July 29


How to Properly Light a Pizza Oven: Essential Tips for Perfect Method and Timing

What's the correct way to light a pizza oven Tips on getting the method and timing right

When it comes to cooking a delicious pizza in a wood-fired oven, there are a few key steps you need to follow to ensure that you achieve the perfect result. One of these steps is properly lighting the oven, as this will determine the temperature and heat that your pizza will be cooked at.

Firstly, you need to make sure that you have the appropriate fuel for your oven. Hardwood is the favored choice, as it produces a high and consistent heat that is essential for cooking pizza. Depending on the size of your oven, you will need to stack the wood in a way that allows for proper airflow and a good flame. This can be done by placing small pieces of kindling at the bottom, gradually adding larger logs on top.

Before you start lighting the oven, it is important to remove any excess ash or debris from previous cookings. This will help ensure that the fire starts up correctly and prevents any unnecessary smoke or flavor transfer to your pizza.

Now, it’s time to start lighting the oven. Using a small fire starter, such as newspaper or a firelighter, place it in the center of the stack and light it. Make sure to give the fire enough time to catch and for the flames to spread to the surrounding fuel. Depending on the size of your oven, this process can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

Once the flames spread to the wood and you see a good amount of embers, it’s time to let the fire burn down a bit. This is because a wood-fired oven is best used when the flames have subsided and you are left with a bed of hot coals. The heat from the embers is what will cook your pizza to perfection.

Now that your oven is ready, it’s time to start cooking! Slide your pizza onto the hot stone and close the oven door, making sure to keep an eye on it to ensure that it cooks evenly. Depending on the temperature of your oven, the pizza should be ready in just a few minutes.

And there you have it – expert advice on how to correctly light your pizza oven to produce a delicious wood-fired pizza! Remember, the timing and method of lighting may vary depending on the type of oven you’re using, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. With these tips, you’ll be enjoying homemade, flavor-packed pizzas in no time!

How to light a pizza oven like a pro

How to light a pizza oven like a pro


Lighting a pizza oven is an important step in achieving the perfect flavor and cooking experience. The method and timing of lighting will depend on the type of oven you have and the fuel you use. In this article, we will provide expert advice on how to light your pizza oven correctly using wood as fuel.

Choosing the right wood

The flavor of your pizza will greatly depend on the kind of wood you use as fuel. It’s recommended to use hardwood such as oak, maple, or hickory, which will produce a rich and smoky flavor. Avoid using softwoods like pine or cedar as they can impart a resinous taste to your food.

Preparing the fire

Before lighting the fire, remove any ashes or debris from the oven. This will ensure proper airflow and avoid any unwanted flavors. Stack small pieces of kindling in the center of the oven, leaving space for airflow. These small pieces of wood will help to ignite the larger logs.

Lighting the fire

Using a higher flame or a chimney starter, light the kindling from the top. Gradually add more wood pieces as the flame and heat increase. It’s best to avoid using lighter fluid or accelerants as they can leave a residue that affects the flavor of your food.

Tips for a successful fire

  • Start with a small fire and gradually build it up. This will prevent the oven from overheating too quickly.
  • Ensure that the pieces of wood are dry and seasoned. Wet or green wood will produce more smoke and less heat.
  • Pay attention to wind conditions. If you’re using an outdoor pizza oven, strong winds can affect the flame and heat distribution.
  • Make sure you have enough wood fuelled before starting the fire. Running out of wood in the middle of cooking can be frustrating.
  • Light the fire well in advance. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for the oven to reach the desired temperature.



Lighting a pizza oven like a pro requires the right wood, timing, and technique. By following expert advice, you can ensure the best flavor and temperature for cooking your favorite wood-fired pizzas. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you. Subscribe to our newsletter to get more tips and inspirational recipes delivered straight to your inbox!

