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How to build a pizza oven: The basics

Discover what you need to build a pizza oven and follow this easy guide for how to do it.

Updated

Pepperoni pizza

Key steps

  • Don’t forget to wear protective shoes and gloves.
  • Build a foundation first.
  • Make sure you use smooth bricks for your pizza oven floor.
  • Don’t forget to add a chimney to let out the steam.
  • Puddling clay is time-consuming, so make it in batches when you need it.

Nothing says summer like the smell of homemade pizza cooking in the back garden. If you want to build a pizza oven it’s surprisingly easy! Read on for a basic guide to the process of outdoor pizza oven DIY, what sort of materials you’ll need and useful things to remember.

Make sure you keep some tarpaulin around to cover your DIY pizza oven when not in use. This will ensure it is protected from the damp which could cause damage.

What do you need to build a homemade pizza oven?

The first step when you want to build a pizza oven is to get your supplies together.

  • 20 smooth, solid bricks (these will be used to create the oven floor.)
  • 10 extra bricks
  • 20 breeze blocks
  • 5kg tub of cement
  • Rubble and big stones
  • 20kg bags of builder’s sand (you will need 10-14 of these)
  • 125-175kg clay (cheap, budget-friendly clay works fine)
  • An old plant pot
  • Glass bottles
  • 6k bag of wood shavings
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Tape measure
  • Tarpaulin
  • Water
  • Old kitchen knife
  • 10 litre plastic bucket
  • Lots of newspaper

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How to build your own outdoor pizza oven in 20 steps

Follow these easy steps to build your own pizza oven.

1. Make sure that you are always wearing thick boots and heavy duty gloves during the building process.

2. Choose an area which has plenty of space and gets a lot of sun.

3. Create the foundation (or plinth). There are easy steps for this:

  • Clear the ground you have chosen for your pizza oven.
  • Dig a shallow trench approximately 120cm squared.
  • Using breeze blocks and cement, create a frame around 1m high within your trench.

4. Using the rubble and stones, create a layer in the middle of your frame.

5. Add a layer of sand and glass bottles.

6. Top this layer with the solid, smooth bricks. This is your pizza oven floor. Make sure the bricks are placed snugly, as this is the cooking surface of your oven.

7. Using about 120kg of damp sand, form a dome shaped mound on your plinth. This should be around 80cm across, and 45cm high. Ensure it is rounded.

8. Cover the sand with damp newspaper.

9. Puddle the clay. This can be done by following these steps:

  • At this stage, you need 3 buckets of clay and 6 buckets of sand.
  • Tip the sand onto your tarpaulin.
  • Break up the clay onto the sand.
  • Add a small amount of water.
  • Wearing boots - ideally wellies - tread the mixture together.
  • To ensure you have the right thickness, gather a tennis ball size piece and drop it from shoulder height. If it holds together, it’s done.

10. Roll your clay into 20cm long, 10cm thick sausage-like shapes.

11. Build these clay sausages in circles around your sand dome. Always start at the bottom.

12. Once the entire dome is covered, smooth the clay with your hands, working the lengths into one another. If you get clay on your clothes, then read our article on how to remove clay stains for tips to tackle it.

13. Leave it to dry for at least 4 hours.

14. Choose the spot you wish to put in the oven entrance. Cut a semi-circle about 30cm wide by 20cm. You can use a kitchen knife and this size should be enough to get your pizza in and out to cook, without allowing too much heat to escape.

15. Scoop out the sand and newspaper, and allow it to dry overnight, before lighting a fire. This fire will help to finish the clay drying process.

16. Using the 10 extra bricks and leftover or new batch of puddled clay mix, create an arch around the pizza oven entrance.

17. Cut a hole in the roof of your dome, near where your arch meets the dome.

18. Build a clay collar to hold your plant pot which will be used as a chimney.

19. Mix around 4 litres of clay and water to the consistency of cream. Add your wood shaving and mix well. This is your insulation, and can now be layered onto the clay dome.

20. Once the insulation is dry, puddle 4 buckets of clay with 8 of sand using the guide above. Repeat steps 9-11 to create the final layer of your pizza oven.

21. Allow your pizza oven to dry out for at least a week. Clean out any debris, and then you’re all ready to go.

Now you have an easy guide to follow to create your own DIY pizza oven, you’ll be cooking up a storm in the garden in no time.

Originally published