Have you ever dreamed of building a simple wood fired outdoor pizza oven and making delicious pizzas or breads in your backyard? It is totally doable: here’s a super detailed DIY wood fired pizza oven tutorial to help get you started!
People have been building ovens for centuries in all parts of the world. You don’t need high tech inserts, pizza oven kit or any expensive materials to build an effective outdoor pizza oven.
This simple DIY wood fire backyard pizza oven uses easy to find natural materials, and it works amazingly well ( see it in action below! ) and costs 1% of a pizza oven kit.
By building your own clay wood-fired oven, you can have this cheesy delicacy at your fingertips whenever you’re craving it. While creating an oven from the ground up may sound like a daunting task, it might be easier than you think with some teamwork and the right materials.
Just take it from Richard Miscovich, the earthen construction expert and author who helped King Arthur Baking Company demolish, restore, and rebuild the beloved giant clay wood-fire pizza oven in Norwich, Vermont. Check out the video below to see how Richard and King Arthur Baking Company worked together to make their masterpiece out of clay.
MAKE YOUR OWN WOOD FIRED PIZZA OVEN DESIGN A REALITY
Want to build your own design? Great! Use our free plans as a guide to help you with your build. There’s quite a lot of information available for building Wood Fired Pizza Ovens, and while we’re sure they’re well-meaning, some of those plans aren’t great. Any instructions that don’t advise you to use refractory insulation over the oven dome and underneath the floor should be avoided.
Our plans have been developed over the past seven years by the company owner, Ben Guilford. Ben graduated from Monash University in 2008 with Honours in a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering.
He won an internship with GKN Aerospace who specialise in the design of aircraft structures. He then won an internship with BAE Systems, developing a tool that they still use to this day to accurately analyse the thermal handling characteristics of UAV control systems. Graduating in the midst of the GFC he took on a role as a Civil Site Engineer, beginning with Fulton Hogan where he gained valuable experience in structural concrete before moving to Abigroup, where he managed production of the Precast and Prestressed concrete elements for all of the bridges in the multi-billion dollar Peninsula Link Freeway Project.
Why tell you this? So that you know that our plans have been developed by someone who knows what they’re talking about.
We hope they’re helpful to you in your wood fired oven building journey.
Our Free Oven Plans
Like the look of our ovens but want to do the hard work yourself? Click on the links below to access the free PDF plans we have available for all of our oven sizes. The videos below were produced to compliment these written instructions, check them out too.
PreCut Brick Oven Kit Instructional Video Series
Building a Stand
Using a Wood Fired Oven
Whether you’ve just finished one of our ovens or one of your own design, the next step is learning how to use your oven to its full potential. On this page we will go through the final stage of the building process which is curing, we’ll then get straight into how to fire your oven, and show you a few tips and tricks that will help you begin your wood fired cooking adventure.
Installing a Flue
If your installation involves anything more complex than the basic setup that we provide in the kit, you must engage a suitably qualified plumber to supply and install the flue for you. Your local fireplace store will have several professionals they can recommend. Your oven can reach extreme temperatures, to the point where the flue glows orange.
This is extremely important. If you install your own flue system and your oven somehow causes a catastrophic fire, your home insurance cover may be null and void. Put this in the same category as working with high voltage electricity – the risks outweigh the rewards. Don’t risk it, use a licensed plumber.
OUR DIY OVEN KITS
In this video we unbox our P85 PreCast Oven Kit, and take you through all of the inclusions. If you’re wanting to see a relatively quick overview of how our PreCast Oven Kit is put together, this is the best place to start.
PreCut Brick Oven Kit Overview
In this video we unbox our D105 PreCut Brick Oven Kit. If you’re wanting to see a relatively quick overview of how our Brick Oven Kits are put together then definitely give this a watch.
There are two kinds of pizza: pizza baked in an electric or gas oven, and pizza baked in a wood-fired oven, which is far superior. Only a wood-fired oven can reach the soaring temperatures required for a properly cooked, slightly charred Neapolitan-style pizza.
Setting up an oven is quicker and easier than you might think, and you’ll be amazed by the pizzas that it will yield. You can also use a pizza oven to bake bread and roast meats, fish, and vegetables.
Pizza ovens have circular floors and domed ceilings that reflect the heat down. Because of the circular floor they provide nicely organized workspace: Since pizza baking is a dynamic process, in which the oven door stays open while you add, turn, and remove your pizzas, you have to keep a fire going in the oven or it will cool. The circular floor allows you to simply keep the fire to one side where the roof slopes down, and have most of the floor area free for pizza.