How to light a wood-fired pizza oven

How to light a wood-fired pizza oven

Lighting a wood-fired pizza oven is an essential step in creating the perfect wood-fired pizza. Properly lighting the oven ensures that it reaches the appropriate temperature for cooking and gives your pizza that delicious wood-fuelled flavor. Here are some tips to help you get the method and timing right.

1. Gather your fuel

The first step in lighting a wood-fired pizza oven is to gather the appropriate fuel. Hardwood such as oak or beech is ideal for creating a hot and long-lasting fire. Remove any large pieces of wood from the stack and break them into smaller pieces or kindling.

2. Create a small fire

Start by lighting a small fire in the center of the oven. This will gradually heat up the oven and create a bed of hot embers for cooking. Founder of Ooni, Kristian Tapaninaho, explains that a small, controlled fire is crucial for ensuring even cooking and avoiding burnt crusts.

3. Build up the fire

Once the small fire is burning and the wood is turning to embers, gradually add more wood to build up the fire. This will increase the heat and bring the oven up to the desired temperature. You may need to adjust the amount and placement of the wood depending on your oven and the cooking temperature you want to achieve.

4. Allow enough time

Depending on the size and type of your wood-fired pizza oven, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to reach the desired cooking temperature. Patience is key, as rushing the process may result in uneven heating and undercooked or burnt pizzas.

5. Watch the smoke and flames

While the fire is burning, pay close attention to the color and behavior of the smoke and flames. Thick, black smoke usually indicates insufficient airflow, while thin, white smoke means the fire is burning cleanly. Adjust the air vents or chimney as needed to ensure proper ventilation.

6. Use a chimney starter or kindling

If you’re having trouble getting the fire started, using a chimney starter or kindling can help. These methods create hot flames and encourage the wood to catch fire more quickly.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you light your wood-fired pizza oven correctly and produce the best possible results. Enjoy the inspirational flavor of wood-fuelled pizza in your own home!

How to light a pizza oven using wood pellets

For those who have a wood-fuelled pizza oven, using wood pellets is a convenient and efficient way to get your oven up and running. Here are some tips on how to correctly light a pizza oven using wood pellets:

1. Gather your materials

  • Wood pellets (appropriate for your oven)
  • Kindling or small pieces of wood
  • Fire starter or newspaper
  • Long-tipped lighter or matches

2. Prepare the oven

Before lighting the wood pellets, ensure that the oven is clean and free from any debris. Remove any ash or old wood before starting.

3. Create a small fire

Place the kindling or small pieces of wood at the bottom of the pizza oven. Stack them in a way that allows for proper airflow.

4. Add wood pellets

Spread a layer of wood pellets over the kindling or small pieces of wood. The amount of wood pellets you use depends on the size of your oven and the cooking time you want to achieve. Follow any specific guidelines provided by the oven manufacturer.

5. Light the fire

Using a fire starter or crumpled newspaper, light the kindling or small pieces of wood at the bottom of the pizza oven. You can also use a long-tipped lighter or matches to ignite the flame.

6. Allow wood pellets to ignite

As the fire grows, the wood pellets will gradually catch fire as well, producing flames and heat. Ensure that the oven door is closed to retain the heat and allow the wood pellets to ignite fully. Depending on the type of wood pellets used, this process may take a few minutes.

7. Let the embers form

Once the wood pellets have ignited and are producing flames, the next step is to let the fire burn and allow the wood to turn into embers. This is essential for achieving the desired temperature for cooking.

8. Maintain the heat

Depending on the cooking method and temperature you prefer, you may need to add more wood pellets to the fire periodically to maintain the heat. Be sure to follow the expert advice from the oven manufacturer or consult their user manual for the best practices.

By following these steps and using wood pellets correctly, you can ensure that your wood-fired pizza oven is ready for cooking with that inspirational smoky flavor. Enjoy your homemade pizzas!

