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Ooni Koda 12 Review: Does Gas-Fired Pizza Taste Authentic?

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 anywhere near as good… I’m not some pizza expert!

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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 (out of the box with a regular tank or a smaller 1 pound with adapter), 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 easily be called portable, the Ooni Koda 12 is our top pick for fast and fun Friday night pizzas, make-your-own parties and everything in between.

The 12 inch size will be large enough for most people and families. One batch of dough should make 5-6 pizzas and feed up to 4 adults and 3 kids. But, you can always do extra dough for the times you’re feeding more.

With gas, you won’t have that wood-fired flavor. But, with a 60 second cook-time, you’re not getting that much smokiness from the other Ooni models anyway.

You will need to grab yourself a pizza peel to launch and remove your pizzas. A turning peel is highly recommended as well. But that’s all you do need in the way of accessories.

Perfect for anyone looking to make exceptionally delicious pizza with no fuss, the Ooni Koda 12 is absolutely worth it!

And, you’ll save a heap not buying takeout pizzas too…

A Bit About 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.

As well the Koda 12, Ooni also make the larger Koda 16, the pellet-powered Fyra 12 and the multi-fuel Karu 12 and Karu 16.

You can also get an impressive line-up of high quality accessories to really immerse yourself in the pizza making experience.

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 Build 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.

We will also point out that, unlike the Ooni Fyra and Karu, there’s no door on the Ooni Koda 12.

The propane is strong enough to run the oven at it’s super high temperature without worrying about heat loss through the door.

It makes things that much easier for you too because you’re not replacing a door mid-cook. And, you can easily see how cooked your pizza is.

What Type of Gas Do I Need For The Ooni Koda 12?

You’ll need any large propane tank to connect up to your Ooni Koda 12.

Yes, your regular 20 pound bottle will work.

But, if you’re taking it on the go, you can also use the Koda 12 with a 1 pound bottle too. Just grab yourself the Ooni Gas Tank Adapter so you can hook it up.

Is The Ooni Koda 12 Compatible With Natural Gas?

The Ooni Koda 12 is NOT compatible with natural gas. It is for use with propane gas bottles only.

If you want an Ooni that will work with natural gas, the larger Ooni Koda 16 does work along with the Ooni Koda 16 Pizza Oven Natural Gas Conversion Kit.

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.

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.

We usually follow Ooni’s quick dough recipe which makes 5-6 12″ pizza doughs.

That can feed 4 adults and 3 kids for us.

Of course, how many people you can feed out of that will depend on appetite. But, you can always make up a second or third batch of dough if you’re feeding a small crowd.

Is the Ooni Koda 12 Too Small?

For most individuals, couples and families, the Ooni Koda 12 is going to be the perfect size.

12 inch pizzas are easy to stretch out and work with, everyone can choose their toppings and it also keeps the pizza oven at an easily manageable size for transporting and storing.

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! So, don’t be put off by the apparent ‘learning curve’.

But, to give you a run-down…

You light the Ooni Koda 12 like a regular gas bbq.

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 when it hits 950°F. But, we just run it at high and haven’t had any temperature related 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, the only other accessory we’d say is a must!

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 60 seconds and you’ve got one pizza out and on the table.

The Results of Cooking on the Ooni Koda 12

I love pizza! Like really really love a good pizza. And, I’m fussy too. I never eat pizza out because to me, there’s nowhere that makes pizza as good as I’d like in the city where I live.

Ooni changed all of that!

Now pizza is religiously cooked weekly at my house. Sometimes more often… Friends and family might be invited. Or, it’s just us and the kids experimenting with toppings, spending quality time together and enjoying amazingly good food.

5 Pizzas off the Ooni Karu 12

To describe what a Neopolitan pizza off the Ooni Koda 12 is like, I’d say perfetly crispy but not too dry bases with well cooked toppings and ooey goey cheese that’s melted to perfection.

Yes, we’ve overdone the pizzas and burned the crusts a few times (it happens). But, there’s never a complaint on pizza night and our guests request it now.

You simply cannot get pizza to taste as good in a regular oven as you can in the Ooni Koda.