- 4 cups (1/2 kg) stone-milled flour (bread flour will work perfectly)
- 1 cup (250 ml) warm water
- 1 ounce (30 g) brewer’s yeast or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, dissolved in the water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- A pinch of salt
- Once the oven is hot, use a long, metal-handled scraper to push the coals to one side of the oven, and brush the ash from the floor with a metal-bristled brush, again attached to a long handle. Some people also swab the floor of the oven with a damp rag, but this removes heat.And now, cook your pizza!
- Pizza dough should be shaped into a disk by hand because using a rolling pin will result in a thin, tough disk. Also, work quickly because overhandling will toughen the dough.Take a ball, leaving the others covered, and put it on a floured work surface. Flour your hands too, and begin spreading it from the center, splaying your fingers and working clockwise; don’t touch the rim until the disk is at least 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Lift the disk with both hands and flip it, rotating it from one hand to the other, and return it to your work surface, with the unpressed side up. Continue to stretch the dough, leaving the rim a little thicker, until your disk is 12 inches (30 cm) across.With practice, you’ll learn how to stretch the dough with your hands without pressing it down on your work surface, and you may even get to the point of tossing the disc in the air.
- The most classic Neapolitan pizza is the Margherita, topped with tomatoes, buffalo-milk mozzarella, and basil; popular tradition attributes it to Raffaele Esposito, who in 1899 selected ingredients in colors of the Italian flag in honor of Queen Margherita di Savoia.There are, however, a great many other options for pizza toppings, and you are pretty much free to do as you wish. Do keep in mind, however, that less is more; too much topping makes for a heavy pizza.
- Once the pizza is done, remove it from the oven, slice it, and enjoy!
Difficulty: Amateur to master craftsmen
Time: 3-4 hours (from purchase to build)
Temperature: Over 900 degrees F
Material Cost: $200-$250
After getting more and more into pizza making, it quickly became clear that the original and ideal method of baking in a high-temperature oven would be necessary to achieve the type of pizza I’ve been seeking.
As you might imagine, a proper full-sized brick oven can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to many tens of thousands of dollars. What if there was a way to achieve similar results at a fraction of the cost?
TLDR: Yes, it turns out it is possible reach the temperatures needed to bake incredible pizza and more in minutes, and it won’t break the bank.
After scouring YouTube for brick oven videos, I came across this video from Chefsteps going step by step (as their name implies) how to build a simple brick oven with nothing but sand, gravel, and forty-seven 8”x4”x2” regular clay bricks and two large 16”x24”concrete pavers for the deck and roof.
Promoted as being an effective but very low cost solution to pricey brick ovens, I figured I’d give it a shot. In the video, Grant says you can find the materials in any hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes (if you live in the US). After striking out at two Home Depots and not finding the proper simple bricks or pavers, I decided to cut to the chase and head to my local masonry supplier.
I came home, hauled the 50 or so bricks and two flagstone pavers out of my Camry trunk, and began the ever important process of creating a level foundation with sand and gravel. Once I did that, it wasn’t long to build up the oven and stack the deck and roof.
Thrilled, I had what looked like a functional oven and was ready to light the first fire!
First build complete, using inferior materials. As you’ll learn, when you go cheap, you weep!
Unlike him, I wasted no time putting that fire out so as not to have exploding shards of fiery-hot flagstone blasting from my back yard.
Instead, I rethought the whole concept.
An Improved Design
That failed experiment showed me that there had to be a better way of building the oven. I did more research, watched more videos, and concluded three things:
- Though a good bit more expensive, using safer materials like lead-free firebrick (brick rated at over 2500 degrees F) would be a much better option than a low-cost solution like the one proposed in the original Chefsteps video. The materials would also last longer and retain heat better since they are designed for the task of getting really hot.
- To use 100% firebrick construction for the deck and roof, I would have to create some type of sturdy support made from iron or steel to hold the bricks.
- Most who have good ideas and oven designs aren’t doing the oven justice by making the best pizza possible (no offense). If only they were using my dough recipe!
Taking yet another trip to the masonry supplier, I loaded up on 70 firebricks (as opposed to the 47 needed for the original oven design). Price difference at the time was $1.75/firebrick vs. $0.92/regular brick. Total cost for bricks was about $125.
They didn’t quite have the flat steel or iron that I needed, so I went to Home Depot and grabbed 4x pieces of angle steel for the front and back of the deck and roof, and 2x pieces of flat steel for the middle of the deck and roof. They were both a bit longer than I needed, so I used a handy and helpful neighbor’s belt saw to cut them to my desired length of 28”. Steel is not cheap, and the 6x pieces cost about $75.
