By: Dave Joachim
Gozney makes a range of rock-solid commercial pizza ovens, and this backyard version has been highly anticipated among home cooks. When it went on sale to the public in 2021, the Dome sold out in 8 hours. We were lucky enough to test drive the dual fuel version, which connects to a standard 20-lb propane tank so you can cook with either gas or wood. Gozney also makes a wood only version. Either way, this oven can reach temperatures of up to 950°F.
The Dome comes pretty much ready to go out of the box. It weighs 128 pounds, so it’s not a portable oven like Gozney’s smaller Roccbox, which weighs half as much at 64 pounds. That said, you can roll the Dome around if you put it on the optional stand shown later in this review. Or you can place the Dome on any stable surface. I’ve seen them in everything from built-in backyard kitchens to mobile pizza trucks.
The Dome is constructed of ceramic coated steel that’s water resistant and UV stable. It’s designed to be used outdoors year round while maintaining its stunning good looks. Our test model was the lighter bone color and Gozney also offers it in olive green.
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The oven is insulated with thick ceramic fiber on the upper portion and calcium silicate below the stone floor (see the cutaway photo below). It’s packed with quite a bit of insulation (Gozney claims it’s more insulation than any other outdoor oven on the market), which gives the Dome excellent heat retention and reduces fuel usage.
View our Virtual Showroom Walk-Around Video for the Gozney Dome
The Dome’s size and shape mirrors that of a compact Neapolitan pizza oven. The exterior dimensions are 26″ H x 29″ W x 25″ D. Inside, the oven is 7.5″ H x 22″ W x 18″ D. You can fit a 16″ pizza on the floor but a 12″ pie is a little more comfortable, especially with a wood fire inside. The mouth of the oven is 5″ H x 16″ W, making it easy to load, unload, and maneuver pizzas, cast iron pans, and whatever else you decide to put in the oven.
For making pizza, the oven floor’s material is critical. The Dome’s floor is made of 30mm (1 1/8″) thick cordierite, which is a stone compound containing magnesium, iron, aluminum, and silicon. Cordierite tends to withstand thermal cycling better than traditional ceramic baking stones, making it more durable and resistant to rapid changes in temperature (thermal shock). That said, cordierite can crack, and Gozney makes it clear that the oven needs to be cured before first use, and it’s best to gradually heat it up and gradually cool it down to ward off cracks. Good advice.
Inside you can see the dual fuel options. The wood burning area is on the right just above the air intake. Gozney includes a removable stone puck so you can switch from one fuel to the other. When cooking with wood, you place the puck over the gas hole.
Gozney also provides a round air intake screen to place over the wood side so large embers don’t fall into the ash tray.
The hole of the wood burning area sits above the Dome’s ash tray. The manual shows the ash tray with a control knob so you can dial in the air intake and control the heat of your wood fire. But Gozney had manufacturing delays so early Domes shipped with a simpler ash tray that slides in and out. No complaints here. I was still able to adjust the air intake by pulling the ash tray out a little or a lot. Gozney says they’ll send the version fitted with the knob when it’s available.
The gas burner is located on the left. When cooking with gas, you put the stone puck over the wood hole, leaving the gas burner exposed. This reversible stone puck system allows you to easily switch between cooking with wood and cooking with gas. Both systems reach temps of 950°F and offer simple heat control.
On the ceiling of the oven, an exhaust screen directs smoke and particulates up and out the flue (shown from the outside here). The only assembly required is sticking the flue pipe into the exhaust outlet in the top of the oven. The flue is designed with a rain guard, which creates a small gap between it and the oven. Don’t worry if the flue fits a little loosely. That’s how it’s supposed to be. The flue also comes with a rain cap that you remove before firing up the Dome.
Note: The flue is 7″ tall and 5″ in diameter. Some Dome owners who prefer to cook with wood install a flue extension (available online). When you’re cooking with a big pile of wood, the flue extension helps draw the flames through the exhaust so they don’t exit the mouth of the oven.
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Gozney calls the area below the oven itself the “dock”. The main control panel is on the left, which includes an LED readout from the digital thermometer embedded in the upper back of the oven. It also includes an on/off button and two jacks for inserting food temperature probes, which are included. Just lift the rubber cover, insert the probes, and you can monitor two different food temps if you’re cooking a roast, a steak, or both in the oven. The control panel runs on two AA batteries, and it can be set for Fahrenheit or Celsius readings.
The dock features a storage area just big enough for 6 inch pieces of wood (Gozney sells kiln-dried wood if you don’t want to take a hatchet to your logs). That makes it easy to cook with wood, as you don’t need much fuel to maintain temps once the oven is saturated with heat.
