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Things To Cook In A Pizza Oven

Ever dreamed of delicious, doughy pizza and perfectly crusted bread that makes your mouth water just by smelling its freshly baked aroma? How about moist, yet crispy-skinned fish or a juicy, savory piece of steak that just melts in your mouth when you bite into it? Heaven.

You can make all those dreams and more come true when you realize what can be cooked in a pizza oven.  An outdoor Wood Burning Pizza Oven is the ultimate cooking accessory, perfect for satisfying almost any craving, any time, any day! This article will help you expand your list of wood-fired dishes so you get the most out of your pizza oven.

Here's the deal:

A traditional old-school oven is so versatile! There are a variety of methods you can utilize to cook your food including roasting, grilling, and baking.  Backyard BBQs will never be the same when you go from cooking meat in a pizza oven to amazing pizza oven desserts!

what can you cook in pizza oven

What Else Can You Cook Besides Pizza?

You’re probably wondering what else can you cook in a pizza oven besides pizza? The answer is PLENTY!  Anything you can make in your regular oven or on the grill, you can make even better in a traditional brick wood-fired oven; from chestnuts for snacking to fish for lunch, to warm and hearty stews for dinner.

While many first-time wood-fired chefs start with a simple Neapolitan Pizza, their meals soon grow to embrace cuisines from all over the world.  In addition to baking any pizza of your choice, you can enjoy a wide range of incredibly delectable pastries like galettes, calzones, and bread with a crust that you would never achieve in a regular oven. 

As shown in the video below, cast iron skillet cornbread and baked fish dish cooked in the Maximus Prime wood-fired oven locks in so much more flavor due to the high-heat cooking technique.

Other Things To Cook

Of course, you can’t possibly bypass the fact that you can grill meat in your outdoor oven!  Cooking steak in a pizza oven will spoil you! Imagine watching your steak disappearing into the flames only to arrive again with a unique, smoky flavor and infused crunch that will surely leave you and your guests wanting more!  

Rib-eye steaks

The ribeye cut is a popular piece of meat that often has an extra dose of flavor and moisture. If you think your ribeye off the grill is delicious, just wait until you up your game to wood-fired cooking!

This recipe from Chicago Brick Oven offers important tips offered for seasoning and cooking the perfect Rib-Eye steak!

Barbeque ribs

Well-cooked ribs of any kind are a point of pride for pitmasters at any cooking level. However, these delicious cuts of meat are finding their way off the grill rack and into the smoky wood-fired oven!

Barbecue ribs require a lot of heat and a lot of time, which makes them the perfect food to cook in a wood-fired oven capable of supplying both of these things.

Cooking bbq ribs in a wood-fired oven

With the right combination of searing oven temperature and some culinary chops, this delectable baby back rib recipe will make a mouthwatering addition to your book of wood-fired recipes! 

Side Dishes For Your Pizza Oven

By now, you’ve probably realized your pizza oven has a lot more versatility than you originally thought it did. There’s quite simply a lot you can do with an open flame and some inspired craftsmanship, and that provides ample opportunity to cook full meals, sides included, along with delicious pizza!

How about an extra homey take on side dishes such as fire-roasted potatoes, fresh veggies, and creamy soups (yes, soups!), and you can even dive in your own seafood-induced platter filled with buttery shrimp, scallops, salmon, clams, mussels, and squid!

What can you cook in a pizza oven

It’s also important to note that many of these require some delicate temperature management in order to avoid burns or undercooking. While your oven’s built-in thermometer should work fine in most cases, the added precision of a handheld infrared temperature gun may lend some peace of mind for these recipes.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for side dish wood-fired recipes you can cook alongside your pizza in your wood-burning oven.

Italian-style focaccia

Your pizza oven can handle all kinds of baked goods; that’s what pizza is, after all. But one bread that stands out both on its own and as a delectable side is the traditional Italian focaccia, a yeast bread that combines Meditteranean flavors like olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and other herbs. 

Foccacia bread baked in a wood-fired oven

Inspired Taste has a simple recipe for homemade focaccia that will truly shine if baked inside the smoky confines of a pizza oven, boosting both its natural flavors and giving it a golden-brown outer roast that truly cannot be beaten. Mangiamo!