Once I disassembled the first disaster and put those bricks aside, I decided to use the leftover flagstone for the base layer of the oven to have a nice flat ground surface to start the fire on. If you notice in the Chefsteps video, they start the fire directly on top of gravel. How on earth would you be able to effectively clean all the ash from the oven? A vacuum cleaner?
To make controlling the fire easier, I made the bottom level five courses high as opposed to the four in the original plans. Other than that, the oven deck and back ventilation system remained the same.
Rebuilding using firebrick and steel support.
Once I rebuilt the oven using better bricks and more sound techniques, I put the second flagstone paver on top to have a nice surface to keep pizzas warm when they come out of the oven. Finally, rather than have alternating bricks half open like the original design, I used a mallet and brick chisel to split three bricks into six halves and place them like you see in the image above.
Fan My Fire
After several rounds of using the oven, which I’ve named Regina (meaning queen in Italian; Pizza Margherita was allegedly named after Queen Margherita of Savoy) I have figured out the best way to effectively get the oven at temps that can bake pizzas in minutes. Just know, the longer ahead you start the fire, the better. You can never start your fire too early, but you certainly can start too late.
Getting the fire started with small pieces of wood.
Several hours before you plan on using the oven, start with good wood and use a wood splitter to create smaller pieces that you can stack and light. I like to use a few bricks on the base for enhanced airflow beneath the fire. Once you have a small fire going, you can gradually add larger and larger pieces to build up the flame.
The goal at this stage is to build up as many coals as possible, which will in turn radiate heat throughout the entire oven. Once coals are developed, you simply maintain the fire by adding pieces of wood on top.
At this stage, I create a somewhat smaller coal enclosure using bricks and build a partial wall. This helps retain heat and also keeps the coals nicely contained.
Hot coals below + flame above = perfect charring of the crust!
A few minutes before you want to fire a pizza, place a smaller split piece of wood on the coals and allow it to flame up the back vent. This will allow your toppings to bake nicely while the deck is a sustained temperature from the coals directly below.
A GIF showing how to feed the fire before launch.
And that’s how it’s done, ladies and gentlemen! If you need a solid pizza dough recipe to go with your oven, I’ve also got you covered.
I’m happy to help anyone interested in this design make it a reality. My methods can save you the time and money I spent by allowing you to skip past my failures and creating something much more robust from the beginning.
The kids and I had a pizza from a wood-fired pizza oven at a restaurant. We liked it so much that we decided to build a pizza oven of our own. But not only for making pizzas, if done properly, it can bake bread, chicken, and for up to 72 hours after the fire goes out, it can be used as a grill.
I decided a 36” inside diameter oven made from firebrick would be the best for our wood-fired pizza oven. It would allow cooking for up to four pizzas at a time, and would be small enough to heat fast and keep clean. I made the cooking surface of the oven 42” high. I am 6’2” tall so that was a comfortable height for me.
I used a 22” wide door to allow room to slide a pizza and baking pans into the oven. The downside was, the bigger the opening, the faster the oven would lose heat. Using an insulated door took care of that problem.
Once the oven is completed, there will be a second coat of concrete that will become the counter top.
I built a door frame that was 11 3/8” tall. While I was playing with the layout of the doorway, I was also looking at the location and size of the chimney. With this configuration, the chimney base was 4-1/2” wide and almost 11” long. (You can get an “oval to round” wood stove adapter that will let you use 6” stovepipe for the chimney.)
Because I don’t want to spend days heating up my oven, I used firebrick inside of it (2 1/2” thick, 4 1/2” wide and 9” long). This allows heating the oven in roughly an hour to 850 degrees F with no fear of the brick cracking and crumbling. I used roughly 170 bricks that were then cut down to fit as needed. I used my miter saw with a diamond blade and a stop to cut the bricks in half at a consistent size.
For the cooking floor of the oven, there were several options. Most people use full-sized firebricks for the floor. I went another route. I chose to use soapstone for several reasons.
• Soapstone can handle up to 3,000 degrees F without a problem.
• It’s easy to cut using woodworking tools with carbide bits.
• It will be smoother and easier to slide the pizzas in and out of the oven and there’s no worry about cracks in the firebrick floor.
• Soapstone heats up faster and will hold the heat longer than firebrick.
The only downside is that soapstone is not porous, which means any steam coming from the bottom of the pizza will not be able to escape as easily. This is handled by lifting the pizza every 30 seconds to let the pizza “breathe,” and since the pizza is in there only 90 seconds, that is not that hard to do.
