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

A wood-fired pizza oven is the best way to produce an authentic-tasting Italian Neapolitan or New York-style pizza from the comfort of your own garden.


outdoor pizza oven with wood

However, many owners of pizza ovens don’t realise that the taste and texture of the food will vary according to the type of wood that is used to fuel it. Choosing the right wood for your pizza oven will ensure the heat is evenly distributed, allowing the pizza to cook uniformly, and adding an extra kick to the taste that will leave your guests desiring more.

In this article, we’ll explain the best wood to use in a pizza oven for optimum performance and exceptional taste.

The Two Types Of Wood

  • Softwood – From evergreens, such as conifers. This wood is less dense and, as the name implies, softer. These should be avoided apart from starting your initial fire (kindling) or to re-kindle a fire that’s going out. They burn fast, spit a lot, and can produce a pine smell that can resemble disinfectant.
  • Hardwood – From deciduous trees, which shed their leaves every autumn. These trees are slow growing, so the wood grain is denser.

Hardwoods are the best type of wood to burn in a pizza oven, and by mixing different types of hardwood you can create your own tastes for your woodburning oven. As a rule of thumb, nut or fruit-bearing trees are best to combine.

The Types Of Wood And Their Benefits

salmon cooked in a wood fired pizza oven


If you want long-lasting embers that are ideal for slow cooking your meal on your pizza oven, then we recommend beech.

Beech gives off a flavour similar to camomile tea which will impart a gentle flavour to fish and roast dinners. To get the best fire out of this type of wood, look for the driest logs to use as they have less of a tendency to spit than those with more sap.

Our meal recommendation when using beech is a slow-cooked brisket with wild mushrooms for a forest-flavoured feast.

Birch Or Hazelwood:

If you want a quick intense burn for cooking Neapolitan-style pizzas or to create pork crackling in a pizza oven, then we recommend birch or hazelwood. The sugar content of the wood imparts a sweet flavour, while the bark can produce an intense smoked flavour.

This type of wood, however, has a tendency to cause smoke, so, to ensure this doesn’t happen, peel off the bark, and instead use this as a tinder to start your fire.

Our meal recommendation when using birch or hazelwood is a slow-cooked shoulder of pork, with an added crank up of heat to make the crackling pop in the last few minutes.



For a light, subtle smoke with no bitterness, we recommend the use of chestnut. This type of wood can become burning hot with hardly any flame, so be sure to mix it up with other woods for the perfect fire, or simply use it to cook curries and stews which can be cooked on a low flame without consequence to the food.

Our meal recommendation when using chestnut is to cook a lamb Rogan Josh in a cast iron pan.


The most used and best wood for use in a wood-burning pizza oven is oak.

Oak gives off high heat, a long burn, and a delicate smoke flavour. If you blend it with some applewood or cherrywood though, you can create flavoursome embers for meats and vegetables.

If you’re going to have a pizza party then this is the go-to wood for “charging” your oven. (Charging is getting your oven fully heat soaked, which takes around 2 to 4 hours).

Our meal recommendation when using oak is to cook salmon on a cedar plank, which will provide your guests with not only an exquisite taste but also a sight and smell that will linger on in their memories long after they have left. Be sure to get a food-safe cedar plank from a reputable dealer and soak it in water for 30 minutes – 1 hour depending on its size before use.

At Pizza Oven Supplies, our knowledgeable team can provide expert advice about a range of pizza oven designs and kits, all of which are constructed from recycled refractory materials.

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