Ooni Karu 12G review: a multi-fuel pizza oven delivering restaurant-quality in just 60 seconds

Versatile, delicious results and easy to use? Check.

from Ooni
RRP  £379.00
Ooni Karu 12G pizza oven review

by Eleanor Weaver |
Updated on

The summer was made for relaxing in the garden with friends and family, and if you're looking to entertain in style, you shouldn't look much further than the Ooni Karu 12G pizza oven. As well as being an attractive piece of kit, the Ooni Karu 12G is a multi-fuel pizza oven, meaning you can cook with charcoal, wood and gas. Similar to a hybrid BBQ, it gives you the flexibility to switch between a care-free, easily controllable cook to woodfired smoky flavours. And seeing as pizza is a crowd-pleaser, we feel like it's going to be a favourite for the summer months and beyond.

Even better, you don't need to pay a fortune for the luxury. With the rise of the pizza oven comes Ooni, a brand that sets the tone for portable, affordable pizza ovens in the UK market. Its range of pizza ovens, which continue to grow and innovate, has been made to deliver restaurant-quality pizzas in just 60 seconds, making delicious pizza at home accessible to everyone.

Enter the Ooni Karu 12G. Built on the back of Ooni's pizza-making experience and customer feedback, it has been designed as an optimised version of the popular Ooni Karu 12 pizza oven. With improved energy efficiency, weather resistance, heat retention and some handy upgrades, our Deputy Homes and Garden Product Editor, Eleanor Weaver, thoroughly tested the latest model from Ooni, comparing it to the Ooni Karu 12 review.

Ooni Karu 12G pizza oven overview

Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Pizza OvenOoni

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to clean
  • Flexible cooking with multi-fuel capabilities - can cook with wood, charcoal or gas
  • Better control: thermometer helpful for monitoring internal temperature
  • Attractive design

Cons

Testing the Ooni Karu 12G pizza oven

Build

Arriving in a huge box, the Ooni Karu 12G comes well protected in fully recyclable packaging with its components neatly packaged. The pizza oven had easy-to-understand instructions and was really simple to put together - the only thing that required minimal DIY was the door while the other components (such as a fuel basket, chimney and fuel door) just needed to be added onto the main body. The instructions even come with a video tutorial if you need it, but it was so simple I didn't find it necessary.

Even though I knew the pizza oven weighed 15kg, it still came as a shock when I lifted it out of the box. While the main body is quite weighty the pizza stone felt incredibly heavy which and when I added it to the pizza oven, it certainly made it more difficult to carry. As this is described as a portable pizza oven, I'd recommend buying the carry cover to make it easier to transport. Without the carry cover, I would struggle to carry the pizza oven so for me it was a necessity. However, even if you're regularly lifting 15kg in the gym, it's still worth considering as it has the bonus of being 100 per cent waterproof and will keep your pizza oven protected from the elements.

Pizza oven and carry bag
©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

The powder-coated shell of the Karu 12G not only looks and feels great quality, but it's also weather-resistant so you can enjoy pizzas in all weathers. The pizza oven feels sturdy on its legs which are foldable for portability - and you can even use the included allen key to lock the back leg in place.

Also, unlike the Ooni Karu 12, the Karu 12G has a borosilicate glass door which is a clever addition. I found it handy to see my pizza baking and was able to monitor the cooking process more closely while keeping the heat locked in at the same time. Overall, I was impressed and I think it goes without saying; it looks like a smart piece of kit you'd want to show off to friends and family.

Fuel

Charcoal and wood

Day one of my pizza-making adventures kickstarted with charcoal, hardwood and natural firelighters. I bought my supplies from Amazon, though I'd recommend shopping for charcoal in-store as I spotted it much cheaper elsewhere.

To start proceedings, I removed the fuel hatch before adding my fuel to the burner tray and grate. While you can choose to use just charcoal or hardwood, I decided to use a mix; the charcoal would burn for longer, while the wood would deliver a higher flame. Once the natural firelighters were lit and the hatch door was back in position, the pizza oven immediately started to heat up.

Wood and charcoal burning
©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

To maintain the heat and flame, I regularly added new hardwood pieces, being careful not to overfill (though I did on occasion have older pieces topple out of the tray). This is something you need to keep an eye on; at this stage it was easy but when I got caught up in cooking the pizzas, the flame did die at one stage. However, I managed to recover it easily by adding more fuel. You should also be wearing protective gloves - I went without and while I didn't get burnt, you do experience close flame contact when the hatch is open for which I improvised using a metal rod to get my wood and charcoal in place.

Propane gas

If you'd prefer a more hands-off approach or are trying to entertain at the same time as making pizza, this is where the gas option comes in handy. First off, you can swap out the burner tray and grate by simply removing those, unscrewing the draft defender plate, and attaching the gas burner instead. Then attach the gas regulator to your gas bottle and you're good to go without any problems.

