Build Your Own Earth Oven

Earth ovens are more efficient and environmentally friendly than conventional ovens, and the flavor of earth oven cuisine is unbeatable — and these ovens are just as fun to make as they are to use!

| June 24, 2011

The following is an excerpt from Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century by Dick and James Strawbridge (DK Publishing, 2010). 

Few tastes compare to the stone-baked flavor you get from cooking in a traditional earth oven. They can be used for everything from bread and pizzas to pies. On an environmental front, the simple clay structure and use of carbon-neutral wood fuel makes cooking in an earth oven a low-impact option. The cost of building one is next to nothing, and the process, while a bit messy, is a lot of fun. (You may find it helpful to refer to this illustration of the authors’ earth oven as you follow the building instructions below. — MOTHER) 

Earth Oven Materials and Tools

Tape measure
Garden sieve
Rolling pin
Clay (dig your own if possible)
Bricks or cinder blocks
Stone slabs

Earth Oven Instructions

Build the Stand 

1. Build a firm base. We used some spare cinder blocks. Keep it level and build the structure up to a comfortable working height for cooking.

2. Prepare a solid floor for your oven. It must have a smooth surface. We used a couple of old paving slabs.

6/30/2011 8:30:23 AM

Teaser articles inspire me to dig deeper, do my own research, think and stretch. There's a very detailed book on building earthen ovens: "Build Your Own Earth Oven" by Kiko Denzer which has EVERYTHING you need to know. It's inexpensive and, I think, from M.E.News. We have plans to build one this summer.

6/29/2011 4:23:33 PM

Excellent introductory article. I highly recommend a good wood fired brick oven. A bit more involved to build, but very permanent!! We have a 42"er that I built last summer using the free plans and helpful forum at We can heat soak the oven with two or three armloads of wood and, since it is properly built and well insulated, we can cook in it for 4-5 DAYS!!! Talk about efficient. Saves electricity and overcoming a/c having to overcome the heat ion the house. We've cooked everything from cookies and sweet rolls to pizza, stews, prime rib and casseroles! Read up on wood fired brick ovens!

6/29/2011 1:57:50 PM

Many of these articles assume that the reader knows at least the basics of operation. They are intended only to teach the building concepts. There are many cookbooks available that will let you know how hot the oven needs to be for what you want to make, and other articles, videos, etc, on how to build a fire. They are all different concepts, some overlap, others don't, and the authors can't necessarily cover every facet (building, usage, recipes, etc) of a piece of equipment. The whole idea of books like these is learning to be *self*-sufficient. As far as wood containing all of those chemicals that are so hazardous - that depends largely upon the wood you choose (chemically treated wood would be very unwise), and how you compare it to using coal or gas - or electricity that depends on coal or gas for your cooking/baking needs.

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