Pros: Easy to Use; Can Choose How to Heat Pizza
Cons: Non-Stick Coating on Tray is Thin; I Lost Interest in it Over Time
I don't remember when I got a Presto Pizzazz Pizza Oven, but my daughter was a little bitty thing, so it had to be quite a few years. I used that thing so much that I eventually bought a replacement tray for it as an extra, but for some reason, I gravitated back to my oven and the Pizzazz was forgotten. A few weeks ago, my mother and I came across them in a store and she mentioned she wanted one, but I talked her into taking mine. So, at least it is in use again.
The Presto Pizzazz Pizza Oven cost close to $50 when I bought it, and it still costs close to the same unless they can be found on sale. I've seen them in Walmart and KMart (which means Sears probably has them, too.) I more than likely got mine at Walmart.
There isn't a whole lot to the machine. I can't explain the shape of the main unit. To me, it favors a big blocky "C", but that still isn't a great way to put it. If you're reading this review because you've considered getting one for yourself, then I'm sure you have an idea of what it looks like already. There is also a large round tray that comes with the unit, and this is on what you place the pizza to cook.
Okay, now to throw some numbers at you. It will cook pizzas sized 7 to 12 inches. The pan/tray is 13 & 1/4 inches in diameter, and if you add that as well, the unit is 13 & 1/4 inches wide, 9 & 1/2 inches tall, and 17 & 1/2 inches deep.
The only "assembly" required is just to put the tray on the Pizzazz main unit. I remember having a little trouble at first, but only minor trouble. After the second try, I had become an old pro. So, it's not that hard. And, it removes for cleaning. I would deal with this tray two ways: if I was using a frozen pizza, I always had the unit together while I got the pizza out of the freezer, and then placed the pizza on the tray. But, if it was a home made pizza, I made the pizza on the tray and then placed the tray on the unit.
The Pizzazz doesn't need any preheating. All I did was plug it in and then work the dials for it to start working.. Okay, there are two dials. One is for heating the pizza and the other is for the timer. The heating dials have the choices "Lower", "Dual", or "Upper". The "Lower" option works the bottom heating element, and this is a good option for a crispier crust (or, to start a rising crust pizza). The "Upper" option works the top heating element and makes for bubblier cheese. The "Dual" option is one I used most, because it heats the pizza evenly both on top and bottom.
When the pizza cooks, the tray revolves so that the pizza gets cooked evenly. It takes between 11 and 15 minutes, depending on what kind of pizza I was making at the moment. This is a lot of difference when using my oven where it takes around 25 to 30 minutes to cook a frozen pizza. After cooking the pizza, I always removed the tray with the pizza still on it because it was less of a chance to burn myself.
Speaking of burning oneself, watch the youngsters around this unit because the tray gets very hot while it's on.
I've enjoyed the pizza cooked on this unit. It seemed that every time, the crust was perfect, and the cheese on the top was always bubbly and melty. It's a type of "oven" that will need supervision, so I was always in the room with it and checked on it often while the pizza cooked. Sometimes I had to cook it longer than the directions required, but I think if you're always there to make sure it doesn't get overcooked, the pizza will always come out fine.
Speaking of directions, there are some cooking directions that come with this unit. We're supposed to ignore the cooking directions on the packages of the pizza and just follow the directions that come with this instead.
Cleaning it is no big chore. The main unit never got any pizza on it, but I would still wipe it down often. The tray is non-stick, so I only had a couple of instances where little bits of crust stuck to the tray. Otherwise, it wiped off pretty easily. If cheese gets on it though, that'd be a different story, so have a care. Oh, and one last note about the tray: it will scratch, so it's best not to cut the pizza while it's still on the tray.
Storing it isn't so bad since the tray comes off. But, I always keep things like this in their boxes when not in use, so I stored the whole thing in it's box on a shelf in the pantry where it's out of the way.
I did end up buying a replacement tray for the Pizzazz because I found them cheap, and I thought it was a great idea to have a backup. It was really nice because I could fix a pizza on the extra tray while the other cooked, and then just trade off when the first pizza was done. For those interested in buying one of these units, I would suggest an extra tray if you cook a lot of pizza. I paid less than $20 for mine.
With frozen pizza, the Pizzazz made them come out better tasting that when using my oven. It was a definite difference in the way the crust came out. But, with fresh pizza, I didn't notice much of a difference, but it was still great. I think I weaned away from it because I took the habit of buying those large fresh pizzas from delis because I think they taste a lot better, and I was able to get special toppings, and I didn't really buy many frozen pizzas anymore. Now, we just make smaller personal sized pizzas because we don't eat it as much, and it's just easier to make them in a small pan, where I can cook two at a time.
I thought it was a pretty great pizza cooker while I used it, though. My mother seems to be enjoying it now, too. If you are looking for a gizmo that will cook pizzas from 7" to 12" (deli-fresh pizzas are too large for it unfortunately), and no longer want to use an oven for this purpose, then sure, I would recommend the Pizzazz.