From a company that makes countertops, I was able to get two pieces of soapstone “cutoffs,” 36”x 36” and 21”x 21”. I laid out the dimensions and made the circle cut on the big piece for the floor of the oven.
When building the oven, the cooking floor can be placed right on top of the concrete, but it will cause problems. Namely the concrete will suck away the heat from the oven so it will take a long time for the oven to get up to temperature. To stop this, I put insulation under the cooking surface and the concrete that supports it. This is to provide a thermal barrier and allows the oven to heat up in an hour. “Hard board” ceramic insulation is rated for 2,400 degrees F and the size I got from the local fireplace store was 2” thick x 24” wide x 36” long.
For my 36” oven (interior dimensions), three of the hard insulation boards needed to be cut. A small piece with an arched top will be for the door that I’ll be making.
I wrapped aluminum foil around the insulation before the bricks were placed. This will stop the insulation from sucking moisture away from the concrete base and also from the mortar. The area where the door insulation was cut was filled in with extra pieces of foil.
Because firebrick stops heat better than mortar, the less mortar you use, the better the performance will be. I started at the door opening making sure to remain level at all times.
Firebrick will not stick to the mortar unless it is soaked in water for 30 seconds prior to using it. This is because it will suck away the water from the mortar before it has a chance to “bond” to the brick.
The first row of bricks were placed upright. They went around the soapstone but were still sitting on the insulation. This is also when the small soapstone piece was shaped to match the concrete base.
After several layers of firebrick were placed, mortar was placed on the outside of the bricks to fill in any cracks and to help hold everything in place.
TIP: Once the bricks become almost vertical, they will slide easy. You can use hot water to soak the bricks in. This will speed up the bonding process but will not affect the structure in any other way.
Because the bricks were almost vertical and I didn’t trust my masonry skills, I used an exercise ball to hold the last of the bricks. Once the dome was built, I covered the oven with the leftover mortar. The oven sat for six days with the ball in place.
The stovepipe was put on the oval to round adapter and the whole assembly was mortared into place and let dry overnight.
The insulation that goes over the oven is also made from ceramic, but instead of being a “hard board,” it’s more like a blanket. For every inch you have, it will reduce the outside temperature of the oven by 200 degrees. Since I will have the oven baking in the 850-degree F range, I used 4” of insulation. The insulation I used was 2” thick, 24” wide and 12’ long. I used three bundles. With this type of insulation, you will need to be careful on how you handle it. You do not want to breathe it in. I used a respirator, glasses, and gloves (with a long-sleeve shirt) and cut it into strips roughly 8” wide.
The first piece was cut into strips and put on vertically. After packing the vertical pieces as tightly as possible, the second layer went on horizontally.
The wood-fired pizza oven is almost ready to start cooking/baking, but not quite. If you light a fire to cook pizza, the water in the bricks and mortar will expand as it heats up and your oven will crack. It could even explode a few bricks. To stop that from happening, you have to cure the oven with a series low-heat fires that last at least five hours at a time. This will allow the water to escape and will also help the oven to get stronger as the water escapes. You do not have to do this on consecutive days.
These are the temps/days that were used. Do not heat above the temperatures listed:
Day one: 140 degrees F
Day two: 215 degrees F
Day three: 300 degrees F
Day four: 400 degrees F
Day five: 525 degrees F
Note: You start with a very small fire, no bigger than your hand. Using an infrared thermometer, you watch the temp rise, only adding twigs when the fire is running out of wood. It takes a little time to warm the oven up. If it starts getting too hot, pull some of the burning material out. Slow and easy is the way to go.
When you cure the wood-fired pizza oven, use pure wood, nothing that is treated, glued, painted, etc.
Getting it up to 100 degrees F took only 15 minutes and the chimney drafted very well. The last day it didn’t take long to heat it up to 400 degrees F and when the outside of the oven was checked, it was at the temperature of the outside air.
To cook a pizza in your wood-fired pizza oven, you want the interior of the oven to be no lower than 806 degrees F and it will take 60-90 seconds to cook. If the temperature is lower, the pizza will lose moisture and be very crisp. It will also take longer to cook (three minutes). You do not want the temperature any higher than 869 degrees F or the pizza will burn.
Once you have made a few pizzas and are comfortable with monitoring the temperature, try your hand at bread baking, using it to grill, etc. You will love the flavor your new oven gives to anything you cook up!
Are you going to construct a wood-fired pizza oven of your own?
Everyone loves pizza, and you can make decent pizza in many different ways. However, as any true aficionado will tell you, perfect pizza needs to be cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven.
