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Ooni Koda 12 Review: Does Gas-Fired Pizza Cut It?

Ooni Koda 12 Review Pepperoni

Restaurant-quality pizza in your own backyard that’s easy, fast and absolutely upper-case, AMAZING. That’s what Ooni promise. But, do they deliver?

Ooni’s smaller-sized gas-powered portable pizza oven has been flying out the doors. It’s high-quality and low price is definitely attractive for a simple add-on to your backyard barbecue setup that makes Friday night pizzas that much more fun.

But, before you buy, I’m sure you’ve got lots of questions.

How hard is the Koda to use? Is Ooni’s gas-powered the best option for you? Are 12″ pizzas large enough? Do I have to make my own dough? And, will the pizzas actually turn out that good?

In this Ooni Koda 12 review, we answer these questions plus more so you’ve got all the info you need to decide if it’s the right buy for you.

But – spoiler alert – the pizzas the Koda make are actually that good. Like so so SO good that the Koda sells itself everywhere we take it. And, my non-Ooni pizzas don’t taste that good… They just don’t!

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Table of Contents

The Quick Version of the Ooni Koda 12 Review

For the pizza lover looking for an easy and affordable solution for cooking next-level pizzas in their backyard, the Ooni Koda 12 delivers!

Powered by liquid propane gas, it heats up in 15 minutes, can literally cook a pizza in 60 seconds and turns out results that FAR outdo anything you’ll ever cook in your oven. I’ll even go as far as saying it can make pizzas that are tastier than a lot of the wood-fired options you’d buy out.

It’s seriously good and seriously easy!

Strong and sturdy enough to use regularly in your backyard but small and lightweight enough to be called portable, the Ooni Koda 12 is our top pick for absolutely easy Friday night pizzas, make-your-own parties and everything in between.

Background of the Ooni Koda 12

The Ooni Koda 12 is the smaller version of Ooni’s gas-powered pizza ovens.

Created by husband and wife team, Kristian Tapaninaho and Darina Garland, it was designed as a good-looking, slim-lined pizza oven that’s fast, portable, cost-effective, and most importantly, makes great pizza.

And, they’ve done an awesome job of it.

Since Ooni was born (they were originally Uuni), they’ve won numerous awards as they’ve grown into a global company with a very loyal following.

But, that’s enough background, let’s get onto the Koda.

Features of the Ooni Koda 12 Gas Powered Pizza Oven

Construction

  • Commercial grade cold-rolled carbon steel shell with high-temperature resistant, powder-coated finish
  • 10mm cordierite stone baking board
  • Fully insulated shell
  • Standard outlet to use with large propane gas tank (adapter available for 1lb propane tanks)

Ease of Use

  • Instant gas ignition
  • Heats to 950°F in 15 minutes
  • Built-in Flame Safety Device (FSD)
  • Collapsible legs for easy transportation and storage

Included Extras

  • 60 day great pizza guarantee

Unboxing and Setting Up the Ooni Koda 12

The Koda 12 comes in a single box that should easily fit in any car.

Open the box, lift the shell out, fold the legs out, and, carefully place the baking stone inside the opening (it’s boxed separately for safe transportation).

There’s not really anything to put together so it literally takes 2 minutes.

Then, connect your gas bottle and you’re good to go.

Ooni recommend running the Koda for 30 minutes at high heat to season it before use. You should then wait for it to cool down so you can wipe any excess residue from the stone before cooking.

Note – The Ooni Koda 12 is for outdoor use only.

Construction and Quality

The Ooni Koda 12 is made from powder-coated, commercial-grade, cold-rolled carbon stainless steel.

The shell is fully insulated to keep heat loss minimal and reduce fuel usage. And, there’s a 10mm cordierite pizza stone that sits neatly inside to cook the dough from the bottom up.

Out of the box, the Koda definitely has a very high-quality feel. It’s well put together, and, it’s stylish yet minimal look means it’s every bit as good in a high-end, landscaped backyard as it is on a picnic table next to your RV.

The 12″ size means that it’s quite compact. But, I was surprised at how deep the whole unit was.

On reflection, it makes sense. The working parts are at the rear. But, you do need a decently sized table to sit the thing.

