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Breville Pizzaiolo review: A pricey pizza oven with lots of options

The Pizzaiolo does a lot of things well, but there are some caveats too.

Photo by Billy Steele/Engadget

A few months ago, it seemed like every cooking account I followed on Instagram was using a Pizzaiolo. I stumbled upon Breville’s dedicated pizza oven a while ago at the suggestion of a colleague, but it was a bit outside of our coverage area to review. Now that we have an annual week of kitchen-focused reviews, buyer’s guides and how-tos, it was time to finally put a Pizzaiolo through its paces for this website.

Breville’s Pizzaiolo may look a bit like its toaster ovens, but the larger unit is designed for one thing: pizza. From handy presets to a full manual mode for advanced users, this oven offers just about anything you’d want – so long as your pizzas are round and 12-inches or smaller. But even with all of its cooking chops, is the Pizzaiolo worth the nearly $1,000 price tag? Or perhaps the better question is: Do you really need a dedicated pizza oven inside your house?


Breville’s dedicated pizza oven can cook some great pizza, but the awkward cleaning and confined baking area are frustrating.

  • Presets for beginners
  • Manual mode for pros
  • Makes good Neapolitan pizza at high heat
  • Design blends in with other appliances
  • Expensive
  • Preheating takes a while
  • Limited baking area
  • Hard to clean
$1,000 at Breville


The Pizzaiolo looks like many other Breville countertop appliances. Available in stainless steel and black finishes, the pizza oven has a design akin to the company’s multi-function toaster ovens and air fryers – namely the Smart Oven line. At 18.1 x 18.5 inches though, the Pizzaiolo is much bigger than all of those compact kitchen accessories. Like Breville’s Smart Oven lineup, this pizza-focused model has a silver door handle up top, though the one here is more robust than what’s on the smaller ovens. There’s also a wide viewing window that allows you to observe the cooking area from edge to edge.

Breville’s dedicated pizza oven can cook some great pizza and it looks more like something you’d want to keep in your kitchen. Presets for popular styles are great for beginners or when you want a no-fuss pizza party, but the manual mode provides an endless playground for tinkering. While the awkward cleaning and confined baking area are frustrating, the price will be the dealbreaker for most people.
Photo by Billy Steele/Engadget

All of the controls are on the front, situated at the bottom right. Two large main dials control the timer and style presets while a tiny third selector lets you adjust the “Darkness” or power of the top heating element. There are also two lights: one to indicate you’re in manual mode and one that glows when the oven has reached your desired temperature and blinks slowly while it’s preheating. Manual mode lets you control the temperature of both the top and bottom heating elements independently, rather than relying on Breville’s style presets. The company includes a magnet that lays over the time numbers and preset labels so you know what temps you’ve chosen for manual mode.

Inside, the 12-inch cooking area is a round stone that doesn’t quite go all the way to the sides of the cooking area. The Pizzaiolo has reflectors around the baking stone that send heat from the top heating element to the crust. This means you can only use the oven for pizza or things baked in smaller round pans since there isn’t any extra room to work with. There also isn’t an interior light to help you see how things are progressing. However, Breville says the radiant heat is controlled by the oven so you don’t need to worry about rotating pizzas for even cooking. Lastly, the deck that holds the stone is connected to the door, so when you open it, the cooking surface moves closer to you. This makes launching and removing pizzas slightly easier.

Setup and use

Breville’s dedicated pizza oven can cook some great pizza and it looks more like something you’d want to keep in your kitchen. Presets for popular styles are great for beginners or when you want a no-fuss pizza party, but the manual mode provides an endless playground for tinkering. While the awkward cleaning and confined baking area are frustrating, the price will be the dealbreaker for most people.
Photo by Billy Steele/Engadget

Before you use the Pizzaiolo for the first time, you’ll need to wipe down the inside and the top of the stone with a damp cloth or sponge. Once everything is dry, you have to run the oven wide open at 750 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes to season it. When the time is up, the Pizzaiolo is ready to cook your first pie. By default, the style selector picks all of the oven settings for you, so you make the choice there first and the recommended time will show on the other dial automatically. Of course, you can adjust this as needed.

Depending on the style and temperature, Breville says the preheating process can take up to 20 minutes. I only timed this on the hottest possible option – 750 degrees – since it would take the longest. The Pizzaiolo took 17 minutes to reach that number. When you turn the oven off, the fan will run for another 15 minutes to cool the “sensitive electronics.”

One thing that’s nice about the Pizzaiolo is that the outside stays relatively cool during the cooking process. Breville says this is due to the double-pane front window and “multi-material insulation” that keeps as much of the heat inside as possible. Indeed, the top stays cool to the touch when in use, but the bottom of the sides where the vents are located and the door (not the handle) get hot.

The only issue I had was a small fire from excess semolina on the bottom of one pie. It wasn’t a big deal as it went out quickly and wasn’t all that big, but it left a mess on the stone I didn’t want to put another pizza on top of. With outdoor ovens from Ooni, for example, this would just burn off and you’d use a brush to push the extra burned bits to the side or rake them to the front.

On the Pizzaiolo, there’s nowhere to brush any debris as the opening around the stone goes underneath it where the heating element resides. The fact that the cooking deck is attached to the door also makes sweeping out any bits difficult. Even when the oven is off the inside is awkward to clean since the interior isn’t very tall. In a few spots, it’s hard to see the grime you might’ve missed.

Making the pizza

Breville Pizzaiolo
Ooni's classic pizza dough recipe cooked on the "Wood Fired" preset. (Photo by Billy Steele/Engadget)

Breville’s presets come in handy when you just want to make good pizza and not worry about the exact numbers for time and temp. As promised, the full-heat and “Wood Fired” options produce the leoparding that’s desired for Neapolitan-style pizza. The former option also adjusts the top heating element so that just the outer crust is getting direct heat during baking (pictured in the gallery below). I was also impressed by the even cooking on the New York setting, where the crust and toppings were evenly cooked but there was still a pleasant chewiness to the bite.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Frozen option, which puts the stone at 425-475 degrees and the top at 350-400 with even heat for the Darkness. In full disclosure, I splurged on Newman’s Own stone-fired pizzas which are supposedly imported from Italy, but the results were seriously impressive. The Pizzaiolo also did well on thin cauliflower crust pies from Milton’s – a Steele family favorite.

The competition

An alternative to the Pizzaiolo is the Ooni Volt 12. It’s much larger than the Breville pizza oven, but it does have a square stone that gives you a bit more versatility. There’s also an interior light that stays on the whole time so you can see clearly what’s happening inside. The Volt 12 looks a lot like Ooni’s recent outdoor ovens with completely manual controls that give you the ability to select an exact temperature and manage the balance between the top and bottom heating elements. What’s more, Ooni includes a boost feature that can get the stone back to your desired temp in about 45 seconds. Like the Pizzaiolo, though, the big downside is cost as the Volt 12 is $999.


You don’t need a dedicated pizza oven to make great pizza at home. With some affordable accessories like a baking stone or steel, you can cook excellent pies inside the main oven in your kitchen. There are also tons of more affordable wood- and gas-burning outdoor options. Breville’s Pizzaiolo does offer a lot of tools for cooking pizza, from the convenient presets to the full manual mode for endlessly adjusting the variables. That Frozen setting alone is no joke. Since it’s slightly smaller than Ooni’s Volt 12, and looks more like a kitchen appliance, I could see the Pizzaiolo permanently sitting on someone’s counter. You’d have to really love making pizza at home though, and even then, the price will be prohibitive for most.