How Much Do Outdoor Kitchens Cost?

outdoor kitchen with natural wood and brick
  • 8-150 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 3,000-30,000

A few generations ago, outdoor cooking was the standard. Then our lives, including our kitchens, moved indoors. Now we have all the luxuries inside, yet we crave that outdoor connection.

The good news is, you can have the best of both worlds with the comforts of a modern kitchen in your outdoor area. An outdoor kitchen adds to your living space, creates a focal point for entertaining, and enhances outdoor activities.

There are many factors to consider when calculating potential costs and formulating a budget for such an endeavor. You’ll need to ask yourself what type of outdoor kitchen experience you’re looking for. Here are some topics to get the ideas flowing.

Size

Probably the biggest factor in your budget will be the size of your outdoor kitchen.

While you may have grandiose plans for a long, L-shaped stone countertop and cabinets with built-in cooking surface, a smaller surface with supplemental shelving may do the job with a much gentler attack on the pocketbook.

As you prioritize the different criteria and materials you plan to use, remember each square foot will cost you more, from foundational support to the roof overhead.

Your outdoor kitchen won’t be as large as your indoor space, yet you want to ensure it’s spacious enough to suit your needs. To get an idea of space, take your existing grill and imagine workspaces on both sides of it.

How much room do you need? Do you regularly haul large trays in and out of the house or does a single plate suit your typical serving?

Will you have more than one cooking surface? What about having room for drinks, spices, cooking tools, and serving dishes?

The Foundation

Once you’ve decided on a size, you’ll need some way to outline and define your kitchen space. Even more importantly, you’ll want a level foundation to build upon. This can be done with paver stones, bricks, poured concrete, decking material, and other options.

If your outdoor kitchen will be elevated, include safety handles and banisters as needed.

outdoor kitchen stove with stone surfaces

Type of Cooking Device

The focal point of your outdoor kitchen will be your cooking surface. You’ll need to decide what that looks like for you. If you already have a grill you love, you can plan your kitchen around it. If you have something else in mind, gather your measurements so you can incorporate it into the design.

When considering the cooking surface, be sure to have enough space for entertaining. Grills with an upper and lower rack allow you to keep food warm once cooked.

A larger grill means more room for chicken, burgers, salmon, or kabobs to cook at the same time. However, larger grills take up more space so consider whether that’s right for you.

You’ll also need to think about the type of fuel you’ll be using. Are you planning to hardwire electricity to your outdoor kitchen or keep it simple with a five-gallon propane tank for your grill? If you have an electric smoker, will you run an extension cord? If so, where from?

Most houses have easily accessible outdoor outlets, but if your outdoor kitchen is set away from the house or it doesn’t have adequate outlets nearby, you’ll need to consider the costs of an electrician to run additional wires and hardware. You may even need to add another circuit to the circuit box.

In addition to a grilling surface, you may want side burners as a convenient way to monitor sauces, baked beans, and other items while you’re grilling meats and vegetables.

Having side burners nearby reduces the amount of time you spend going back and forth from the stovetop inside the home.

A pizza oven is another type of cooking surface to consider, either as a stand-alone device or in conjunction with other grills and burners.

You can build a pizza oven DIY style from scratch or with a kit, or you can have one professionally installed. It’s a nice compliment to other types of cooking you may do outdoors.

outdoor kitchen with long roof

Cover

While thinking about the overall look and design aspects of your outdoor kitchen, contemplate whether you will be building any type of cover.

As you probably know, having a covered area makes the space more accessible during questionable weather. For kitchens that see three or four-season use, a roof is probably a priority.

Not only will it keep the rain and snow off your head and the cooking surface, but in the height of grilling season, a cover offers a reprieve from the relentless afternoon sun.

Your cover may be as simple as a pop-up canopy you keep up each summer or put up for special events. Maybe even a cantilever umbrella will do the trick.

However, if you want a more comprehensive cover for your outdoor kitchen, you may be considering extending the home’s roofline or building a freestanding structure with a roof.

Depending on how the sun hits the area, a pergola, with or without a covering, may do the job of sun protection, although it won’t shelter you or your grill from rain and snow.

If you already have a covered porch, this is one element you won’t have to worry about. Use it to map out the best layout for the components you’ll be adding.

Countertops

There are countless options for a countertop for your outdoor kitchen. The most common are stone or tile because they are natural materials that are accustomed to the elements.

Even within those categories you’ll have many decisions to make. Will you go with granite, quartz, soapstone, concrete, stainless steel, or something else? Let’s look at some pros and cons to consider.

For example, tile surfaces hold up well outdoors, but the grout is prone to staining and discoloration, which can make the entire surface look dated and dirty.

On the other hand, natural stones like granite and quartz are just as easy to keep clean indoors as the matching surface on your inside kitchen, but they do require some maintenance.