Capacity

The Koda 12 is the smaller of Ooni’s gas-powered pizza ovens (they also sell a 16″ version). And, as you’d expect, you can cook 12 inch pizzas in it.

I was a bit unsure if it would be large enough for catering for a lot of people, or even my large family. But, the 12 inch size does make good individual-adult sized pizzas that fit on a large dinner plate and everyone has fun choosing their own toppings.

Keep in mind, it only takes 60-90 seconds to cook a pizza on the Koda. So, even if you’re making more smaller pizzas, you won’t be standing there all night long.

Cooking on the Ooni Koda 12

If you’ve read other reviews of the Ooni Koda, you’ve probably heard that it takes a bit of practice to master.

But, it’s really a lot easier than we expected. Our first pizza was a little overcooked on the crust, the second was a little undercooked and the third came out so good it had to be eaten right then and there! Don’t be put off by the apparent ‘learning curve’.

But, to give you a run-down…

After lighting, it takes about 15 minutes for the stone to heat up to a good cooking temperature (you can use Ooni’s infrared thermometer to check but we just run it at high and haven’t had any problems).

After that, it’s time to get that pizza in there.

The only accessory I’m going to say is an absolute essential when using the Ooni Koda is a pizza peel. Without it you’re going to have a hard time getting your pizza in and out of there. So, launch it in using your peel then wait.

After 20-30 seconds when one side starts to brown, you need to rotate the pizza because the heat is really concentrated at the back of the oven.

The easiest way to do that is to use Ooni’s turning peel. It’s smaller than the regular peel so you can use it to gently lift one side of your pizza and rotate it around without having to take the whole thing out.

If you don’t have a turning peel (we tried it without one first), you’ll need to use the regular peel to pull the whole thing out and either turn it with your hand, or something like a regular spatula, then put it back in. It can be a bit tricky to turn with your hands because the dough’s half cooked. But, it can be done.

Depending on how far you’ve turned it, your pizza will either be done after another 20-30 seconds. Or, you’ll have to do one more turn.

We found we got the best mix of well-cooked but not burnt by doing 3 1/3 turns per pizza.

The whole thing takes about a minute and you’ve got one pizza out and on the table.

Can You Use Pre-made Bases with the Ooni?

You can definitely use store-bought pizza bases in the Ooni.

We’ve done it (picture below) and they taste a lot better than store-bought pizza bases cooked in the oven. But, making your own dough, or buying it and stretching the bases yourself is out of this world good.

Is Gas The Best Fuel Choice For Me?

One great thing about Ooni pizza ovens is that you’ve got choice when it comes to fuel.

The gas-powered Koda is great if you:

  • Want easy, easy, easy! You just turn the dial and leave it to heat
  • Appreciate minimal cleaning because there’s no sooty chimney’s or fireboxes
  • Already have a gas cylinder from a gas grill

Included Extras

With the Ooni Koda 12 you get the pizza oven itself, required fittings to attach a large propane tank, and, the pizza stone insert.

In my opinion, you do really need at least a pizza peel to work it well so factor that into it’s price.

Optional Extras

Ooni sell a lot of extras for the Koda.

As we’ve recommended, a 12″ pizza peel is pretty much essential for loading and unloading your pizzas from the oven.

There’s two different types, the regular and the perforated. The perforated lets steam evaporate from the base and lets any excess flour fall away instead of filling up your stone. But, we opted for the regular because it’s cheaper and a bit less messy.

We’d also recommend getting a turning peel to help you rotate your pizzas on the stone.

Because the pizzas cook so quickly and fresh dough can be hard to transfer if they’re sitting around for long enough, getting multiple peels so you can set up a bit of a production line is ideal. We’ve got two and I’d like another.

Other than that, an infrared thermometer to tell you exactly when the pizza stone is hot enough and ready to go is handy. An accessory to cut pizzas makes it quick. And, the cleaning brush is an inexpensive way to make light work of keeping the stone in great condition.

If you’re taking your Koda to a friends house, the beach or camping, the carry cover does make it a lot easier and helps to prevent damage to the stone.

And, if you need a table for cooking, Ooni make those as well. There’s even sweet pizza topping stations and serving platters.

