5 easy ways to enjoy cooking outdoors this spring

It's simple to boost your alfresco cooking game with these portable kitchen solutions

bbq and trolley for outdoor kitchen
(Image credit: Ikea)

If you've been swooning over all the stunning outdoor kitchens popping up on social media in recent weeks, chances are you're keen to boost your alfresco cooking options this summer. Installing a full outdoor kitchen straight from the off can be pricey, however, so why not test the water with some more budget-friendly options first? 

By opting for portable designs, you can get a taster of the outdoor kitchen life before committing to a more permanent solution. And of course, the added bonus is that you can move your portable kitchen around the garden to where you want to use it.

You can do this by simply choosing to cook more outside and investing in a few key pieces to start with that will start you on your outdoor kitchen journey, as Lynsey Abbot, Outdoor Living Buyer at Dobbies explains: ‘Everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of cooking outdoors, it’s such a staple of the spring and summer seasons. Quickly transforming your garden into a space for entertaining, with everything from BBQs, pizza ovens and even multifunctional fire pits. When the warmer weather allows, it’s time to give the oven a break and rediscover the joy of cooking up delicious flame grilled food in your outdoor space.’

Keep reading for some quick ways to up your alfresco cooking game this summer, and don't forget to check out our outdoor kitchen ideas for more ways to create a stunning space. 

1. Opt for a portable island

portable outdoor kitchen

Portable island with stone worktop from Lundhs

(Image credit: Lundhs)

The key to being portable is to of course be able to wheel your items about, or for them to be light enough to carry and move. Opting for an outdoor kitchen island on wheels means you can easily move it to where you want it. 

It will give you lots of cooking prep space on top and storage underneath to cater for all of your entertaining needs.

2. Choose a portable pizza oven

outdoor pizza oven

(Image credit: Dobbies)

A super stylish pizza oven that can be placed on your outdoor table, or any sturdy surface for that matter, is a great way to create a mini outdoor kitchen. 

Portable designs such as this one are lightweight but offer all the power of a large pizza oven. Your homemade pizzas can be cooked in a little as 60 seconds! 

There are both wood-fired and gas pizza ovens available so you can choose the right design to suit your space and needs. Head over to our guide to the best pizza oven to find your perfect pick, or see below for today's top deals. 

3. Look for a double use stove

outdoor cooking on a stove

(Image credit: Ludlow Stoves)

Short on space? Combine your outdoor heating ideas with your alfresco cooking by choosing a stove that will cater for both requirements. Not only will this wood burning design keep you cosy in your garden, but you can cook on it too! It’s totally portable at 19kg and can be used in a tent, teepee, cabin or on your patio.

It’s a good starter option due to its dual use and there’s enough space to fit two pans or a pan and a kettle on the cooking section. You will need a few extras if you plan on using it in a shed or tent, and they have a Frontier Plus Tipi kit that includes a flue section. 

4. Include food preparation space

BBQ and trolley in outdoor kitchen

(Image credit: Ikea)

Go for a setup that combines the best BBQ with a trolley for a taster of a proper outdoor kitchen without breaking the bank. 

A gas (or charcoal) BBQ combined with a trolley element means you can move it around your backyard and store it safely when the weather is less cheery too. It also allows you to do the food prep outside too on the handy worktop. 

Top tip? Look out for portable kitchen designs with plenty of storage underneath as you'll have space for storing everything from the best BBQ tools to oils and condiments too. 

5. Turn a fire pit into a stove

fire pit with cooking accessories

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

Already snapped up one of the best fire pits this year to keep you warm outdoors? Sensible choice. But have you thought about turning your new buy into an outdoor cooking option too? 

Invest in an outdoor metal cooking stand that can be popped over your fire pit and you can create the perfect alfresco cooking setup. This design is ideal for all year round use as it’s UV and frost resistant. It allows you to suspend cooking bowls over a fire pit so you can cook in an authentic way. It’s also portable, so is ideal for family camping trips or day trips to the beach. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years. She recently trained to be a florist and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for weddings and events.