While concrete might bring just the look you’re going for, you’ll need to seal it every few years, so it comes with a higher maintenance tag than other options.

You’ll also want to consider the overall look of your countertop as it relates to the rest of your kitchen. If you have stainless steel appliances, a matching countertop might be too much.

Color comes into play as well, since your outdoor kitchen countertop draws in the eye in either a garish or enhancing way. The decision about material and color go hand in hand when designing your outdoor kitchen space.

The question of countertop material also works in conjunction with your decision about a cover for the space since some materials, such as stainless steel, can radiate the sun’s rays, creating a countertop that’s too hot to touch.

Appliances

Do you plan to include additional appliances in your outdoor kitchen space? If so, incorporate them into your initial design. For example, a refrigerator is a useful addition as a place to keep condiments, potato salad, burger toppings, and anything else you need for your cookout.

Adding a freezer or an ice maker will accent the drink station. You can even add a wine cooler if ice in a bucket just doesn’t do the job satisfactorily.

Warming drawers are another addition to consider for an upscale outdoor kitchen. They help when serving many dishes or catering to large crowds. You may or may not need warming drawers if you decide to simply install an outdoor oven instead.

For additional countertop cooking space, you can include a cooktop, a griddle, and small appliances like a juicer and blender.

Really there’s no limit to how closely your outdoor kitchen matches the efficiency and capabilities of your indoor space when equipped with the proper gear. You’ll just need to put these additions in the budget.

outdoor kitchen with grill and cabinets

Storage

Once you’ve figured out how big your space will be, what materials you’ll use, how you will power it, and what appliances to insist on, you’ll need to figure out storage. Obviously if you plan to have a comprehensive kitchen setup outdoors, you’ll want to have the space well stocked.

The more essential tools you have at your disposal, the fewer trips into the house that will be required. You’ll want to supply storage for dishware, paper products, pots, skillets, serving dishes and utensils, glassware, grilling tools, barware essentials, etc.

The most common way to provide storage is through cabinets. However, you can also have open shelving that hangs down from above or separate shelving units that sit nearby. If your kitchen has a wall as a backdrop, shelves or pegboard can keep you organized.

Plumbing

If you’re creating a full-scale kitchen you’re likely going to want to include a washing station. This will require a way to provide water to your kitchen as well as proper drainage for the greywater coming out of your kitchen after cleanup.

You may need to hire a plumber for these services. Even if you tackle it as a weekend warrior, you’ll want to factor in material costs.

outdoor kitchen with grill and sink

Gas/Electric

Part of your decision-making process should include whether you want to pipe natural gas or propane into the space from elsewhere in your house. This can be a significant expense that may need to be done by a professional.

Get quotes early so you can maintain an accurate budget as you move forward with your outdoor kitchen.

Permits

Another line item on your budget will require a stop at the county planning department. Bring in a rough plan for your outdoor kitchen and find out what fees you may be facing for the project.

Entertaining Space

In addition to the actual elements of your kitchen, you’re going to want some type of entertaining space. The cost of this varies widely.

For example, you could overhang one counter and add a few stools for basic outdoor bar seating, or you could equip the space with a TV, comfortable furniture, and side tables. You can also include an area rug and lighting, as well as a heater.

Of course, you’ll need a dining table for gathering once the meal is prepared, so decide if that takes shape as a picnic table, built-in bench seating, a bar-height table, converted wine barrels, or a teak table for 12.

Themes

The fun of designing your outdoor kitchen is making it exactly what you want it to be. Are you trying to replicate the feel of the Italian countryside or will your space more closely resemble a backyard hoedown?

Each material you choose contributes to the overall design so give it some thought. You might even want to cultivate a theme, such as a coastal vibe, a Mexican hacienda, a tiki bar, or an Asian bamboo garden.

So What’s My Outdoor Kitchen Going to Cost?

In addition to all of the considerations above, the location of your property and the availability of supplies will be factors. Overall though, you can expect the most basic prefabricated kitchen to run around $3,000. This is a complete setup you can order and set into place.

Although at the low end of the spectrum, you’ll still need to add in a deck or paved area as well as a cover and other additions like your grill and appliances.

A more comprehensive kitchen can easily set you back $30,000 or more depending on how much luxury and convenience you add. If you’re looking at creating an entire outdoor living space, complete with furniture and a big-screen TV, the costs add up quickly.

The average outdoor kitchen will cost around $13,000-$15,000 with all factors considered.

Remember you can save quite a bit by implementing those developing DIY skills. For example, you can build a bar, build a table, construct cabinets, or erect a pergola to save on costs. You may also be able to do the plumbing or electrical work yourself.

When it comes down to it, your backyard kitchen can be as affordable and well designed as you like. Just be sure to start with a well-laid and thoroughly thought out plan.

Learn more about Designing an Outdoor Kitchen and Outdoor Kitchen Patio: Surface Types before you get started.