Unfortunately, these can be expensive to buy – but a cheaper option is to make your own. So for anyone who wants to try, here are 27 great plans we found for making a DIY wood-fired pizza oven at home.
How to Build a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
With this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to build a pizza oven in your yard using only a few inexpensive materials you can pick up from your local hardware store – or even better, perhaps for nothing at all! Does that sound like something you might be interested in trying? Then check out this blog post for all the details you’ll need.
How to Build Your Own High-Performing Wood-Fired Pizza Oven from Bricks
As the introduction to this video tells us, you could spend thousands of dollars having a pizza oven built for you – or you could just make a DIY version for around only 50 bucks. It’s a fun project to attempt, and when you finish, you’ll be able to cook traditional pizza in your own yard, so why not see if you can recreate this plan at home?
How to Build Your Own Pizza Oven
If you’re considering building a pizza oven at your home, you’ll probably be wondering about how much it will cost and whether it will be worth all the money and effort. In that case, this post should be of interest since it tells you everything you’ll need to know before you start. And then, if you decide to go ahead, it also teaches you how to build a pizza oven of your own.
Here’s a fascinating video to watch. In it, this YouTuber from Ireland takes you through how he built his DIY pizza oven at his home, showing you everything he did and giving you all the info you need to copy his idea.
It looks fantastic when it’s finished, and you’ll find a list of the materials you’ll need to build it – so in short, this tutorial tells you everything you need to know to make something just like his version yourself.
My $135 Wood-Fired Pizza Oven!
There are plans for pizza ovens to suit all kinds of budgets, but if you’re looking for something in the $100-200 range, then this tutorial should be worth a look.
It’s from the Instructables website, so as you would expect, the plan is well written and includes plenty of photos to show you what you need to do. It’s quite a big project, but it’s certain to be a rewarding one, so if you’re looking for something to keep you busy, this could be a fun job to attempt.
DIY Outdoor Pizza Oven for Under $40
For those who want to keep their expenses as low as possible, this is a video that will be of interest. In it, this YouTuber shows his plan for a DIY pizza oven that cost no more than $40. Want to know how that’s possible? Then give his video a watch to find out!
How to Build a Simple Wood-Fired Oven
If you’re looking for reasons – or excuses – to build a wood-fired oven, this blog post has plenty that will convince you. Then, once you’ve decided it’s a project you’re interested in tackling, you’ll also find details of how to go about building one.
DIY Pizza Oven Build – Full Build in 5 Minutes!
We loved watching this video because it’s almost mesmerizing watching the time-lapse shot of the oven taking shape. It’s the kind of thing anyone will be able to copy at home and is made of simple materials that won’t cost you much money – making it just the kind of thing a novice DIYer will be able to attempt, even on a limited budget.
DIY Pizza Oven — How to Build an Outdoor Pizza Oven
Before you start building your pizza oven, you’ll need to have a good idea of what the project entails. Otherwise, if you just jump in and start building, you may find you’ve overlooked something during the planning phase or that the job is more difficult than you’d imagined.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, this post gives you a broad overview of the basics of DIY pizza ovens, helping you avoid biting off more than you can chew.
DIY Wood Fired Pizza Oven for $200
If you have a little bit of money to invest in your pizza oven project, you can hope to build something highly impressive, and with just $200, you can attempt to build an oven like the fantastic version in this video. It looks extremely professional, and the pizza he cooks in it looks super-delicious, so why not see if you can copy his design?
How to Build a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven Using Pilates Ball DIY
There are quite a few plans out there for building pizza ovens using Pilates balls, which means it must be a technique that works. Here’s one that’s among the best we’ve seen, so if you want to know how it’s done, this video is a recommended watch.
Build a Dry Stack Wood-Fired Pizza Oven Comfortably in One Day!
The brick pizza oven in this blog looks extremely simple from the photos – and that’s because it is. Pizza ovens don’t need to be overly complicated to do the job of cooking delicious pizza, so if you are looking for an easy plan that will give you an oven for doing just that, this is a option that should appeal.
DIY Cheap Exercise Ball Pizza Oven
Here’s another great video tutorial for making a pizza oven from an exercise ball. One of the reasons this idea is so popular is because it’s such an easy technique to replicate, so if you want a plan for making a DIY pizza oven that’s practically foolproof, this could be the tutorial you’re looking for.
It will also help keep your outdoor space warm in cooler weather, and it will even add atmosphere to your yard. The plan is easy to copy too, and it looks amazing when it’s finished. And the best thing is, if you want one too, you shouldn’t have any trouble copying this idea.
