How To Build Your Own Cheap Outdoor Pizza Oven

  • Published on March 12th, 2010 by
A finished outdoor pizza oven made from cob

Last summer, I got hooked on the idea of baking pizza and bread outdoors in a wood-fired oven. Baking outside, in a super hot oven with a brick hearth, (the way bread is really meant to be baked) was a hugely appealing thought.

It became very clear to me that I wanted to build a cob oven, which would be fairly easy and quick to build, and very cheap, too. You can build your own cob oven for as little as what you might spend on a pizza delivery on a Friday night!

Cob is an ancient earthen building technique and is the simple combination of sand, clay, and straw. Mixed together, these ingredients create a super durable, long-lasting, heat-tolerant material for building outdoor ovens. (Homes have been built out of cob for thousands of years all over the globe!)

The Outdoor Pizza Oven: Cheap and Green

Compared to masonry ovens, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and usually require cement in their construction (which has a huge embodied energy), a cob oven can be made from very simple, recycled, and locally available materials. They require little more than some sand, clay, straw, sawdust, some bricks, and a pile of rocks and few other recycled materials.
Cob oven building in process

So I picked up a copy of Kiko Denzer’s Build Your Own Earth Oven, a little gem of a book covering the construction of cob ovens from the ground up. And in July, after I settled into my new house, I knew it was time to start building this oven I had been dreaming about, so I could finally make pizza the way it was meant to be baked: on a super hot brick hearth.

Next page: how to build your own cob pizza oven

About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at:


  • What a great idea – not sure I could find the room for it here but I wonder if it would be welcome at the community garden?!

  • @Geraldo — I’m certain he uses wood…


    I can’t believe you made that! So going to be a DIY one day for me!

  • This is amazing I will have to make this a project one day!!
    Thanks for the great info!

  • Built a cob oven in 1969 in Topanga Canyon…so long ago, lived in a tipi and things seemed so much easier. I’ve got a home made forge at my house here in N. Calif. and we’ve made all we can ourselves, but I have to say…there comes a point when your possesions start to possess you and it’s time to pull up stakes and just GO! I can remember being so proud that all i owned could fit in a backpack. Now I ook back, see that I’m doing okay as far as sticking to y core beliefs re; sustainablitlity, caring for the Mother and doing my part. growing food, herbs, making soaps, creams, lotions..all the stuff so many of us have done kinda behind the scenes. How did we pull up out front??

  • Wow that is cool. That is one epic diy oven. I’m jealous

  • I’ve always wanted to make a full authentic outdoor pizza oven – I think they add a heck of a lot of charm, and I can imagine that the pizzas you pull out just taste wonderful. Maybe I’ll get onto the DIY train one day and make one 🙂

  • dean

    I have been longing to build an outdoor pizza oven off the kitchen for a while now, looked into the expensive oven cores that you custom build around to fit your style and hundreds of dollars and specialty masons needed and as the project of clearing a pile of timber that were felled two plus years ago to make room for the orchard, I realized we had way too much wood so I decided to do a little research on DIY outdoor pizza ovens. literally woke up one morning did a google search, found your site and started construction that morning, instead of off the kitchen I picked a spot in a shady corner of the garden. I used cinder blocks, big rocks, filled in with little rocks. I did not have any clay so I used some stone dust left from the drilling of a well years ago, some sub soil dug out of a dirt bacement, sand, to which I did add a little portland cement I had left from a tile making project cost so far $0.00 ˆdid the layer of bottles which I tried to use non returnable but total was over 2 cases worth. Bricks for the opening were saved from an old chimney and the fire brick came from a pizza oven my father had built 50+ years ago and had to take apart when his property go sold on the auction block under ’eminent domain’ ( never even knew he had built a pizza oven). The whole process took about a week and now is the hardest part, waiting for it to cure, on urging from family not to touch it or fire it for two weeks 14 days I have covered it with plastic and sprinkled it with water every other day . we are presently on day 9 stay tuned…..p.s. wish I could submit pics with this

  • Thanks for sharing that article. I love the idea of firing up the oven and making some pizzas, those looked wonderful. I like that you can have it going in a few weeks. Thanks for posting.


  • Wow, this is amazing! i have been wanting to build a outdoor oven for such a long time now… What a great idea!

  • What a green way to make pizza. Outdoor pizza oven made from cob has opened my way to cook with my relatives and friends. Obviously it won’t let you spend more money on Friday pizza delivery.

  • Where is the article? The entry the link points two is just an introduction and two paragraphs.

    • Andrew: What do you mean? I’m not sure what you are talking about.

      • I think what he or she means is that the link to the article on how to build a cob oven doesn’t contain any information on how to build one! Perhaps the article was changed?

        • @Andrew/Clarify- Look for the Link Page {1} 2

          The link to the second page isn’t particularly obvious with all the additional ads and such.

  • @Ziggy-How durable are these ovens to time and weather? I really want to do this up at my families’s summer house. I’m only up there a week in the summer, but my cousins are there longer. If there is no one to look after the oven during Spring/Fall/Winter, would it likely fall into disrepair? The area has been known to receive some heavy thunderstorms and wind. What are your thoughts?

    Sadly I live in an apartment with no outdoor area. Perhaps I’ll have to satisfy myself with solar ovens sitting on top of my car in the parking lot.

  • Cabell

    Can i build a cob oven in december winter weather in virginia? It is in the 20’s at night and am wondering if things will dry properly or lead to cracking?

  • Paul

    Can a cob oven be used for foods other than bread. Can you roast meats? Cook in pots or vessels?

  • Pingback: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Workshop at Dancing Rabbit | Sustainablog()

  • Pingback: How To Make Your Own Outdoor Pizza Oven - Off Grid Path()