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Cuisinart Alfrescamore Review

An easy-access, flip-up top combined with a simple gas burner make this an appealing entry-level pizza oven
Cuisinart Alfrescamore
Credit: Amazon
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Price:   $200 List
Pros:  Hinged lid for easy access, accurate thermometer, burner design produces quality crust, includes pizza peel
Cons:  No handle requires hot mitts to operate lid, issues with temperature control, exposed gas components
Manufacturer:   Cuisinart
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 3, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Cooking Performance - 30% 7
  • Output Power - 30% 4
  • Control - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7

Our Verdict

For those just considering getting into pizza making, the Cuisinart Alfrescamore presents a valuable, accessible option that makes it easy to see what this trend is all about without breaking the bank. This oven puts out temperatures significantly lower than other gas-fired models, which affords the time to make mistakes while still consistently producing quality pies. The hinged lid — though detrimental to maintaining oven insulation — certainly makes it easier to both load and adjust pizzas. Once you come into practice, pizza stone temperatures capable of reaching over 650°F allow you to recreate your favorite New York cheese slice or classically-charred New Haven-style apizza.

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Pros Hinged lid for easy access, accurate thermometer, burner design produces quality crust, includes pizza peelUnbelievable heat retention, quick baking time, accurate integrated thermometer, multi-fuel systemReasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatilityFantastic crust quality, high-fire temperatures, compact and portableHigh-fire temperatures, amazing airflow, multi-fuel option
Cons No handle requires hot mitts to operate lid, issues with temperature control, exposed gas componentsExpensive, heavy, wood-fire box is smallBulky, heavy, slow to preheatSteep learning curve related to control, prolonged cook timesDangerous flame blowback, awkward attachment of the gas adaptor
Bottom Line An easy-access, flip-up top combined with a simple gas burner make this an appealing entry-level pizza ovenSuperior design precedes superior performance in this professional-grade oven made for the common cookTop-notch cooking performance, output power, and versatility, all at a fraction of the cost of direct competitorsThe brand that put portable pizza ovens on the map lives up to its name with outstanding performanceA powerful pizza oven with the special capability to cook with gas and wood simultaneously
Rating Categories Cuisinart... Gozney Roccbox BakerStone Original Ooni Koda 12 Bertello Outdoor
Cooking Performance (30%)
7
9
9
9
8
Output Power (30%)
4
10
7
7
9
Control (25%)
6
6
7
7
6
Ease Of Use (15%)
7
7
9
7
5
Specs Cuisinart... Gozney Roccbox BakerStone Original Ooni Koda 12 Bertello Outdoor
Fuel Type Gas Gas, Wood (w/ conversion) Gas Gas Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)
Power Output 15,000 BTU 14,330 BTU 25,000 BTU 13,648 BTU Not listed
Size of Firebox n/a 156 cu. in. n/a n/a 97.5 cu. in.
Average Oven Temperature 535°F 772°F 756°F 756°F 723°F
Footprint 432 sq. in. 299 sq. in. 345 sq. in. 368 sq. in. 301 sq. in.
441 sq. in. (w/ gas attachment)
Maximum Pizza Diameter 12" 12" 13" 12" 12"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Cuisinart Alfrescamore is designed very much in the same vein as their portable gas grills — sturdy, easy-to-use, and reasonably powerful relative to their size. The Alfrescamore is powered by a single 15,000 BTU gas burner, located directly underneath the 13" pizza stone. The hinged top makes it much easier — and safer — for the inexperienced to load pizzas, and to clean both the stone and oven at the end of the night. Best of all, this accessible model includes a 12" pizza peel with a foldable handle (which is designed so well that it became our go-to peel for testing all our other ovens!)

Performance Comparison


The Alfrescamore may not qualify as a Neapolitan-style pizza oven...
The Alfrescamore may not qualify as a Neapolitan-style pizza oven, but that doesn't mean it's not duly capable of cooking a beautiful pie.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Cooking Performance


This is one of the few ovens included in this review that isn't advertised to be a Neapolitan-style pizza oven, using high-fire temperatures to cook pizzas in less than 90 seconds. Instead, this oven is marketed as capable of producing pizzas "in as little as 5 minutes," and that's exactly what we found in our testing. It is this toned-down approach that makes the Alfrescamore so approachable for those just firing up their first pizza oven.

This gas-powered oven turns out nicely browned crusts with a...
This gas-powered oven turns out nicely browned crusts with a flame-kissed texture similar to that of a wood-fired oven.
Credit: Aaron Rice

This gas oven takes between five and seven minutes to cook a pizza, giving you plenty of time to move and adjust the position of the pizza in the oven to achieve your perfect pie. This oven is also unique thanks to a hinged lid, which allows you to easily access the pizza without having to figure out how to reach into a hot oven. While this certainly makes cooking easier, it is important to remember that you will release internal heat vital to cooking every time you lift the lid, which will obviously increase reheat times between pizzas.