How to light a gas pizza oven

If you have a gas pizza oven, lighting it is a much simpler process compared to wood-fuelled ovens. Here’s how you can get your gas pizza oven ready for cooking:

Step 1: Check the gas supply

Before lighting your gas pizza oven, make sure that the gas supply is turned on and functioning properly. Check the fuel level and ensure there are no leaks or issues with the gas connection.

Step 2: Remove any obstacles

Ensure that there are no obstructions in or around the gas pizza oven. Remove any objects, debris, or flammable materials that may hinder the lighting process or pose a safety risk.

Step 3: Turn on the oven

Turn on the gas pizza oven by using the appropriate knobs or switches. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you are using the correct procedure for your specific oven model.

Step 4: Gradually increase the heat

Depending on the type of gas pizza oven you have, it may take some time for the temperature to reach the desired level. Gradually increase the heat to allow the oven to warm up evenly and reach the optimal cooking temperature.

Step 5: Preheat and monitor the temperature

Just like with wood-fired ovens, it’s essential to preheat your gas pizza oven to ensure even cooking. Use a built-in thermometer or an external oven thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust as needed.

Step 6: Get cooking!

Once your gas pizza oven has reached the desired temperature, you’re ready to start cooking your favorite pizza. Place your pizza on the oven rack or stone, close the oven door, and let it cook according to your recipe’s instructions.

Remember, gas ovens offer convenience and quick heat-up times, but they may not provide the same smoky flavor that wood-fuelled ovens do. If you’re looking for the authentic wood-fired pizza taste, a wood-fired oven might be the best choice for you.

These tips should help you light and use your gas pizza oven correctly. Always refer to the manufacturer’s advice and follow safety guidelines to ensure you have a successful and enjoyable pizza-making experience.

Tips to make lighting a pizza oven easy

Lighting a pizza oven may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tips and techniques, it can be made easy. Here are some expert tips to help you get the method and timing right:

1. Use the right kind of fuel

For best results, use hardwood as the fuel for your pizza oven. Hardwood, such as oak or beech, will produce a hot and long-lasting flame, which is essential for cooking pizzas in a wood-fired oven. Avoid using softwood or treated wood, as they can create too much smoke and undesirable flavors.

2. Stack the fuel correctly

Before lighting the oven, stack the wood in a neat and orderly manner. Start with larger pieces of hardwood at the bottom and gradually add smaller pieces on top. This will ensure a consistent and even heat distribution throughout the cooking process.

3. Use kindling to start the fire

Using kindling is an effective way to start the fire in your pizza oven. Kindling is small, dry pieces of wood that ignite quickly and produce a strong flame. Place a few handfuls of kindling on top of the stacked wood, making sure there is enough airflow to support the combustion process.

4. Use a chimney starter

Using a chimney starter can make lighting your pizza oven easier and faster. A chimney starter helps to create a strong draft, which promotes efficient combustion and faster heating of the oven. Simply place some crumpled newspaper and a few pieces of kindling in the chimney starter, and light it. Once the kindling is fully ignited, carefully pour the burning wood and embers onto the wood stack in the oven.

5. Ensure proper ventilation

5. Ensure proper ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial when lighting a pizza oven. Make sure the chimney or flue is open to allow smoke and gases to escape. Additionally, check the wind direction before lighting the oven, as strong winds can affect the airflow and make it difficult to achieve and maintain the desired temperature.

6. Allow time for the oven to heat up

After lighting the oven, allow it to heat up for at least 30-45 minutes. This will ensure that the oven reaches the desired temperature for cooking pizzas. You can use a temperature gauge and adjust the amount of wood fuel accordingly to maintain the desired heat.

With these expert tips, lighting a pizza oven can become an easy task. Just remember to use the right fuel, stack it correctly, use kindling to start the fire, ensure proper ventilation, and allow enough time for the oven to heat up. Soon enough, you’ll be enjoying delicious wood-fired pizzas in the comfort of your own home!