Gas burner
©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

After ignition, unlike the charcoal/wood combo, at this point, you can watch and wait with a drink in hand while the oven comes up to temperature. What I also liked is that despite the Karu 12 and 12G both being very similar, with the 12G you can leave the door closed. I felt this could help quicken the heat-up in the oven which could only mean pizza, quicker. Yes, please.

Cooking

Thanks to the built-in thermometer, it was easy to monitor the heat of the pizza oven. While Ooni suggests the ideal baking temperature can be reached in as little as 15 minutes, I personally found the Karu 12G took longer to reach the red zone, which was preferable for a Neapolitan-style pizza. The charcoal/hardwood took closer to 35 minutes while gas took about 25 minutes.

Built-in thermometer
©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

It's also worth noting that this thermometer reads the temperature inside the pizza oven, but not that of the pizza stone. Ideally, the pizza stone needs to be up to temperature too, but this can't be measured without a digital infrared thermometer which Ooni also recommends you buy separately. I decided to wing it by waiting a little while longer after the oven was at temperature before adding my pizzas. This seemed to work fine but if you’re after precision, it's a purchase you may want to consider.

When cooking the pizzas I was amazed by how quickly the Karu 12G delivered. Ooni says it can cook pizzas in just 60 seconds, but with both fuel types, I swear it was even quicker.

Using the pizza peel (another necessary purchase) took a bit of knack at first - which wasn't helped by my messy pizza-making - hence the light dusting of flour on the Karu 12G which you may spot in some images. However, by day two, I had it down. Once the pizza had slid into the oven, you could close the door and watch through the glass door to see how it was doing. I then took it out, rotated quarterly, and returned to ensure a good bake all-round. Even as a beginner, it was surprisingly easy to do and for me, I found the glass door extremely helpful for watching and for peace of mind.

Wood/charcoal pizza cooking
Cooking with hardwood/charcoal ©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

Taste

While I can't deny the process was much simpler and less hands-on with gas, cooking with charcoal, and specifically hardwood, takes the win for flavour. I could absolutely tell a difference, with my pizza efforts from day one having a delicious woodfired, smoky flavour really enhanced the taste. While the gas pizza was also nice, it did lack that depth of flavour and to me, though my family didn't quite agree, had a slight fuel taste.

Something else I found, in both cases, is that you don't need to add many toppings. Typically with an oven pizza, I'm loading it up with toppings to get the best flavour, but with a pizza oven baked pizza, the pizza crust flavour really carries it.

Cooking with gas
Cooking with gas (attempts on day 2) ©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

Pizza-making

Now when it came to making the pizzas, there was definitely an error on my part on day one. As a complete newbie to pizza ovens, I assumed you could make the pizzas up in advance (I'm sure some pizza pros are shaking in their boots), transfer to your pizza peel, and Bob's your uncle. This is absolutely not the case and as you can imagine, we had a lot of pizza casualties that couldn't be moved to the peel. While we did manage to get some pizzas in, they had to go in on parchment paper which did, thankfully, get burnt off after the first rotation.

What you need to do - and we perfected for day two - is stretch out your pizzas and add directly to the peel. Then you add your toppings before going straight in the oven. After our pizza-making disaster of day one, something that really helped in this instance was the Ooni app.

Dough calculator
©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens/ Ooni app

While I initially thought the app was a bit sparse, the included calculator, instructions and video tutorial proved useful and ultimately something I should have consulted ahead of the first cook. Therefore I'd recommend that you don't make the same mistake I did and do your research first or, use the app as a holding hand throughout.

Cleaning

While I feel like a broken record saying the pizza oven was also easy to clean, it's true. Once the oven had cooled, I brushed out any topping or wood/coal debris and removed the burner tray and grate, adding any leftover ashes to our flowerbeds as a rich source of potassium carbonate. For both fuel types, I then flipped the pizza stone as instructed by Ooni. This would result in the underside being sterilised during the next cook, ready to use again thereafter.

Cleaning the Ooni Karu 12G
©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

And that's it!

Price

The Ooni Karu 12G retails for £379 and while it is more expensive than its counterpart - the Ooni Karu 12 - I would say it is worth it for the updates Ooni have made. I was very reliant on the glass door and built-in thermometer for example, two features you can't find in the Karu 12, and I personally prefer the powder-coated design of the 12G. However, I will say, it is a bit disappointing that the gas burner isn't included in the price. As it's a multi-fuel oven, you can only utilise wood, charcoal and gas if you spend £90 on this addition. At face value, you don't get access to all your fuel options.

Ooni pizza oven review
©Eleanor Weaver/ Modern Gardens

That being said, competitors do the exact same thing. With its portable design, built-in thermometer and multi-fuel options, the Gozney Roccbox (RRP £399) seems to be the closest resemblance to the Ooni Karu 12G. While it comes with the option for gas straight out of the box, you'll need to buy the Roccbox Wood Burner (£100) separately to make it dual-fuel. It also comes with a pizza peel included, unlike the Ooni. Ultimately it depends if you want to prioritise gas or wood/coal in your cooking if you plan to buy the added burner later down the line, but as the Gozney is marginally more expensive, I would opt for the Ooni Karu 12G.