For the New-Haven apizza devotees, you will be happy with the...
For the New-Haven apizza devotees, you will be happy with the blackened quality of the bottom crust.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Output Power


After a standard preheat time of 15 minutes, this oven is capable of reaching temperatures near 575°F, but only if you operate without lifting the lid. Otherwise, normal procedure — including lifting the lid to check on the status of the pizza — will drop the average oven temperature closer to 480°F. We recognize that a novice may not yet want to invest in an infrared thermometer to add to their pizza-making kit. Fortunately, the Alfrescamore integrates an impressively accurate thermometer to help you monitor the internal temperature.

This oven includes an integrated thermometer that provides...
This oven includes an integrated thermometer that provides incredibly accurate readings of internal air temperatures.
Credit: Aaron Rice

While this is much too low to bake a Neapolitan-style pizza, the lower internal oven temperature balances nicely with a notably hotter pizza stone to still produce quality pies. A powerful, U-shaped burner is perfectly positioned in the center of the oven, which provides enough heat for the pizza stone to maintain an average temperature of 663°F. This allows you to easily produce pies with a golden upper crust contrasted with a perfectly blackened bottom, along the lines of New Haven-style apizza.

The position of the single, U-shaped burner directly underneath the...
The position of the single, U-shaped burner directly underneath the pizza stone results in a better bottom than upper crust.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Control


Oven insulation is a topic we would normally cover in the previous section. However, due to the distinctive design of the Alfrescamore, it is more appropriate to consider this factor when discussing oven control. While the oven does a nice job maintaining an internal temperature commensurate to the insulation of the oven chamber, it will release that heat every time you lift the lid — it is easy to lose 100°F or more in the mere seconds it takes to load or adjust a pizza with the lid open.

With some precision, it is certainly possible to launch pizzas into...
With some precision, it is certainly possible to launch pizzas into this oven with the lid down.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Fortunately, the design of the oven chamber helps to quickly recover this heat loss — and for that matter, helps cope with the overall lower heat output of this oven. A heat shield over the burner helps disperse heat evenly across the bottom of the pizza stone and redirects much of this heat outward and upward. The lower height of the stainless steel cover re-radiates this heat to get the oven back up to temperature within just three to five minutes. The offset internal and pizza stone temperatures also do a nice job working in conjunction to crisp the bottom crust without burning either the top or toppings.

The burners evenly distribute heat outward as well as upwards...
The burners evenly distribute heat outward as well as upwards (see the reflection of the propane flame?) However, much of that heat goes away if you have to lift the oven lid.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Ease of Use


Thanks to these design specifics, the Alfrescamore is one of our favorite ovens when it comes to ease of use. Unlike other, more powerful ovens, this one is able to consistently produce quality pizzas without much fuss. And unlike other ovens that require you to constantly monitor and turn a pizza every 15-20 seconds to avoid burning the crust, you really only have to turn this pizza a few times to achieve the same type of consistency.

For some reason the entire gas control system, including hoses and...
For some reason the entire gas control system, including hoses and fittings, is conspicuously exposed, which raises concern about the potential for damage during transport or storage.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Despite its accessibility, this oven would benefit from a few simple design adjustments that would greatly improve its ease of use. Don't be fooled by the marketing photos: the top of this oven is hot, and because there is no handle, you have to wear heat gloves if you want to lift the lid. For some reason, the gas components are also fully exposed, which could easily be damaged in storage or during transport. Lastly, this is one of the larger — and heavier — ovens we tested, and its awkward design makes it more of a hassle to store.

Lifting the lid is a much simpler way to launch pizzas, just don't...
Lifting the lid is a much simpler way to launch pizzas, just don't forget your heat mittens!
Credit: Aaron Rice

Value


Please don't let the relatively low score this oven received dissuade you. Even though it doesn't have the same capability of higher scoring ovens, this model presents a fantastic value relative to its cooking performance. Its ease of use is approachable for novice chefs, and the price point makes it a great entry-level option. Last but not least, this kit includes a pizza peel, so you are set up right off the bat.

Cuisinart is kind enough to include a 12" pizza peel...
Cuisinart is kind enough to include a 12" pizza peel (right), which is the ideal size for this, and most other portable pizza ovens.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Conclusion


For those used to the accessibility of a gas-powered grill, but who are interested in the world of pizza making, the Cuisinart Alfrescamore is a great transition between the two methods of outdoor cooking. It is designed with the amateur in mind, with lower fire temperatures that allow you to hone your craft while still producing quality pizzas each and every time.

If you are a fan of lower-fire styles of pizza, the Alfrescamore is...
If you are a fan of lower-fire styles of pizza, the Alfrescamore is more than capable of producing a perfectly crisped crust.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Aaron Rice