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16 Outdoor Kitchen Ideas to Create an Alfresco Cooking Oasis

We've saved you the best seat in the house.

By Hadley Mendelsohn and Alyssa Longobucco
swimming pool, property, house, natural landscape, building, home, architecture, estate, real estate, reflecting pool,
Nicole Hollis Studio

The best outdoor kitchen ideas let you live outdoors once the temps rise above 72 degrees. More and more homeowners are seeking ways to bliss out in their own backyard, whether that means building the perfect party patio or a perch for morning coffee with the birds. Another great way to enjoy your backyard to the fullest? Cooking. With the right outdoor kitchen layout and design features, putting a meal together alfresco can be just as easy as indoors—and a whole lot more fun.

Luxury kitchen appliances and custom tile can hike up the price tag of an outdoor kitchen fast. To keep costs to a minimum, we suggest starting small on an existing patio or porch and adding only what you need. Odds are that may not include a second professional chefs' kitchen with a full suite of appliances and all the trimmings. Instead, prioritize what you'd like more of—a bigger and better grill, more counter space, an ice maker, a drink fridge, reliable lighting, and space for family and friends to gather while you prep. Many homeowners find that building an outdoor kitchen ultimately is worth the hassle and expense because it can boost your home's value.

Whether you're in the midst of designing your own backyard hangout or just gathering inspiration for your future dream home, we've rounded up 16 fresh outdoor kitchen ideas and takeaway tips to help you cater your fresh-air cook space to your design preferences and functional needs. What do you say? Let's get cookin'.


Stay Close to Home

Property, Building, Backyard, Real estate, House, Yard, Furniture, Roof, Landscaping, Home,

First things first: Think about convenience before you fall in love with any outdoor kitchen ideas or layouts. Scout your space for spots to put plumbing, electricity, and, if necessary, new access points from your home. The perfect spot may be in the far corner of your yard—or it may be right up against the house, as is the case with this outdoor kitchen designed by Jenn Feldman.


Take to the Roof

outdoor kitchens
Francesco Lagnese

You don't need multiple acres to make an outdoor kitchen work. With just a few small-space tricks, even a rooftop or small patio can double as an outdoor kitchen. In this NYC space designed by Mick De Giulio, a wood-fired pizza oven replaces a traditional range; it's a unique cooking method with a mini footprint.


Consider the Weather

a corner cabinet and undercounter fridge boost the utility of this grilling area by designer jen samson

To create an outdoor kitchen that will stand the test of time, choose materials that can hold their own against the elements. Natural stones like marble, limestone, travertine, and soapstone withstand weather well, while woods like teak—as seen in this outdoor kitchen by Jen Samson—age with grace and style.

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Channel Italy

natural outdoor kitchen
David Duncan Livingston

Instead of viewing an outdoor kitchen as a complement to your indoor space, allow it to function entirely on its own by outfitting it with all the essentials, like a grill, fridge, sink, and pizza oven. Here, designer Nathan Turner took aesthetic influence from the Italian countryside—and put a classic U-shaped layout to work—to create an outdoor kitchen that is as functional as it is beautiful.


Don't Forget Custom Touches

a grill and hood combo lend sophistication to this marie flanagan outdoor kitchen
Julie Soefer

An outdoor kitchen should always put function first—but that doesn't mean design has to fall by the wayside. Take a lead from this kitchen by designer Marie Flanigan, which combines utilitarian details, like a built-in grill and several refrigerators, with design-forward accents like a bespoke tile backsplash and plaster hood.


Keep It Simple

outdoor kitchen ideas
Romulo Fialdini

A covered grill and wet bar enable alfresco dining without the fuss of all the plumbing upgrades required for a full kitchen. Here, designer Maria Augusta Luoro of Guta Louro Designs used locally sourced materials to unite this outdoor kitchen with the surrounding lush São Paolo countryside.

