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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
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Cuisinart Alfrescamore Review
Credit: Aaron Rice
Price:  $250 List
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Manufacturer:   Cuisinart
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 14, 2022
59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Cooking Performance - 30% 7.0
  • Output Power - 30% 4.0
  • Control - 25% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.0

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 produces temperatures significantly lower than other gas-fired models, which affords the time to make mistakes while still consistently producing quality pies. Though detrimental to maintaining oven insulation, the hinged lid certainly makes it easier to both load and adjust pizzas. Once you come into practice, pizza stone temperatures can reach over 650°F, allowing you to recreate your favorite New York cheese slice or classically charred New Haven-style pizza. If this sounds like something you'd like to explore, the Alfrescamore may be the perfect addition to your lineup of kitchen tools. To see how the Alfrescamore ranks next to the competition, see our full review of the best pizza ovens.
REASONS TO BUY
Hinged lid for easy access
Accurate thermometer
Burner design produces quality crust
Includes pizza peel
REASONS TO AVOID
No handle requires hot mitts to operate lid
Issues with temperature control
Exposed gas components
Editor's Note: The Cuisinart Alfrescamore review was updated on February 14th, 2022. We provide additional information on which ovens we would buy and offer more tips to compare products.

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Bottom Line For those seeking the perfectly blackened bottom of pizza, this is an easy-to-use oven at a reasonable price pointThis price point pizza oven performs well above its weight class in terms of power and performanceFor those who can't decide between gas- or wood-fired pizza, this oven allows you to work with bothAn affordable, but impressive indoor option for those not interested in investing in a new applianceThis steel is perfectly suited to create NY-style pizzas, just don't expect it to produce a Neapolitan-style pie in your oven
Rating Categories Cuisinart Alfrescamore BakerStone Original Bertello Outdoor NerdChef 3/8" Steel... The Original Baking...
Cooking Performance (30%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Output Power (30%)
4.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Control (25%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
9.0
5.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Cuisinart Alfrescamore BakerStone Original Bertello Outdoor NerdChef 3/8" Steel... The Original Baking...
Fuel Type Gas Gas Wood, Gas (w/ conversion) N/A N/A
Power Output 15,000 BTU 25,000 BTU Not listed N/A N/A
Size of Firebox N/A N/A 97.5 cu. in. N/A N/A
Average Stone Temperature 589 °F 732 °F 777 °F 686 °F 479 °F
Footprint 432 sq. in. 345 sq. in. 301 sq. in.
441 sq. in. (w/ gas attachment)
228 sq. in. 228 sq. in.
Maximum Pizza Diameter 12" 13" 12" 14" 14"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Cuisinart Alfrescamore is designed very much in the same vein as their portable gas grills. It is sturdy, easy-to-use, and reasonably powerful relative to its 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, not to mention safer, for the inexperienced to load pizzas and clean both the stone and oven at the night's end. 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


cuisinart alfrescamore - 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


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

cuisinart alfrescamore - 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 get a pizza from raw to ready to slice, 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 more manageable, it is essential to remember that you will release internal heat vital to cooking every time you lift the lid, which will increase reheat times between pizzas.

cuisinart alfrescamore - 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 can reach temperatures near 575°F, but only if you operate it without lifting the lid. Otherwise, standard procedure — including lifting the top to check on the pizza status — 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 tool lineup. Fortunately, the Alfrescamore integrates an impressively accurate thermometer to help you monitor the internal temperature.

cuisinart alfrescamore - 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 heat distribution allows you to produce pies with a golden upper crust contrasted with a perfectly blackened bottom, along the lines of New Haven-style apizza.

cuisinart alfrescamore - 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 typically 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 proportional 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.

cuisinart alfrescamore - 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 recover this heat loss quickly — 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 an excellent job working to crisp the bottom crust without burning either the top or toppings.

cuisinart alfrescamore - the burners evenly distribute heat outward as well as upwards (see...
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 can consistently produce quality pizzas without much fuss. And unlike other ovens that require you to monitor and turn a pizza constantly 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.

cuisinart alfrescamore - 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 could significantly 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.

cuisinart alfrescamore - 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

Should You Buy the Cuisinart Alfrescamore?


Please don't let the relatively low score this oven received dissuade you. Even though it doesn't have the same capability as some of the other pizza ovens we tested, 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. We recommend this pizza oven to anyone who is interested in trying their hand at homemade pies but isn't ready to splurge on specialty kitchen tools.

cuisinart alfrescamore - cuisinart is kind enough to include a 12" pizza peel (right), which...
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

What Other Pizza Ovens Should You Consider?


For those used to the accessibility of a gas-powered grill and also 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; the lower fire temperatures allow you to hone your craft while still producing quality pizzas every time. However, if you are a seasoned pizza chef, you may be looking for something with a bit more power. In that case, we recommend you look at the BakerStone Original. It is a top-performer that falls in a same price range. If you want the best of the best and are ready to invest, the Gozney Roccbox is one of our favorite ovens all around.

Aaron Rice