This video tutorial is a little short on explanations – instead, it shows you how these YouTubers built a high-quality DIY pizza oven from scratch, clearly demonstrating everything you’ll need to do to replicate it at home. The end result is also one of the most impressive versions we’ve seen, so if you’re up for a challenge, this video should be worth a watch.
How to Build a Wood Fired Pizza Oven Tutorial
If the photo of this magnificent pizza oven doesn’t inspire you to build one of your own then nothing will. Amazingly, this blogger writes that she had no previous experience of working with masonry – so if she managed, almost anyone else will be able to too!
Metal Drum into DIY Wood Fired Pizza Oven
As this blog tells us, there’s no better way of making pizza than in a dedicated pizza oven – so if you want to make real pizza at home, that’s what you’re going to need. Fortunately, you can save yourself a lot of cash by building your own, and this post goes on to describe several different techniques you can consider.
Wood-Fired Stone Oven Construction Video
The person who posted this video describes it as “breathtaking”, which is quite a claim, but when you start watching, you begin to realize it might just be justified. It includes a time-lapse shot of “Uncle Hajji” building an ambitious pizza oven from the very beginning. And by the time he finishes, you’ll be blown away by what he makes. Think you can do something similar? Then why not see if you can copy his plan?
How to Build an Outdoor Pizza Oven – The Spruce
If you’re the kind of person who likes a logical tutorial that tells you everything you’ll need to do and everything you’ll need to do it before taking you through the process in clear and logical steps, then this is the plan for you. It’s a big job, but we think it will be worth the effort. Check it out and see if you agree!
DIY Wood Fired Perlite/Cement Pizza Oven
In this video, you’re given a simple idea for building a pizza oven using a yoga ball and a few other basic supplies. It’s a similar design to some of the other ovens made from balls like this, but it’s always useful to watch a few different ones before you start. And as you can see, the pizza you can prepare in this oven looks heavenly.
Building a Small Wood Fired Pizza Oven
As this DIYer explains, he felt that good pizza is one of life’s essentials but was put off by the price or complexity of many pizza oven projects he saw – so he just designed one himself. His idea is simple and affordable, and it’s something that most people will be able to manage, making it a post that’s well worth a read.
DIY Homemade Wood Fired Steel Pizza Oven Build and First Cook
Here’s an interesting project to check out because it starts right at the planning stage on a computer screen. From there, you get to watch as it takes shape right up until it cooks its first pizza. It’s fun to see how the design progresses, and you’ll also find all the instructions for building something just like it.
DIY Wood Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven – Simple Earth Oven in 2 days!
We think this plan is one of our favorites because the oven this blogger shows us how to build looks like the kind of thing people have been cooking in for millennia.
However, the pizza she makes in it looks irresistible, which goes to show that even ancient technology can produce great results. You’ll also find some tips about some other things you can cook in an oven like this, making it a doubly interesting read.
Make Your Own Pizza Oven for Under $10!
This simple design for a wood-fired pizza oven wins the prize for the least expensive version since it cost only $10 to build. It does the job though, and if you can make a pizza oven for that little, then why spend more?
Build Your Own $20 Outdoor Cob Oven for Great Bread and Pizza
One option for building a wood-fired pizza oven is to build a cob oven from mud. The one these bloggers show us was incredibly inexpensive, but it looks like it cooks yummy pizza, so we’re sure that plenty of people who see it will be keen to try making something similar themselves.
Loads of great ideas for DIY pizza ovens
As you can see, there are loads of great ways to build DIY wood-fired pizza ovens in a range of styles and to suit just about any budget.
We’ve enjoyed collecting these plans for you, so we hope you’ve enjoyed reading and watching them too. And above all, we hope we’ve helped you find the inspiration you needed to get started building a wood-fired pizza oven of your own.
Helpful resources on building a wood fired pizza oven !
- Here is one of the best books on oven building by our teacher Kiko Denzer, Building Your Own Earth Oven. It offers lots of valuable information from planning, site considerations, to foundations and roof options, as well as many pizza oven plans. And Kiko’s website, where you can find great articles on building with earth, as well as his future workshops. You will not only appreciate his knowledge, but also his wisdom on how to live life more simply and more fully.
- another of my favorite books on earth building: The Hand-Sculpted House by the great pioneers Ianto Evans(Kiko’s teacher) and Michael Smith. I took a week long class from Michael and built a cob / straw bale room at a Waldorf School – one of the best weeks ever! Michael’s website, lots of great natural building methods, and workshops!
