How to Make a Flowerpot Oven

So while this may not be a first priority in everyone’s case, this article is a little about being resourceful.


So let’s set the scene. Back last year I was on a job helping to clear an overgrown garden to turn it into a more fruitful and utilisable landscape. It has previously been owned by a woman who had reached her 90s and had completely lost the ability to care for the area. Overgrowth was an understatement, especially when we found a rogue greenhouse lost in a jungle of trees that had wildly taken back human innovation as their own. However, the long-term leaf drop from the overgrown trees had led to the development of an extremely productive and beautifully deep layer of humus, creating fantastic soil.

Anyway, while we were staying on the property, we needed to cook for ourselves. After buying the ingredients to make a casserole, we later found that the oven didn’t work. While permaculture and natural building advocates the construction of rather elegant cob ovens, we had neither the time nor the resources for this. Instead we chose to build an oven with the resources we had around us, constructing a rather rudimentary but extremely successful flowerpot oven. While you may feel you will never need this, it could come in handy for making pizza on a camping trip!

Here’s how you can recreate this very simply.

What You Will Need:

  • Large terracotta pot – This needs to be large enough to serve as the cavern for your oven

  • Heatproof rocks – While we used bricks, you need to be careful with bricks or flint as they can explode

  • A grill that fits inside the pot

  • Fuel – We used embers from a wood-fire we were burning (a fine example of an element having many functions!). You want something that will burn well and reduce to long-lasting embers

Here’s What You Gotta Do:

  1. Create a circle using the bricks or rocks. You will need to keep a gap in one side for the air to flow through. It is best to consider where the wind is coming from and place the gap on this side.

  2. Place the fuel within the circle and get a fire going.

  3. As the fire begins to burn down to embers, place the grill over the rocks.

  4. Place your food on the grill.

  5. Place the terracotta pot over the grill and cover the hole on the bottom with rock.

  6. After about 15 minutes, remove the rock from the top to use this hole as a chimney. This will allow the air to circulate around.

  7. The food will be heated in three ways; from the direct heat of the fuel below, by the circulating heat within the pot, and via the thermal mass radiating from the heated pot.

  8. It took around 40 minutes for our chicken casserole to be ready and around 30 minutes for the lasagne we cooked the next day!

Like this post? Support me on Patreon for more exclusive content including live Q&A sessions, insights into my latest project, how-to videos and more!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s