Basically, Ooni sell everything you might need. It’s all good quality and most of it is well priced for what it is. Check out the range in the video below.

Warranty

The Ooni Koda comes with a 1 year warranty when you purchase it directly through the Ooni website. But, you can also register online to extend the warranty to 3 years.

Cleaning the Ooni Koda 12

Because gas is so clean, there’s not much you need to do in the way of cleaning the Koda 12.

If anything gets on the outside, you can simply wipe it down.

To clean the inside, running it on high for 30 minutes will cook off any excess food. Then you can wipe it down with a paper towel once it’s fully cooled.

You can also take the stone out to wash it with warm, soapy water. You’ll need to dry it in the oven by baking it for at least 2 hours at 140˚F.

Pros and Cons of the Ooni Koda 12

What We Like About the Ooni Koda 12

  • Pizza cooked on here tastes absolutely incredible – it’s definitely a lot better than oven-baked pizzas
  • Being powered by gas makes it so easy to start, minimizes fuel wastage because you can turn it off as soon as you’re done, and, it’s clean
  • High-quality build should last a long time
  • Generates a good amount of heat that cooks pizzas very quickly
  • Neat and stylish pizza oven is a good ‘extra’ to have in your barbecue area
  • So easy to use!
  • It’s lightweight and compact so you can actually take it with you for pizza on the go
  • Ooni has a great range of good quality optional extras

What We Don't Like About the Ooni Koda 12

  • The flame blows out easily if you’re using it in windy conditions
  • You do need to be quite on to it with turning as the flame only runs down one side. If this bothers you the larger Koda 16 has an L-shaped flame that reduces turning
  • Optional accessories can get quite expensive

Specs for the Ooni Koda 12 Gas Pizza Oven

Barbecue type: Gas-powered pizza oven

Barbecue material: Cold-rolled, insulated, powder-coated carbon shell with stainless interior

Stone material: 10mm cordierite

Cooking capacity: 1 x 12″ pizza

Heat Range: Up to 950°F

Fuel type: Liquid propane gas

Price guide: $$

Model: Koda 12

Assembled size (in): 24.4 D x 15.5 W x 11.7 H

Weight: 20.2 lbs

Warranty: 1 year that can be extended to 3 with registration

FAQs About the Ooni Koda 12

Q. What type of gas bottle do I use with the Koda?

The Ooni Koda 12 comes with an attachment to connect a regular, large bottles like the 20 pound ones you generally use to barbecue. You can connect a smaller 1 pound bottle but you will need a separate adapter to do that.

Q. How long does it take to cook a pizza on the Ooni Koda?

It takes 15 minutes for the stone to heat up and after that, 60-90 seconds until your pizza is done.

Q. Can I cook inside with the Koda?

No. The Ooni Koda has been designed for outdoor use only.

Q. How long does it take for the Koda to cool down?

Ours is cool enough to move in about 30 minutes after being turned off.

Q. Can I store my Ooni outside?

The Ooni Koda is best stored indoors when not in use.

Q. Can I use the Koda with natural gas?

No. It’s not compatible with natural gas. But, the larger Koda 16 is if you use the Natural Gas Conversion Kit.

Our Verdict on the Ooni Koda 12 Review

If you want an easy way to cook really great pizza at home, the Ooni Koda 12 is it.

Super simple, really fast and top quality wrapped up in a sleek design that’s, as a bonus, transportable, the Koda 12 ticks so many boxes.

Running off a regular propane bottle, there’s no messing around trying to light a fire and it reliably gets to it’s target temperature of 950°F without any hassle. Just be aware that if you’re cooking in a windy area, the flame does blow out more easily than it does on the wood-pellet-fired Frya. But, there is a safety shut-off valve that’s got your back just in case.

The 12″ size is big enough for most families but lets everyone be able to choose their own toppings. And, because it literally takes 60-90 seconds for a pizza to cook, everyone can still sit down to eat at the same time. If they’re happy to wait that is…

The Ooni Koda 12 makes insanely delicious pizzas! As a fairly inexpensive purchase, we totally recommend everyone adding an Ooni to their backyard. It’s that good!