The round gas control knob sits on the right hand side of the dock. Firing up the Dome with gas is as simple as turning on a gas grill. Push and hold the gas temperature knob while rotating it a quarter turn to the left. First you’ll hear the click of the electronic ignition, then the whoosh of the pilot light. Continue turning the knob to the left (counterclockwise) and – Voila! – the flames begin. You’ll see a beautiful column of orange flame about 3″ in diameter shoot up from the burner and roll across the dome of the oven. That high heat and rolling flame are exactly what you want to cook a pizza top to bottom in less than 2 minutes. You can control the size of the rolling flame with the temperature knob.
Gozney’s optional rolling stand is a sturdy well-built steel structure with 4 locking casters and two flip up work tables on the left and right. The tables are easy to lift and lock in place with one hand. That gives you two workspaces for toppings, plates, and/or your pizza peels used for loading and turning. There are also upper and lower shelves for storage. I unboxed and assembled the stand in less than an hour by myself. I’ve read some online comments about mold growing on the wood tables, but I haven’t experienced this problem, even in the humid and rainy climate of Pennsylvania. If you don’t want the stand, the Dome can be placed on any sturdy surface.
Gozney also sells a heavy duty cover that zips on both sides. It’s highly recommended if you’ll be storing the Dome outside. If you buy the stand, you may even want to invest in a full length cover to protect the stand as well. Or you can do as I did and roll the Dome to safety when the weather gets bad (I kept it in the garage).
Cooking pizza requires two essential peels, which you can buy separately from Gozney: a wide one for loading pizzas and a narrow round one for turning them in the oven. You can also pick up some pizza peels at a cooking supply store. I prefer using my trusty wooden peel for loading, and Gozney’s turning peel is a breeze to use.
On the dock, to the right of the temperature knob is an electronic accessory port for various accessories. Gozney plans on releasing a cold smoking attachment, automated pellet burner, and other add-ons in the near future.
One of those anticipated accessories is a steam injector that sits on the top of the Dome. The injector infuses the oven with steam to help create high-rising crusty breads. I can’t wait for that accessory to be released. Some of the other accessories Gozney sells are a Neapolitan arch that helps retains heat in the oven when making pizza, a rope-sealed door for bread baking and slow roasting, and a mantle that attaches to oven’s mouth for holding pizzas, pans, and easing loading and unloading.
I was itching to fire up this baby. Gozney’s manual includes lots of warnings about curing the oven first so the stone floor doesn’t crack. The stone is 1 1/8″ thick but if you don’t cure it, you increase the likelihood of a crack. For the first firing/curing, Gozney recommends running the oven empty with the gas on at medium to low temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes. With a fresh propane tank, it took a minute for the gas to work its way through the whole system but it fired up soon enough.
I did a 1-hour first cure at the lowest temp setting, which was 470°F on the control center display. Then I turned it off and let the oven cool down overnight. The next day, I did a second firing with the oven empty at its lowest setting for 30 minutes; then I bumped it up to medium heat (700°F on the display) for 30 minutes; then up to high (940°F on the display) for 1 1/2 hours. On its highest setting, it takes about 1 hour for the oven to become fully saturated with heat. After that second extended curing, I turned off the gas and let it cool overnight again.
Finally, the next day, it was time to make pizza! It takes about 40 minutes to get the Dome’s stone floor to 700°F, which is where I like it. For that temp, the gas temp knob was at about medium, halfway on the dial. I make my own dough with fresh milled flour (yes, I have a tabletop grain mill and I am crazy). The dough recipe is in our article on Mastering Pizza if you’re interested. I made three pizzas for that first cook, starting off with my house pie, the Magdalena: pesto, pine nuts, gorgonzola, and fresh tomatoes. It came out fantastic, even though the oven was just barely up to temp.
Next up was a vegetarian sausage pizza (my wife’s vegetarian) with tomato sauce, fresh rosemary, shredded mozz, and veg sausage. You can see from the leopard spotting on the crust that the oven temp got up to where it should be. Finally a pepperoni pie rounded out the first test bakes. The pizzas cooked in about two minutes each, and they all got raves.
One of the best things about the Dome is that people come join you during the bake. They hang around the oven, which is beautiful to look at; it’s warm; and the fire is mesmerizing. It doesn’t take too long to finish cooking, unlike barbecue, which takes forever, so you can start making pizza, have a fun outdoor cooking experience with your friends and fam, and then move to the table. Quite the nice cooking experience.
Time for a cast iron steak. I fired up the Dome to 650°F ambient temperature with a 12-inch cast-iron pan inside. I dry brined a flank steak with nothing but salt a few hours earlier, then slapped it on the hot pan. That sizzle is so satisfying. I flipped it a couple times, rotated the pan for even heating (it’s hotter near the flame obv.) then put it onto my cutting board. I love steak with board sauces, so I had some butter, Meathead’s Amazing Red Meat Seasoning, and chopped parsley, rosemary and thyme already on the board.
Damn that was good.
For the next couple cooks, I made some pan-seared trout with Meathead’s Amazing Poultry Seasoning.
And some tandoori salmon with sockeye fillets and a tandoori paste of yogurt, mayo, minced garlic and ginger, garam masala, and yellow and red food coloring. With a squeeze of lemon, that tasted so friggin’ delicious.
I also roasted some garlic for later. And I pan-roasted some broccoli and other vegetables. All in all, the meals cooked with gas came out incredible. My only quibble with the Dome’s gas heating is that you can’t maintain a very low temperature. Like a gas grill, the lowest ambient temp I could maintain with the gas knob at its lowest setting was about 450°F. Of course, if you’re using wood, you can adjust the amount of fuel and the air intake (via the ashtray) to maintain lower temps. In that case, Gozney’s rope-sealed door, launching in 2022, will make it much easier to cook low and slow for long periods of time, as for wood-smoked barbecue.
For the wood tests, I decided to break the rules. Gozney recommends heating the oven with either gas or wood. Instead, I first saturated it with heat from propane. Then I turned off the gas and used tongs to move the hot puck from one side to the other. Then I lit a fire in the center of the oven. You can see the roasted garlic cloche sitting to the left of the wood fire in the photo – I just pushed it to the side when lighting the wood.
My first wood pizza was a white pizza with chicken, roasted garlic, and shredded brussels sprouts. It was the bomb.
Next up: sausage and peppers. Another slam dunk. I made a few other pies and some wood-roasted veggies. Everything came out perfect.
After you finish your wood cooking session, ash removal is a cinch: just sweep the ash toward the wood hole, where it falls into the ashtray. Dispose and repeat.
During pizza making, I also sweep the oven floor regularly to remove burnt wheat bran, which is what I use instead of cornmeal to help prevent sticking on the peel.
The Dome’s heat retention is outstanding. After cooking at around 700°F then shutting off the heat, it takes about 4 hours to do gown to 200°F and 6 or 7 to cool to ambient room temperature. Like a traditional brick oven, you have plenty of time to cook other foods as the oven slowly drops from 600 to 500 to 400 to 300°F. Slow roast some vegetables or fish. Cook some sausages in a cast-iron pan. Bake a pie. There’s a lot you can cook in this oven.
After making pizza in everything from indoor home ovens to the super-compact Breville Pizzaiolo electric oven to outdoor kamados (Big Green Eggs), gas grills, charcoal grills, coal ovens, and wood and gas brick ovens both in the US and Italy, I just can’t say enough good things about the Dome’s cooking experience. If you’ve longed for a backyard brick oven, the Dome replicates that experience in a more tidy package. Plus, with the gas option, it’s much more convenient. It’s just plain fun to cook in this thing!
The Dome arrived super secure on its pallet, and the packaging is sleek and well designed, similar to an Apple product. Gozney even gives you tools and a cardboard box cutter. At 120 pounds, the Dome does require 2 people to lift. My wife and I managed to lift it onto the 38 1/2″ (3 1/4′) high stand with no problem. Then you simply insert the flue pipe into the hole at the top of oven. Pop two batteries into the control unit and you’re good to go. If you’re attaching a propane tank, Dome comes with a hose. Hook up the gas, hit the power button, light the flame, and you’re in business.
The Dome performed flawlessly. Once cured, this dual fuel machine is essentially a push button outdoor pizza oven that gets up to 950°F in less than an hour. But it does much more than that. The Dome is a versatile outdoor oven that can also cook restaurant-worthy cast-iron steaks, wood-roasted meats, fish, vegetables, bread, and cold-smoked foods (with Gozney’s accessories). I’m looking forward to testing the steam injection insert for baking my weekly sourdough loaf.
A word on the cordierite stone: There’s been some grumbling on social media about the stone cracking. Gozney says that less than 2% of customers have had this problem. Ultimately, user error could be to blame. I cured the Dome as directed, cooked on it repeatedly at high temps for months—even in cold weather—and had no issues. If you’re concerned, be sure to cure the oven properly and practice safe moisture management (keep it covered and out of harsh weather). If user error is not to blame, Gozney’s warranty covers replacing the stone.
For all its versatility, solid construction, great performance, and good looks, the Dome comes at a reasonable price—much less expensive than a traditional brick oven. That’s why this thing is in such high demand. You can get on the waitlist at Gozney’s website. The next Domes are expected to drop in Spring 2022.
5 years with registration, including 3 years on stand, 2 years on stone floor (excluding hairline cracks and thermal shock), 1 year on most accessories.
We thank Gozney for providing a Dome for our tests.
Gozney is a British manufacturer of commercial and residential pizza ovens. The company is known for its smart marriage of reliable engineering and beautiful design, offering wood, gas, and dual fuel pizza ovens in a range of sizes. Gozney’s US offices are located just outside of Chicago, Illinois.
Published On: 12/13/2021 Last Modified: 12/22/2021
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