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What Is The Best Wood For Pizza Ovens?

What Is The Best Wood For Pizza Ovens?

You’ve finally bought an outdoor pizza oven and you can’t wait to use it, but do you know which wood works best in your pizza oven?

Before you can start eating that delicious pizza, you need to get the oven fired up.

If you're working with a wood fired pizza oven, the truth is there are quite a few options to choose from when it comes to wood/charcoal types.

Our goal with this guide is to share some of the most popular woods for your pizza oven that will lead to the most delicious pizzas.

What Type Of Wood Should You Use In A Pizza Oven?

Let’s take a look at which wood is best to use in your pizza oven, you might already be using them.


As pizza ovens need to reach very high temperatures, you’ll need wood that can provide this kind of heat such as dense, dry hardwood. Other woods take a long time to reach the temperature needed to properly cook the pizza.

These woods are better as they are cleaner and last longer than softwoods. Softwoods are more difficult to ignite which can make getting the fire going a mammoth and frustrating task.

Examples of hardwoods include oak, maple, hickory, and walnut to name a few.


Fruitwoods are also highly popular in outdoor cooking as they bring an extra layer of flavor to your food.

Although most commonly used with meat, these woods can be a great addition to cooking pizza too.

Pecan, apple, and plum are all great choices to add a subtle layer of flavor to your pizza. See if those around the dinner table can guess which one you’ve used!

It is important to experiment with fruitwoods as they don’t burn as hot as hardwoods.

For best use, try mixing in some fruity tones with your usual hardwood of choice to maintain the heat levels whilst adding some delightful yet subtle aromatic flavors.


Oak is probably the most common hardwood used in outdoor cooking as it is very heavy and dense which creates the ideal temperatures needed to evenly cook food in a pizza oven.

The flavors produced by burning oak are generally described as earthy, with red oak bringing a more prominent flavor due to the increased smoke intensity.


Maple is another popular choice for wood fired ovens as it produces a good flame and heat output. With many versions of maple wood available you are spoilt for choice.

Using maple in combination with other wood such as oak helps to keep the temperatures in the oven high as well as add a subtle, sweet flavor that works with many types of pizza toppings.


Hickory is one of the hottest burning hardwoods, which is what makes it so popular to cook with. This is great news for those that love smoking meat and cooking pizzas.

The clean-burning wood produces a stronger, more intense flavor than oak, but the two can be paired together to complement each other.

It will last a long time and can be quite cost-effective and easy to access due to its popularity.


Plum may not be your first choice, but hear us out. The wood has a good amount of heat output which is an obvious benefit.

On its own, plum wood has a slightly sweet and mild flavor that pairs well with pork, poultry, and vegetables.

Often, oak or pecan is combined to add some extra depth to the subtle flavors.


Alder produces a medium-level heat but can be paired with oak or hickory to reach higher temperatures.

Alder wood produces a mild, and light slightly sweet flavor to your food that pairs well with fish, poultry, sausage, and vegetables. This makes it a great addition to any pizza oven.

As it’s one of the cheapest woods, it can be great for those on a budget.

The Worst Woods For A Pizza Oven

The Worst Woods For A Pizza Oven

Treated Wood

When you’re starting a fire, don’t assume that all wood is suitable firewood. Certain woods will not contribute to the smoky tastes of the wood fired cooking flavor. Some woods can also be dangerous for your health.

Painted or treated wood is covered in chemicals that can be toxic when burned in an outdoor oven.

High Sap Content Woods

Pine should also be avoided as the sap produces soot and creosote when burned which coats the oven floor and is a carbonaceous chemical that is detrimental to human health. When it comes to cooking in an outdoor pizza oven, it’s just as important to understand which woods you shouldn’t use as well as the ones you should.

Woods With Too Much Moisture

Wood with too much moisture in it should also be avoided as it can affect the quality of the food and the oven itself.

When under-dried wood is used in a pizza oven, more time is needed to dry out the wood which means there is less time spent heating the oven.

Overall, the net energy released as useful heat is reduced and the pizza may not cook properly.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, avoid using treated woods, woods with a high sap content, and woods with high moisture content in your pizza ovens.

These types of wood can cause harm to your health as well as your pizza.

Choose a dry, seasoned hardwood to create the best flavor and high temperatures to cook an even, delicious pizza in the comfort of your own home.

Oak is the easiest and most reliable wood you can use to produce great results with outdoor cooking.

We hope you found this article interesting and informative, helping you to identify which wood is best for you.

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