Outdoor Kitchen Must Haves

What are the must-have outdoor kitchen items you need to make a rustic, wilderness-style kitchen? Here are my top five picks to help you start your own outdoor kitchen! #1: A Container Set – If you’re going to go the outdoor kitchen route, I would highly recommend starting with an outdoor-grade, heavy duty, portable set. You’ll not only want to use a set for cooking, but also for storing food and keeping it organized. Portable, sturdy containers like this one from Rubbermaid will help you get organized with your food, storage, and counter space.

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, I find myself spending more time outside. One thing I love to do is cook in my outdoor kitchen. I use it almost every day and it’s one of those things that I wish I had done sooner. This is what I use for my outdoor kitchen.

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Here we share our outdoor kitchen must-haves design guide including what it needs, what everyone wants, and what appliances it should have. If you’re going to install an outdoor kitchen, there are a few things you need to know. This article will cover the most important things for every outdoor kitchen, as well as a few extras that can take your enjoyment of your new kitchen to the next level. 

What Is Required for Every Outdoor Kitchen?

1627338375_932_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves You’ll need at least three items for an outdoor kitchen: a source of heat with a cooking surface, a location to keep things cold, and a supply of water. 

To store food and keep drinks cold, you’ll need a refrigerator of some kind. An open flame, flat-top grill, barbecue, or smoker may be used to cook. You’ll need to build a sink with appropriate drainage when it comes to water. 

Grill that is built-in

1627338375_721_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves In most outdoor kitchens, the primary cooking element is a grill. The first step toward making your kitchen seem like a permanent installation rather than a temporary space is to install a built-in grill or alter a roll-in grill to be stationary. 

The grill’s body may be covered with stone veneer, or it can be placed directly into a countertop, much like an oven. 

Cabinets for storing things & Shelving

1627338376_184_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Having to carry your dishes from the house to the backyard is an additional step that prevents you from using your outdoor kitchen as often as you’d want. 

Go the additional mile if you want to complete your outdoor kitchen must-haves. It will be much simpler to entertain with a complete set of additional plates, bowls, cutlery, flatware, and serving dishes that reside outdoors. 

Unless the outdoor kitchen is extremely protected, open shelves isn’t the greatest option. The contents of the shelf, as well as the shelves themselves, will be coated with dust and grime stirred up by the wind. To keep the dust out, opt for cabinets or hutches with doors. 

Outdoor Refrigerator & Cooler for Beverages

1627338376_364_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Invest in a separate, glass-front beverage cooler to keep beer, soda, and wine at the ideal temperature. Choose an outdoor-rated refrigerator for general food storage. 

Outdoor refrigerators must work harder to maintain a constant internal temperature due to the wider variety of temperatures outside than inside refrigerators. 


1627338377_573_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves The sun or the moon will most likely offer ambient illumination in your outside area. However, during dark nights or overcast days, it’s a good idea to have some kind of overhead illumination. Strings of bistro lights create a pleasant glow and distribute light evenly. 

Hard-wired, battery-operated, or even solar-powered wall sconces may be installed on your home’s external wall. Consider a ceiling fan with a built-in light if your outdoor kitchen is shaded by a ceiling. This can help disperse cooking smoke, deter insects, and keep you cool. 

Jackets with vent panels that are insulated

While the majority of the items on our list of outdoor kitchen must-haves are appliances or storage solutions, you will want to buy one item for your body. Even in colder weather, an insulated jacket with vent vents allows you to easily regulate your body temperature while cooking. 

Essentials for an Outdoor Kitchen (Everything One Could Want)

We’ve compiled a list of the most important equipment and accessories for an outdoor kitchen.

Grills that are built-in

1627338377_969_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Although a roll-in grill may be utilized in an outdoor kitchen, it has a transitory or improvised aspect to it. Consider installing a built-in barbecue station instead. 

Purchasing or having a grill enclosure constructed for your current barbecue allows you to seamlessly combine your grill with other elements of your outdoor kitchen, such as sinks and prep spaces. 

Burners on the side

1627338378_862_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves A grill with side burners for toasting buns or crisping veggies may seem to be an extravagance at first, but it will soon become necessary. The ability to adjust the cooking temperature in various zones of your grill is very useful, as it allows you to make several dishes for a complete dinner. 

Griddle with a Flat Top

1627338378_868_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves A griddle with a flat surface can easily serve a large group of people. Grilling over an open flame, on the other hand, requires a higher degree of attention and expertise. 

Flat tops are an excellent substitute for gas-powered barbecues if you’re not a devoted griller. They may be fueled by propane tanks or even the main gas supply in your house. 

Grill Hood for BBQ

1627338379_208_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves You won’t need a hood over your BBQ grill if your outdoor kitchen is entirely open-air. 

If you have a canopy, rain shelter, or other kind of roof, the smoke from your grill must be vented outside of the covered area. A BBQ grill hood removes smoke fast and effectively, keeping your eyes and lungs clean. 


