Essential Outdoor Kitchen Components: What to Include for Functionality

Last updated on November 27, 2023

Discover the essential elements to include in your outdoor kitchen, transforming it into a functional and inviting space for cooking and entertaining.

Summer is here, which means it’s time to fire up the grill and enjoy some delicious meals with family and friends. But why limit your cooking skills to indoors when you can take it outside? Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular, providing a perfect setting for entertaining guests or simply enjoying a relaxing evening under the stars.

However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide what exactly to include in your outdoor kitchen. In this article, we will explore some essential features that every outdoor kitchen should have for maximum functionality and enjoyment.

So grab a cold drink and let’s get started!

What's Inside

Layout and Design

Layout and Design - Outdoor Kitchen

When it comes to designing your outdoor kitchen, the layout is crucial. You want to ensure that you have enough space for cooking and entertaining while also creating a functional flow between different areas of the kitchen.

Consider how many people you will typically be cooking for and what type of meals you plan on preparing.

One popular layout option is an L-shaped design, which allows for ample counter space and easy access to appliances. Another option is a U-shaped design, which provides even more counter space but may require more square footage in your backyard.

It’s important to keep in mind that your outdoor kitchen should complement the overall style of your home and backyard landscape. Choose materials such as stone or brick that match existing features or create contrast with complementary colors.

Appliances Selection

Outdoor Kitchen Side Burners or Power Burners

First and foremost, you want to choose appliances that are specifically designed for outdoor use. Outdoor-rated appliances are built with materials that can withstand the elements and resist corrosion.

Another important factor is the size of your outdoor kitchen. You don’t want to overcrowd the space with too many large appliances or end up with not enough counter space because of oversized equipment.

Some popular appliance options include built-in grills, side burners, flat top griddles, pizza ovens and smokers. These will allow you to cook a variety of dishes while enjoying time outside in nature.

It’s also essential to think about energy sources when choosing your outdoor kitchen’s appliance selection – propane or natural gas-powered units tend be more efficient than electric ones since they heat up faster and maintain consistent temperatures even on windy days.

Built-In Grill

outdoor kitchen countertop

It’s essential to choose a high-quality grill that can withstand the elements and provide consistent heat for cooking. When selecting a built-in grill, consider its size, fuel type, and features such as rotisserie burners or infrared searing stations.

Gas grills are popular because they’re easy to use and offer precise temperature control. They also come in various sizes to fit your space requirements.

On the other hand, charcoal grills add an authentic smoky flavor but require more time for preparation.

When it comes to size, make sure you select a grill that fits your needs without overcrowding your outdoor kitchen area. A larger cooking surface may be necessary if you plan on hosting large gatherings frequently.

Lastly, consider additional features like side burners or warming racks which can increase functionality while cooking outdoors.

Outdoor Pizza Oven

Outdoor Pizza Oven Brick

It’s perfect for making delicious, crispy pizzas with that authentic wood-fired taste. There are many different types of pizza ovens available, from traditional brick ovens to modern stainless steel models.

When selecting an outdoor pizza oven, consider the size and style that will best suit your needs. A larger oven can accommodate multiple pizzas at once or even roast meats and vegetables alongside the pies.

If you’re short on space or only plan to make small batches of pizzas occasionally, a smaller model may be more practical.

In addition to size considerations, think about fuel options when choosing an outdoor pizza oven. Wood-fired ovens provide that classic smoky flavor but require more maintenance than gas-powered models which offer convenience and ease-of-use.

Side Burner

Benefits of Using Quartzite in Outdoor Kitchens

It’s also perfect for keeping food warm while you finish grilling the main course on your built-in grill. Side burners come in different sizes and styles, so it’s essential to choose one that fits your needs and budget.

When selecting a side burner, consider the heat output as well as its fuel source. Most models use propane or natural gas but some can be converted to run on liquid propane if needed.

The heat output of a side burner is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units), which indicates how much heat it can produce per hour.

Another factor to consider when choosing a side burner is its location within your outdoor kitchen layout. You want it close enough to the grill area so that you don’t have far too travel with hot pots and pans but not too close that they interfere with each other during cooking.

Flat Top Griddle

Flat Top Griddle Outdoor

It’s an excellent addition to any outdoor kitchen, providing ample space for cooking multiple items at once. Flat top griddles come in various sizes, so it’s essential to choose one that fits your needs and the size of your outdoor kitchen.

They are typically made of cast iron or stainless steel and require proper seasoning before use.

When selecting a flat top griddle for your outdoor kitchen, consider the material quality as well as its heat distribution capabilities. Cast iron retains heat better than stainless steel but requires more maintenance due to its susceptibility to rusting if not properly seasoned or stored correctly.

Cooking Equipment

Charcoal grills

The most popular choices include gas grills, charcoal grills, and smokers. Gas grills are the most common choice due to their convenience and ease of use.

They come in various sizes and can be built-in or freestanding.

