15 Outdoor Kitchen Ideas For Outstanding Al Fresco Entertaining

These outdoor kitchens are a summertime host’s dream come true.

Outdoor Kitchen


There’s few simple pleasures quite like enjoying a nice meal outside on a warm day. A pretty patio or backyard setup can feel like paradise combined with something tasty to nibble on and good company to enjoy. The one downside that could put a damper on this heavenly scene, would be the constant need to run inside. Any al fresco host or regular outdoor diner knows the pain of having to go inside multiple times throughout the meal to grab what’s needed for the next course. Not only is it annoying, balancing platters and whatnot as you go, but you're likely letting those pesky gnats into your home with each passage! The solution, of course, is to avoid the need for these trips altogether. An outdoor kitchen is just the thing you need.

Complete with a kitchen, cooler, storage, and grill, an outdoor kitchen is a summertime host’s and griller’s dream come true . Like an indoor kitchen renovation , building one of these can be a pricy investment depending on the scale, but that doesn’t stop us from fantasizing about easy, breezy outdoor dining for the future. Here’s our favorite outdoor kitchen ideas with serious open-air entertaining potential.

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Under An Awning

Outdoor Kitchen Made with Concrete
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lydia Pursell

Create a compact kitchenette under an awning to keep your cooking supplies dry. This hard-working outdoor spot has everything you need to cater a delightful outdoor meal with some prep indoors before the guests arrive.

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Coastal Kitchen

While this stunner isn't a full-blown kitchen per se, it is quite an impressive set-up for being out in the elements. With its shimmery tile backsplash, open shelving, mini fridge, wine fridge, and slate floor tiles, it’s a no brainers of a hangout for a
Photo: Rick Lew

While your indoor kitchen can be as polished as you please, the outdoor one is a space to have fun decorating with motifs that reflect the nature nearby. Take design cues from the great outdoors, like this kitchen with nautical decals and tile that glimmers like the ocean.

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Warm Porch Kitchen

The Outdoor Kitchen
Tria Giovan

A screened-in porch makes for a stellar kitchen space. This way, you have all the pleasures of outdoor dining without having to brave the elements too much.

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Grill Master's Station

Weber Genesis II E-315 Gas Grill

The Home Depot

In addition to a trusty propane grill , make space for all your barbecue needs with an outdoor island or prep station. With this set-up, you'll be the most envied barbecuer in the neighborhood.

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Light And Breezy Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen
Photo: Charles Walton IV

Almost always, we'll agree that Southern design reigns supreme. However, sometimes it's nice to welcome in that island style. Just because you live in the mountains or the plains doesn't mean that your outdoor kitchen can't look straight off a Mediterranean island postcard.

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Fish Prep Station

Fish Prep Station
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn, Robbie Caponetto

For avid fishers, a spot like this can save the day. Rather than having to trek the day's catch inside, fresh fish can come straight from the water, onto the prep station, to the grill, and into guest's eager mouths.

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Fireside Kitchen

Outdoor Rooms Pool House
Photo: Ralph Anderson; Styling: Leigh Anne Montgomery

The urge to entertain outdoors doesn't end when the weather begins to chill. An outdoor or patio fireplace extends the al fresco dining season to be all year long. An outdoor heater or two can help too!

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Outdoor Bar

Kurk Homes Southern Living Showcase Home outdoor kitchen

Laurey W. Glenn

Picture this: You're lounging at your open-air bar, sipping glass of wine, and taking in the warm weather and picturesque views. Doesn't that sound like heaven on earth? If you're installing an outdoor kitchen, this is one addition to strongly consider.

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Bring The Party Outside

2021 Idea House Outdoor Kitchen
Laurey W. Glenn

A seating area near the outdoor kitchen ensures that even the person cooking on the grill can get in on the conversation. With a setup like this, you'll be everyone's favorite host all season long.

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Pavilion Kitchen

Lakeside Cabin Makeover: Outdoor Kitchen
Photo: Laurey Glenn, Styling: Matthew Gleason

Rain or shine, an outdoor pavilion will make for perfect entertaining. This lakeside one is pretty as a peach with retro appliances, Adirondack chairs, a picnic table, and Americana decor.

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Outdoor Pizza Oven

Dan's Pizza Dough
Photo: Quentin Bacon

A wood-fired pizza oven will make yours the most desirable backyard in town. Invest in one of these and be ready to host many pizza parties to come.

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Breezy Bar Cart

Set up a drink station with a signature cocktail—in batch form.
Laurey W. Glenn

In addition to the spread of small bites lined up along your outdoor buffet, don't forget to offer your guests a beverage. Set up an attractive bar cart with everything you need to mix together your favorite porch cocktails .

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Cabana Kitchen

Amy Berry Highland Park House in Dallas, Texas
Hector Manuel Sanchez

For those afraid of leaving their outdoor kitchens to brave the elements, a cabana kitchen like this one is the best of all worlds. A cute, fully-stocked cabana allows you to cook away in the shade without ever really leaving the party.

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Shed-Side Dining

Lowcountry Style Outdoor Kitchen and Storage Shed
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Page Mullins

Whether you've got a garden shed ready to go or a bungalow in the backyard prepared for multi-generational living , you have the makings for the sweetest outdoor cooking space to dine in as you watch the summer sun set. Take this opportunity to build an outdoor kitchenette right on the side of the structure.

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Inside-Out Kitchen

This kitchen has a great sense of symmetry and order, which lends itself well to frequent entertaining," says interior designer Melissa Warner Rothblum. The adjoining outdoor dining and living area, accessible via a pair of French
Photo: Dominique Vorillon Stylist: Sunday Hendrickson

If an outdoor kitchen is too far out of reach, we've found a delightful middle ground. This kitchen opens right up into outdoor entertaining space, then when you're done, you can close the doors to make it fully indoors again.

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