- if you love natural finishing, here’s a beautiful book Using Natural Finishes: Lime and Earth Based Plasters, Renders & Paints with ideas and recipes from many cultures
- The Bread Ovens of Quebec is an exquisite book. It’s out of print, but available as a free ebook via the Canadian Museum of History. It’s possible that it might be back in print soon.
First, you can download the free Ebook with lots more details here:
Once you get your hands DIRT-Y, you will fall in love with earth building. It’s a magical way of building that connects us with our essence, with the elements of earth, fire, water and air, with makers across centuries and continents, and with one another.
After you build your own wood fired oven, it’s time to think about how to store firewood. Here we have 15 attractive DIY firewood racks & storage ideas for you!
Does cob oven need a chimney?
There are many traditional earth ovens with no chimney, which burn slowly, use less wood to heat up the oven mass, and work really well. DIY ovens with chimney burn faster and require more wood. Some prefer to have a chimney near the oven door opening to have better control of smoke. Here‘s a good discussion if you want to explore further.
Create sand-clay mix for the earth oven
For each part of clay soil, we mix in 2-3 part sand. More sand if using pure clay. Make sure the mix does not have any sharp rocks or debris. If unsure, wear rain boots!
Put everything on a large tarp, add some water, and start singing and dancing – which means, mixing!
Folding the tarp is a good way to get everything mixed more thoroughly.You will know that your mixture is a good consistency and ready to go if you can form it into a ball about 3″ diameter, drop it to the ground, and the ball holds its shape with little cracking. How fun it is that our work is to dance in the mud?
Make a base with insulation for your outdoor pizza oven
The cob ovens we made in class had a base of sheet metal (you can also use plywood) bolted onto a wood frame ( pictures below ) to be portable, then placed on a sturdy foundation at their new home.
2. height: the foundation should support your oven at a height that allows you to work comfortably!
3. insulation: there should be a minimum of 4″-6″ of insulation between the fire brick oven floor and the masonry or wood foundation. The insulation will prevent the masonry from absorbing all the valuable heat we want for cooking, and protect the wood foundation from burning. The glass jars and vermiculite provide insulation. The fire brick hearth is set on top of that.
Related article: Staying at an Earthship: a unique home that produces food, cleans water, and turns trash to treasure!
Build a sand form size of the cob oven interior
Just like building a sand castle! You can use concrete slab or a layer of firebricks as the oven base. The sand is scooped out after the next 2 layers are built.
This sand dome is 12″ in diameter and a 14″ high, which is the height of the dome.
Build the thermal layer for an effective wood fired outdoor pizza oven
The purpose of the thermal layer is to hold heat in its dense mass. Use the clay-sand mix we made earlier, take one handful at a time, and press it down to form a 2″-3″ shell outside the sand form. Be careful not to press into the sand form, which would cause the form to shift.
We also made a “molding” around the earth oven door opening using strands of straw dipped in clay, and formed it around the door opening to give it a more finished look and as a starting place for the next layer.
The final steps are adding insulation and finish layers.
Insulation layer for the earth / cob oven.
The difference between this layer and the thermal layer is that the mixture here has more air, which is great for preventing heat loss of the thermal layer!
When coarse saw dust or wood shavings are mixed with just enough clay to hold the shape, and when they are exposed to the high temperature from the thermal layer, a new material- clay foam – is created. It’s sort of a light weight charcoal-clay which is airy, thus conducts heat slowly.
And of course, don’t forget to take a nice break and show off your muddy hands!
The finish layer for your wood fired outdoor pizza oven!
An earthen plaster is applied to the final layer to give the cob oven a smooth finish and decorative sculptural details!
Here’s a beautiful book Using Natural Finishes: Lime and Earth Based Plasters, Renders & Paints with ideas and recipes from many cultures
Materials, Design and Foundation
The ovens we made measure about 24″ in finished diameter, and have an inside cooking area of 12″ diameter and a 14″ high dome. They each weigh about 250 lbs, and each took about two 5-gallon buckets of clay and sand mixture to build. If you want a larger oven, please adjust the materials accordingly.
Also we need an oven door for the arch opening before the building begins. For this oven with a 14″ high inner dome, our door is 8.75″ high by 8″ wide. The width is not as crucial as the height. Researchers found through studies of hundreds of traditional ovens that the best designs all have a ratio of 63% between the door height and the inner oven dome height! Isn’t it cool that it’s so close to the Golden Ratio?!
What can you make in a simple DIY earth outdoor pizza oven? Does it really work?
These 3 pictures are from our friend Bill, who bought the DIY pizza oven made by the class last year. He loves it so much and decided to join our class this year so he can build another one for his patio!
