If you’ve ever wondered why the pizza you make at home doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as the stuff you get at restaurants, there’s a simple answer—there is nothing in your kitchen that can get as hot as a wood-fired pizza oven. That is, unless you already own the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo, a countertop pizza oven that’s hotter than anything we’ve seen before.
Unlike a standard oven that hits temperatures of around 500 degrees fahrenheit, Breville’s Pizzaiolo, which launched late last year, can reach 750 without breaking a sweat, allowing it to churn out 12-inch Neapolitan-style pizzas in under three minutes. Oh, and its shiny exterior stays nearly cool to the touch, meaning you won’t burn your house down in pursuit of the perfect ‘za.
If this all sounds too be good to be true, we had the same thought—so we took Breville’s newest gadget to a real pizza kitchen to get their chef’s professional opinion.
Does the Breville pizza oven actually work?
According to Greg Reeves, the chef-owner of Vialé restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo is the real deal.
“This thing gets really, really hot,” he told Reviewed, just after churning out six delicious pizzas in the Pizzaiolo. “You get the nice rise, quick caramelization of the crust, and top melt that you would expect from a proper pizza oven.”
Like us, Chef Reeves was skeptical of the Pizzaiolo's abilities on first sight, saying that he “couldn’t believe something so small could get so hot so quickly.” But Reeves also shared that he was already impressed by the Breville Smart Oven Pro, our favorite toaster oven on the market, after receiving it as a wedding gift. Because the Pizzaiolo is a tricked-out version of the Smart Oven, and Reeves literally makes Italian food for a living, it seemed like a match made in heaven.
“I recently made pizza at home for the Super Bowl, and I just used a stone in my oven—but that pizza didn’t have the nice chewiness that we achieved with this oven,” he explained.
Throughout our informal testing, we found that the oven’s “deck temperature” (the temperature of the unit that heats the stone) occasionally got too hot, resulting in leopard-spot charring on the crust without fully cooking the top of the pizza. Chef Reeves suggested home users begin with lower temperatures and gradually move up to the maximum 750 once they’re comfortable with the oven’s three different dials. He also preferred using the “manual mode” magnet to the default, public-friendly presets because it allowed him more precision and freedom to experiment.
Is it worth the price?
Unfortunately, perfect pizza at home doesn’t come cheap. The Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo currently retails for $800 exclusively at Breville and Williams-Sonoma—about $500 more than their Smart Oven Pro.
“If money wasn’t an object, I would absolutely buy one of these for my own kitchen at home,” Reeves told us. “It reaches such high temperatures that pizza made in a standard oven just can’t compare.”
Yet money is an object for most consumers, and hosting the world’s best pizza night might not be worth $800. We’ll be rigorously testing the Pizzaiolo in our our kitchen in the days to come to find out if it’s truly worth the price tag—until then, we’ll be dreaming about that pizza.