Ooni Karu 12 Review: The Chef’s Choice

first image in the article Ooni Karu 12

As a seasoned restaurant chef with over a decade of experience, I’m excited to share my insights on the Ooni Karu 12. This comprehensive assessment results from rigorous testing at my restaurant, Dequte Restaurant LironBoylston, where top-notch pizza quality is vital.

As the top-selling wood-fired option in a stellar lineup of ovens, the Karu 12 showcases remarkable efficiency in its wood-burning form, reaching pizza stone temperatures above 750°F with a continuously stoked wood fire.

What sets it apart is its adaptability— a simple conversion with an accessory gas burner transforms it into a more convenient gas-powered format, rivaling the efficiency of its sibling, the Ooni Koda 12. 

In this post, we reviewed the Ooni Karuu 12 based on the significant factors in choosing a pizza oven.

How Ooni Karu 12 Works and How To Use It

How Ooni Karu 12 Works and How To Use It

Setting up the Karu 12 is a breeze, as it only took me 15 minutes to set it up. Since it is a wood-fired oven, it has more components than other Ooni pizza ovens. Nonetheless, each part is designed for easy removal. The Ooni Karu 12 is the epitome of a user-friendly design that allows users to enjoy pizza making.

Wood-firing requires more labor than utilizing a gas-powered oven. While you can learn to use a wood fire, you can also change Karu 12’s power source to gas. This will simplify the cooking process.

Using a gas burner on Ooni Karu will allow you to warm the oven with the flip of a button. However, while it is easier to use a gas-powered pizza oven, the experience of making wood-fired pizzas remains unparalleled, in my opinion.

Unboxing and First Impression

Unboxing the Ooni Karu 12 was a delight. Similar to other Ooni ovens, I was immediately impressed with this oven. All parts of the oven are sturdy and made of quality materials. The attention to detail in packaging and the initial build quality showcased a product designed with care and durability in mind.

Quality and Materials

Quality and Materials of Ooni Karu 12

Ooni is consistent with the quality of its products. The Ooni Karu 12 has a robust build, ensuring longevity and reliable performance. Its stainless steel construction stands out and promises resilience against the elements and the high temperatures required for exceptional pizza.


The Ooni Karu 12’s compact and thoughtful design contributes significantly to its performance. The dome shape aids heat retention and distribution, which is essential for achieving that coveted crispy crust and perfectly cooked toppings.

The design prevents heat from escaping and ensures that the circulating airflow facilitates an even cooking environment. This sealed chamber minimizes the escape of smoke, redirecting only minimal amounts up and out of the chimney.

Temperature Control

Temperature Control of Ooni Karu 12


The temperature control of the Ooni Karu 12, particularly when utilizing wood-fire power, demands attention. There’s a bit of a learning curve, requiring some time and patience. But let me tell you, the reward is worth it.

Fortified with two inches of glass-reinforced nylon, the front door and the firebox cover, featuring nearly one inch of the same insulation, contribute to superior heat retention. The insulation allows consistent and efficient heat distribution within the sealed chamber of the oven. 

Using Ooni Karu 12 For The First Time

Our first use of the Ooni Karu 12 was an exciting exploration of its capabilities. To ensure a thorough evaluation, we tested the oven at my restaurant, Dequte Restaurant LironBoylston.

We made a classic Margherita pizza—a timeless benchmark for any pizza oven. The simplicity of the Margherita allows for a focused assessment of the oven’s ability to achieve that perfect harmony of crispy crust, bubbling cheese, and flavorful tomato sauce.

The oven quickly reached optimal cooking temperatures, a testament to its efficiency. Its even heat distribution within the sealed chamber became evident as the pizza cooked uniformly. We achieved our desired pizza crust crispiness and the cheese melting into golden perfection.

Power Source

Power Source of using Ooni Karu

The power source versatility of the Ooni Karu 12 is a standout feature. This outdoor pizza oven offers the traditional charm of wood-fired cooking by allowing users to use wood or charcoal. 

However, the Ooni Karu 12 takes adaptability a step further. Recognizing the convenience that gas-powered ovens bring to the table, the Karu 12 provides the option to attach a gas burner, which is available for separate purchases.

Users can switch to a gas-powered mode with a simple attachment, offering ease and precise control over the cooking temperature. 