Roasted summer vegetables

One of your oven’s hidden superpowers is the smoldering coals that its fire leaves behind, which can be turned into the perfect bed for vegetables seasoned with choices like dill, salt and pepper, thyme, garlic, and countless other variations wrapped in foil and placed in the red-hot. 

Roasted vegetables on a beautiful plate

Esquire featured a recipe for these roasted vegetables that emphasizes their smoky, sweetened flavor and complements it with soft cheese and toasted sunflower seeds. It’s a recipe that screams summer!

Seasoned potato chips

Chips make the perfect side to a pizza dinner; they’re a crunchy complement to a pizza’s often tender and chewy outer crust and are highly versatile in what their flavors can be. That being said, potato chips out of a bag are often fried in oil and end up becoming sad reflections of the proud potatoes they once were. (Opening a bag of potato chips at a homemade pizza party isn’t the most impressive look, either.)

 Home cooked potato chips

Thankfully, your pizza oven is here to save the day once again!  Martha Stewart’s recipe uses salt and cracked pepper, but you have all the control in what seasonings go on your chips after they’ve been sliced. Experimenting with different oils, herbs, seasonings, or even essences can lead to a mouthwatering creation of its own merit.

Basque burnt cheesecake

While this more accurately is classified as a dessert, we can’t seem to recall any law prohibiting you from eating this at the same time as dinner.  This recipe from Bon Appetit was inspired by a tradition found in the Basque nation that straddles the western coasts of northern Spain and southern France.  It calls for high heat and a final consistency full of exterior roasting, cracks, and pops while maintaining a divinely soft interior.

Piece of burnt basque cheesecake

In short, this is the cheesecake your pizza oven was made for. Though this recipe is a little more involved, it is certainly worth it; the smoky flavors of your oven and the unparalleled ability of open flame to create perfect charring will mean this cheesecake might steal the spotlight from the pizza at your next party.

If these aren't enough recipes to get your mouth watering and your pizza oven fired up, check out our e-Book with even more wood-fired recipes!

Is Food from a Wood Burning Pizza Oven Healthier?

Nothing’s better than feasting on a grand meal (or maybe, grand pizza) with your family and friends knowing that your meal is healthy and full of nutrients to keep you going throughout the day. It may sound impossible to achieve given that the world of nutrition and good cooking is being overtaken by frying pans brimming with oil and conventional ovens slowly (but surely!) burning out the nutrition left in your food the moment it goes inside.

But, all is not lost as the solution to this is one that has existed for thousands of years. A method that not only keeps your food healthy but also enhances flavor to make your food extra yummy and delightful. A method involving fire, caveman-like style… Kidding! A method involving the amazing Wood-Fired Oven, of course!

Cooking kabobs in a wood burning oven

Contrary to what most people think, cooking in a pizza oven isn’t intimidating and complicated, but actually very simple. This unique and versatile oven can handle many kinds of food, from simple snacks to delectable meals that will make your mouth water while keeping you healthy!

Pizza Oven Temperatures

The cooking temperature of a pizza oven used to cook and roast food can be much higher compared to your average oven. It produces high heat faster, allowing fruits and vegetables to retain certain nutrients and antioxidants that might have otherwise diminished with a longer cooking time. The nutritional benefits a wood-fired oven produces leave your food healthier, especially when you use it to cook pizzas topped with a handful of veggies for an explosion of flavor!

Roasting vegetables in a pizza oven

Aside from being able to cook food faster due to a higher amount of heat, the wood-fired oven also gives off even heat distribution radiating out from the firewood and across the dome, enhancing food flavor and giving it that smoky, savory taste, of which you won’t be able to get enough.

Pizza Oven Benefits

There are amazing ways that the wood-fired oven can keep your food healthy, but you know what else it can keep healthy? Your wallet!   Another striking benefit of using a wood-fired oven is that it’s environmentally friendly, helping you save on energy and maintain a greener lifestyle by simply utilizing fire as an energy source for cooking.

You won’t be using any form of electricity since it only needs wood and fire to keep it burning.  Just make sure you use the best wood for wood fired pizza ovens to enhance the flavors and keep you and your pizza oven healthy!

