Charcoal for Pizza Ovens: Mastering the Heat for the Perfect Pie

By: the PROs

Charcoal for Pizza Ovens: Mastering the Heat for the Perfect Pie

Are you looking for charcoal for pizza ovens?

Did you know that not all charcoal performs well for pizza ovens?

Charcoal can seriously change the flavor of any pizza.

Today, we will tell you why you need the best charcoal for your pizza oven.

We tried the most popular brands, and we have a winner.

So let’s check them out!

Key Takeaways

Charcoal for Pizza Ovens

Different types of charcoal, like hardwood lump, briquettes, or anthracite, can influence the taste and texture of your pizza. Each has its unique benefits and drawbacks

Hardwood lump charcoal is known for high heat, quick lighting, and a smoky flavor, whereas briquettes offer consistent, long-lasting heat.

Anthracite charcoal, a type of coal, burns extremely hot and for longer durations, making it perfect for pizzas. However, it doesn’t impart a smoky flavor.

The amount of charcoal you’ll need for your pizza oven depends on the oven size, desired temperature, and type of charcoal. Always start small and add gradually, while monitoring the temperature.

Charcoal for Pizza Ovens

Ordering it in a pizza place can be pretty costly.

With that, many pizza fanatics are switching to making their pizza at home, which can be much more affordable than the traditional way. 

They can also customize what ingredients and toppings they would like to add.

Making homemade pizza indeed is exciting to prepare and delightful to taste. 

However, a traditional home oven cannot mimic the pizza made in an authentic pizza place oven that often reaches 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

To recreate your favorite pizza flavor, you need a pizza oven.

You can choose between different pizza oven fuel sources, such as charcoal, gas, pellets, or wood.

But if charcoal is your choice of fuel, investing in a good pizza oven and the best charcoal for pizza ovens is essential, as you can utilize it for long-term home pizza making. 

Now, pizza ovens should have the ability to generate high to hot temperatures even without prolonged pre-heating periods, just like in a traditional kitchen oven.

Pizza ovens also are versatile, as you may seem. You can use it for baking, such as steaks, bread, turkey, or even your vegetable side dishes. 

Ovens for pizza produce crispy and well-baked foods. Thus, a charcoal pizza oven is a wise investment.

Check out our recommended charcoal pizza ovens for your next homemade pizza party.

Top 5 Best Charcoal Pizza Ovens

  1.  Ooni Karu 16 Outdoor Pizza Oven
  2.  Ooni Karu 12 Outdoor Pizza Oven
  3. WPPO Stand Alone Pizza Oven
  4. Bertello Outdoor Pizza Oven

Check our Recommended Charcoal Pizza Ovens for more.

What Kind of Charcoal Do You Use for Pizza Ovens?

The type of charcoal you use for your pizza oven can greatly influence the cooking process and flavor of your pizza. Here are several types of charcoal you can consider:

Hardwood Lump Charcoal

This charcoal is made from various hardwood species and is free from additives. It’s well-known for its ability to burn hot and light quickly. This type of charcoal leaves minimal ash residue and imparts a rich, smoky flavor to the pizza.


These are composed of compressed charcoal dust and binding agents. Although they don’t burn as hot as lump charcoal, they offer a more consistent burn and longer cooking time. Some briquettes may contain additives, so it’s advisable to opt for natural or additive-free versions if you have concerns about this.


This is a specific type of lump charcoal made from ubame oak in Japan. Renowned for burning at high temperatures and for extended periods, binchotan is an excellent choice for pizza ovens. However, it’s usually more expensive than other types of charcoal.

Anthracite Charcoal

Anthracite is a high-carbon, low-impurity type of coal that can also be used in pizza ovens. It burns at extremely high temperatures and for longer periods, making it perfect for cooking pizzas. Additionally, anthracite is a clean-burning fuel source, producing less smoke and leaving less ash behind.

However, it might be harder to ignite compared to other charcoals, and it doesn’t add a smoky flavor to the food. Depending on availability, it could be a cost-effective option.

Aside from charcoal, you might also want to consider using hardwood, like oak, ash, or beech, as these can add a desirable flavor to the pizza. Moreover, the use of wood chips (such as hickory or applewood) can infuse your pizzas with a unique smoky taste.

