The Bizarre Kitchen Gadget That Americans Just Keep Buying

·3 min read
Screenshot:  The Kitchen Collection, LLC - YouTube (Other)
Screenshot: The Kitchen Collection, LLC - YouTube (Other)

Rotating and heating since the summer of 2000, this one kitchen gadget has had us in a chokehold for decades and even the TikTokers out there can’t stop raving about it. The Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven from Presto was the ultimate air fryer before air fryers became a thing.

For those who have never tried a Pizzazz or much less heard of it, you might have a similar reaction as people did when air fryers first came on the scene. You might wonder, what makes this any better than a conventional oven?

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How the Pizzazz works

The Pizzazz Plus rotating pizza oven essentially explains its design in the name. A heating element hovers over a detachable, round pan. There is also a heating element underneath the pan, allowing for whatever food is placed on the Pizzazz to be cooked on both sides as the pan rotates.

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The Pizzazz features a pretty basic timer (you turn it then it dings when ready) and has a switch to control the upper and lower heating elements. Other than that, it’s a super basic plug in and go type of device. Presto also notes that along with cooking frozen pizzas, the Pizzaz is also great for other frozen “convenience foods” like “chicken wings and nuggets, jalapeño poppers, pizza rolls, fish fillets, egg rolls, grilled cheese, even cookies from refrigerated dough.”

Cue the TikToks! One account on TikTok, @pizzazzmaster, which has over 700,000 followers and 7.3 million likes, is fully dedicated to making various foods using the Pizzazz pizza oven. Some of the food adventures on the account include baking a cake, making chicken strips, a BLT, mini quesadillas, and reheating leftover fries.

It’s hard to argue the versatility of this pizza oven. And though it was released in 2000, People still rates it as one of the best pizza ovens out there today in 2022. People also seem to most enjoy that the Pizzazz does not require preheating the way a conventional oven does, plus you can watch the pizza cook on it. Presto also claims that the Pizzazz saves 60% more energy than a conventional oven.

Why the Pizzazz doesn’t make sense but does

Despite the rave reviews the Pizzazz receives, I’ve recently become baffled by it. Growing up, I never really thought about the mechanics of how the Pizzazz works or how a pizza should be cooked. To this day, I still get excited when my mom busts out the Pizzazz because I know my favorite frozen pizza is going to be ready in less than 20 minutes.

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However, there are a few qualities of the Pizzazz that shouldn’t make sense but somehow do. For example, the rotating pan design means that parts of the pizza (or whatever food is placed on there) are exposed to open air and out of the heat throughout the cooking process. You would think that would lead to uneven cooking. Yet, the rotation and dual cooking elements are promoted as a selling point rather than a negative.

It stands to reason that a more practical design would have the entire pan under heat throughout to produce an even cook. On the other hand, TikTok user @.heymatt presents a counterpoint to this by noting that if you want to add more topping as the pizza cooks, you could because of the rotating feature.

You’d think because the pan rotates and some bits of food spend time not cooking, that it would take even longer to make a pizza with a Pizzazz than it would a conventional oven. As a kid, I used to look at the Pizzazz as an adult Easy Bake Oven, and we all remember how incredibly slow those things were. But again, the Pizzazz contradicts that logic by having a timer that doesn’t go past 20 minutes for cooking time.

In the end, maybe this pizza oven doesn’t need to make sense. It has stood the test of time simply because of its Pizzazz.