If you’re a deep dish fan, prefer Detroit-style pizza or are a sourdough fan, you can do those plus more on the Ooni too.

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.

How Do I Make Pizza Dough For The Ooni?

You can follow any pizza dough recipe you want then just cook it in an Ooni.

95% of the time, we use Ooni’s Quick Dough recipe. It takes about an hour, including rising, and makes 5-6 12 inch pizzas.

But, Ooni doesn’t leave you to work it all out yourself!

There’s a huge section on their website for recipes. Here you can find everything from dough and pizza recipes to deserts, meat, fish and drinks to enjoy while you’re baking.

The beer pizza dough is worth trying out. As is their sourdough one.

What Else Can You Cook in the Ooni Koda 12?

The Ooni Koda 12 is essentially a small gas grill. So, you can cook anything else that fits in there too. Try:

Just keep in mind that, depending on what you’re cooking, you’ll most likely have to turn the gas down to lower the temperature.

And, if it’s not a bread-based thing you’re cooking in the Ooni, you’ll need to use a cast iron pan.

Never place meat, vegetables, oil or anything else on your pizza stone.

The pizza stone is porous. It will absorb any liquid, increasing the risk of it cracking and reducing it’s useful life.

Is Gas-Based Koda The Best Fuel Choice For Me?

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

You won’t get any wood-fired flavor from the Koda (because there is no wood smoke).

But, after having cooked on the whole Ooni range, I don’t feel like you get that much of a smoky pizza taste on any of these ovens.

Now don’t for one second get me wrong… Ooni’s are incredible and the pizza is even better! I don’t for one second think that it needs to be more smoky.

But, if you think about it, a pizza is only in there for about 60 seconds. It’s not a lot of time to soak up much smokiness.

What I’m saying is, don’t let the lack of true wood-smoked flavor put you off going for the Koda if the easiest option is what you want.

You will make amazing pizza on the Ooni Koda 12!

But, if you are a purist and want a truely wood-fired pizza, read our full review of the pellet-powered Ooni Fyra 12 (the next easiest fuel option), or the multi-fuel Ooni Karu 12 (that you can buy a gas attachment for as well).

Portability

Another great thing about the Ooni Koda 12 is that it’s actually very easily portable.

You simply disconnect the gas bottle, fold the legs in and pop it in your car, RV or truck.

Take it to the beach, camping, a friends house or even tailgating.

The whole unit is about 24 inches long and weights around 20 pounds so moving it really isn’t an issue at all. Unlike the Ooni Karu and Fyra, there’s no chimney to have to take out either.

You can even hook your Ooni Koda 12 up to a small 1 pound propane tank. You just need to grab yourself the cheap Ooni gas tank adapter.

The shell of the Koda is strong enough to be able to withstand a bit of life on the road.

But, for that extra level of protection, you can get the carry cover. It’s waterproof, has padded handles for comfort and a space to hook your gas regulator while you’re moving the oven around.

What Does The Ooni Koda 12 Come With?

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 Available for the Ooni Koda 12

Ooni sell a lot of extras for the Koda.

If you love kitting your things out with all the accessories, you’re in for some fun here!

But, if you want to keep it cheap, you can also make do with just a 12″ pizza peel to load and unload your pizzas. A turning peel will make cooking that much easier too.

In terms of peels, 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.

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 so you don’t take over your eating table, 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.

Their customer service has a great reputation. We’ve had good experiences with it too.

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

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!

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 Karu 12 Multi-Fuel

What gas bottle do I need with the Ooni Koda 12?

The Ooni Koda 12 comes with an attachment to connect a regular, large bottle 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.

How long does Ooni Koda take to heat up?

It takes about 15 minutes for the Ooni Koda 12 to heat up to the 950˚F (500˚C) you need to bake pizzas.

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

If your oven is at the right temperature, it’ll take about 60 seconds to cook a pizza on the Ooni Koda.

Can you use wood chips in the Ooni Koda pizza oven?