It's also worth sharing that Ooni does bundle offers with burners and accessories included at a lower cost if you buy the whole package in one go.

Overall verdict: Is the Ooni Karu 12G worth it?

Overall, I was impressed with the Ooni Karu 12G, both in its design and how easy it was to use, even as a beginner. It was straightforward to put together, clean and cook with, garnering delicious results every time - though I did prefer the flavour that came with the hardwood/charcoal. That being said, I appreciated the ease of using gas for a more hands-off approach and I feel it would be a fantastic option to turn to if you're hosting friends and family. The fact the Ooni Karu gives you all the options is great for anyone who loves pizza and intends to use it regularly. I also felt the advancements in the Ooni Karu 12G were extremely useful and made the process that much easier.

©Eleanor Weaver/Modern Gardens

In terms of negatives, my only real gripe is the cost. The Ooni Karu 12G is good value, but the additional costs start popping up like daisies. You'll need to buy the gas burner if you want that as an option, a pizza peel, along with the recommendation to buy the infrared thermometer and carry case among other things. However, if you're dedicated to your pizza-making craft, I feel it makes up for it over time with truly delicious-tasting pizzas and wonderful times outdoors with pals.

Rating: 4.5/5

How we tested the Ooni Karu 12G

I tested the Ooni Karu 12G over a sunny bank holiday weekend with my family in tow to see how it would perform with many hungry mouths to feed. On the first day, I tested it using charcoal, OOFT mini hardwood logs and Flamers natural firelighters, and on the second day, using the gas burner.

From the first to second day, we also learnt a lot more about the pizza-making process, as new owners of a pizza oven. This meant that on day one, we made the pizzas as we would an oven pizza, while on day two we followed guidance from Ooni on how to prep a pizza. As a result, I have been able to provide a full review of not only the pizza oven but also the pizza-making process for best results.

While I used the Karu 12G on a makeshift table for the purpose of testing, I'd recommend getting a proper pizza oven table or a wooden/metal option for better heat resistance.

Ooni Karu 12G FAQs

What is the difference between the Ooni Karu 12 and 12G?

As I've highlighted in my review, there are a few changes that have been made to the Ooni Karu 12G that Ooni describes as being the result of "every learning from our decade of pizza oven-making experience".

The main differences are an integrated thermometer, glass oven door, and powder-coated body vs the brushed 430 stainless steel body of the Karu 12. While both are weather-resistant, the Karu 12 may be more prone to rust over time.

Karu 12 vs 12G
©Ooni

Other small differences include the weight - the Karu 12 is slightly lighter at 12kg - and fuel consumption. While both are estimated to consume the same kg/hr of gas, the Karu 12G is marginally more energy-efficient with 0.4kg less fuel consumed per 10 pizzas compared to the Karu 12.

Is the Ooni Karu 12 big enough?

I think so! Even though you can also buy the Ooni Karu 16 for 16-inch (40cm) pizzas, I found the 12-inch (30cm) size pizzas plenty large enough for filling results. That being said, if you're planning to entertain a bunch of people on the reg, a bigger option may be more suitable for feeding hungry mouths.

What else can you cook in Ooni Karu 12?

The Ooni Karu 12 is perfect for cooking Neopolitan-style pizzas, but with the right cookware, you can cook Detroit-style pizzas too. But it's not just pizzas. The Ooni Karu 12 can work almost like a charcoal or gas BBQ cooking all sorts of food, from vegetables to meats, desserts and more using a cast iron pan. This is where the app comes in helpful too with a selection of recipe ideas that you can save to revisit. Calzones, potato wedges, skillet cookies, homemade pita bread and chicken wings are just to name a few.

You can buy all these cookware options via Ooni, or source your own.

Similar pizza ovens to consider:

Ooni Karu 12G Essentials BundleOoni
Price: £519 (was £544)

uk.ooni.com

I found all the extras really added up, so why not get it all and a saving with the Ooni Karu 12G Essentials Bundle? It includes the pizza oven itself and other necessities; a pizza peel, the gas burner, and a carry cover.

Ooni Karu 16Ooni

If you love the idea of the Karu 12G but would prefer larger pizzas, try the Karu 16 instead. As well as offering 16-inch pizzas instead of 12, it has a mounted digital thermometer that gives even clearer internal readings than the in-built variation on the Karu 12G.

Gozney RoccboxGozney
Price: £319 (was £399)

www.gozney.com

As mentioned, the Gozney Roccbox is probably the biggest competitor to the Karu 12G. While the RRP is a little more expensive and you need to buy the Roccbox Wood Burner separately, it's still multi-fuel and portable but also has a choice of colour designs and has a pizza peel included.

What to read next: Ooni pizza ovens explained

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Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor for Modern Gardens, specialising in outdoor furniture, décor, and tools. She's always looking out for inspiration online for stylish and affordable designs, and enjoys spending time in nature.

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