I’m here with the new Cuisinart indoor pizza oven. It markets itself as only reaching 700 degrees Fahrenheit, yet it has a price tag of $400. The Chefman pizza oven I recently reviewed reaches above 800 and is a lot cheaper. Right off the bat, this one doesn’t seem too promising.
A lot of kitchen appliance companies have been jumping on the pizza oven trend. The problem is you can tell when a product designer knows nothing about pizza – or, the marketing team says “we need to say it cooks Neapolitan” even though it can’t.
At my first glance, it looks like this will only be capable of cooking New York styles, which can be made very well in home ovens with pizza steels. But this wouldn’t be a Cuisinart indoor pizza oven review without an attempt – so let’s make some pizza.
VIDEO: Cuisinart indoor pizza oven review
Recommendation: Get the Ooni Volt instead. Cuisinart comes nowhere close to cooking true Neapolitan. It doesn’t cook pizza any better than a home oven.
The oven is shipped in a clearly marked brown box and then a retail box inside. Both were in excellent shape, and there were no problems whatsoever with packaging.
Inside the box you’ll find a rocker blade (big pizza cutter, if you’re not familiar) which is a nice touch. The pizza peel looks nice with a dark wooden handle, but I strongly prefer slotted peels instead of solid metal. Slotted peels allow excess flour to fall off when launching, preventing flour burn on the bottom of pizzas.
And the final included accessory is what they call a deep dish pizza pan. I’ve never seen a pizza pan like this, nor would I ever make one in it. There’s a big beveled design in the bottom of the pan which would negatively affect the bottom crust of a pizza. It honestly looks like it’s made for casseroles.
Setup for most indoor pizza ovens are very minimal, since it’s essentially a fully contained unit. All we have to do is remove some tape, insert a crumb tray below the bottom burner, and then the pizza stone sits on top of a metal rack. Plug it in, and we’re good to go!
Their website lists this as being 35 lbs, but there’s no way that’s true. I’d say 25 max (maybe they only listed the packaged weight). I bought the matte black color which seems to have a blue-ish tone to it, but I really like the looks of it over the silver option.
A total of 1800 watts powers the top and bottom burners together. There is no separate control for each burner, and the specs don’t call out how many watts are in the top burner vs the bottom.
I like how the door shuts tightly like a kitchen oven would. The Chefman indoor pizza oven I tested had a very weak seal around the door.
For a $400 unit, the controls seem pretty dated to me – but hey, performance is what matters. So let’s fire this up. On the right side, a temperature adjustment dial uses 50 degree increments. You’ll also find two LEDs for “power on” and “temperature ready”, and a button to turn the inside light on. I like having the ability to turn the light on or off whenever you want (the Breville Pizzaiolo indoor pizza oven lacks a light completely!).
A timer is located on the left side which is very clunky to use. There’s no way to cancel or turn it off. The stop button just pauses it, and you can’t go below 30 seconds with the minus button, so you have to sit and wait for the time to run out.
A few cooking suggestions are located on the side of the door, including “Neapolitan: 700F for 5 minutes”. I’ll tell you right now a 5 minute Neapolitan is no bueno. You typically want to aim under 2 minutes for good results, so 5 would be very bad. Let’s fire it up and see if we can get it any hotter
It took a solid 25 minutes to preheat which is pretty long for only 700 degrees. At this point, I noticed some issues. A lot of heat is pushed out the back of the oven. My wall was reading above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and I had it further away than the recommended 2 to 4 inches.
It also smelled awful – way worse than any oven I’ve used before. My wife thought I took up a hobby of melting plastic rather than homemade pizza.
More importantly, it seems that the top burner never turns red. The bottom one definitely does, but the top looks like it’s off the entire time.
But I prepped a Neapolitan anyway, launched, and baked for 3 and a half minutes. The crust refused to get any color whatsoever, so I pulled the pizza since the fresh mozzarella was clearly overcooked by now.
The bake was so bad that I’m not even attempting another of this style. I think I can get better from my home oven – at least I can control the broiler.
New York style
Thankfully, New York’s cook just fine in this oven. I cooked this pizza at 650 degrees and honestly, it was fantastic. Great color on the crust, great cheese melt, and a super crispy bottom.
But I would never buy it. I love my Ooni Volt, which just had a $100 price drop. But if I were looking on the budget end, the Chefman Home Slice is a better and cheaper indoor pizza oven.