Ooni Karu 12G wood/gas pizza oven – 60-second perfect pizza (kitchen review)

The Ooni Karu 12G wood/gas (multi-fuel) pizza oven is a 2023 update to the excellent Karu 12. It cooks perfect 12” pizza in 60 seconds – really.

In September 2022, we reviewed the Ooni Karu 12 Multi-fuel – Ooni Pizza Oven – cooked in 60 seconds! (Cooking appliance review) and to be honest, we could (but won’t) repeat much of that review (you should read it too). The Ooni Karu 12G has some subtle but significant changes over its predecessor (which is great anyway).

  • Cool to touch Borosilicate glass door to see what’s cooking (Karu 12 was open or had a stainless steel ‘plug’).
  • New LPG gas system (uses 36% less than the Karu 12)
  • 29% Faster heating – 15 minutes to get to 500°C (20-25 minutes)
  • Integrated thermometer (use a handheld Infra-red thermometer)
  • Powder-coated carbon steel body (stainless)
  • The Flue works with gas and wood fuels (wood only)
  • 15.5kg (12kg)

Let’s talk about Pizza – yumm

Pizza is essentially:

  • A dough base (thick, thin, rolled crust, sourdough, wholemeal/grain and more).
  • Add some Passata (uncooked tomato purée that has been strained of seeds and skins – it has a short shelf life when opened), or if you prefer, you can use good old tomato sauce and tomato paste.
  • Sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella (traditionally made from Buffalo milk) or Pizza cheese (made from cow’s milk). I like using a little Bocconcini, and my wife likes goat’s cheese.
  • Add ingredients like Pepperoni, Ham (and pineapple), ground beef/pork, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, capsicum, onion, spinach, black or green pitted sliced olives – anything really.
  • Sprinkle with herbs like basil, thyme, chilli flakes, garlic powder, rosemary, parsley, and oregano – or not.
  • Add a little more Mozzarella and maybe some grated or flaked parmesan.
  • Cook
  • Garnish with fresh Basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Cut into eights with a roller pizza cutter.

Why the detail?

Because you can make Pizza anything and any calorie count you want. We find less is more – don’t overload.

Most 12” pizza bases are around 1000kj (kj/4 = calories)

  • Turkish Bakeries Stone Baked 112.5g/ 910kj.
  • Woolworths 12” Thin Crust Pizza bases 100g/1330kj.
  • Toscano Classic Pizza bases are 150g/1560k.
  • Woolworths Gluten Free 95 g /900kj
  • Picasso Kitchen Cauliflower base 100g/1090kj

We have experimented with making dough (00 or bread flour, water, yeast, and salt). It is not hard; getting it round and flat can be challenging. But the uncooked dough can too easily stick to the Cordierite stone. We had a few disasters and can only suggest that you use a lot of plain flour on the alloy $79.99 pizza peel – yes, you need it.

12” Frozen Pizza’s depend on toppings

  • McCain Supreme 500g 3808kj
  • McCain Margherita 500g 4640kj
  • McCain Ham and Pineapple 500g 3856kj
  • McCain Meatlovers 500g 4160kj
  • Dr Oetker Peperoni 310g 846kj
  • Dr Oetker Mozzarella 355g 3340kj
  • Dr Oetker Ham and Pine 355g 3260kj

Dominos tend to start around 4000kj for Margherita to 6500 for the Lot. Add another 800kj for Deep Pan.

The point is we can make an excellent pizza with 30-50g Pizza cheese, 60ml of passata, two to three toppings and spice/garnish for under 2000kj (500 calories) at less than $5.00.

A homemade pizza has little guilt, and you can enjoy it weekly (as we do).

Australian review: Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven

WebsiteAU home page
Range comparison page
Review product page
Price$699 for Karu 12 Multi-fuel
$189 for the Gas kit (plus LCC27 compatible gas bottle)
Warranty3-year ACL
Made inDesigned in Scotland and made in China
CompanyOoni was founded by a husband-and-wife team, Kristian Tapaninaho and Darina Garland, in Scotland, with offices in Europe, the US and Australia.
MoreCyberShack cooking appliance news and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Passable (meets low expectations), Pass (meets expectations), Pass+ (near Exceed but not class-leading) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

First Impression – Like the glass door – Exceed

Everything about Ooni oozes class and professionalism. The design, the over-specified materials, the understanding of thermal dynamics, and important for city or unit dwellers, an optional LPG fuel attachment.

Ooni packs a full 12” pizza oven into a svelte 76 x 73 x 42cm x 15.5kg. It has three fold-out legs with non-slip feet, a flue pipe, and a baffle to control heat. You can also use the gas volume knob. The external thermometer is marked in 50° increments. It is pretty accurate as it saves opening the door to check the temperature.

While the previous version was all 430 stainless steel, powder-coated carbon steel is fine and offers better insulation.

