This Is How To Build An Outdoor Pizza Oven Step-By-Step

Do you have a delicate palate and enjoy a good bite? If you are also a pizza lover — who isn’t?—  then an outdoor pizza oven is the right choice for you! 

2 pizzas in a pizza oven with fire on

We are sure you don’t want to settle for anything less than the best when it comes to your pizza! If you would like to add a wood-fired pizza oven to your outdoor landscape and have questions about building your own, we are here to help! Keep on reading to find easy and smart step-by-step instructions for your DIY project, and enjoy the homemade pizza your culinary passion deserves!

5 benefits of an outdoor pizza oven

This kind of oven is built-in or freestanding, powered by wood, gas or charcoal. Its cooking chamber, typically dome-shaped, can reach incredibly high temperatures — 427 degrees C or more. These high temperatures give pizzas their Italian pizzeria-style crisp crust. They usually have a brick, ceramic or stone cooking surface that pulls moisture from the pizza dough to obtain its crispness.

It is ideal for family-friendly dining

Pizza is the one food you can never get sick of! No matter the age, all your family and friends will love visiting when you offer delicious food and a wonderful outdoor experience. You can all together enjoy the relaxed outdoor atmosphere, the unique aroma of a real fire, and the promise of something exceptional to eat. To make it even more special, you may custom-create pizzas to suit everyone’s taste. A fantastic social activity and not to mention the novelty! Any home can have a BBQ and grill, but how many people have their own pizza oven? Certainly not as many!

couple and a girl eating pizza

It offers a shorter preparation time

Outdoor pizza ovens reach extreme heat temperatures fast thanks to their unique design and shape. No matter how great your gas or electric home oven is, it can’t compete with a wood-fired one. The heat is spread out evenly throughout the pizza oven, and its walls stay warm for long periods. Because it is so fast, no one will get hungry, even if you have many guests around!

It delivers a unique flavour

Do you like your pizza having a crisp and smoke-flavoured taste? With a pizza oven, you can have that unique, enhanced flavour that is impossible to replicate with a traditional home oven and have nutritious results. For a healthier meal, use fewer, high-quality ingredients, and voila – your low-fat delicacy is ready!

It saves energy

Are you looking for ways to trim your energy consumption and want to maintain a green lifestyle? Unlike traditional ovens, a wood one does not require any gas or electricity to operate. Its only energy source is heating from the fire. This is an excellent way to save on some bills and do something good for the environment. To prevent any accidents, make sure you take all measures of precaution around the open flames.

light bulb and coins, energy saving

It can cook many other foods besides pizza

Your pizza oven can also work as an outdoor kitchen, where you can prepare all sorts of different kinds of food. Use it for baking other types of bread, roast meats and vegetables, and even desserts! Or just use it to complete the creation of you building an outdoor kitchen.

Things to consider before starting your pizza oven build-out

Can’t you wait for your DIY outdoor oven? There are just a few things you should know before you start. After that, check out our easy-to-follow pizza oven plans that detail every step of the construction process and light your first fire!

Building codes or zoning restrictions

There are specific standards and regulations that you have to follow when planning your DIY pizza oven:

  • The first thing to do is check with your relevant heritage agency or local authority if your property is listed or located or a conservation area
  • If you are part of a “smoke control area”, you need to be certified as a “smoke exempt appliance” and have DEFRA certification.
  • It is essential to comply with fire regulations. That means monitoring oil and heat levels and regular cleaning of the oven.
  • Check the Building Regulations of your municipality. These have to do with the height, type and diameter of the chimney and the fuel you use.

Size

Get a visual of what the result will look like before you start building. The size you need results from the amount of food you plan to cook and how much space you have

  • For a small oven, for two people, 60–80cm in diameter will do.
  • For a medium-size oven, to cook two to three pizzas at a time for a family, 90-100cm will be good.
  • An oven of 100–130cm in diameter will feed a big family or large groups of friends, cooking up to five pizzas at a time.

