If you are a fan of gourmet pizza and want to make your own, there’s no better way than with a backyard pizza oven. Brick pizza ovens are easy to purchase or put together, and you can create that restaurant taste of brick oven pizza.
However, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a premade brick oven. Instead, you can create your own using one of these 11 DIY pizza oven ideas. Check out some of these ideas below for the do-it-yourselfer who wants more cheesy goodness.
The History of the Pizza Oven
The pizza oven has been around for thousands of years. Although modern baking technology has transformed around it, a bare brick or stone oven is the original way to bake anything. Brick ovens have been used from Italy to northern Europe for centuries.
Although not every brick oven in history was used to make pizza, it quickly became an early use in northern Italy. Most homes had their brick ovens and would create flatbreads that eventually became pizza as we know it today.
Since the invention of the gas stove, the majority of homes no longer have brick ovens. Brick-oven pizza has become more of a delicacy than it ever was before, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not accessible to anyone with a little extra time and cash. If you are so inclined, you can make your own pizza oven like old Italians.
Why Make Your Own Pizza Oven?
While you can always buy a premade pizza oven, making your own is a more authentic way to go about it. You might feel like the pizza makers of old Italy with a homemade pizza oven, making pizza pies in an oven of your creation.
However, more than tradition, making an outdoor pizza oven on your own is both easy and much less expensive than buying a premade one. You don’t have to ship a heavy brick oven to your backyard. Instead, purchase the bricks yourself and put them together.
For a basic oven, you only need bricks, mortar, and a plan. However, it can get fancier or more ornate, and you can personalize it how you see fit. Once you have a pizza oven in your backyard, there’s no stopping you when it comes to pizza parties and all kinds of delicious dinners.
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Top 11 Easy DIY Pizza Oven Ideas
These pizza ovens are all DIY – no store-bought or premade ovens. If you find it more accessible, I’ve added a few kits and plans to the list. However, with the help of instructions, a YouTube video or two, and the resources on the internet, you should be able to construct any of these ovens with no issue.
Here are the top 11 best and easiest DIY pizza ovens for your backyard without further ado!
Classic Backyard Pizza Oven
The most iconic backyard pizza oven is the brick and mortar, dome-shaped oven. You might have seen it in a pizza restaurant or a friend’s backyard at some point, but you might have never thought you’d own one.
Surprisingly, a brick-and-mortar pizza oven is actually pretty easy to build. All you need is the proper mortar, the right kind of bricks, and a plan. There are dozens of tutorials online for the perfect backyard pizza oven, including this step-by-step video guide. However, the best one to use is whatever shape you like best.
Most wood fire pizza ovens are domed, but you can make a square-shaped oven or rounded oven if you so desire. It’s your house and your pizza, after all. As long as the range is well insulated and gets hot enough, it will work just fine. The shape is totally up to you.
Once you decide on a design, use that template to determine how much material you need. A standard pizza oven will need several bricks and enough mortar to keep them together. Some ovens have a second layer of putty along the top to smooth the overall appearance.
Mortarless Pizza Oven
Of course, you don’t technically need mortar to get the bricks hot enough for pizza. As long as you have an appropriate amount of bricks (enough to hold a pizza), you can stack them in your backyard without worrying about mortar.
A mortarless pizza oven basically consists of you creating a brick tent over your firepit. For this, you’ll need several small bricks, enough to make the sides and back of the makeshift oven. You’ll also need longer bricks (these can be cement if that’s easier to find) for the actual pizza trays and top of the oven.
To make the oven, you’ll stack the smaller bricks into four walls. After the first layer, you can place the larger brick or cement block that the pizza will sit on. Then make another layer of bricks and top it with the roof of the oven. Generally, this takes about 25 small bricks and two large ones.
The benefits of a mortarless pizza oven are its portability and reusability. If you need to move, you can unstack the bricks and take them with you. It’s even possible to bring your bricks on hunting or camping trips to make your campsite the most popular in the campground.
Oil Drum Pizza Oven
If you want an even simpler version of a pizza oven, check out this tutorial for a wood fired pizza oven made out of an oil barrel. For those who have spare time and a 55-gallon vat on hand, this pizza oven is the perfect way to use the bucket and create something new.