Wood or gas?

Ooni offers models using hardwood/charcoal and/or Australian propane gas (LPG).

Gas is convenient as it has faster heating and easier temperature regulation. Ooni claims 1.1kg of LPG per 10 pizzas (cooked sequentially) or .34kg/hour. In practice, you have about 15 minutes to pre-heat, and unless you have a big family, you will likely cook 2-4 pizzas at a time.

The gas option is excellent, and it comes down to the oven’s design and construction. It bolts to the rear of the Ooni Karu 12G oven, and you remove the wood tray/grate. It has an LCC27 fitting (mandatory from August 2022), so your old LPG tank with a POL fitting will not work. Just go to a gas exchange and swap the bottle for a new model that fits the old and new fittings.

It costs $65 to buy a 3.7kg LC227 filled gas bottle, and a full swap bottle costs <$25 from Bunnings.

Wood or charcoal is slower to heat and gives everything a smoky flavour, with the intensity depending on the wood used. Always use a 70/30 mix of lump wood charcoal (About $40 per 10kg) for heat and kiln-dried hardwoods such as beech, birch, oak, hickory, mesquite, apple, or cherry for flavour. We had trouble finding these specific timbers but eventually settled on Eco Blaze 10kg Tasmanian Oak kindling for $11.50. This is about 200mm long and can be pretty chunky (up to 50mm), so be prepared to break it up.

If you are keen on using wood, track down a local restaurant with a smoker and ask where it gets wood from.

You cannot use briquettes and pellets, and we advise you to be careful – don’t use kindling without a declaration of the wood type – mixed hardwood and gum are very smoky and create a lot of soot.

Set up – Onni Karu 12G multi-fuel – Exceed

The Ooni Karu 12G comes in about a 20kg box. The gas burner is in another box with an Allen key and two screws supplied. Remove the back plate and fit the burner. The front glass door has two screws, and the flue slots in – no tools required. That is it!

Placement. No matter what fuel, you cannot use it in windy environments, yet you need to use it outdoors. There is usually a sea breeze as we live by the sea, so we use a small windbreak (currently a piece of ply) when necessary.

You also need to put the Ooni Karu 12G on a heat-resistant table. Ooni has a $349.99m 80 x 80 x 90 (H) cm powder-coated table (also a $299.99 medium 60 x 80 x 90cm ). As we live in a marine environment, we purchased a Simplus 1200 x 600mm, 304 stainless steel (not the lower cost 430 grade) workbench on castors through eBay. The extra workspace is ideal for us.

Necessary accessories

We already had a $79.99 Ooni IR Thermometer, which is not really necessary as the inbuilt thermometer is fine. It is in 50° increments.

Given that the Karu 12G is powder-coated steel, we splurged on a $79.99 cover – not required for the stainless settle Karu 12.

Peels: Yes, you need one or two. The $79.99 Aluminium pizza peel with a long heat-resistant handle is mandatory – you can’t make a pizza without it. There is also a $59.99 bamboo pizza peel with a shorter handle – more for serving than cooking.

Cutter: Yes, you need one too. While you can use a large knife, the $44.99, 113mm wheel pizza cutter is far easier.

Getting started

Ooni has a getting started guide that covers making dough (hint: buy pre-made, to begin with), sauce (ditto), and cooking.

While the oven can reach 500°, we recommend you try it at 350-400 first and turn the pizza once at 30 seconds (get a $7 Kmart food timer). You will know when it is cooked by the light charcoal edges and bubbling cheese.

The glass door is the key improvement and keeps heat in between pizzas.

Ooni has a lot of great tutorials and videos

Finishing

Turn off the gas or let the charcoal wood burn out (never try to extinguish it). The Cordierite stone may have flour and food scraps you wire brush off. Don’t be concerned if the stone gradually discolours – it is normal. You can use both sides, and replacement stones are $59.99. Once it has cooled down, a quick wipe and if you have a cover, place it back on.

Ooni Karu 12G results – Exceed

Between this and the Karu 12, we have made nearly 100 pizzas. Our only problems were with fresh dough sticking to the cooking stone, which is entirely our fault. If we use fresh dough, we sear the base first on a hot 250° pan (you may need to use a large or electric fry pan).

High-moisture vegetables like broccoli, eggplant, celery, cucumber, and zucchini don’t work well, going to mush too easily. Tomatoes can also be an issue – it is better to use whole cherry tomatoes than cut tomato slices.

High-sugar vegetables like corn kernels, peas, beetroot, cabbage, most ‘peppers’, sprouts/shoots, pumpkin, etc can burn quickly, so use a lower cooking temperature.

Not to sound cheap, but we like the Woolworths thin-crust, occasionally splurge on the semi-cooked Neapolitan sourdough base, and repeat that less is more – don’t overstuff.