The Ooni Karu 12 tips the scales at 26 lbs (12 kg), making it slightly heavier than the Koda or the Fyra. Despite this, it remains conveniently portable and suitable for camping trips. 

Assembling and transporting this oven is a quick and simple task. For added convenience, consider acquiring an Ooni carry cover, further facilitating ease of transportation for your outdoor cooking adventures.

How To Clean Ooni Karu 12

how to clean Ooni Karu 12

The cleaning process may vary depending on your wood choice, with natural scraps contributing to ash buildup within the oven chamber. It is advisable to regularly wipe away this accumulated ash to sustain optimal cooking efficiency. 

Using a dry paper towel is recommended for wiping away soot from the chimney. It’s imperative to note that when attending to the inside of your oven, avoiding the use of water is crucial to prevent potential damage and maintain the integrity of the oven’s components. 

Can I Use Ooni Karu 12 Indoors?

No, the Ooni Karu 12 is designed exclusively for outdoor use due to the nature of its fuel source and the need for proper ventilation.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Pizza In Ooni Karu 12 

How Long Does It Take To Cook Pizza In Ooni Karu 12

The Ooni Karu 12 can cook pizza in under 2 minutes. I am impressed with this oven’s swift and efficient cooking. For those aiming to prepare a second pizza, make sure that the stone regains its optimal temperature range of 715°F-850°F (380°C-450°C) before launching.

How Long It Takes To Warm Up?

Another impressive characteristic of the Ooni Karu 12 is its rapid heating capability. It only needs 15-20 minutes to reach optimal cooking temperatures. 

Can I Cook Something Besides Pizza in It?

Yes, the Ooni Karu 12’s versatility extends beyond pizza. It’s suitable for cooking various dishes, from flatbreads to skewers.


Downsides of ooni karu

While the Ooni Karu 12 boasts many strengths, a couple of downsides are worth noting. Firstly, the heat-resistive stone takes time to preheat, potentially extending the cooking process. 

Secondly, there is a tendency for soot buildup in the oven chamber over time, which can impact efficiency. Regular cleaning is essential to mitigate this issue and ensure consistent, high-quality cooking results.

While these downsides may require some attention and management, the overall performance and versatility of the Ooni Karu 12 remain noteworthy, making it a compelling choice for outdoor pizza enthusiasts.


how much costs ooni karu

The price of the Ooni Karu 12 reflects its quality and performance. Considering its durable construction, versatile fuel options, and precise temperature control, it is a worthy investment for pizza enthusiasts.

How Does It Compare to Other Outdoor Pizza Ovens?

The Ooni Karu 12 stands out as a premier choice for outdoor pizza ovens. It showcases a combination of features that elevate it above competitors. Its blend of portability, quality construction, and temperature control puts it ahead of many competitors.

What Others Say

What Others Say about ooni karu 12

User feedback sheds light on the nuanced experiences with the Ooni Karu 12. According to an Amazon user, the oven performs admirably with charcoal and wood. However, difficulties arise when utilizing the gas burner, as the recommended setup, with the chimney on and the door closed, results in significant heat loss. 

In contrast, a Reddit user shared a positive experience with the Ooni Karu 12, describing their journey as smooth. Despite being new to wood-fired cooking, the user highlights the simplicity of setting up and reaching the desired temperature with the Karu, emphasizing its user-friendly design.

Reviews from pizza enthusiasts on YouTube also reflect positive experiences with Ooni Karu 12. However, the problems of getting used to using wood seem to be shared among users.

My Cooking Tips For This Oven

For optimal results with the Ooni Karu 12, I recommend experimenting with different wood varieties to enhance the flavor profile of your pizzas. The type of wood used significantly impacts the flavor profile of your pizzas.

Another valuable tip is to incorporate a rotation strategy during the cooking process. This simple action ensures an even bake, guaranteeing that each section of the crust receives uniform exposure to the intense heat.


conclusion of review of ooni karu 12

After extensive testing and evaluation of Ooni Karu 12, I can confidently assert that Ooni produces the best outdoor pizza ovens.

As a chef with over a decade of experience, I appreciate the Ooni Karu 12 for its outstanding performance. Its exceptional build quality, precise temperature control, and versatility make it a top choice for anyone serious about achieving pizzeria-quality results at home.

Even though it has some minor downsides, the overall experience and delicious outcomes still make the Ooni Karu 12 a worthwhile investment.

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