Charcoal grills offer a unique flavor that cannot be replicated with gas or electric models but require more time and effort to operate properly. Smokers are perfect for slow-cooking meats such as brisket or ribs, giving them an irresistible smoky flavor.

In addition to these traditional options, you may also consider adding other cooking equipment such as a pizza oven or flat top grill for versatility in your outdoor kitchen’s menu offerings.

Cabinets and Storage

Lighting Solutions for Outdoor Kitchens Deck

Cabinets are a great way to keep everything organized and within reach while also protecting them from the elements. Look for cabinets made from weather-resistant materials such as stainless steel or teak wood that can withstand exposure to rain, sun, and wind.

Consider the size of your outdoor kitchen when selecting cabinets; you want enough space to store everything without overcrowding the area. You may also want to include drawers or shelves in addition to traditional cabinet doors for easy access.

Another option is open shelving which provides an opportunity for displaying decorative items like plants or dishes while keeping frequently used items easily accessible.

Access Doors

quartzite kitchen outdoor durability

These doors provide easy access to the plumbing and electrical components that are necessary for a functional outdoor kitchen. Access doors come in various sizes, styles, and materials such as stainless steel or wood finishes that can match your cabinetry.

When selecting an access door, it’s essential to ensure it fits seamlessly with the rest of your design elements while providing adequate space for maintenance purposes. You don’t want a door that stands out like a sore thumb or one that is too small for you or repairmen to work on appliances behind them.

Countertop Materials

Definition of Outdoor Kitchen

First and foremost, you want a surface that is durable enough to withstand the elements and frequent use. Some popular options include granite, concrete, stainless steel, tile or natural stone.

Granite is an excellent choice as it’s heat-resistant and easy-to-clean. Concrete countertops can be customized in terms of color and texture but require regular sealing for protection against stains.

Stainless steel offers a sleek modern look while being resistant to rusting or corrosion.

Tile countertops provide endless design possibilities with various colors available; however they may crack over time due to weather changes if not installed correctly by professionals.

Natural stone such as slate or soapstone offer unique patterns but require more maintenance than other materials since they’re porous surfaces that need sealing regularly.


Choosing the right countertop material will depend on your personal style preferences along with practical considerations like durability and ease of maintenance.

Work Area/Counter Space

Outdoor Kitchen Counter Basics

When designing your outdoor kitchen, consider how much space you will need for cooking, plating, and serving. You may want to include a separate area for prepping vegetables or slicing meat so that you can keep raw ingredients away from cooked foods.

Think about the materials used in your countertops as they should be durable enough to withstand harsh weather conditions such as rain or extreme heat. Popular options include granite, concrete or stainless steel which are all resistant to stains and easy-to-clean.

Sink and Faucet Types

outdoor kitchen grill

When selecting a sink for your outdoor kitchen, consider the material it’s made of to ensure durability in harsh weather conditions. Stainless steel sinks are popular choices as they are resistant to rust and corrosion.

Faucets also play an important role in your outdoor kitchen setup. You can choose from various types of faucets such as single-handle or double-handle faucets with different spout heights and styles that match the overall design of your space.

You may want to consider installing a hot water dispenser if you plan on using your outdoor kitchen frequently throughout the year. This feature will allow you to have access to hot water instantly without having to boil it on the stove inside.

Outdoor Refrigerator

Outdoor Kitchen with Under Sink Refrigerator

It allows you to keep your food and drinks cold, fresh, and easily accessible while enjoying the outdoors. When selecting an outdoor refrigerator, it’s important to choose one that is specifically designed for outside use as they are built with weather-resistant materials that can withstand extreme temperatures and humidity levels.

Outdoor refrigerators come in various sizes ranging from compact models perfect for small spaces or balconies to larger units suitable for bigger patios or decks. Consider how much storage space you need based on the size of your family or guests.

Another factor to consider when choosing an outdoor fridge is its energy efficiency rating since it will be running continuously throughout the day. Look out for Energy Star certified models which consume less power than standard fridges without compromising performance.

Lastly, think about additional features such as adjustable shelves, interior lighting options (LED lights are ideal), door locks (to prevent unauthorized access), temperature control settings (for optimal cooling) among others depending on your needs.


outdoor kitchen dishwasher

That’s why including a dishwasher in your outdoor kitchen is a game-changer. Not only does it save you time and effort, but it also ensures that your dishes are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized for safe use.

When selecting an outdoor dishwasher, make sure to choose one that is specifically designed for outdoor use as they are built with weather-resistant materials such as stainless steel or marine-grade polymer construction which can withstand harsh elements like rain or snow without rusting or corroding over time.

Consider the size of the unit based on how many people will be using your outdoor kitchen regularly. A compact model may suffice if you have a small family while larger models may be necessary if hosting large gatherings frequently.

Ice Maker

Large Outdoor Kitchen Layout Stainless Steel Grill L-shape

It provides a convenient and continuous supply of ice for drinks and cocktails, eliminating the need to constantly refill an ice bucket or make trips inside to grab more ice. There are various types of outdoor-rated ice makers available on the market that can produce different amounts of ice per day depending on your needs.