1627338379_870_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Grills cook food fast by using high heat. To flavor and cook meat, smokers utilize low heat for a long period (hours to days). A grill is a more versatile appliance if you just have one. If you have space for a smoker, though, you may never have to cook indoors again! 

Drawer Heater

1627338380_428_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves This warming drawer is available on Amazon [affiliate link].

You may have components of the dinner that you want to keep warm while you finish preparing the main dish on colder evenings in the spring and fall. Some warming drawers have container sets that enable you to serve meals straight from the drawer. 

If you have a large group to feed or want your guests to be able to self-serve for an extended length of time, this is a wonderful option. 


1627338380_769_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Intend for three feet of uninterrupted counter space if you plan to perform all of your prep and cooking outdoors. There should be no appliances kept here, and it cannot be used as a dining space. 

You can get away with a foot and a half of counter space if you intend to prep indoors and merely cook and serve meals from your outdoor kitchen, but it will feel tight. Here’s additional information on the many kinds of outdoor kitchen worktops.


1627338381_421_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves A sink is important when designing your outdoor kitchen must-haves, whether in or out of doors, for washing veggies and rinsing dishes. In a perfect world, you’d have two sinks: one big and deep basin for filling pots, washing dishes, and soaking anything that gets coated with food, and the other little and shallow basin for soaking anything that gets encrusted with food. 

The second sink might be a bar sink or a prep sink, with enough space to wash your hands, scrub some potatoes, and fill a glass of water. 

Lighting for the Job

1627338381_507_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves The walls and cupboards in your house bounce light throughout the space. The kitchen may be illuminated by light from the corridor or adjacent rooms. It’s simple to see what you’re doing since you have overhead and task lighting. 

There are no barriers to capture and reflect light outside. The low lighting is part of the appeal of eating outdoors, but that appeal does not extend to poorly illuminated food preparation and clean-up facilities. 

Pendant lights focus light downward, lighting your work space with the least amount of light pollution. To avoid the brightness of a naked bulb glaring in your visitors’ eyes, use a shaded version. 

Outdoor Fridge

Is it truly a kitchen if it doesn’t have a refrigerator? When you purchase the ingredients for meals to cook outdoors, you may put them in the fridge right away, which encourages you to use the outdoor kitchen. 

Small undercounter versions are handy, but their storage capacity is restricted. If you cook for big parties or have a large family, a full-size refrigerator is ideal. A 34-inch refrigerator is the ideal size for most outdoor kitchens. 

Trash Can with a Pull-Out Shelf

1627338382_281_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves The wild outdoors is teeming with nasty crawlies eager to feast on your garbage. The odors emitted by the trash can may attract undesirable animals to your yard. A pull-out garbage cabinet may readily address both issues. 

The trash can and liner are completely contained inside a container made of wood, metal, or plastic and placed on a sliding rail. The trash can may be dragged out along the rail to dump rubbish when the door is opened, then put back in. 

There are also versions with two receptacles, enabling you to conveniently keep trash and recyclables separate.

Storage Cabinets

1627338383_942_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Running back inside to grab the salt, paper towels, or tongs is a certain way to convert enjoyment into aggravation. Plastic free-standing cabinets from your neighborhood big box shop to professionally fitted and finely polished hardwood cabinets are all options for storage cabinets. 

The countertop provides workspace, which is a benefit of adding permanent cabinets. If you’re still deciding on the ideal arrangement for your outdoor kitchen, temporary or movable cabinets provide you more options. 

Cabinet for Glassware

1627338383_89_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Depending on your patio or outdoor flooring, you may want to avoid using glass entirely and instead use plastic cups for your outdoor kitchen to avoid breakage.

Whether you choose with glass or plastic, you’ll need a place to keep your drinking glasses. A hutch or cabinet with an under-shelf wine glass rack is an excellent way to prevent your wine glasses from falling over. 

The fact that they are kept upside down prevents dust and debris from collecting inside. We recommend going with a cabinet with glass doors. 


1627338384_518_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Plastic tubs may be used to store larger things like serving platters, oddly shaped kitchen utensils, and all the equipment required to operate a grill. This is a straightforward, short-term remedy. Install shelves for anything longer. 

Open shelves don’t work well in outdoor kitchens since they attract pests and dust. The ideal solution is enclosed shelves behind a cabinet door. Use a spring-loaded rod and a curtain to offer some protection if you have built-in shelves.

Ice Maker

1627338384_651_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Built-in ice makers are common in refrigerators and freezers, and they may be a suitable option if you can connect the fridge to the main water line.

Many individuals, on the other hand, choose to refurbish smaller or older refrigerators for outdoor usage rather than purchasing the most recent model. Connecting the fridge to the water supply may not be practical for your kitchen layout. 

Rather, invest in a portable, stand-alone ice machine. These gadgets are small enough to fit on a counter and run on a normal voltage outlet. They also don’t need a permanent connection to a water or drain line. 

Cooler for wine

1627338385_311_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves A wine cooler, also known as a beverage cooler, is a unique kind of refrigerator. The temperature may be carefully controlled. 

