Create an outdoor kitchen island with these free build plans.
This portable kitchen island will transform your barbecue into a functional outdoor kitchen.
If you’ve always wanted a beautiful outdoor kitchen, but never had it in your budget, this outdoor kitchen island is the answer. The large rolling kitchen island can store all your barbecue and entertaining gear, while giving you a large area for food prep and serving.
The other side of the portable kitchen island has room for bar stools to transform your patio into the perfect gathering space.
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the leaves are falling! It’s a beautiful fall day and I am so excited to be enjoying it under our new pergola!
But now that the pergola is built and we have installed the clear roof, it’s time to fill it up. What good is a big covered patio area if there is no furniture for gathering and entertaining.
When we started planning what we wanted for our unused side yard, I knew I wanted a place to eat outdoors.
I love dining al fresco in the summer. And the kids always ask if we can eat outside. But we didn’t have a space for it.
We have tried to make due with just the kid’s nautical picnic table while my husband and I hold plates on our laps. However, that only worked after we prepared the food and served it indoors. Not really the perfect outdoor dining experience I had in mind.
Now that we have a large covered patio we can finally create the perfect dining area so our family can enjoy those beautiful dinners under the sun and stars. But first, we needed a place to prepare and serve the food (no more doing that in the house).
About 6 years ago I purchased a large stainless steel table top from a scratch and dent furniture store. It did not have legs, just the table top.
I have held onto it for ever (or at least if felt like that while taking up valuable space in our tiny garage).
When I purchased it, I did so with the idea to use it outside to create a prep area next to the barbecue. So we dusted it off and I set to work designing the perfect outdoor kitchen island.
I knew I wanted to create a portable kitchen island. Something that could be moved around depending on our needs. I also wanted somewhere to store all those outdoor dining and cooking supplies so we wouldn’t have to run back and forth from the patio to the house.
And finally, I wanted an area for seating on one side so the kids could sit up and help with the cooking. They love to be involved. What we came up with is the perfect portable outdoor kitchen!
Instead of cupboards and drawers that would not be water tight, I chose to make shelves to hold plastic bins with lids. And in the middle is a large area to hold a cooler.
Now any food needed can stay cool while you are cooking (or better yet, a perfect place for drinks on ice). The sides and back of the outdoor kitchen island are wrapped in cedar fence pickets to add lots of warmth to the stainless steel top.
Now it’s time to build the outdoor dining table and benches so we can really start enjoying our new patio and portable outdoor kitchen area. And if the weather stays so nice, maybe we will get in a few meals outside before the snow starts falling!
How to Build a Portable Outdoor Kitchen Island
- Miter saw
- Kreg jig
- Nail gun
- Tape measure
- (9) 8′ 2×4 boards
- (6) 8′ 1×4 boards
- (10) 5 1/2″ x 6′ cedar fence pickets
- (2) 3 1/2″ x 6′ cedar fence pickets
- (100) 2 1/2″ blue-cote Kreg screws
- (150) 1 1/4″ finishing nails
- Wood glue
- Outdoor wood sealer
- (4) 3″ swivel castors with locks
- 38″ x 72″ counter top
- From the 2x4s cut:
- (4) island frames, 61 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- (4) island frame sides, 35″ x 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- (10) vertical frames, 28″ x 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- (4) shelf sides, 16″ x 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- (4) shelf supports, 18″ x 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- From the 1x4s cut:
- (22) shelf slats, 23″ x 3/4″ 3 1/2″
- From the cedar fence pickets cut:
- (10) side panels, 35″ x 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
- (2) top side panels, 35″ x 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- (5) back panels, 68 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
- (1) top back panel, 68 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Build the base of the island by attaching two of the island frame boards between the island frame sides. The back island frame board should be 12″ from the back of the island frame sides. Repeat for the top of the island.
Build the sides and center posts of the outdoor kitchen island by securing the shelf sides between the vertical frames so they are 16 1/2″ up from the bottom. Build a total of 4.
Attach the sides and center posts to the base of the island. Attach two to the outside of the base and two 18″ in from that. Make sure the pocket holes for the outside of the portable kitchen island are facing out so they will be hidden by the cedar pickets.
Attach the shelf supports between the vertical frames. The bottom should be 16 1/2″ up from the base of the outdoor kitchen island.
Attach a vertical frame board to the end of each of the island frame sides.
Secure the island top to the outdoor kitchen island.
Add slats to the bottom and the shelves with wood glue and 1 1/4″ finishing nails.
Sand, stain and seal the finished frame before attaching the cedar.
Start by attaching the cedar panels to the back of the kitchen island. Notch out the bottom panel so it fits over the 2x4s on the sides. Attach the cedar with wood glue and the finishing nails on each vertical post. Continue up the back until the top panel. This one will need to be notched out like the bottom panel. Then attach the cedar to the sides of the outdoor kitchen island starting at the bottom in the same manner.
Attach the castors to the bottom of the island. Then attach the counter top. My counter top was wood surrounded by stainless steel so I was able to attach it with wood screws through the top of the island frame. If you do not have a counter top, a plywood top that can be tiled would also be amazing for an outdoor kitchen area.
Now all that is left is to add some bins to hold all your outdoor kitchen gear. I am planning on storing paper plates, cups and napkins in one of the larger bins, while the other will be perfect for holding my outdoor table cloths and placemats. Utensils and barbecue tools will be perfect in the top bins. And in the winter, we can carefully store the bins in the storage area of our garage so they are ready for us when the snow melts.
And now out to get in a bit more building before the perfect fall weather is gone!