Materials

The materials you are going to use will impact your oven’s efficiency and price

  1. Cob, clay: This is a very fuel-efficient and the most cost-effective material. Keep in mind that it is risky to use during a DIY project since there is a high risk of cracking if you don’t fire it properly.
  2. Natural stone: This is one of the most high priced options but is fuel-efficient and offers a natural look.
  3. Steel: Steel suits more in contemporary dwellings and is a low-maintenance choice. 
  4. Brick: Brick is the most popular choice. A brick pizza oven is relatively inexpensive, fuel-efficient and provides a smooth, Mediterranean-style aesthetic.

pizza oven made of clay,fire inside

Shape

  • Do you want to feel like you live in the glorious Italian countryside while making your pizza? Go for the Tuscan or Pompeii style, a traditional dome shape. 
  • The barrel vault is another excellent shape. Having a larger baking chamber is a top choice if you want to cook a quantity of food, not only pizza. Having an elongated shape means that it needs regular monitoring, but this is easy and fun to do after a bit of practice.

How to build your own pizza oven in 8 simple steps

People all around the world have been building ovens for centuries. You don’t need any expensive materials or a high tech pizza oven kit to build yours. We are here to make this project easy for you, with a complete tutorial for your outdoor brickwood oven, also known as a masonry oven. Just follow the steps and get the wood burning!

The materials you’ll need

  • Tape measure
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tub for mixing concrete
  • Metal snips or hacksaw
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Hammer
  • Masonry chisel
  • Quick-set concrete
  • 1m by 1m pieces of melamine-faced medium-density fiberboard (MDF) panel, standard thickness 2cm
  • Steel rebar mesh, 1mm gauge, flush cut
  • Drywall screw, 1,5cm long
  • Silicone caulk, black or another dark colour
  • Release agent: mineral oil or paste wax
  • Firebricks
  • 1 50# bag of refractory clay 
  • 1 bag of sand
  • 60 concrete blocks
  • Clay flue liner
  • Mortar
  • Scrap cardboard
  • 10-14 packs of builder’s sand (20kg each)
  • Plastic sheeting
  • 15cm diameter by 60cm round metal duct pipe

man wearing white gloves lifting a pile of bricks

Step 1: The base

It is essential to build a solid, fireproof base when starting your DIY brick wood oven to resist extreme temperatures and weather conditions. 

  • Dig the foundation and create a pit
  • Then polish its corners and layer the gravel in the bottom to create the oven floor. You can also choose a level area of ground. The first layer of bricks should be parallel with the floor.
  • Lay concrete blocks to the desired height. 
  • Set up four corners and a central block to support the brick oven’s middle and give them the desired height to keep your base platform. The cooking platform should be 96 to 111 cm in height, depending on your ease of comfort working with the peel. 
  • Finally, put a double layer of concrete board on your block pillars. Using wooden materials is not a good idea since the oven will reach extreme heat temperatures
  • For extra support, add some angle iron between the board and concrete blocks to hold back the board from sinking under the weight.

Step 2: Walls and oven dome

  • Use a single layer of concrete pavers, around 16 pavers, to create the insulation layer.
  • The construction will be based on the design you decided on. 
  • Outline your structure with bricks.
  • Start from the stand and continue laying them down to construct the shape of the hearth.
  • For a square design, assemble the side walls by standing bricks on their sides. Start from the back and put around thirteen bricks on each side. Then add one more layer on their side on top of that layer. 
  • For the back wall, use a staggered pattern to stack bricks on their sides. You may need to break a few bricks in half for the back wall to sit flush with the sidewalls. 

Extra tip: For brick wood ovens, invest in fireplace bricks for extra durability thanks to their ability to tolerate prolonged heat exposure.

hand building one brick on another, wearing glove

Step 3: The arch

The dome is the main attraction of this pizza cooking chamber. For this circular shape:

  • Lay down the fire bricks into formation.
  • Add the layers inwards to achieve the arch effect.
  • You also have the option to build a chimney over it. Leave some space past the archway towards the front of the oven.

Step 4: The opening and the chimney

  • The chimney will go in the space past the archway towards the front of the oven. It is better to use a stainless steel chimney to allow for ventilation in the oven.
  • Make sure to orient the bricks well.
  • Stack sideways 6 bricks on each side of the wall to create the entry.
  • Place sideways 4 bricks on top of both walls.
  • Place a strip of angle iron against the arch. This will create the lip that runs between both sides of the oven entryway.
  • Place a second angle iron piece on the bricks at the front to create a ledge for the entryway’s top.
  • Place 3 bricks on each side wall and leave a space in the centre to fit in the chimney flue. Place 2 extra bricks on each side of the chimney and block any remaining opening in the archway.
  • You can create an oven door using loose bricks to block the opening or make one out of wood.