Let's Get Back To Pizza

Just because you don't have to cook pizza in your pizza oven, doesn't mean you won't.  Pizza is an incredibly popular food in the US. With about 13% of all Americans eating pizza on any given day, it’s no surprise that—in the US alone—over three billion pizzas are consumed each year. And contrary to what many people think about pizza, it can actually be quite good for you!

Is Pizza Bad For You?

It’s all about the choices you make in deciding what kind of pizza to eat. The typical extra-everything, cheese-in-the-crust pizzas you can get from some chain delivery restaurants are full of highly processed ingredients, and with that kind of pizza, health benefits are pretty slim. Crust and toppings with high amounts of sodium and fat—not to mention additives and preservatives found in processed meat toppings—make a “typical” pizza an unattractive option.

When Is Pizza Good For You?

When it’s more of a back-to-basics, purist approach. Classic—as in Classical—choices are your best bet. A traditional thin crust pizza is much lower in carbohydrates and sodium than other options and isn’t meant to be drowned in sauce and cheese.

Vegetable Pizza Cooking In Front of Fire

If you choose toppings like roasted vegetables, basil, spinach, or even just roasted garlic, you’ll be adding a serving or so of vegetables, getting all those great nutrients—and all in place of a pound of pepperoni, extra cheese, and all those added calories.

Pizza Health Benefits

And those aren’t the only reasons why pizza is good for you. The typical slice of pizza has enough cheese to equal about 20% of the suggested daily intake of both protein and calcium. Tomato sauce is a great source of vitamin C, and also contains lycopene, which is known to fight cancer.

Making your own pizza at home in a wood-burning oven is a fantastic way to enjoy preparing this easy, healthy meal, and there is nothing like a wood-fired oven for incredible pizza.

Pizza on a peel in a wood fired oven

Start with either a prepared thin crust (read the label to choose one with healthy ingredients) or make your own crust with whole-grain flour. An organic, no added sugar or salt tomato sauce is a great choice, or you can just skip the sauce entirely and add fresh or sundried tomatoes as one of your toppings.

Provolone and mozzarella cheeses are the traditional choices for topping the sauce, but you should feel free to experiment here as well, as there are many great options. Add vegetables, lean meats, and any other topping you’d like, and enjoy your pizza guilt-free—after all, done right, it’s good for you!

The 5 Most Iconic Pizzas

Most people would agree, pizza is the most iconic invention of all time. Sweet blessings to those Italian bakers who thought, “Hey! Let’s invent pizza!”. 

Since its invention, pizza has gotten explosively popular all around the world. Here in the USA, it has become one of the most commonly eaten food, and rightly so. The amount of flexibility and creativity pizza allows dwarfs anything many other foods can boast of. And for that reason, there are just so many types of pizzas, with a majority of them earning the right to be the best pizza of all time.

But there are some pizzas that have stood the test of time. Many people have depended on these pizzas to get their taste buds rejoicing and have their bellies rumbling in appreciation. The pizzas have been around for so long, and they show no signs of going out of our menus anytime soon. We're talking about the most iconic pizzas of all.

And so, for the love of pizza and all the sensational wonders it brings to our taste buds, we present to you the most iconic pizzas of all time!

1. Neapolitan Pizza

Neapolitan Pizza was the first pizza to make it into the United States, but that is not why it is right on top of this list. Since its first contact with the States, Neapolitan pizza style has remained popular for its tastiness. What began as a simple pizza that was sold on the streets of Naples hundreds of years ago, has now grown to be a major pizza type in and out of Naples. The most common variation of the Neapolitan pizza is the Margherita pizza.

Neapolitan pizza has a thin and bubbly crust. The common oven to bake this pizza type is the wood-fired oven. When applying the toppings on this pizza, you need to spread them thinly across the surface. Otherwise, the toppings could weigh too heavily on the dough and the end product is a soggy pizza.

The most common ingredient for Neapolitan pizza toppings is an oregano-seasoned sauce, basil leaves, cheese or mozzarella, and olive oil.