When should you light a pizza oven

One of the most important aspects of cooking in a pizza oven is starting the fire at the right time. You need to know when to light your pizza oven to ensure it’s ready for cooking.

Timing is key

The timing of when to light your pizza oven depends on the type of oven you have. Wood-fired pizza ovens take longer to heat up compared to other types of ovens. It’s recommended to start the fire at least 1 to 2 hours in advance to allow the oven to reach the appropriate temperature.

The best time to start a fire

The best time to start a fire in your pizza oven is when you have enough time to let it burn down to the desired temperature and for the flames to die out. This will ensure that the oven is ready for cooking.

Fuel for the fire

The type of wood you use to fuel your pizza oven is also important. Hardwood, such as oak or maple, is best for producing a steady and consistent heat. It’s recommended to use small to medium-sized pieces of wood, as they will burn more efficiently and produce less smoke.

Kindling is also essential to help get the fire started. You can use newspaper or other small pieces of dry wood to build a small stack of kindling in the center of the oven. Once the kindling is lit, you can add larger pieces of wood gradually to ensure a sustained flame.

Consider the wind and weather

The wind and weather conditions can also affect the lighting of your pizza oven. If there are strong winds or rain, it may be more difficult to light the fire and keep it going. It’s best to choose a day with calm weather to make the process easier.

Expert advice

Expert advice

According to Ooni founder, Kristian Tapaninaho, the best way to light a pizza oven is to stack the wood in a way that allows airflow, creating a flame with enough heat to cook the pizza. He recommends removing any ashes before lighting the fire and ensuring that the fuel is dry.

He also explains that the flavor of the pizza depends on the temperature of the oven. If the oven is not hot enough, the pizza will take longer to cook and may not have the desired flavor. On the other hand, if the oven is too hot, the pizza can burn quickly.

In conclusion, the appropriate time to light your pizza oven depends on the type of oven you have and the desired temperature for cooking. It’s important to use hardwood as fuel and follow expert advice to ensure the fire is lit correctly. By considering the wind and weather conditions, you can create the perfect environment for cooking delicious wood-fired pizza.

How much smoke does a pizza oven produce

When it comes to pizza ovens, one of the first questions that often comes to mind is how much smoke does a pizza oven produce. The amount of smoke produced by a pizza oven depends on various factors, including the type of fuel used, the method of lighting, and the temperature at which the oven is operated. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Type of Fuel

Wood-fuelled pizza ovens are the most popular choice among pizza enthusiasts. Hardwood is the best kindling for these ovens, as it produces a clean and efficient burn. Using softwood can result in more smoke and less flavor. It’s important to make sure the wood is dry and ready for use.

Lighting Method

The way you light your pizza oven can also impact the amount of smoke produced. Ooni, a renowned pizza oven manufacturer, explains that it is best to light the fire at the back of the oven rather than directly under the chimney. This allows the flames to gradually heat the oven and ensures proper circulation of heat and smoke.

Temperature Control

Having the appropriate temperature is crucial for efficient pizza cooking and smoke production. Too low of a temperature can result in excessive smoke due to incomplete combustion. On the other hand, too high of a temperature may burn the fuel too quickly and result in less smoke. It’s important to find the right balance.

Expert Advice

Tom Hart, the founder of a popular pizza oven company, suggests that removing any large pieces of wood from the flame before they turn into embers can help reduce smoke. Additionally, a good airflow and protection from winds can also minimize smoke production.

Smoke Removal Policy

If you’re concerned about smoke production, you can consider using a special chimney or smoke removal system specifically designed for pizza ovens. These devices can help remove smoke more efficiently.

In conclusion, the amount of smoke produced by a pizza oven depends on the type of fuel used, the method of lighting, and the temperature control. By following the tips mentioned above and using the appropriate fuel and lighting method, you can minimize smoke production while enjoying the delicious flavor that wood-fuelled pizza ovens provide.


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