There’s nowhere to add wood chips when cooking in the Ooni Koda. If you want wood-fired while still maintaining some of the ease, go for the Ooni Fyra. You can read our full Fyra 12 review here. Or, the Multi-Fuel Ooni Karu runs off hardwood. But, you can pop the gas burner in for those times when you want an easy pizza fix. We’ve used and reviewed the Ooni Karu 12 too.

Is OONI Koda 12 worth it?

ABSOLUTELY! If you want to keep it cheap, just buy the oven and peel for the Koda. The pizza you can make on it is that good! And, it’ll save you a lot of money on takeout pizza too.

You can always ask for other add-ons for birthdays and Christmas once you’ve tried the oven and worked out what you think you’ll really benefit from having.

Can I leave my Ooni outside?

Ooni do say that the Koda can be stored safely outside with the waterproof carry cover. But, if the weather is wild or you live near the sea, it’ll keep in it’s best condition if it’s stored inside when not in use.

Can I use the Koda with natural gas?

No, the Koda 12 is not compatible with natural gas. The larger Koda 16 is if used with the Natural Gas Conversion Kit.

Can you use the Ooni Koda indoors?

The Ooni Koda has been designed for outdoor use only. And that’s a no for using the Koda inside your garage too. It’s simply not well-ventilated enough to do so safely.

Can you use Ooni Koda in the rain?

Ooni pizza ovens, including the Koda, are safe to use the rain or even snowy weather.

They’ve been tested as low as -8°F and although the cooking temperature will be a little affected, the full body insulation means you can still reach a temperature that’s hot enough for baking pizzas.

Can you put Ooni on wood table?

The legs on the Ooni pizza ovens raise the pizza stone and fire high enough to be able to safely use them on a wooden table.

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.

Can I use store bought dough in my Ooni?

You sure can use store bought dough in your Ooni Koda. How good it turns out will depend on the quality of the dough you’re buying. But, store bought dough that you still stretch or roll out, can be a good way to save time while still making your own, incredible pizzas on your Ooni.

Can you cook a frozen pizza in an Ooni?

There’s absolutely no stopping you from cooking a frozen pizza in an Ooni. But, it definitely won’t taste as good as if you made or even bought the dough and made your own pizza. You might also have a bit of trouble gettin git to cook evenly through since you’d be starting with frozen.

Why does my Ooni pizza burn?

If your pizza is burning on the Ooni Koda or any other Ooni pizza oven, you’re probably just leaving it in too long or not rotating it fast enough.

If the top is cooked/burning and the base is underdone, your stone isn’t hot enough. Take the pizza out and leave your oven to run for longer so the stone has time to fully heat up.

And, if the base is burning but the top looks good, you’re running your oven a little too hot. Turn the Koda dial down or close the baffle on the Fyra or Karu chimney, give it some time to cool down and then try cooking again.

How do you keep OONI pizza from sticking?

To stop you Ooni pizza from sticking to the peel, preventing it from launching properly, use a generous sprinkling of semolina or flour on the base of your pizza.

We always stretch our pizza on semolina, transfer to the peel and check by jiggling around that it’s not stuck before launching.

If the pizza is stuck on the peel, simply lift up a section and sprinkle on more semolina, working around until the whole base is able to be moved around.

How long do Ooni ovens last?

The quality of Ooni pizzza ovens, including the Ooni Koda 12 is so good that if it’s well looked after and kept out of the weather, you should get many, many years of use from it.

The Ooni Koda 12 should well outlast it’s extended 3 year warranty.

Does the Ooni rust?

The Ooni Koda 12 is made from cold-rolled, powder-coated carbon with stainless steel inside. So, although even high quality stainless steel can rust if damaged and/or kept in the weather for prolonged periods of time, Ooni have done their best to design and build a pizza oven that should stay rust free.

Are Ooni pizza ovens made in China?

The Ooni headquarters are based in Edinburgh, Scotland and the ovens are made in China.

How does the Ooni Koda compare to the Gozney Roccbox?

Although the Gozney Roccbox is without a doubt, another great pizza oven, we do like the Ooni Koda better. It’s smaller, better looking (in our opinion) and significantly cheaper too.