Raised in California and transplanted to Utah. Married my college sweetheart from Montana, and we are raising 4 nuggets together. I love all things DIY projects and doing them on a budget. I don’t mind messing up and am ok with the 90/10 rule - nothing is perfect over here and it’s fine by me! Encouraging all ‘wanna-be’ DIYers to just get out there and try it! You will be so glad you did.”
We have a family text thread where my brothers love to talk about all things food. One day my younger brother posted this DIY Outdoor Pizza Oven idea, and I got hooked. Since then we have built two and molded different ideas into our favorite design. Here I share the step by step process of each layer, the cost break down, and our experience cooking with this DIY Outdoor Pizza Oven!
NOTE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIANT LINKS, WHERE I GET COMMISSIONS IF YOU CHOOSE TO PURCHASE FROM THEM, AT NO COST TO YOU. ALL OPINIONS ARE OF MY OWN. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
We had a hard time finding very many square oven designs on the internet. So we took the two that we did find and meshed them together. I want to make sure to give both designs credit for the part they played in helping us create our outdoor pizza oven.
Chefsteps has an amazing idea on how to create an outdoor pizza oven and our design comes mostly from this youtube tutorial. The problem was we couldn’t find the same size pavers and had to make a new design.
With both of these designs we were able to create an outdoor pizza oven with the supplies we could find. We made our first one as a trial run to see if these really would work. We are so excited to report that it did!
You can watch my full YouTube video here for the building process.
NOTE: We updated this section AFTER we built this oven because we found out that concrete and pressed brick will not last for years to come. Some say it can explode, but after our research we found that THERMAL SHOCK is the main problem. Please make sure you research the materials you use before you start building. Here is what we found.
Many people say you can not use normal brick or anything of concrete because it will explode in high temperatures. I wanted to find out if this was true or not.
I watched this YouTube video from The Melbourne Fire Brick Company which helped me understand that normal brick can actually withstand higher temperatures, but what it can not stand is the THERMAL SHOCK that comes with heating them up quickly over and over again. Eventually the pressed brick will crumble because of the thermal shock which is called SPALLING. After testing different pressed bricks they say it will not explode, but will crumble after a few years.
This article from Forno Bravo discusses different firebrick to use. And this article by Sciencing.com shares different alternatives you can use besides firebrick. They say firebrick is best, and you can also use clay brick. They do not recommend pressed concrete brick. Because of this new information I will be looking for alternatives to share soon. I did find this website that sells and ships old clay brick if you are interested.
Conclusion? I would use FIRE BRICK if you can access it just to be sure it will last. It is more costly. You can also use CLAY BRICK over PRESSED BRICK. I encourage you to research your brick before building.
The first oven worked well, but we decided we wanted it higher up off the ground, so we took it apart and started again. The outdoor pizza oven we are sharing today can be made with or without the base. Total for this project we spend about $140.
This is a heavy supply list so you will want a truck bed or larger car to fit it all in. I loaded it by myself and it took some time, so I recommend gloves to help not pinch your fingers! Additionally, the steel bar will be cut in half to 24 inches. So if you can find that size then purchase four bars at 24 inches instead of two bars at 48 inches.
When prepping your foundation, make sure that you are a safe distance away from the house or other flammable areas. Additionally consider the safety of children and animals when picking your area, because this oven will become very hot.
Your ground needs to be even and level so the pavers sit well. We laid 3/8 gravel rock, then flattened it out to make sure it was level. A 3 foot 2×4 helped us pat down the area.
You will start the foundation base by laying four 16 inch x 16 inch pavers. Use a level to make sure they are straight and even, and especially that they are secure.
Next up is the foundation which is three layers of the 8 inch by 12 inch wall blocks (stone). You can honestly do as many layers of the stone that you would like, we just chose to do three layers. Place the first stones in the center of the foundation base and then add two onto each of the sides.
Add another layer of stone, turning the pieces this time.
Make one more layer, adding the stones in the same direction you added the first layer.
Now we will put together the oven. It is very simple and like a lego kit. Make sure to follow the directions about “vents” because this will ensure good airflow.
The first time we built this part, we did not leave space for air flow. The next time around we decided to try and it worked so much better.
Here you place four 12 inch by 12 inch pavers to create your oven base. Make sure to space them apart about 3/4 inches to allow air to flow underneath the fire.
Now you are going to build the oven, which consists of bricks for the first 4 levels, then metal braces and 8 inch by 16 inch pavers for the top. It is like a Lincoln Log set, just follow along with the photos to make yours!
Place 7 bricks down onto the Oven Base, 3 in the back and 2 on each side.
Place 8 bricks down on top of the first layer, but having 2 in the back and 3 on each side. You may want to use bricks to hold the end pieces into place while waiting to get the 3rd layer on.
Add 7 more bricks just like you did on the first layer, 3 in back and 2 on each side.
Lay 8 bricks, just like the second layer, 2 in back and 3 on each side.
Now you add the oven top. Grab your metal braces, 3 bricks and 3 of the 8 inch by 16 inch pavers. Place the two metal braces onto the brick first, spaced about 8 inches apart.
Then add 3 bricks to the back of the oven. The middle brick will need to be pushed back about 1 inch to allow air flow.
Once that is finished you will add your 3 pavers to the top.
Add another layer of bricks, 3 to the back and 2 on each side. Make sure the middle back brick is also moved back by one inch to help with air flow.
Add another layer of brick in the exact same way as you just did. They will be matching, except the middle back brick will now be even with the other bricks. You have created a small air tunnel.
You are almost done! Now add the other 2 metal braces at 8 or so inches apart.
Finally add the last 8 inch by 16 inch pavers to create a top. We pushed them forward so they are not flush with the back. You can add 3 bricks here if you would like to as well.
Your oven is done! This is what it will look like from all sides.
You will want a pizza peel to get your pizza in and out of the oven. Here are a few that we like:
The oven will take about 15 minutes to heat up once you start the fire. The bricks will be HOT so be careful (especially with animals and kiddos). Depending on the dough, your pizza will cook from 8 to 15 minutes.
This oven is inexpensive and fun to do. Make sure to pin the image to save for later! It makes for a great family evening too. Let us know if you have any questions!