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Build in Greenery

this outdoor kitchen from rta outdoor living for hgtv star mike pyle has a u shaped layout to fit a crowd
Jake Lamons

You are outdoors, after all—and what better way to hammer that point home than with an outdoor kitchen ensconced in greenery? Here, a neat line of arborvitae surrounds an expansive alfresco cook space, lending both privacy and ambiance.


Complement Your Home

outdoor kitchen with wood decking and pizza oven
Nicole Hollis Studio

Designed by Nicole Hollis Studio, this space hits the outdoor kitchen trifecta: stylish, practical, and timeless. With neutral colors, nature-inspired materials, and sleek bones, it's a lesson in prioritizing synergy and cohesion between the existing architecture and design of your home and your new outdoor kitchen.


Create Separate "Zones"

an outdoor kitchen belonging to chef bobby flay
Regan Wood

To design a large outdoor space effectively, split it up into separate "zones" for lounging, eating, and—of course—cooking. In this backyard kitchen and entertaining space designed for celebrity chef Bobby Flay, designer Olivia Capuano united all three spaces through a common color palette and complementary materials.

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Plan for Entertaining

blue outdoor grilling and patio area
Dacian Groza

As with any room in your home, it's important to consider your lifestyle when planning an outdoor kitchen. If you love to entertain or consider yourself an oenophile, add thoughtful touches like a wine fridge to the space. In this patio area designed by Heather Hilliard, a built-in grill, wine fridge, and extra storage make for easy hosting, while the living wall sets the outdoor scene and takes advantage of the vertical space.


Maximize a Small Space

a small galley outdoor kitchen with bright blue cabinetry
David Tsay

Just like indoor kitchens, outdoor cook spaces come in all different shapes and sizes. If all you have to work with is a small alleyway between your house and garage or a few square feet on your patio, you can still design a functional (and fabulous!) outdoor kitchen. Focus on essential additions and small-scale appliances, then team them with bold design choices, like this saturated teal cabinetry, to make magic.


Add Stylish Lighting

rooftop outdoor kitchen design
Pernille Loof

Whether you're flipping burgers at dusk or partying into the night with friends, chances are good that you'll want to use your outdoor kitchen long after the sun sets. Instead of resigning to garish (and honestly, blinding) floodlights to illuminate your grill, plan ahead so your space can be hardwired to include task lighting, pendants, or sconces (the latter of which is realized beautifully in this kitchen by designer Laurie Blumenfeld Russo). Not only will it ensure your outdoor kitchen functions at all hours of the day, but it will grant you yet another opportunity for style and personalization.

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Don't Forget a Bar

backyard bar
Studio Lifestyle

Optimize your outdoor kitchen for fun with a counter or island that feels like a real resort-style bar, like the made-for-margs space by Studio Lifestyle seen here. Modern barstools, an eye-catching tile design, and a hidden prep counter beyond the island will go a long way in making the design addition both stylish and useful.


Create an Easy Flow

beachy outdoor bar design
Courtesy of Lark & Linen

If you can't swing a full outdoor kitchen, you might be able to make your indoor cook space flow into an outdoor dining area. Here, a sliding window opens to create a seamless pass-through between the kitchen and patio, lending the feel of an outdoor kitchen without all of the construction (or the double appliances).


Blend Into Nature

outdoor kitchen ideas
Victoria Pearson

Not everyone wants to look out onto their green lawn and see a sleek metal or marble kitchen—and that's okay! To craft an outdoor cooking space that blends into your backyard, use rustic finishes like reclaimed wood. You can even take it a step further and go for an equally outdoorsy cooking method like the impressive wood-and-iron smoking pit seen in this Nathan Turner-designed space.

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Take Cover

blue outdoor kitchen
Francesco Lagnese

We can't all live in places that get 360 days of sunshine a year. (Ahem, we're jealous of you, Californians.) But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy an outdoor kitchen when it's cloudy or cold. For year-round use, consider a fully covered space. You'll get the best of both worlds: a spot to chef out that's protected from the elements but still open to warm breezes when they're in season.

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