An oil drum pizza oven involves some metal work. You’ll have to cut an opening on one end of the vat and create the appropriate lining so the range can get hot enough. However, once you’ve done that, this oil drum oven can easily make small or medium-sized pizzas.
The drum itself is the perfect shape for an oven, and when it’s turned on its side and propped up, a fire underneath heats the metal. Add a layer of metal and some bricks inside, and you have the perfect recipe for a pizza oven, using materials you can find in a regular scrapyard.
This pizza oven is a little bulky but not too heavy. It works well for those living in campers or with small backyards. You can take it down and store it very easily without worrying about permanence in your yard or balcony.
Exercise Ball and Brick Pizza Oven
Of all the materials used for a pizza oven, an exercise ball might be the most unusual choice. However, many people have used the top half of an exercise ball as the dome for their pizza oven. It’s the perfect size and shape and negates the need for excessive molding.
Of course, an exercise ball oven isn’t just a ball. The exercise ball makes an excellent mold for clay or bricks. If you like the look of an exercise ball, you can leave it on the outside of your oven as a conversation starter. Guests will wonder how you can make wood fired pizza within an exercise ball.
With half of the ball as your mold, you need a lining of clay, brick, or another flameproof and heatable material. The other part of this type of pizza oven is the base. Because you have a dome, supporting it with enough brick or concrete is crucial to prevent a ground fire. If you have a solid foundation, you can easily set the dome on top.
The cheap exercise ball pizza oven takes a little more work but can still be made from the pieces found around your home or backyard. With a little extra cement and some work, you can use your old exercise equipment to make the best pizzas your backyard has ever seen!
Cement Pizza Oven
While brick pizza ovens are the original Italian way, all you need to make a pizza oven is a material that can safely heat up to 700 or 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Most indoor ovens max out at 500℉, which is why they can’t quite make pizzas to the same temperature as a brick oven restaurant does.
Cement is one of the simplest materials to get a hold of and holds the heat just as well as brick. It doesn’t look as rustic, but you can get the speedy baking at a high temperature. All you need is a base, a mold, and the cement needed to fill the mold.
With cement, you can make your oven whatever shape you desire. As long as you form the proper mold, your range can be as large or as small as necessary. It doesn’t have to be dome-shaped or rectangular; with a cement mold, you can be more creative.
However, cement pizza ovens are pretty permanent features. Once you set the foundation and pour it into the mold, the cement will harden and be pretty impossible to move (without smashing it apart, of course). If you plan on moving to a new house eventually, you’ll have to make a new pizza oven when you get there.
Clay Pizza Oven
Similar to cement, clay is a permanent, moldable solution for a wood fired pizza oven. While you won’t pour clay into a mold, you will still need to mold it and let it harden. Once clay hardens, either with heat or time, it will stay hard until it breaks. However, clay ovens do a great job of baking pizza perfectly.
Clay has been an oven material for thousands of years, even longer than brick. Before it was used in ovens, it was used in kilns to make pottery and even glass. However, clay is a great material for pizza baking as well and can be an attractive feature in your yard.
A clay oven is constructed the same way as a cement or brick oven. You will need a base of cement blocks or bricks and a dome or oven on top. This shape is pretty universal – it’s possible to use a cement tutorial and switch out the materials, as long as you know the correct temperature and mixing time of clay.
If you choose clay, you will need to find a type that isn’t affected by rainwater (or keep your pizza oven on the patio or in the garage). However, many hardware and construction stores sell clay that mixes like cement and is just as moldable. You can have all the benefits of cement with the beauty of clay.
Steel Pizza Oven
Although you might not think that steel pizza ovens work as well as heat-holding brick or clay ovens, there are ways to make a stainless steel pizza oven that can blast pizzas in under two minutes. With the proper materials, you can create stainless steel ovens that reach up to 1000℉ for making pizzas.
Steel ovens are generally lighter and easier to move than brick or clay pieces. If you make this, you don’t have to worry about leaving it at your house when you move out of state. However, it doesn’t have the same charring that brick ovens give to a pizza.