2. California Pizza

The California pizza is nothing but a masterpiece from the prince of pizza himself, Chef Ed LaDou. Ed LaDou made pizza with red peppers, ricotta, pate, and mustard, and he served it to one of the most prominent chefs of the time, Chef Wolfgang Puck. Chef Wolfgang Puck was so impressed by the pizza that he employed Chef Ed LaDou to work with him.

The prince of pizza later went on to become one of the most influential developers of many pizzas on the California Pizza Kitchen menu.

California pizza style adopts the Neapolitan-style crust. But what distinguishes this pizza as a California pizza is its fresh toppings. The most common toppings include artichoke hearts, goat cheese, and avocado. The California pizza style also comes in many vegan variations.

3. Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian-style pizza style is one of the most divisive pizzas around. Two things make this pizza stand out from the rest: its unique and flavorful taste, and its interesting history.

Until the invention of the Hawaiian Pizza, the basic ingredients of every pizza had included meat, sauce, dough, herbs, and cheese. But Sam Panapoulos, a pizza maker from Greece living in Canada, decided that he wanted to do something different with his pizza.

He then baked a ham pizza and added pineapple in it. Around this time, the Hawaiian Tiki culture was the rave in all of Northern America. Sam served the pizza to his customers, and they liked it so much that they came back for more. That was how the Hawaiian pizza style was birthed.

The Hawaiian pizza of today is not very different from the one Sam made. The common recipes include red sauce base, pineapple (fresh or canned pineapple rings), and ham.

4. Detroit Pizza

The auto industry has a huge influence on the typical Detroit life, and apparently, their pizza could not escape this influence. Back in the 1940s, square pans from automotive parts were used to bake the pizza, and that explains the square shape of the Detroit style pizza we have today. And because of the kind of pan that was used, the crust was crunchy around the edges. A property that the modern-day Detroit pizzas have adopted.

The toppings that most commonly go with the Detroit pizza are pepperoni, brick cheese, and tomato sauce. Some bakers tend to get more creative and add olives and mushrooms to their toppings recipes.

When you want to make a Detroit style pizza, there are specialized Detroit pans for the crust. An alternative to this pan is a jelly roll baking pan. Make sure you compress the dough enough so that it has no air in it. Also, allow the dough to touch the edges of the pan for the crunchiness. All of these measures is why there are certain essential equipment required for making pizza.

5. New York Pizza

The New York-style pizza is characteristically large and thinly crusted, and it is one of the most popular pizza types in all the country. This style is not very different from the original Neapolitan Style, as they both share thin crusts. And according to unpopular opinion, the unique flavor of the New York-style pizza comes from the minerals in the tap water supply of the state itself.

One thing that distinguishes this pizza from the Neapolitan style pizza is that the New Your style can hold more toppings without getting soggy. And as a result, there is more room for creativity, as there are more topping varieties to choose from. However, the most common topping recipes for the New York-style pizza are red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese.

It's almost agonizing for us to leave some other pizzas out of this list. If we could have our way, this list would be endless, as there are just so many other pizzas that are worthy of making it to this list. 

What Should You Do Now?

Cooking in a residential outdoor wood-burning pizza oven is simply a fun way to redefine your typical backyard celebrations with family and friends.  Firing up your outdoor pizza oven gives you time to crack open a can of cold beer, sip on some wine, or simply enjoy the view and atmosphere an outdoor wood-burning pizza oven brings.

Give your cooking the fun and exciting twist it needs while rewarding yourself with outdoor oven recipes that have incomparable flavor by getting your own Wood Burning Pizza Oven now!

Backyard BBQ Party

Enjoy life outdoors and feel like a chef in your own backyard by impressing your family and friends with your awesome wood-fired cooking skills in a traditional Brick Pizza Oven handmade in Portugal.

Make any dish as savory and delicious as can be by finding the right recipes and ingredients. Click here for tons of great wood-fired recipes!

Want more ideas?  Check out our 7 Days of Wood-Fired Oven Recipes ebook for more recipes to get you started with pizza oven cooking!  Use the code EBOOK5 to take $5 off the Recipe Book's price.

What will you try in your oven?


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People cooking in pizza ovens

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