Some models come with built-in freezers while others require a separate storage bin to keep the produced cubes frozen until use.

When selecting an outdoor-rated icemaker, consider its size and capacity as well as its installation requirements such as water supply line connection and drainage options. Also, look out for features like automatic shut-off when full or low water level alerts that help prevent damage due to overflows or leaks.

Wine Cooler

Wine Cooler Outdoor Kitchen

It’s essential to keep your wines at the right temperature for optimal taste and enjoyment. A built-in wine cooler can store your favorite bottles of red, white or sparkling wines at the perfect temperature while keeping them within reach during mealtime.

When selecting a wine cooler for your outdoor kitchen, consider its size and capacity based on how many bottles you plan to store regularly. Also, ensure that it has proper insulation and ventilation features suitable for outdoor use.

Wine coolers come in various styles with different features such as adjustable shelves or dual-zone cooling systems that allow storing both reds and whites simultaneously at their ideal temperatures. Some models also have UV-resistant glass doors that protect against harmful light exposure which can affect the quality of stored wines over time.

Waste Disposal Options

built-in trash outdoor kitchen

You don’t want to be stuck with a pile of garbage or food scraps cluttering up your beautiful outdoor space. Fortunately, there are several options available for managing waste in your outdoor kitchen.

One option is a built-in trash bin that can be easily accessed and emptied as needed. This keeps the area clean and tidy while also reducing the risk of attracting pests like flies or rodents.

Another option is a compost bin for organic waste such as vegetable peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds. Composting not only reduces landfill waste but also provides nutrient-rich soil for gardening projects.

Consider installing a garbage disposal unit under your sink if you have one in your outdoor kitchen setup. This will allow you to dispose of food scraps quickly and efficiently without having to worry about clogging up pipes or creating unpleasant odors.

Trash Bin

Outdoor Kitchen Trash Bin

It’s important to have a designated place for waste disposal to keep your outdoor space clean and tidy. Consider investing in a durable and weather-resistant trash bin that can withstand the elements and won’t rust or corrode over time.

You can choose from various sizes depending on how much waste you generate, but make sure it’s large enough to accommodate all types of garbage, including food scraps, paper products, and plastic containers.

Having a well-placed trash bin will also help with keeping pests away from your cooking area as they are attracted by leftover food scraps or other debris left lying around.

Outdoor Kitchen Lighting

outdoor kitchen lights

Not only does it enhance the ambiance of your space, but it also provides safety and functionality. There are various types of lighting options available that can be incorporated into your outdoor kitchen design.

Task lighting is a must-have for cooking areas and workspaces such as countertops and sinks. Pendant lights or under-cabinet lights are great options to provide ample illumination while preparing food.

Ambient lighting creates a warm glow throughout the entire area, making it perfect for entertaining guests during dinner parties or gatherings. String lights hung above seating areas add an inviting touch while highlighting architectural features like pergolas or trellises.

Accent lighting can be used to highlight specific elements in your outdoor kitchen such as artwork on walls or unique landscaping features around the perimeter of your space.

Bar and Seating Options

Outdoor Kitchen

When it comes to choosing the right bar and seating options for your outdoor kitchen, there are several factors to consider. First of all, think about how many people you want to accommodate at once.

If you frequently host large gatherings or have a big family, then investing in a spacious dining table with plenty of chairs might be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if space is limited or if you prefer more casual dining experiences with smaller groups of people, then installing an outdoor bar could be an excellent choice. Outdoor bars come in various shapes and sizes – from simple countertop extensions that attach directly onto your grill island to fully equipped wet bars complete with sinks and refrigerators.

When selecting seating options for your outdoor kitchen’s bar area or dining table make sure they are weather-resistant materials such as aluminum frames covered by UV-protected wicker weave fabric cushions that will withstand harsh weather conditions while still providing comfort during use.

Ultimately when designing an ideal backyard oasis don’t forget about adding some personality through decor items like colorful throw pillows on chairs which add pops-of-colors against neutral tones found throughout most modern designs today!


What is an outdoor kitchen used for?

An outdoor kitchen is used for outdoor entertaining, providing certain elements to simplify hosting guests in an open-air setting.

What essential appliances should be included in an outdoor kitchen design?

Essential appliances for an outdoor kitchen design should include a grill, refrigerator, sink, and countertop.

How do you choose durable materials for an outdoor kitchen to withstand various weather conditions?

To choose durable materials for an outdoor kitchen, consider selecting weather-resistant materials such as stainless steel, concrete, brick, and natural stone, which are designed to withstand various weather conditions.

What are some popular design layouts for outdoor kitchens that maximize functionality and entertainment space?

Popular outdoor kitchen design layouts maximizing functionality and entertainment space include L-shaped, U-shaped, straight-line, and island arrangements.

Continue reading:

Read more

Read more

Read more

Read more