Unlock the Secret to Perfect Pizza: The 7 Best Woods for Pizza Ovens

Discover the best woods for pizza ovens

Are you a pizza lover who wants to take your homemade pizza game to the next level? If so, cooking your pizza in a wood-fired oven is the way to go. The smoky, flavorful essence that comes from wood gives your pizza a unique flavor that you just can’t replicate with other cooking methods. But not all woods are created equal when it comes to pizza ovens. In this comprehensive guide, we will introduce you to the seven best woods for pizza ovens, along with their characteristics and what makes them ideal for achieving that perfect wood-fired pizza flavor.

Hickory: The Flavorful Champion

Hickory wood is widely considered one of the best choices for wood-fired pizza ovens. With its rich and distinctive flavor, hickory adds a delicious smokiness to your pizza that is hard to resist. It produces lots of smoke, burns hot with lots of glow, and has an impressive burn time. If you’re going for that classic BBQ and smoky flavor, hickory is your wood of choice. For an extra flavor boost, you can even pair hickory with oak, as the two woods complement each other perfectly.

Oak: Subtle and dependable

Another popular choice for pizza ovens is oak wood. Oak burns hot and produces a decent amount of smoke, although its flavor is more subtle and earthy compared to hickory. This makes it a versatile option that pairs well with other woods, such as fruitwoods. Oak is readily available and known for its reliability, making it a dependable choice for achieving that authentic wood-fired pizza experience.

Apple: Sweetness and Smoke

If you’re looking to add a touch of sweetness to your pizza, apple wood is a fantastic choice. With its medium smoke level, high embers, and extended burn time, apple wood offers a well-rounded flavor profile. It won’t make your pizza taste like apples, but rather adds a subtle sweetness that complements the smoky notes. Applewood is a favorite among pizzerias, and if you want your homemade pizza to rival that of your favorite wood-fired restaurant, give applewood a try.

Maple: A hint of sweetness

Maple wood brings a unique flavor to your pizza oven experience. While maple syrup and maple flavored candy can be overly sweet, maple wood strikes the perfect balance with just a hint of sweetness. With over 100 different types of maple to choose from, you can experiment with different varieties to find your preferred flavor profile. Maple pairs exceptionally well with oak and apple wood, creating a slightly sweet and subtly smoky flavor that takes your pizza to new heights.

Mesquite: Intense and Bold

For those who love bold flavors, mesquite wood is a top contender. Known for its high smoke and embers, mesquite imparts a strong and noticeable flavor that adds character to your pizza. It is especially popular in the Midwest and Texas regions of the United States. Mixing mesquite with woods that have milder flavors, such as oak or walnut, can help balance the intensity and create a well-rounded flavor.

Ash: The Versatile Companion

Ash may not have a strong flavor on its own, but it shines when paired with other woods. It produces a medium amount of smoke and burns with a lot of embers, making it an excellent wood for achieving high heat in your pizza oven. Ash is often used in combination with mesquite, hickory, or apple wood to add a touch of smokiness and help balance bolder flavors. If you’re looking for a wood that won’t overwhelm your taste buds, ash is a reliable choice.

Walnut: Neutral and reliable

Finally, we have Walnut, which offers a neutral flavor profile while still providing essential qualities for pizza cooking. Walnut boasts high smoke levels, high embers, and a reasonable burn time. Although it may not have a distinctive flavor, walnut wood complements strongly flavored woods, helping to balance and enhance their flavors. If you’re looking for a wood that brings smoke and heat to the table without overpowering your toppings, walnut is worth considering.

Tips for Choosing the Right Wood

Keep these tips in mind when choosing the best wood for your pizza oven:

  • Consider the flavor profile: Different woods offer different flavors, from bold and smoky to subtle and sweet. Choose the wood that matches your taste preferences.
  • Experiment with combinations: Don’t be afraid to mix and match woods to create unique flavor profiles. Combining different woods can enhance the overall flavor of your pizza.
    -Consider availability and accessibility: Some woods may be more readily available in your area than others. Choose woods that are easily accessible to ensure a consistent supply for your pizza-making adventures.
  • Quality and dryness: Make sure the wood you choose is high quality and properly seasoned. Dry wood burns more efficiently and produces better results in your pizza oven.
  • Sustainability: If sustainability is important to you, choose woods that are responsibly sourced and have minimal impact on the environment.
  • Personal preference: Ultimately, the best wood for your pizza oven is the one you enjoy the most. Experiment with different options and discover your favorite flavor combination.


Cooking pizza in a wood-fired oven is an experience that takes your homemade pizza to new heights. The choice of wood plays a crucial role in achieving the authentic, smoky flavor that pizza lovers crave. Whether you choose the boldness of hickory, the subtlety of oak, or the sweetness of apple and maple, each wood brings its own unique characteristics to your pizza-making journey. Don’t hesitate to mix and match woods to create your signature flavor profile.
Remember, the best wood for your pizza oven is the one that satisfies your taste buds and brings joy to your culinary endeavors. So fire up your pizza oven, choose your favorite wood, and get ready to enjoy the tantalizing flavors of a wood-fired pizza masterpiece.
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Some of the best woods for pizza ovens are hickory, oak, apple, maple, mesquite, ash and walnut. These woods offer distinct flavours and characteristics that enhance the taste of your wood-fired pizza.

Do I need to use a specific type of wood in my pizza oven?

No, you have flexibility in choosing the type of wood for your pizza oven. However, hardwoods are generally preferred due to their density, which allows for hotter and longer lasting fires. Experimenting with different wood combinations can also add unique flavours to your pizza.

Can I mix different types of wood in my pizza oven?

Absolutely! Mixing different types of wood can create complex and delicious flavours in your pizza. For example, combining hickory with oak or apple with maple can result in a well-balanced and aromatic wood-fired pizza.

Where can I find the best wood for my pizza oven?

You can find the right wood for your pizza oven in a number of places. Local wood suppliers, speciality cooking stores or even online retailers offer a wide range of wood options specifically for pizza ovens. It’s important to choose good quality, properly seasoned wood for optimum performance.

How do I know if the wood for my pizza oven is dry enough?

Dry wood is essential for efficient and consistent heating in your pizza oven. To determine if the wood is dry enough, look for signs such as cracks, lighter weight and a moisture content of around 20% or less. Properly seasoned wood usually takes about 6-12 months to dry completely.

Can I use wood pellets or chips instead of logs?

While logs are the traditional choice for wood fired pizza ovens, you can also use wood pellets or chips. However, it’s important to ensure that the pellets or chips are specifically designed for cooking and produce clean, food-grade smoke. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use in your pizza oven.