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Outdoor Ovens with Earthen Veneers

Examples of pure cob and adobe, and refractory castable cement over bricks.

There are two common ways of building cob ovens: one is to make a mold of sand, upon which the oven is built, and after which the sand is removed through the oven door. The other is the Quebec-style oven, in which the form is built of saplings bent into a hemispherical shape, upon which the oven is built, and after which the saplings are burned out in the first fire. Another less green option, castable refactory cement, can withstand temps to 2200º F.


Horno ovens directly outside the kitchen at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, New Mexico.


Hornos are traditional pueblo, beehive shaped, adobe ovens. Used mostly for baking and roasting, other cooking can take place at the opening while the horno is being fired. A fire is built inside allowing the thick adobe chamber to absorb heat. After two or three hours coals are removed to a nearby brazier for other use or to reheat the oven as needed. Whatever is to be baked or roasted is placed in the oven and the smoke hole and doorway sealed. An horno can maintain a useable, though slowly dropping, temperature for several hours. Workshops in Payson, Arizona:

adobe oven

Horno at Casa San Ysidro.
Photo by Anne Galer.


Horno at Taos Pueblo, possibly the oldest continually inhabited community in the USA.
Many adobe walls, domes and vaults are made of individual sun-dried mud bricks, bonded together with mud mortar. Cob construction is hand formed by shaping thick layers of mud directly on the wall or object.

earth oven

This small figurine dates from around 500 BC and is clearly an early wood fired oven. Vienna Art History Museum.

earth oven

Earth oven with old pieces of reused concrete for a base. Floor and walls were insulated with hardwood shavings, cob mixture and glass bottles.

earth oven

Cob oven by Hendrik Lepel. The design cut in to the cob is a technique called sgraffito.

earth oven

Free form cement oven.
Instructions here:

adobe wood fired oven

Cob oven by Michael Bláha.

cob oven

Cob Oven by Cunnings Oven Builders.
Lots more interesting ovens here:

cob oven

Horno built by the Kino School in Tucson, Arizona.

cob oven

This happy cob oven was built at Deanne Bednar’s Straw Bale Studio ( in Oxford, MI, where she runs all manner of natural building projects.

cob oven

Cob oven at the City Farmer's Cob Shed in Vancouver, Canada. Here’s an interview on YouTube with the project leader John:

cob oven

Community kitchen cob oven at the Boom Festival in Portugal. The festival has won several awards for using natural building and permaculture principals that ensure they leave no trace on the earth.

outdoor cob oven

This cob oven was made by Hendrik Lepel.
It is protected with a living roof.

A close-up of the oven:

outdoor oven

Wood fired oven (adobe formed atop sand) placed beneath a vine covered pergola. A tile covered work area links to an adjacent barbeque. woodfiredworkshops

earth oven

A Jaimie Oliver oven.
Kit chamber with rendered dome.

wood fired outdoor oven

A Jaimie Oliver oven.
Kit chamber with refractory cement dome.

outdoor wood fired oven

Wood fired oven.

wood fired outdoor oven

Cob oven by Kiko Denzer built for Intaba's kitchen restaurant in Corvallis, Oregon.

outdoor pizza oven

Ceramic kit by Mugniani.

adobe oven

A cob wood fired barrel oven, and cooktop at the Natural Building Extravaganza in Asheville, NC. Lots more about the project here:


   Frequently Asked Questions - Hand Print Press by authors of 'Build your own Earth Oven'.
   DIY - Sunset's backyard Adobe oven
   Build an Outdoor Pizza Oven for $20 - Slice Pizza Blog

   Building a Clay Oven – The Basics « The Clay Oven
   Natural Building Colloquium- Building a horno.
   Permaculture Magazine Article The Simple Art of Making an Earth Oven - Backyard Bread Oven
   Mother Earth News - Build Your own Wood-fired Earth Oven
   Little City Farm - littlecityfarm cob-oven
   Cob Oven Workshop- lots of pics: Masonry Heater Association
   Urbanite and Clay oven for $100.
   Two-chambered cob by Ernie and Erica:
   Cob Brick:


   Build-Your-Own-Earth-Oven by Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field
   Read the biginning of Kiko's book here: 

  copyright kiko denzer for webview only, at

wood fired outdoor oven

Start the fire in the front - shift further back once established. When roaring, push it to the back, so the roof of the chamber heats evenly.

See also posts on Brick and Masonry Ovens - links below.





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Chanin Bradford
Posts: 10
Cob ovens
Reply #10 on : Tue October 06, 2015, 08:05:22
Iv got kiko denzers book on my wish list. I can't wait to get my hands on his book! The craftsmanship is wonderful and creative! I love everyone's ideas. I'll put a design on mine to give it some beauty.
Lora Adams
Posts: 10
earth oven
Reply #9 on : Mon May 18, 2015, 22:30:02
These are all so cool. I cant wait to get started on my own.
Posts: 10
cob oven
Reply #8 on : Tue November 04, 2014, 12:45:35
Hello please any advice on the following
a) How long to burn out the hazel structure of oven
b)can we naturally glaze final coat with oak pigment glaze n how?
c)advice re chimney at back of oven and use of flexi silver chimney re it coming out of bender n making it obscure thanks
Posts: 10
Reply #7 on : Fri August 29, 2014, 14:00:18
i love baking
Posts: 10
Re: Outdoor Earth Ovens
Reply #6 on : Fri August 29, 2014, 04:23:44
I love forgathering utile info, this post has got me even more info! .
Posts: 10
Paver stones
Reply #5 on : Fri July 18, 2014, 13:54:22
is it okay to use a bond adhesive to secure paver stones for he base of the cobb oven. when the adhesive dries and is non-flammable and non-toxic
Mary Reeves
Posts: 10
buillding own
Reply #4 on : Tue January 14, 2014, 21:02:11
building own
old orange recipes photos of ovens are opportune

Posts: 10
To Laurie
Reply #3 on : Tue June 04, 2013, 09:18:00
Hi Laurie,
Sounds a fun project. As to the marble, I personally do not know anyone who used marble as a cook surface in an outdoor oven. But all kinds of questions arise as to the idea: how thick is the marble? Are there extreme temperature changes in your area? Will there be stress on the edges from the upper part of the oven? I have googled the idea and see people use marble as bread cooking stones...but see no use as a base...sorry I could not be of more help!
Laurie Williamson
Posts: 10
marble slab
Reply #2 on : Tue June 04, 2013, 00:07:25
I am building an adobe oven and I was wondering if I could use marble slab for the floor of the oven as the cook surface. I am putting the slab on top of firebrick. Have you heard of this being done
Posts: 10
Love your ovens
Reply #1 on : Thu April 11, 2013, 19:27:54
Enjoying your FB postings
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