Winter pizza: How to make pizzas outside in the cold, rain and snow
Owning a pizza oven means pizza can be on the menu 24/7, 365. That’s right: hot, fresh pizza, all year round.
Sounds like an appealing idea? We think so, too.
Continue to gather with friends and family for pizza nights and dinner parties with our top tips from a decade’s worth of experience cooking everywhere in the world, including the arctic circle (honest, here’s a video), the Texas desert and Scotland (where rain is almost always the default weather, and where our global headquarters are).
Cold weather Ooni oven tips
Even if your oven is buried under a pile of snow, you can still cook with it, you’ll just need to pre-heat it sufficiently to make sure you reach your desired cooking temperature.
You can only be sure you’ve reached those temperatures with an infrared thermometer, but a rough guide would be at least 15 minutes and at most 25-30, although it can vary depending on the type of fuel you’re using.
Pro tip: Store your stone indoors
A big timesaver in cold weather is to store your pizza stone indoors (between cooks, and once it’s fully cooled down, of course).
Starting on a dry and warm pizza stone will help you get better results in any weather.
Keep your peels dry
A wet peel will make your raw dough stick when you’re trying to launch.
Keep your peels out of the rain under an umbrella, and keep a kitchen towel nearby to dry them.
Let your peel cool between bakes
Residual steam and heat radiating off a peel from previous bakes can act like glue causing the raw dough to stick and lead to failed launches.
We like having at least two peels while we’re working in the cold: One to stretch, top and launch and another for turning and retrieving.
That way your hot peel and cool peel are always separated.
Set up with the wind
You should try to position your oven in such a way that the wind hits the back of it. This way the wind will pull the flame forward to the oven mouth instead of entering the oven and pushing it back or extinguishing it entirely.
Let the wind work with you instead of against you and you’ll be happy you did.
This applies to both gas and wood/charcoal ovens!
Just be careful in very high wind conditions and always wear protective gear.
Allow for extra recharge time
Even during warm weather, Ooni ovens need time to recharge and get back up to temperature between bakes.
In colder weather, this process takes a little extra time but still produces the same great-tasting pizza.
Parbake pizza bases before big parties
To parbake, or partially bake your base, launch stretched dough by itself and cook until it’s just baked but still pale.
We like adding a handful of ice cubes to the middle of our base before launching so the middle stays flat and doesn’t puff up or brown.
Then when you’re entertaining all that’s left is having guests top parbaked bases and launching to finish cooking.
This will help get pizzas out faster to hungry dinner guests for any winter pizza parties you might throw.
Use residual heat
Cooking doesn’t have to stop once you extinguish your cooking fire. Your oven will stay warm for up to a couple of hours while it slowly cools which is the perfect opportunity to make low-and-slow cooking recipes.
You can also utilise the heat as the oven comes up to temperature to warm up starters and nibbles or warm drinks like mulled wine.
Best pizza gear for the winter season
When it comes to entertaining, nothing beats the Ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven (with the optional Gas Burner for Ooni Karu 16) or the Ooni Koda 16 Gas-Powered Pizza Oven.
These powerful gas cooking options offer a consistent fuel supply so you never have to think about maintaining your cooking fire, have plenty of space inside to make dishes big enough for a crowd and are designed for a premium user experience that makes hosting a breeze.
Another essential for cold weather parties is our line of cast iron cookware.
These durable and highly versatile accessories can cook basically any dish, sweet or savoury.
Try using your cast iron cookware to warm up or cook starters and sides in the rising temperatures while your oven heats up.
Winter recipes to keep the cold away
Cozy up around a skillet pan of Camembert, Brie and White Beer Fondue. As a shareable, warming and indulgent dish, it’s a perfect appetizer to get the party started. Although good year-round, the richness of the melted cheese fits particularly well with colder evenings.
After starters, move on to the star of the show, pizza! This Chanterelle and Sweet Potato Pizza with Sour Tomato Sauce and Pumpkin Seed Butter combines layers of sweetness, creaminess, and nuttiness for a surprising depth of flavour while celebrating some of our favourite cold weather ingredients.And you can never go wrong finishing up any dinner party menu with a gooey, salty soft-baked chocolate cookie like our Easy Salted Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie. And for an added bonus? You can make it in the residual heat of your oven as it cools.
(Virtually) invite us to the party
We want to see your winter pizza parties! Share with us by tagging @oonihq or using #ooni on social media. You might even get featured on our page!