Will Investing in an Outdoor Kitchen Pay for Itself

Will Investing in an Outdoor Kitchen Pay for Itself

Many people with ample backyard space consider adding an outdoor kitchen. There are many motivations for installing an outdoor kitchen, such as cooking outside more often or hosting better parties, but regardless of your motivation, you’ll need to think about cost and value.

Can an outdoor kitchen pay for itself? And if so, how?

Objective Value: How Does an Outdoor Kitchen Pay for Itself?

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the objective, measurable ways that an outdoor kitchen could conceivably pay for itself.



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If you’re running out of space in your current kitchen, you might consider remodeling or adding new cabinets and storage options. These can be ridiculously expensive, especially if your renovation plans involve demolition work. But if you invest in an outdoor kitchen, you can get more storage options without spending as much. In this way, an outdoor kitchen might be able to save you a little bit of money on a project you were going to do otherwise.

Health and wellness

Spending more time outdoors is good for your health. Just being outside and breathing fresh air can improve your sleep, reduce your blood pressure, improve your cognitive function, and reduce risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature death. It’s hard to say exactly what the monetary value of this is, but all of us should strive for greater health and resilience to disease.

If you use your outdoor kitchen frequently, you’ll likely see measurable health benefits, which could reduce your medical bills and healthcare costs in the future. Just keep in mind that this benefit is contingent on you actually using your outdoor kitchen.

Energy efficiency

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In some contexts, using an outdoor kitchen can help you operate with greater energy efficiency. If it’s hot outside, you’ll need less electricity and natural gas to heat your food. If you’re spending the entire day outside, you can avoid using the air conditioner. Depending on how frequently you cook outside, this could reduce your energy bills considerably, saving you up to a few hundred dollars a year. That may not seem like much, but over the course of many years, it can really add up.


Socialization is also great for our health. People who socialize frequently and have dependable, loving friends and family members have longer lifespans and better quality of life than their counterparts. Having an outdoor kitchen isn’t going to automatically win you new friends and family members, but it will give you motivation to host more gatherings and meet more people.

Home Value

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We can also think about the increase in your home’s value that occurs as a result of installing an outdoor kitchen. Studies on this front vary, but any outdoor kitchen should increase your home’s value at least slightly. One study from Absolute Outdoor Kitchens found a return on investment (ROI) of 100 to 200 percent, but a study from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) found the ROI was more modest, at 71 percent.

Even with a more modest assessment, you could recover more than two-thirds of what you spend on your outdoor kitchen when it’s time to sell the home. For example, if you spend $10,000 on an outdoor kitchen, it should increase the value of your home by at least $7,100 in most cases. That leaves approximately $2,900 of value to make up for – which is entirely possible, considering the other objective benefits of having an outdoor kitchen.

Subjective Value

There are also subjective value factors that you’ll need to keep in mind. Value isn’t only about what’s objectively measurable, after all.

  • Personal enjoyment. Some people genuinely love cooking, and they love cooking outside even more. The joy of finishing the perfect steak while listening to chirping birds is hard to replicate.
  • Excuses for gatherings. Many outdoor kitchen owners find their new installations to be the perfect excuse for hosting more gatherings. If you’re the social type, or if you have lots of friends and family members to entertain, this is a huge benefit.
  • Fewer smells. Cooking indoors sometimes leaves a lingering odor, which may be unpleasant even if you enjoy what you’re cooking. There’s no such problem when cooking outside.
  • Motivation to cook. Do you ever wish you cooked more often? An outdoor kitchen could be the perfect excuse to cook more frequently. It can keep you from going out to expensive restaurants and introduce you to higher-quality meals.

Depending on how you consider and quantify value, it’s definitely possible for an outdoor kitchen to fully pay for itself. No matter what, installing an outdoor kitchen will increase your home’s value and give you more versatile cooking options; if you use that outdoor kitchen regularly, you can see massive health benefits as well. It’s not a perfect fit for every home or every homeowner, but it is a rational investment.