Bottles are stored horizontally in a wine cooler. This maintains the liquid in touch with the cork, preventing it from drying out and shrinking, allowing air to enter the bottle. Wavy wire shelf is usually included to prevent the bottles from rolling about. 

Beverage Cooler

1627338385_504_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves This beverage cooler is available on Amazon [affiliate link].

While you may store drinks in an outdoor fridge, they do take up precious storage space that might be used for food. A beverage cooler should be on your list of outdoor kitchen must-haves, especially if you want to host big parties or avoid the bother of replenishing.

Beverage coolers are usually internally illuminated and feature glass doors to show their contents, similar to the displays you find in convenience shops. 

Soda and beer may both be kept in the same compartment, with temperature settings that can be adjusted to keep them cool. Beer is usually served at a temperature of 39 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you wish to keep wine and beer in the same cooler, make sure the compartments are separate. 


1627338386_838_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves [sponsored link] Check out this twin tap kegerator on Amazon.

A kegerator, which converts your outdoor kitchen into a tiny bar, is the perfect addition to your outdoor kitchen must-haves. You no longer need to go to a business place to get a beer from the tap. You may instead buy it by the keg and keep it in your kegerator. 

A kegerator is a modified or built mini-fridge that has been modified or designed to hold a keg of beer. From the keg to the tap handle, which is placed on the top of the fridge, a line of tubing flows. 

Oven for pizza

1627338386_412_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Imagine being able to create fresh pizza anytime you want, with a crust that is precisely as you want it. DIY pizza oven plans are simple to get, but they need a lot of wood and may take hours to completely heat up.

Wood pellet, gas-powered, and multi-fuel pizza ovens use less energy and can cook your personalized pizza in as little as three minutes after turning on the power. 

Seating for Bar Stools

1627338387_93_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Bar stool seating is one of the most practical and space-saving elements you can add to your outdoor kitchen. Standing meal preparation requires a counter height of 34 to 36 inches.

You may put stools on the other side of a big prep area to offer seats for your visitors if you have a smart design and enough legroom. 

Dishwasher Outside

1627338387_305_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves When you’ve just completed a wonderful dinner al fresco and the fireflies are starting to appear for the evening, the last thing you want to do is return inside to wash dishes.

Investing in an outdoor dishwasher for your kitchen may be one of your best design decisions. You can install a full-size dishwasher depending on the space you have available.

Miniature, small, and under-sink models are all as effective. These versions with a lower capacity are ideal for retired couples or small families. 


1627338388_396_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves A retractable canopy may be placed on a garage door or an external wall to provide shade or rain protection. During the winter months, this handy solution may be simply stored away to escape the weight of heavy snow. 

Consider a triangular shade sail for smaller spaces. These sun blinds maintain their tautness without the drooping or billowing that square sun shade sails are prone to. 

The canopy should, ideally, cover both your prep and cooking area as well as the area where you will dine. This may be done at a different table, around the fire pit, or on bar stools. 

Consider adding a wood pergola with a canopy to offer shade and a way to frame your outdoor eating area for an even more beautiful design.

Area for Dining Outside

1627338389_127_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves Where will you eat your wonderful dinner once you’ve prepared it? Picnic tables are a versatile and affordable outdoor meal seating alternative. Wrought iron patio furniture is strong enough to withstand even the worst weather.

The least cost and most portable choice is plastic dining tables and chairs. They do, however, deteriorate rapidly and aren’t always the most comfy. 

To protect your outdoor eating area from dirt, dampness, and any birds that reside in shade-providing trees, consider using furniture covers. 

Fire Pit

1627338389_79_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves A fire pit design is not only a lovely addition to an outside area, but it may also be included in your outdoor kitchen must-haves. Kebabs, bacon, and hot dogs can all be cooked on skewers.

And nothing beats toasting your own marshmallows for s’mores as a dessert. Install a spit above the fire pit if you’re really adventurous, so you can cook bigger pieces of meat. 

What Equipment Do I Need for My Outdoor Kitchen?

1627338390_577_Outdoor-Kitchen-Must-Haves A location to keep things cold, a source of heat, and a supply of water. You’ll be well on your way to enjoying al fresco eating in your outdoor kitchen as long as you have those three components. 

You may get the most use and pleasure out of your outdoor kitchen investment by adding a wine and/or beverage cooler, pizza oven, kegerator, and outdoor dishwasher. 

See our collection of outdoor kitchen ideas on this page for additional inspiration.

This site is devoted to providing you with the best outdoor kitchen equipment, tools, and accessories for the home chef and professional chef alike. We provide you with the best of the best and most exciting outdoor cooking and entertaining products for your lifestyle, passion, and budget.. Read more about outdoor kitchen cooking accessories and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does every outdoor kitchen need?

A grill.

What appliances should I have in my outdoor kitchen?

You should have a grill, outdoor sink, and outdoor refrigerator.

What do you store in your outdoor kitchen?

I store a grill, oven, sink, and refrigerator.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • outdoor kitchen essentials
  • outdoor kitchen accessories
  • best outdoor kitchen accessories
  • outdoor kitchen checklist
  • outdoor kitchen accessories stainless
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