and connect it to the gas cartridges. You can then easily adjust the flame using the heat regulator. Now remove the chimney and place the chimney cap in the opening instead. Here you can see how the flames roll along the ceiling of the oven when the temperature is fully regulated.

Important: if you want to heat the Ooni Karu 12 with gas, the baking chamber must be open all the time, which means that the door should be removed.
Attention: The Ooni Karu 12 guide states that you should remove the chimney and replace it with the chimney cap when cooking with gas. This information refers to the old gas burner (Ooni 3 gas burner)! With the new Ooni Karu 12 gas burner, the chimney needs to be in place and the chimney baffle needs to be open (the baffle pointing upwards) to achieve optimal flame performance. If the chimney cap covers the opening, you will notice the flames coming out of the front and scorching the front. These can simply be wiped off with a damp paper towel after the oven has cooled down.

Ooni Karu 12 - Gas adjustment
Ooni Karu 12 – Gas adjustment
Ooni Karu 12 - Fueled by gas
Ooni Karu 12 – Fueled by gas

The Ooni Karu 12 does not have a thermometer display. Therefore, it is recommended to regularly measure the stone temperature with an infrared thermometer before and during baking to ensure that the stone has reached the appropriate temperature. If this is not the case, the dough may stick to the stone.

Depending on the fuel you use, the oven reaches temperatures of 400 – 500 degrees Celsius in 20 to 30 minutes, thus ideal for baking authentic Neapolitan pizzas!

Ooni Karu 12 - Measure temperature

Baking results

You’re probably asking yourself: how do the pizzas come out of the Ooni Karu 12? We have tested it and can tell you: the pizzas come out great with wood and coal as well as with gas! Just look at the pictures to see for yourself!

Make sure to turn the pizza regularly during baking so that it bakes evenly, as the temperature is naturally highest near the flame or embers. Since we personally like the pizza a little crispier, we fire the pizzas at about 400 degrees Celsius and bake them for about 2 minutes.

Regarding the dough: I’ve used my recipe for the Neapolitan pizza with 100% poolish for this review.
Tip: For the Ooni Karu 12 we recommend dough with a weight of 230-240 grams. This makes it very easy to turn the pizza regularly in the oven.

Here are the results of a Pizza Margherita baked with wood and coal in the Ooni Karu 12:

Pizza Margherita baked with wood and coal - Oven view
Pizza Margherita baked with wood and coal – Oven view
Pizza Margherita baked with wood and coal
Pizza Margherita baked with wood and coal

And here you can see a Pizza Margherita that was baked using gas in the Ooni Karu 12:

Pizza Margherita baked with gas - Oven view
Pizza Margherita baked with gas – Oven view
Pizza Margherita baked with gas
Pizza Margherita baked with gas

By now you’re probably wondering which of the fuel options I prefer: wood, coal or gas? In terms of taste, I can’t really tell much of a difference, since all fuel variants can reach the same temperature. The fun factor is definitely greater with wood and coal, because here you can actively influence the heat and observe how the flames develop – that’s just great! On the other hand, operating it with gas is more relaxed and the results are at least as good.

Do you want to see the Ooni Karu 12 in action? In the following video, you can see how easy it is to bake a Neapolitan pizza outdoors in the Ooni Karu 12 with wood and coal

Price

The Ooni Karu 12 currently costs 349 Euro (as of 31.10.2022). You can find more information about the Ooni products on the Ooni website*.

Summary

With the portable outdoor pizza oven Ooni Karu 12 you are maximally flexible! You can operate it with different fuels gas, wood and coal. Especially with wood and coal you get your money’s worth in terms of the fun factor. If you prefer a more relaxed approach to heat development, you can simply switch to gas. Thanks to its compact and efficient design, it heats up to 500 degrees in less than 30 minutes and can bake authentic Neapolitan pizzas within 60-90 seconds.

Due to its light weight of just 12 kilos, the Ooni Karu 12 is also very portable. Thus, it can easily be taken to the next garden party or camping vacation and you can enjoy a delicious pizza or other grilled food everywhere.
Therefore, we’d recommend the Ooni Karu 12 to anyone who values a lightweight, portable pizza oven and wants to be flexible when it comes to fuel.

Do you want to learn more? Find more information here: Ooni Karu 12*.

Discover more

You’d like to start making pizza right away, but you’re wondering where to start? We have summarized the most important information on the following page for you.

Thanks for reading! I hope my review of the Ooni Karu 12 was valuable to you. If you have any unanswered questions, feel free to let me know in the comments. I’d appreciate it if you could share this article with your friends.

Julia

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