If you have ever gazed into the flickering flame of your fireplace and pondered if this would be utilized as a dual-purpose pizza oven you certainly won’t have been the first. Rather than building a dedicated pizza oven, in this article, we will look at if there is any way to safely convert your existing fireplace into a dual-use pizza oven.
We will also consider how tricky it is to achieve a fireplace, and pizza oven combo, whether it is safe, and if it makes good financial sense. We’ll also explore some other options if your existing fireplace is not compatible with a conversion to accommodate a pizza oven.
Not all fireplaces can be safely converted into a pizza oven. Large wood-burning variations make the best option, however, there are quite a few alterations needed. Challenges include heat loss and temperature control; these can be overcome but not without considerable cost.
Can I use my Fireplace as Pizza Oven?
It really depends on the type of base fireplace you have. Some variations are just simply not compatible such as gas fireplaces or pellet stoves. Gas and wood pellets generate compounds during combustion that would not be a safe atmosphere to cook within.
The only realistic option for conversion is a large-style wood-burning fireplace. This is the most compatible due to the large base size and the hot open flame that can be achieved.
In reality, now there is such a plethora of readymade portable pizza ovens that can be used with BBQs or outdoor firepits that this presents the more cost-effective option for those craving their own home-baked pizzas.
For those seeking to sell traditional wood-fired pizza, large-scale custom-built pizza ovens or commercial-grade kitchen versions make more sense than a dual-purpose fireplace and pizza oven combo.
Effectively a combined pizza oven and fireplace is likely to only be an option for the wealthy who are looking for a particular statement piece in their home. It definitely would make your home memorable and will not be something that is seen every day.
How Does a Fireplace Pizza Oven Work?
There are a few different options when it comes to converting a fireplace into a pizza oven. If you are in the early stages of a renovation or planning a fireplace you can be more creative.
The biggest difference between an indoor domestic fireplace and a pizza oven is that a domestic fireplace requires a larger flue or chimney to allow for ventilation, which unfortunately leads to an element of heat loss that would prevent your fireplace from reaching the piping hot temperatures needed for a pizza oven.
If you are starting from scratch, some people will include a moveable hatch or insert that could partially block the main chimney when cooking. Another option is to align the chimney with the pizza oven flue. This is much easier to do when building from scratch.
Ventilation needs are much more easily addressed if you are converting an outdoor fireplace to a pizza oven. In fact, there is now a range of preformed wood burners with pizza oven inserts already built in above which represent a hassle-free way to benefit from both in your outdoor space.
Can you make Pizza in an Indoor Fireplace?
Of course, you don’t necessarily need a full pizza oven in order to cook a good pizza over your indoor fire. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, people have been cooking over them for centuries. There are a variety of cooking implements that can be used to cook over an open flame that might get you your pizza fix without a full-scale renovation.
For fully traditional wood-fired pizza ovens, achieving this on an indoor oven would be a specialist renovation and extremely costly. This would not be compatible with most regular homes due to the significant size needed to accommodate the base fire and a chimney above.
The more accessible alternative for still having a pizza oven over an indoor fireplace can be a combined log burner stove and pizza oven opening above. These are fairly rare however there are companies that are making them. They will be smaller in size and only accommodate one mid-sized pizza at a time but do offer up a reasonable option for an indoor pizza oven taking up less space and requiring less outlay.
How do I Convert a Fireplace into a Pizza Oven?
The options for turning an outdoor fireplace or firepit into a pizza oven are generally better. Fundamentally the process requires building an oven chamber or at the very minimum a domed top over the wood-burning area below. You will also need to think about having a means of “closing” off the front of your fireplace temporarily to direct heat into the oven chamber while cooking. Some people use a movable grate of steel or another fire-retardant metal.
Remember it is important to check you don’t fall foul of any local planning or licensing laws before you get too stuck in. You can check out more on this aspect in another one of our articles “Do I Need Planning Permission for a Pizza Oven? Who Do I Ask?”
Can you make Pizza on a Wood Burning Stove?
As mentioned above, you can purchase pre-cast wood-burning stoves with pizza oven inserts incorporated. But what if you already have a standard wood-burning stove and don’t want to replace it just to include a pizza oven? Is there a way to use the chamber of your wood-burning stove to cook pizza as is?
In a traditional pizza oven, the pizza is largely separated by the base of the oven from the flames with only the tips reaching the chamber itself.
If you place a pizza within a wood-burning stove it will certainly get hot enough to cook but it will be in a confined space with flames and debris of wood burning. This may make for a slightly smokier taste than expected.
In practical terms, if you are going to cook pizza in your wood-burning stove it is recommended that you pre-heat the oven to a hot temperature before using a grate or stand to raise the pizza above the wood and flames.
Placing the pizza onto a pizza stone or metal skillet can ensure the maximum heat is conducted to achieve that desirable crispy base. Remember great care should be taken when removing the pizza as opening the door will let hot steam out and any racks or pizza stones used will be incredibly hot.