“Here are a few shots of a fun Sunday bake. 3.5 hr fire, coals burned out and got 900 F dropping to 600 after coals out. Baked pizza, bread at 500 F then cooled to 400 F and did the bean casserole and still the next day(24hrs) oven still at 250 F for any drying of fruit!!”
OK, is this enough temptation for you to run out there and start building yet?
Building A Clay Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
This may be one of the simplest and least expensive ways to build a wood-fired oven, because materials can be locally sourced—often for free. Earth is the flour of the mason. Add some water to clay and you have a material that can be shaped and baked into an oven. In one weekend, you and a couple of friends could bring a wood-fired oven into your life, no problem.
Earth ovens are usually made by forming damp sand into a dome shape on top of a firebrick hearth. The outer edge of the sand form will be the inside wall of your oven, so make sure to shape the oven to the right size for your intended purpose and to fit your cooking utensils. Clay mixed with sand (two to three parts of sand to one part of clay) is then mixed with water (and by your feet) to make a firm, yet pliable mixture. Be careful not to add too much water. If the mixture is too wet it will slump when a 3″ to 4″ shell of this clay mixture is packed around the sand form.
What Is Cob?
“Cob” is technically this same clay-and-sand mixture with the addition of straw or other fibers to add tensile strength. (Cob is a traditional building material that can be used to build walls and comfortable structures.) This oven-building approach also includes southwestern adobe-built hornos and simple ovens from cultures around the world. Once the layers have dried for a day or two, a door is cut out of the clay and/or cob layers and the sand is scooped out, leaving behind a clay shell oven.
It is a wonderful experience to mix clay, sand, and water with your feet and then shape the mixture into an oven with your hands. It can be even more hands-on if you dig your own clay or collect sand. If you don’t have a good source where you can dig your own, drop in on one of your local potters. Often they have unfired clay they can’t use and will be thrilled to give it away and reclaim some space in their studio. It is okay if the clay is dry; just put it in a container and cover with water. In a week or so, it will be soft enough to mix with sand in order to create the layer of the oven that acts as thermal mass. If you can’t dig your own or receive potter donations, dry bagged fireclay, available at most well-stocked masonry supply companies, is a good substitute. It is more expensive, but the convenience may be worth it. Clean sand is easier to dig than clay, or bulk or bagged mason sand can be purchased.
The heat storage capacity of an earth oven isn’t as great as one made of firebrick, which means it is less able to store heat than one made of dense bricks. There are, however, ways to increase the heat-retaining properties of an earth oven such as adding dense aggregate, like concrete gravel to the cob. Many earth ovens have the firebrick in the hearth oriented so the hearth is 21⁄4″ thick, but if the bricks are turned 90 degrees, the hearth becomes 4″ thick. Yes, it will take more bricks, more fuel, and a longer heat-up time, but the greater amount of stored heat will give you more opportunities to bake and cook.
I very much appreciate the low cost of building an earth oven, but for my Providence earth oven I have invested in foam glass for laying under the hearth insulation, which greatly slows heat migration into the foundation.
Earth ovens are often built without a chimney. Skipping this architectural component simplifies construction but negatively impacts combustion, because chimneys create draft, pulling more oxygen into the firebox. However, a draft door can help improve combustion on an oven without a chimney. Channeling the smoke into a chimney does prevent any spillage from staining the oven directly above the door. Some people make a vent hole in the top of the dome when they are constructing a cob oven, but avoid this—it will make it impossible for you to retain steam while baking bread.
How to Build a Wood-Fired Oven at Home
From Flame to Ash: How to get the Most out of Your Wood-Fired Oven
In this DIY wood fired outdoor pizza oven tutorial ( & a free ebook with instructions at the end ) I will share
* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .
- Step by step process on how to build a simple and effective DIY pizza oven.
- Helpful tips and resources, including a free ebook with lots more details on each step, DIY wood fired pizza oven design variations, etc.
By the way, if you are adventurous enough to be reading this, you HAVE to check out our easy and super yummy no knead bread recipe, made with 50% whole grain, YUM!
Easy no knead bread recipe
Recently I attended an Earth Oven (aka Cob Oven) building class taught by one of the best teachers in this field, Kiko Denzer. Years ago, I was greatly inspired by his book : one of the best on oven building .
During the 6 hour long class, we built 2 portable earth ovens, which were auctioned the next day. I learned so much about building with earth and other readily available materials. There’s such simplicity and beauty to the process that I find deeply inspiring.
Now you are probably wondering –