It’s important to remember that your pizza oven should be compatible with the type of fuel you’re planning to use. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the best results and ensure safety.

Burning Charcoal in Pizza Oven
Charcoal for Pizza Oven

Hardwood Lump Charcoal for Pizza Ovens

Hardwood lump charcoal is a favorite among many pizza enthusiasts and professionals for several reasons:

High Heat

Hardwood lump charcoal is known for its ability to generate high heat, which is essential for cooking perfect pizzas. The high temperatures it produces can help achieve a crispy crust and well-cooked toppings in just a few minutes.

Pure and Natural

Lump charcoal is made from hardwood and does not contain any additives or chemicals. This means you’re less likely to get unwanted flavors in your food, making it a healthier option compared to some other types of charcoal.

Fast Lighting

Lump charcoal tends to light faster than charcoal briquettes. This can be convenient when you want to start cooking right away. It also burns hotter than briquettes, which is beneficial for achieving the high temperatures needed for pizza ovens.


Hardwood lump charcoal is known for the smoky flavor it imparts to food. Different types of wood will produce slightly different flavors, allowing you to experiment with various kinds to find your favorite.

Less Ash

Compared to briquettes, lump charcoal produces less ash, which can make clean-up easier. Excessive ash can block air vents and affect the temperature control of your pizza oven.

Variable Sizes

Lump charcoal comes in various sizes, which can be both a benefit and a drawback. Larger pieces burn longer and at a hotter temperature, making them perfect for cooking pizza. However, a bag may also contain smaller pieces and dust, which burn faster and can lead to some waste.

Remember, the quality of lump charcoal can vary between brands, so you might need to try a few different ones to find a brand that offers the best performance for your needs. Always consider the wood type, size consistency, and absence of foreign materials when choosing lump charcoal. Additionally, be sure to store it in a dry area to maintain its quality.

Standard coals also are a lot more inexpensive, and it causes fast flames and may leave ashes that can pollute your pizza.

Suppose you are thinking of recreating your favorite charcoal pizza place in your home. 

In that case, it is recommended that you should use the most refined and excellent type of hard charcoal to produce a similar taste to the commercial charcoal-made pizza.

Charcoal Briquettes for Pizza Ovens

Charcoal briquettes are another viable fuel source for pizza ovens. While they behave somewhat differently than lump charcoal, they have their own unique advantages:

Consistent Heat

Briquettes are manufactured to be uniform in size and shape, which allows them to burn more consistently than lump charcoal. This uniformity means that once you’ve mastered your oven’s heat management with briquettes, you’ll be able to achieve the same temperature every time.

Longer Burn Time

Thanks to their uniform and dense structure, briquettes tend to burn for longer periods than lump charcoal. This is especially beneficial if you’re cooking multiple pizzas one after the other, as you won’t need to replenish the fuel as often.


Briquettes are often cheaper than lump charcoal or specialty charcoals like binchotan. If you use your pizza oven frequently, the cost savings can add up over time.

Easy to Handle

The standard size and shape of briquettes make them easy to stack and arrange in your pizza oven, giving you more control over the heat distribution.

Low Smoke

Briquettes tend to produce less smoke than lump charcoal, resulting in a cleaner cooking environment. However, this also means they impart less of a smoky flavor to the pizza.

There are a few considerations when using briquettes in a pizza oven:


Some briquettes are made with additives or binders, which can affect the taste of your food and produce more ash. Look for “all-natural” or “additive-free” briquettes to avoid these potential issues.

Ash Production

Briquettes tend to produce more ash than lump charcoal. This means you may need to clean your oven more frequently to prevent ash buildup, which can affect temperature control.

Lighting Time

Briquettes may take longer to light and heat up compared to lump charcoal. A charcoal chimney starter can help speed up this process.

In sum, while briquettes may not burn as hot as lump charcoal, their consistent heat, longer burn time, and cost-effectiveness make them a solid choice for many pizza oven users. As with any fuel type, it’s essential to experiment and find what works best for your specific oven and cooking style.

Anthracite Charcoal

The recommended charcoal for pizza ovens is anthracite. Anthracite is a form of solid coal that makes slower flames, gives lesser smoke, and has a considerably decreased amount of smoke toxins than the standard and cheaper coal.

Anthracite charcoal is another potential fuel source for pizza ovens, although not as commonly used as hardwood lump charcoal or briquettes. Anthracite is a type of coal that is known for its high carbon content, low levels of impurities, and high energy density.

When considering anthracite charcoal for your pizza oven, there are several aspects you should consider:

High Heat

Similar to hardwood lump charcoal and even more so, anthracite burns at very high temperatures. This is ideal for pizza ovens as high heat is key to achieving the perfect pizza with a crispy crust and well-cooked toppings.

Long Burn Times

Anthracite is known for its long burn times, which can be advantageous if you’re cooking multiple pizzas or using the oven over an extended period. You won’t have to continually add more fuel to keep the fire going, which can be convenient during a busy cooking session.

Clean Burning

Anthracite is a clean-burning fuel source. It produces less smoke and leaves behind less ash compared to other types of coal. This means you won’t need to clean your pizza oven as frequently, and the reduced smoke can lead to a cleaner flavor in your pizza.

Availability and Cost

While anthracite can be more challenging to source in some areas compared to other types of charcoal, it’s often more affordable when available. This could make it a cost-effective choice if you use your pizza oven frequently.

Lighting Difficulty

One potential downside of anthracite is that it can be more challenging to light than other types of charcoal. You might need to use a specific method or additional kindling to get it started. However, once it’s burning, it tends to stay lit for a long time.


Unlike wood or lump charcoal, anthracite does not impart a smoky flavor to the food being cooked. This can be positive or negative depending on your personal preferences. If you prefer a more neutral flavor profile for your pizza, then anthracite could be a good choice.

Remember, when using anthracite, or any other type of fuel, safety should be your first priority. Ensure your pizza oven is designed to handle the high temperatures produced by anthracite and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Tips for Using Charcoal in Pizza Ovens

Using charcoal in a pizza oven can yield delicious results, but it’s important to know how to use it effectively. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your charcoal-fueled pizza oven:

Choose the Right Charcoal

As mentioned earlier, hardwood lump charcoal, briquettes, binchotan, and anthracite charcoal are all suitable choices for pizza ovens. Each type has its advantages, so consider what’s most important to you – flavor, heat, burn time, or cost – when making your decision.

Lighting the Charcoal

Charcoal can be tricky to light, so use a charcoal chimney starter for a more straightforward process. It’s a device that helps you ignite charcoal evenly and quickly without the need for lighter fluid. To use it, simply fill the chimney with charcoal, place crumpled paper in the lower chamber, and light it.

Temperature Control

The key to perfect pizza is a hot oven. Ideally, a pizza oven should reach temperatures between 700 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. You can control the temperature by adjusting the amount of charcoal used and regulating airflow in the oven. More charcoal will result in higher heat, while less will lower the temperature. Similarly, more air will increase the heat, while less will decrease it.

Use a Pizza Stone

A pizza stone absorbs heat from the charcoal and then evenly distributes it to the pizza. This helps to achieve a perfectly cooked, crispy base. Be sure to preheat the stone in the oven before cooking.


After each cooking session, ensure you clean out the remaining ash from the oven. Too much ash can restrict airflow and make it harder to control the temperature.


Remember to use heat-resistant gloves when handling hot charcoal, and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case. Never leave a lit pizza oven unattended.


Feel free to experiment with different types of charcoal and wood to discover the combination that gives you the flavor and cooking experience you prefer. Mixing hardwood lump charcoal with specific types of wood can infuse unique flavors into your pizza.

Using charcoal in a pizza oven can be a fun and rewarding experience. With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to making delicious, wood-fired pizzas at home.

Best Charcoal for Ooni Pizza Oven

One of the known and best pizza ovens guaranteed by many pizza lovers, including us, is the Ooni Pizza Oven. There are many types, styles, and sizes that you can choose from the broad range of Ooni pizza oven selections.

The Ooni Pizza oven offers different pizza ovens, from wood-fired types to gas-powered pizza ovens. Their brand guarantees you to recreate your favorite pizza place’s menu. 

Now, if you are opting for a charcoal Ooni pizza oven, you will also need to learn the best charcoal for the Ooni pizza oven that you should use.

Highly Recommended!
Ooni Premium Lumpwood Charcoal

Ooni Premium Lumpwood Charcoal is made from 100% birch hardwood, and is free from chemicals, aromas, or additives, for a high-performance, pure fuel that infuses your dishes with all-natural flavors.

Responsibly sourced and produced from sustainable forests, our high-quality, food-grade charcoal is fired in small batches to ensure ultra-low ash and moisture content for an efficient, sustained burn, and is ready for cooking within 15 minutes from lighting.

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The Ooni Pizza Oven brand also offers high-quality charcoal for its coal-type pizza ovens. One of their best sellers is the Ooni Charcoal Premium.

Here is how to set up the Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven with charcoal.

But What Makes the Ooni Charcoal Special from Regular Charcoal?

The Ooni Charcoal Premium is created and formed from 100 percent birch wood and is guaranteed to be devoid of toxins, smells, and other chemicals. 

The Ooni Charcoal Premium is high in quality, with pure ingredients that will make your homemade pizza more delicious than ever.

Besides making Pizza from Ooni Charcoal Premium, you can also use it as a lump of coal for barbecue and other grilled foods. The carbon content of this coal is 83%, 4% for ash content, and 8% for its moisture, making it the best charcoal for your Ooni Pizza Oven.

Best Charcoal for Brick Ovens

A long-established method of cooking the best pizza is always through brick ovens. Being the best-known country for authentic pizzas, Italy still uses the same way of cooking fresh, crispy, and soft pizza.

Some other pizza places in different countries also adopt this way of baking pizza. It is said that pizza made from brick ovens is a lot more unique and delicious than the ones made from regular pizza ovens.

Maybe you are wondering if you can also use this pizza-cooking technique in your home. Yes. You can freely make your homemade brick oven pizza if you have suitable brick ovens.

Still, you will need to know the best charcoal for brick ovens.

Check out our recommended charcoal for brick ovens for your homemade pizza making.

  1. Jealous Devil Natural Charcoal

This charcoal is on everyone’s list of the best charcoal for brick ovens. It is made from all-natural South American woods similar to oak wood. Despite its name, this coal has a mild and less bitter taste than your regular coal.

Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Pure, ultra-dense South American hardwoods - no chemicals, fillers, or scrap material. No sparking, no popping, and low ash - ideal for any grill, smoker, or kamado.

Twice the cooking power (over 7000kcal/g), hotter temperatures (max over 1170F), and far longer burn time (4+ hours open grills / 20+ hours in smokers)

Mild flavor-enhancing aroma enhances flavor profiles without overpowering them, whether you're cooking whitefish or brisket - use alone or blend with your favorite wood.

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  1. Royal Oak Natural Wood Charcoal

One of the great things Royal Oak Natural Wood Charcoal has is its affordability. It can also give your grilled food a smoky feeling, flavor, and aroma.

The Royal Oak Natural Wood Charcoal is formed from American oak and hickory wood.

Royal Oak Natural Organic Premium Hardwood Charcoal Briquettes

Don't settle for subpar charcoal this grilling season. Instead, opt for premium charcoal like this 20-pound bag of Chef's Select Premium Hardwood Charcoal Briquettes from Royal Oak.

Royal Oak charcoal is sustainably sourced in the United States and is made from premium American Oak and Hickory Hardwood with no additional ingredients. It's designed for high and low-temperature cooking and produces very little ash, especially compared to more traditional charcoal briquettes.

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  1.  Rockwood Natural Lump Coal

The Rockwood Natural Lump Coal is one of the recommended and best-bought by grilling experts. The Rockwood Natural Lump Coal is created from the woods collected in Missouri, consisting of oak wood and hickory.

Food grilled in the Rockwood Natural Lump Coal may give you an extra smoky taste and aroma.

Rockwood All-Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Wslow burning, ash minimizing coal lights easily, heats quickly, and burns boldly for juicier, more flavorful food and is great for any type of grill or smoker.

Made from renewable, natural resources. Not a single tree is harvested - made exclusively from hardwood leftover from timber milling.

  • 100% all-natural lump charcoal made from Missouri grown Oak, Hickory, Maple, & Pecan.
  • #1 consumer ranked charcoal

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  1. Cowboy Natural Charcoal

This charcoal comprises blended hardwoods such as oak, hickory, and mesquite. The Cowboy Natural Charcoal is ideal to use for those who are beginners and newbies with grilling using lump coals.

Cowboy Natural Charcoal is a type of coal that produces hot and quick flames for a superb grilling experience. It also has the stability for slow cooking and adds a smoky taste to your grilled food.

Cowboy Lump Charcoal

Grilling over an open fire is the oldest method of cooking known to man. on the western frontier, food was prepared over glowing wood embers and was characterized by its hearty flavor and inviting aroma.

It was over those traditional fires that cowboy cuisine was born. the tradition continues with cowboy charcoal, a blend of oak, hickory, and maple hardwoods. the high heat quickly seals in flavor and retains the foods' moisture, while imparting a distinct charcoal flavor. cowboy charcoal is an all-natural charcoal product, it burns cleaner, lights easier, and cooks better than briquettes. you'll use less charcoal and cook quicker.

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  1. Kamado Joe Big Charcoal

The Kamado Joe Big Charcoal consists of various hardwoods such as guayacan, guayaibi, mistal, and quebracho, which can only be seen in Argentina.

The Kamado Joe Big Charcoal is the perfect coal for your steaks and other longer cooking time foods.

Kamado Joe Big Block Lump Charcoal

Kamado Joe 100% Natural Lump Charcoal is made from real trees so it burns clean and gives you a robust wood-fire flavor. Some other brands are made from scrap furniture or processed wood. This means less wood-fire flavor. Burns hotter for moister meats!

Because Kamado Joe's 100% Natural Lump Charcoal is made from hardwood, it burns hotter. This allows you to achieve steak-searing temperatures. Used in conjunction with a ceramic grill that insulates well, you’ll use less total heat to cook your food which means moister meats. It Burns longer for better slow cooking!

Kamado Joe 100% Natural Lump Charcoal burns longer thanks to the hardwood used to make it. Also, you’ll get the right mix of fast-starting small pieces and long-burning large pieces that will allow you to cook low and slow for extended periods of time. Other lump charcoals offer too many cheaper small pieces and not enough larger pieces.

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On top of all, Jealous Devil Natural Charcoal holds the best and first spot in this coal ranking. We are making it the best charcoal for your brick oven.

How Much Charcoal Do You Put in a Pizza Oven?

The amount of charcoal you should put in a pizza oven can depend on a number of factors, including the size of your oven, the type of charcoal you’re using, and the temperature you want to reach. However, here are some general guidelines to get you started:

Start Small

When lighting the oven, start with a small pile of charcoal. You can always add more later if needed. Around 2 to 3 pounds of charcoal is typically sufficient to start with.

Build Up Gradually

Once the initial pile of charcoal is burning well, you can gradually add more to increase the temperature. Add a few pieces at a time, waiting for them to catch fire before adding more. This can help prevent smothering the fire.

Maintaining Temperature

To maintain a high temperature for cooking pizza, you may need to add more charcoal every 30-60 minutes. This will depend on the type of charcoal you’re using, as some types (like lump charcoal or anthracite) burn hotter and longer than others (like briquettes).

Monitor Temperature

Use a reliable oven thermometer to monitor the temperature inside your pizza oven. For most pizzas, you’ll want to reach and maintain a temperature between 700 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.


Different ovens and different types of charcoal can behave differently, so you may need to experiment a bit to find the right amount of charcoal for your specific situation. Remember that it’s easier to add more charcoal if the oven is too cool than to try to cool down an oven that’s too hot.

Remember, safety should always be your first priority. Use heat-resistant gloves when adding charcoal to a hot oven, and never leave a lit pizza oven unattended.

What Does Charcoal Pizza Taste Like?

Pizzas taste different depending on their flavors and what toppings are included. Some love cheesy pizzas, and others go for a healthier version of a vegetable pizza.

 For some, there is a big difference in the taste of a pizza cooked using the charcoal method and regular oven-made pizza.

 The charcoal pizza can have a smoky taste due to the smoke emitted while it is cooked. 

People like charcoal-made pizza because it is an authentic way to cook a pizza for them. 

However, the taste would still depend on the individual who will eat the pizza.

The Last Slice

As we get to the end of this article, we hope you have learned and acquired different knowledge about making a homemade pizza in many different ways. Also that you now know what is the best charcoal for pizza ovens. 

Also, we aim that the tips that we listed help you have a perfectly made homemade pizza for your family and friends.

What are you waiting for? 

Purchase your first pizza oven, including the best charcoal, and start being the best homemade pizza maker!

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