Given we can make a pizza for around $5 in 60 seconds (plus preparation and pre-heat time), it has become a regular weekly thing for us, accompanied by an Italian Chianti or good Aussie Coonawarra or Hunter Shiraz.

Experiment

We have also started experimenting with breakfast pizza – bacon, egg, sausage, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, spinach, BBQ sauce (instead of Passata), etc. The best results are to pre-cook the ingredients (except the eggs). As it cooks in 60 seconds, the eggs are very soft, and we found that spreading the egg yolk and whites around a little gives the best results.

Dessert pizza is a little more complex, requiring a sweeter (sugar) base, which is prone to burning, so it is best cooked at 250-300°. Our best success so far has been using custard as the sauce, pre-cooked peaches, apricots, cherries, or mango, and after cooking, liberally drizzle with salted caramel, honey, golden syrup, or Nutella. I like to add some ice cream as well. Don’t try to cook chocolate, honeycomb, cookies, marshmallow or other sweets – crush and sprinkle after. Or think of things you could cook in a skillet – Tarte Tatin, Apple pie or crumble.

You can cook store-bought fresh and frozen pizza. As long as they are defrosted and the ingredients evenly spread, you can cook in 60 seconds. We find adding 30g of mozzarella makes them more palatable.

If cooking at 450-500°, the oven can only be used for thin-crust pizza with ‘less is more toppings’. If you like deep dish, cheesy crust, or edge style, cook at 250-300° for 5-10 minutes, ensuring you don’t burn the crust.

You can use Lebanese, Pita, Naan, Turkish, Focaccia, Ciabatta, Roti, Chapati, tortilla or other flatbreads as bases, but you must experiment with the lower heat as higher sugar content burns quickly.

Finally, there are other uses. It is, after all, a 98mm opening ‘oven’ that can heat from 50-500°. Use a sizzle plate for steaks, chicken, lamb, pork, fish, or kebabs. Make Focaccia and flatbreads like Cheese Naan that would typically need a Tandoor. It is all about the right temperature.

CyberShack’s view – Ooni Karu 12G – if you love pizza, you will love Ooni

There are plenty of portable pizza ovens, and I have closely inspected most.

Ooni has nailed it – the design is well-thought-out, very well-made, has 12 and 16” multi-fuel options, and the heat is pretty even from the stone and overhead. It reaches 450-500° as promised. The only caveat is that you should rotate the pizza at 30 seconds as the back temperature near the gas is slightly higher than the front.

Recently, it released the Plug-in-Pizza – Ooni Volt 12 indoor electric oven to cover all bases. It takes longer to heat and has a maximum of 450°, so pizza takes 90 seconds. Care: It is sizable at 61.7 x 52.9 x 27.9cm x 17.8kg and uses 240V/7A/1600W. You need to ensure your power circuits are not overloaded, and it consumes about 70 cents of electricity per hour.

So, back to pizza ovens – do you need one? You can cook pizza in 10-15 minutes in a regular 250° electric oven. The results are OK, but the same pizza cooked in an Ooni’s has far better taste and texture.

My favourite pizza place (and one of Australia’s best) is La Fiamma at the Galleria, Ettalong Beach, on the NSW Central Coast. Before Ooni, I would ‘regularly’ kill for one of its pizzas. But at $24-30 for a superb pizza, give me my $5 almost perfect pizza any day (sorry, La Fiamma). You can pay for the Ooni, accessories and gas in just 35-50 pizzas!

And it is so easy to entertain. Invite a few friends over, throw together a few pizzas, open some red wine, and ask Google/Spotify to play Italian music and set red and green mood lighting. It is an ‘adequate sufficiency’ meal and a fun evening.

Ooni Karu 12G rating

  • Features: 95 – it has added a glass front door, thermometer and more to the Karu 12.
  • Value: 90 – Look at it as a long-term investment
  • Performance: 95 It does cook great pizza in 60 seconds. The Karu 12G pre-heats faster.
  • Ease of Use: 80 – If you are an occasional cook and are unwilling to experiment, then no pizza oven will do it for you. It is easy and quick with store-bought bases and ingredients (which we freeze in individual portions). You can feel like a pizza and have one in 20 minutes.
  • Design: 95 – Ooni has nailed it

Ooni Karu 12G wood/gas pizza oven

$699
9.1

Features

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Design

9.5/10

Pros

  • Delivers on the 60-second promise
  • Very well-made and thoughtful design
  • Portable and easy to maintain
  • Entertaining showstopper
  • Buy the gas option – far easier and better heat control.

Cons

  • You need the accessories – thermometer, peel, cutter, gas, etc
  • Watch the time, and 180° rotate the pizza at least once in 60-seconds to avoid burning the crust
  • Don’t use it in windy environments
  • You may need a new LCC27-compatible gas bottle
  • If you are not prepared to learn and make a few mistakes, buy Dominos