Step 5: Cement the bricks together

  • After putting the last brick, fill any gaps and edges between them to ensure that the materials are solid together. 
  • It will need time to dry, at least 2 to 3 weeks. 
  • Alternatively, you can use fireclay.

using sement to fill gaps between bricks

Step 6: Cover the oven with fireclay

  • Create a mix of fireclay, water and sand
  • Apply the mixture to the outside of the oven and fill in any gaps left between the bricks. 
  • This will help to keep the smoke and the heat inside the oven.
  • Alternatively, spread a generous amount of vermiculite-based insulating concrete.

Step 7: Fire it up!

  • If you haven’t used any cement or mortar styles, which will take some days to dry, you are ready to use your new outdoor wood-burning oven for the first time
  • Start by lighting a very small fire. To help it, you can use scraps if you have any available pallets around.
  • Let the kindling burn for a bit, and then add bigger pieces. At first, you may notice black soot in the roof of the oven, but this will slowly burn off and leave the bare bricks exposed again. 
  • You can gauge the temperature using an infrared thermometer. Once your wood fire has reached the 370-degree range, you are ready to make some delicious pizza! 
  • Push the embers and the burning wood to the back of the oven using a pull stick. You can either buy or make one alone! 
  • Also, use a natural hair brush to sweep and wear gloves to protect your hands from the heat.

fire in a pizza oven

Step 8: Cook your pizza

    • After you’ve made the pizza to your liking, slide your pizza stone into the oven with a peel
    • Keep in mind that your new oven will cook it faster than your home oven would, so keep your eyes on it
    • Rotate it after the first 45secs. 
    • Rotate it one more time after about 45 seconds later. 
    • 30 more seconds and you’re just about done! 
    • Remove, slice, eat up!

How to care for your outdoor pizza oven properly

Do you wonder if it is hard to maintain and clean your pizza oven? The answer is that it is relatively easy! Thanks to the high cooking temperatures, most food debris will burn off rather than sticking to the oven’s interior. Keep your wood oven at peak condition following these 6 simple steps.

Step 1: Choose the right tools

  • Ash rake
  • Ashcan
  • Brass oven brush or wire brush
  • Fireplace shovel
  • Cloth

Step 2: Clean the oven when it has cooled down

Make sure that the whole unit, especially the floor, has cooled down before cleaning it. If it is still hot, it is risky for you to get burned! Clean your oven regularly, especially after every cooking. Sweep its flue from time to time to remove blockages and soot.

Step 3: Collect the ash

Use an ash rake to collect the wood remnants and ash into a pile near the mouth of the oven.

Step 4: Scoop the ash out of the oven

Use the ash rake and a fireplace shovel to scoop out the ash. You can either collect the ash to dispose of later or even scatter it around nearby plants.

woman wearing a hat, cleaning a pizza oven

Step 5: Scrape off baked-on debris

Occasional residue may be left in the oven, despite the extreme heat temperatures. Scrap away any material or burned food left in the oven using an oven brush with copper or brass bristles. You don’t need to use any solvents like soap.

Step 6: Give it a final wipe

Brush out any remaining ash or use a dry cloth. If you have an oven door, put it back in place, and you are ready for your next wood-fired pizza gathering! Easy, right?

Cost of building an outdoor pizza oven

Depending on the materials you are going to use, the cost of building a DIY wood pizza oven varies. 

  • Building your cement or clay oven will cost you around £200-250
  • Building your own brick oven will cost you £600 or more.
  • The cost of building your outdoor oven is highly lower than buying a premade one, which would cost from £750 to £6.500. Purchasing a portable oven would cost between £250-700.

pizza getting cooked in a pizza oven
Having your own outdoor pizza oven will not only provide excellent food for your family and friends but also contribute to a beautiful outdoor experience! It will take some time and elbow grease, but the reward will be years of pizza eating bliss at the end of the day. Oh yeah, it’s totally going to be worth it!

Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend