How Much Does an Outdoor Kitchen Cost?
Outdoor kitchen costs range between $6,121 and $25,180, with a national average of $15,534, but they offer a high return on investment.
- The typical range for outdoor kitchen costs is $6,121 to $25,180 with a national average of $15,534.
- Outdoor kitchen cost factors include size, materials, appliances, features, installation, labor, permits, framework, flooring, countertops, cabinets, and utilities. Costs can also depend on whether the kitchen is prefab or modular.
- Added space for entertaining, lower energy costs, convenience, luxury lifestyle, and return on investment are some of the reasons homeowners install outdoor kitchens.
- Some elements of installing an outdoor kitchen may be manageable for a homeowner, but others, such as installing utility lines, must be left to a professional.
Many homeowners choose to step up their entertaining game by adding an outdoor kitchen to their backyard patio. Homeowners who have taken on this challenging yet rewarding adventure quickly fall in love with the new outdoor space that allows them to enjoy warm (or cool) summer evenings. Anyone who knows they’d love to have an outdoor kitchen but are wondering “How much does an outdoor kitchen cost?” is in the right place.
According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, outdoor kitchen costs range from $6,121 to $25,180. There is almost no limit to how extravagant it’s possible to go with outdoor kitchens, but most homeowners keep the cost to an average of $15,534. Typical construction costs for an outdoor kitchen are based on materials, labor, plumbing, and specialty features. This guide explores the specifics of what homeowners can expect when it comes to the cost of an outdoor kitchen.
Factors in Calculating Outdoor Kitchen Cost
The factors that determine the cost of outdoor kitchens are complex and varied, especially since there is a lot of customization available. Homeowners might build a simple outdoor kitchen with a grill and counter space, while others might create an entire wraparound stone structure with grills, sinks, pizza ovens, lighting, roofing, and seating. The size, materials used, appliances, plumbing, electrical, and labor drive the majority of outdoor kitchen costs. Homeowners can use these factors to answer the question, “How much is an outdoor kitchen?”
It’s easy to guess that the larger the outdoor kitchen, the more it will cost. It could even be necessary to extend the patio’s footprint to accommodate it, which also increases the cost. For a small kitchenette that is 100 square feet or less, homeowners can expect to pay between $3,200 and $10,000. The largest outdoor kitchens reaching 400 square feet or more can cost $16,000 and up. Homeowners will want to consider the size of kitchen they want to build based on available space and how much entertaining and cooking will be done in the new outdoor kitchen.
Anyone who has paid the cost to remodel a kitchen will know that the choice of materials can make or break the budget. Similarly, the materials used in an outdoor kitchen will have one of the most significant cost impacts on the project. Building a plain concrete patio is often cheaper than a custom paver patio costs, but it’s not as appealing if an additional goal is to make an eye-catching outdoor space. The following are several popular materials used in building outdoor kitchen structures:
|Material||Cost per Square Foot (Labor and Materials)|
|Brick veneer||$15 to $25|
|Manufactured stone||$15 to $25|
|Natural stone||$25 to $45|
|Standard brick||$25 to $35|
|Stucco||$3 to $6|
Appliances and Features
When building a second kitchen, it’ll be necessary for a homeowner to consider which appliances they want to install. A grill is the most common item and averages $100 to $5,000 before installation. However, it may also be useful to add an outdoor kitchen sink ($215 to $630), a gas griddle or range, and a full-size or mini-fridge ($400 to $4,000). Additional features could include lower and upper cabinets, drawers, lighting, and shading. Below are some additional appliances and their costs.
|Appliance||Cost (Materials Only)|
|Dishwasher||$400 to $2,000|
|Grill||$100 to $5,000|
|Garbage disposal||$100 to $1,100|
|Ice maker||$300 to $2,000|
|Refrigerator||$400 to $4,000|
Installation, Labor, and Permits
Building permits and their costs vary by location, and a contractor will typically roll these costs into the total bill. On average, building permits range from $220 to $2,000. Installation and labor will be a significant part of the average cost of an outdoor kitchen, and these costs will also vary by location. On average, installation alone makes up between 20 and 40 percent of the entire project cost. A general contractor will cost between $3,000 and $12,000 or between 10 percent and 20 percent of the total project cost. A gas engineer will charge an average of $45 to $1,500 for labor to install gas lines. If an electrician is needed, homeowners can expect to pay for 6 to 10 hours of work at a rate of $50 to $100 per hour. And installing new plumbing could average $350 to $2,000 for a sink and fridge.
|Electrician||$50 to $100 per hour|
|Gas engineer||$45 to $1,500|
|General contractor||$3,000 to $12,000|
|Plumber||$350 to $2,000|
Prefab vs. Modular
Homeowners who are aching to have an outdoor kitchen but have a limited budget may find a prefabricated structure to be the perfect solution. Prefab models are fabulous outdoor kitchens that look great, are easy to install, and don’t break the bank. Prefab kitchens cost between $200 and $500 per linear foot on average. The drawback is that these kitchens don’t tend to last as long, so it’s a good idea for homeowners to factor that into their decision.
Alternatively, for a long-term investment, another option is a ready-to-assemble (RTA) or modular outdoor kitchen. These are often built with an engineered concrete composite that’s powder coated for more visual appeal. Modular outdoor kitchen kits can be installed easily once the plumbing and electrical are in place. RTA kitchens are a mid-range price between prefab and contractor-built outdoor kitchens.
Framework and Flooring
The framework makes up a fair portion of an outdoor kitchen estimate. Outdoor kitchen plans vary in size, design, and height, so homeowners will want to choose what fits their needs and budget. It could be as small as a 6-foot-long counter and cabinets with a grill or a 10-foot by 20-foot L-shaped kitchen with all the appliances. The framework can be made of prefab materials or typical stucco, brick, or stone.
Flooring is an essential element for homeowners to consider. An old, crumbling patio will need to be redone to handle the new structure. Contractors recommend concrete patios due to their durability, but it’s also possible to build a decorative paver or brick patio as well. On average, a patio costs $8 to $20 per square foot, and materials like flagstone pavers are on the higher end of that range. The costs for different flooring materials are below.
|Flooring Material||Cost per Square Foot (Labor and Materials)|
|Brick pavers||$8 to $25|
|Concrete||$3 to $8|
|Decking||$30 to $60|
|Gravel||$1 to $4|
|Natural stone||$3 to $35|
|Permeable pavers||$10 to $30|
Countertop materials range from tile to concrete to granite to teak. The cost of countertops can fall anywhere from $6 to $185 per square foot, but they’re an essential part of the outdoor kitchen, so it’s important for homeowners to choose wisely. They’ll want to opt for the choice that matches the overall design but will stand up to the wear and tear that’s expected—not to mention the weather elements in the region. Most homeowners spend between $25 to $100 per square foot for their countertops.
Cabinets are an important part of the outdoor kitchen that are installed during the framing process. This feature can provide some additional storage and allow outdoor chefs to keep their tools and dishes handy. While the cost to build outdoor kitchen cabinets is similar to the cost of kitchen cabinets for an indoor kitchen, outdoor cabinets generally require some additional weatherproofing to withstand the elements and may also need refinishing down the road. Cabinet refinishing costs $2,975 on average. Outdoor kitchen cabinets can be finished in a variety of materials:
|Material||Cost per Square Foot|
|Stucco||$3 to $6|
|Manufactured stone||$15 to $25|
|Brick veneer||$15 to $25|
|Standard brick||$25 to $35|
|Natural stone||$25 to $45|
Plumbing and Gas Lines
Almost every outdoor kitchen project will need plumbing, gas, or electrical work. If the kitchen will have a gas grill and a sink, then licensed professionals will need to do the installation. If a general contractor leads the job, they will employ the necessary subcontractors. Homeowners can expect to pay an average of $0.50 to $8 per linear foot for adding plumbing lines to an outdoor kitchen and $15 to $25 per linear foot to run gas lines. If a gas heater is going to be added eventually, now is the time for the homeowner to get the lines pulled to avoid paying for extra time and labor later.
Having an electrician wire an outdoor kitchen is an essential step to truly enjoy an outdoor space all year whether installing an electric grill or other appliances that need electricity. Still, most homeowners also opt to add electrical outlets throughout their patios so they can add lighting, fans, or TVs for game day. If the budget allows, adding extra outlets can come in handy for things like electric heaters or speakers. Electricians charge between $50 and $100 per hour, and most jobs take 6 to 10 hours to complete.
Additional Costs and Considerations
There are almost always a few unexpected elements to consider for any construction project. To complete the outdoor kitchen, it might be necessary for a homeowner to consider enclosing it against the weather. And lighting, storage, and ease of maintenance are other considerations for homeowners to take into account when contemplating the cost of building an outdoor kitchen.
No region is free from foul weather, so an additional cost will include deciding how to shelter the outdoor kitchen within the budget. Options include an awning or a pergola to provide shade or an additional structure to protect from wind or driving rain. Pergolas average between $2,100 and $5,600, gazebos average $2,950 to $5,300, and awnings cost $2,800. There are variations with all of these that a contractor can show examples of and explain.
Installing lighting will be crucial for enjoying an outdoor kitchen space whenever the sun isn’t shining. Aside from the electrical costs, expect to pay $260 per light fixture. Some homeowners choose to string lights around the edges of the patio, but they might not be bright enough to read the temperature on a meat thermometer.
Customizations and Add-Ons
Depending on how the backyard is set up, it might be a good idea for a homeowner to add a privacy fence to keep nosy neighbors from spying on a private evening (or from seeing whatever electronics might be out). Additionally, if there is room in the budget, outdoor kitchen pizza ovens are popular, as well as beer taps, soft drink dispensers, wine coolers, or warming drawers.
|Add-Ons||Cost (Labor and Materials)|
|Fire pit||$200 to $3,000|
|Fireplace||$1,500 to $20,000|
|Furniture||$300 to $5,000|
|Outdoor heater||$100 to $300|
|Pizza oven||$800 to $2,000|
|Wine cooler||$400 to $2,000|
Pest Control and Maintenance
Since food naturally attracts pests, homeowners will want to consider the cost of an effective and reliable pest control company. The first line of defense is to keep the outdoor kitchen clean and free of crumbs, grease, and food, but a pest professional is invaluable for preventing an infestation of ants or mice before it happens. On average, a visit from a pest control service will cost homeowners between $200 and $600.
Additionally, while planning an outdoor kitchen, homeowners will want to consider how easy each element will be to maintain if there is a problem. Each appliance should be easy to access. Finally, homeowners will want to keep an eye on the patio, countertops, and other areas to check for signs of cracking or bowing, as catching a problem early can prevent more costly repairs later. It’s also worth noting that having the kitchen cleaned and resealed every few years will keep it in tip-top shape; this will cost $300 to $500.
Outdoor Kitchen Cost by Type of Kitchen
One challenging part of coming up with outdoor kitchen designs is deciding how many features and appliances the kitchen will have. Choices will largely depend on the space a homeowner has to work with, their budget, and how often they plan to use the outdoor kitchen. It may be worth hiring a kitchen designer to help figure out the best use of the space. Kitchen design costs start at about $4,260.
|Kitchen Type||Cost (Labor and Materials)|
|Kitchenette||$3,200 to $10,000|
|Small||$3,200 to $30,000|
|Medium||$8,000 to $50,000|
|Large||$16,000 and up|
A kitchenette is the smallest and least costly outdoor kitchen option. It can be a great backyard addition for grill masters who find that they need a bit more space when cooking. At a minimum, most kitchenettes include counter space, a grill, and one or two extras such as a sink or a fridge. Homeowners can expect to pay between $3,200 and $10,000 for a kitchenette.
Small outdoor kitchens typically fall between 100 and 200 square feet, allowing for a few more features than a kitchenette. Common options include dishwashers, ranges, and sinks. They may also incorporate more cabinet or counter space. Most small outdoor kitchens cost between $3,200 and $30,000.
Homeowners who have as much as 200 to 400 square feet to devote to an outdoor kitchen may choose a medium-size plan. With plenty of room for bar seating, extra appliances, and additional counter space, a medium outdoor kitchen typically costs $8,000 to $50,000.
For those who entertain large numbers of people on a regular basis, a large outdoor kitchen provides plenty of space for preparing and serving food. Usually framed in a U or L shape, large outdoor kitchens allow for a wide variety of appliances like pizza ovens, full-size refrigerators, smokers, and more. They will have ample storage and counter space, and they may also include a dining area. An outdoor kitchen island costs more than a bar because of the extra countertops, but it can make the space feel roomier. For a large outdoor kitchen, homeowners can expect to pay a minimum of $16,000.
Benefits of Building an Outdoor Kitchen
Now that the question of “How much does it cost to build an outdoor kitchen?” is answered, it’s time for homeowners to identify whether this investment is worth the cost. Building an outdoor kitchen isn’t the cheapest project to take on, but it can provide excellent benefits for the homeowner.
Additional Entertainment and Living Space
Not everyone has the luxury of a large kitchen and dining area inside the home, so adding extra outdoor cooking and living space can be a huge blessing. In some cases, it’s cheaper than extending a house over an existing patio. It’s also a great way to take advantage of the mental and physical health benefits of spending time outdoors in the fresh air. It isn’t out of the question to begin dining on the new outdoor patio most nights the weather permits. And if lighting and heating options are also included, it could even be enjoyed year-round, depending on the region.
Lower Energy Costs
Turning on an oven during the height of summer adds too much heat to the kitchen. With an outdoor kitchen, grilling meat and vegetables outdoors won’t raise the house’s interior temperature. Not only will it provide the option to eat healthier, but the monthly energy bill is likely to be lower since the AC won’t have to work so hard to compensate for the extra heat.
After building a complete outdoor kitchen structure, there will be more room to prep meals and juggle the cooking of multiple items. This is more obvious when factoring in how little space there is to prep and cook with only a freestanding grill. Counter space, a sink, drawers, and cabinets will prove to be convenient compared with a clunky old grill.
Having additional entertaining space that expands a home’s footprint will create a sense of abundance. An outdoor kitchen will quickly become the envy of friends and neighbors.
Return on Investment
As is always the concern with any home improvement project, homeowners want to make sure their investment will pay off. Outdoor kitchen costs generally have an excellent return on investment. Even if the new outdoor kitchen is small, as long as it’s well-built, matches the home’s style, and meets the basic needs of an outdoor kitchen, it’s reasonable to expect an increase in the home’s value by about 60 percent of its cost. Some homeowners can expect a 100 to 200 percent return on investment (ROI) if they live in warmer climates—that is almost unheard of for other projects.
Outdoor Kitchen Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Since labor and installation cost so much for the average outdoor kitchen, it’s normal for homeowners to want to consider creating a DIY outdoor kitchen. There are certainly proficient DIY enthusiasts who have made their own outdoor kitchens in various ways or by handling specific tasks on their own. However, there is extensive knowledge and experience necessary to do this job well. Many homeowners wouldn’t think twice about hiring one of the best kitchen remodeling companies for their outdoor kitchen project. Since an outdoor kitchen is a construction project that includes the same elements as building a kitchen for a home, most of this project is also best left to a pro.
Only licensed professionals can install gas lines, for starters, and even though this kind of plumbing isn’t as complex as some projects, a pro will still need to help install it to avoid problems down the road. The same goes for installing new electrical wiring that’s set up on its own circuit. And in some municipalities, it might not be possible for a homeowner to obtain the permits to build an outdoor kitchen without the oversight of a licensed contractor.
Nevertheless, suppose a homeowner has some construction experience. In that case, they could certainly complete the tasks they have expertise in, such as building the pergola or installing a ready-to-assemble kitchen that has already been plumbed. Homeowners will also be involved with choosing materials, colors, and the layout to make sure the finished result matches the outdoor kitchen ideas they’ve dreamed of.
How to Save Money on Outdoor Kitchen Cost
Since the cost of outdoor kitchen projects doesn’t come with a small price tag, it’s common to look for ways to save money. Here is a list of ways to help shave some costs off this project.
- Work with what you have. Build an outdoor kitchen that fits within your existing space rather than trying to expand the space to fit the kitchen.
- Buy compact appliances. Consider using portable or compact appliances instead of full-size built-ins, as they will be much cheaper.
- Build the kitchen close to the home. Build as close to your house as possible to reduce how far plumbing, gas, and electrical need to be pulled.
- Choose a prefab kitchen. Purchase a ready-to-assemble outdoor kitchen to keep overall costs down.
- Consider seasonality. Install your outdoor kitchen after the busy summer season when there’s less demand and lower prices.
- Skip the luxury materials. Select materials that suit your style but aren’t the most expensive.
- Avoid buying new. Ask the contractor or other professional if they have any extra materials from a previous project.
- Put it on wheels. Choose a portable cart rather than building an outdoor kitchen island.
- Choose the grill wisely. Opt for a propane grill if propane is cheaper than gas in your area. You could also install an electric or charcoal grill instead of a gas grill.
- Use what you own. Place your current portable grill on the counter rather than installing an outdoor kitchen grill. (Keep in mind you’ll need to purchase the same size grill down the road when it wears out.)
- Opt for a fire pit instead of a fireplace. This will drastically reduce building costs while still allowing the homeowner and their guests to enjoy an evening fire.
- Don’t skimp on materials. Avoid using the cheapest materials since they will wear out much faster when exposed to the elements.
- Let nature do the work. Use lattice with climbing vines instead of enclosing the patio.
- Shop around. Price shop at wholesale kitchen and countertop suppliers and compare the rates your contractor can get.
- Have electricians install outlets, not fixtures. String lights are a more affordable option than installing full light fixtures.
Questions to Ask Outdoor Kitchen Construction
Deciding which contractor will best help with completing this project can be a daunting process; there’s a level of trust that needs to exist. To simplify this process, homeowners can use these questions to narrow down the choice of licensed, bonded, and insured contractors.
Before the project starts:
- How long have you been in business?
- Have you worked on many outdoor kitchens? If so, do you have a portfolio and references?
- Who hires the subcontractors? Will I have a say in those decisions?
- Who pays and supervises the subcontractors?
- Do you have suggestions for saving money while still meeting the needs I have?
- Will this contract include all materials, labor, installation, and permit costs, or will some things be billed separately?
- When can you start?
- How long will it take to complete?
- Who orders countertops, cabinets, and appliances?
- How will you ensure the enclosures and island have proper ventilation against accidental gas combustion?
During the project:
- Will my gas/electricity/water be turned off at any time during this project? If so, for how long?
- What access will workers need to the interior of my house?
- What kinds of issues do you anticipate could arise, and how will they be handled?
- What if I change my mind about something during the process?
After the project:
- Are there any warranties or guarantees on these appliances or materials?
- What kind of maintenance is involved in making sure the kitchen remains in good condition?
- What kind of cracks or other concerns should I call you about?
- Are there specific cleaning products that cannot be used on these surfaces?
- Who do I contact if I can’t get the grill to light?
Building an outdoor kitchen can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Budgeting thoughtfully and deciding on priorities, along with working with carefully chosen professionals, should make the process go more smoothly. Below are some questions that homeowners often ask as they begin the process.
Q. Can I build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs?
Metal studs make sturdy outdoor kitchens since metal is extremely durable. The only drawback is that it’s much more costly: $400 to $600 per linear foot.
Q. How do I plan and build my outdoor kitchen on a budget?
As handy as an outdoor kitchen cost calculator would be, there isn’t a way to quickly identify the exact costs of an outdoor kitchen. However, using the information here can give approximate costs and design ideas without breaking the bank.
The key is to use the existing space, build close to the house, install only the necessary utilities, and avoid extra features. Even a small space with a counter and grill will be a great improvement over a freestanding grill. And after decorating the space with plants, window boxes, and artwork, it will feel more luxurious than the budget might have allowed.
Q. Do I need to level my outdoor kitchen?
Yes. It’s important to make sure a patio is level before installing counters and appliances (which also need to be leveled before installation). Utilities and plumbing need level surfaces to avoid water pooling or buildup, and appliances operate best on level surfaces. Not to mention, not having food rolling off the counter or grill will make this extra step worthwhile.
Q. Do I need to cover my outdoor kitchen during winter?
It depends on the location. For regions with a true winter climate, it’s important to winterize the kitchen to prevent pests from building nests and to keep pipes from freezing. This includes turning off water and draining all the lines, turning off the fridge, cleaning the sink, covering the grill and other appliances, and sealing the cabinets. It might even be worth removing the faucet, as even a small bit of water can freeze and cause the pipe to burst.
Q. Can I build an outdoor kitchen out of wood?
It’s possible to build an outdoor kitchen with wood, but it’s not regular wood. Similar to what is needed to build a house, any wood used for structures outdoors needs to be pressure treated or otherwise durable enough to withstand weathering. Teak is a top option for cabinets and countertops, though it’s also one of the most expensive material choices.
Q. Do outdoor kitchens add value to the home?
Outdoor kitchens can be a great investment. As long as the kitchen is well designed and suits the house, an outdoor kitchen could deliver a 100 percent return on investment in warmer climates where the kitchen can be used year-round. In other areas of the country, an outdoor kitchen will add approximately 60 percent of its cost to the home’s value.
Q. Do I need a building permit to build an outdoor kitchen?
It’s possible, but it depends on the location and what the project entails. If any utilities are being added, then permits are probably necessary. Some municipalities also require permits for building any structure. But for a basic cabinet, countertop, and sinking a charcoal grill, there might not be any necessary permits. Talk with the contractor to find out which permits will apply to the project.
Q. How do I weatherproof my outdoor kitchen?
Talk to a contractor about which materials and methods are best for installing weatherproof materials. Ask about having cabinets weatherproofed, which usually costs $3,000 to $5,000. Also choose flooring that is easily weatherproofed. Appliances should be rated for outdoor use, and they’ll need some kind of shade if they’re being positioned in full sun. Avoid choosing hardware that could rust, and make sure all light fixtures are also rated for outdoor use.
Q. Can I put kitchen cabinets in my outdoor kitchen?
It’s not advised to use regular kitchen cabinets outdoors. Most kitchen cabinets are not weatherproofed or made of any kind of durable material to withstand changing temperatures and humidity levels. Speak to a cabinet professional about how to achieve an indoor cabinet look outdoors, if that’s the desired look.