Create a large outdoor kitchen island on wheels with these build plans.
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.
The large table top gives you a large area for food prep and serving. Plus there is an overhang for bar stools to allow for additional outdoor seating to transform your patio into the perfect gathering space.
This portable kitchen island will turn your lonely barbecue into a functional outdoor kitchen. And you can do it all on a budget!
Creating an Outdoor Kitchen Area
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 DIY 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).
Budget Countertops for Outdoor Kitchens
Outdoor kitchens do require a more sturdy countertop than indoor kitchens. Excess water from the weather can wear away low cost kitchen countertops.
But you can still have an amazing outdoor kitchen island without the high price tag. While granite and quartz are great outdoor countertops, they are expensive.
I purchased a large stainless steel table top from a scratch and dent furniture store. It did not have legs, just the table top. The stainless steel top is on top of a piece of wood which protects it from the weather.
It has held up well to the outdoors, but the shiny surface reflects the sun back at you while coking and can get hot in the summer months. I would not recommend it for an outdoor kitchen that is not covered from the sun.
Functional Kitchen Island Design
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
- 2×4 boards
- 1×4 boards
- 5 1/2″ x 6′ cedar fence pickets
- 3 1/2″ x 6′ cedar fence pickets
- 2 1/2″ blue-cote Kreg screws
- 1 1/4″ finishing nails
- Wood glue
- Outdoor wood sealer
- 3″ swivel castors with locks
- 38″ x 72″ counter top
Cut four 61 1/2″ pieces and four 35″ pieces from the 2x4s. 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.
Cut eight 28″ pieces and four 16″ pieces from the 2x4s. Build the sides and center posts of the outdoor kitchen island by securing the smaller pieces between the bigger pieces 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.
Cut four 18″ pieces. Attach them between the vertical frames. The bottom should be 16 1/2″ up from the base of the outdoor kitchen island.
Cut two 28″ pieces from 2x4s. Attach these boards to the end of each of the island frame sides.
Secure the island top to the outdoor kitchen island.
Cut 22 slats from 1×4 boards. 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.
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!