However, this is by far the most complicated process out of any on this list. A steel oven requires machinery, welding, and other complex tasks. If you don’t have access to the machinery or experience doing the metalwork, it may be worth it to buy a metal pizza oven or to choose a different method for your pizzas.
Pizza Oven Kit
If you are new to doing it yourself or unsure about all of this cement pouring and metal work, there are ways to make your own pizza oven without getting entirely so hands-on. Instead of buying a premade pizza oven or having one installed by a professional, you can purchase a pizza oven-making kit and make it yourself.
Of course, this is going to be a little harder than a regular furniture kit. You will probably need some extra hardware to purchase bricks, clay, or cement. However, the instructions will be clear and easy to follow with a kit. All of the necessary plans and pieces are a part of it.
Unfortunately, premade pizza oven kits don’t leave any room for creativity. It will look nice and put together, but you won’t be able to change the size or shape of the oven itself. If you don’t mind and want a predetermined, easy-to-put-together range, try out a kit.
Indoor Pizza Oven
Part of the reason that pizza ovens are so popular is that regular ovens don’t work to heat pizza in the same way. They can’t get as hot or cook as quickly. However, there are ways to trick your regular oven into cooking pizzas the same way you would in a brick oven.
With a broil setting, a few bricks, and a good cooking sheet, you can make the same blistering, puffy pizza that would come out of a few minutes in a brick oven. The oven won’t get up to 800 or 900℉, but it will convince the pizza to cook in a remarkably brick-oven-like way.
All you need to do is place a cooking sheet on the top shelf of your oven. Put a few baking bricks (or a pizza stone) on that to absorb the heat and release it onto your dough. You can also use baking steel, but that is a bit more expensive. If you’re trying to save money, buy a few fire bricks and place them in your oven.
The key to using your oven as a pizza oven is to let your pizza bricks (or pizza stone or baking steel) heat up thoroughly. Put the broiler on until your dough goes in, so the rocks store as much heat as possible. The pizza will cook quickly with the heat from the oven and the extra stored in the stones.
Pompeii Pizza Oven
Named after the famous volcano disaster in ancient Italy, the Pompeii pizza oven is a specific style of stove. This design is seen in most Italian pizzerias, private homes, and cafes. It has the classic rounded dome with a circular door to allow a pizza server to insert and extricate the pies properly.
Of course, you can make the Pompeii pizza oven out of any material. The traditional Pompeii pizza oven is made of brick and mortar with a clay top. It sits on a brick fireplace and holds as much heat as possible. The chimney rises from directly above the door, letting all the smoke escape without ruining the taste of the pizza.
A long, thin entrance is what makes this kind of oven work so well. However, it also makes it difficult to make from scratch. The molding of the cement or bricks can be hard, but it is one of the best ways to ensure the strongest and most authentic brick pizza oven available.
Whether you make this out of bricks, clay, or cement, you should follow instructions to complete a Pompeii pizza oven. Here is part one of a four-part instruction video. It’s detailed but worth a watch if you’re considering the most difficult of DIY pizza ovens.
Mini Pizza Oven
While building a pizza oven is worth it in the end, it can be time-consuming and expensive. This is why I saved one of the easiest, cheapest methods until the end. If you want a quality pizza but don’t have endless time and money, try to create a miniature version of one of the big ones.
You can make a mini brick pizza oven with fire bricks and cement blocks – no mortar required. If you want something a little more permanent, purchase a smaller exercise ball and use it to create the dome on your tiny pizza oven. Start with a mini pizza oven, and if that succeeds, you can make a larger one later on.
Mini diy pizza ovens accomplish the same thing – they make great pizzas. The only differences are that everything is smaller, from the size of the stove to the size of the pie, and you won’t need as much fuel or ingredients. It’s a great way to save money while continuing to make unique pizzas.
Whether you create an authentic Pompeii brick pizza oven, a concrete and yoga ball oven, or stack some bricks on each other and bake a pizza in them, you can make great oven-baked pizza. All you need is the suitable material, the right ingredients, and a little know-how. With these ideas, you should be eating delicious pies in no time.