Diy tandoori oven

Updated February 21, 2017

Tandoori cooking is an Indian tradition involving cooking bread and various (usually spicy) foods on skewers in a high-temperature clay oven called a tandoor. Making your own tandoor oven will mean building a structure that can withstand the heat involved. Brick and heat-resistant masonry can be used to construct the body of your tandoor oven. But for a traditional look and function, you will need to cover the inside of your tandoor oven with clay. Once you have completed your tandoor, you can mix up a batch of dough and make some nan bread.

Dig a circular hole three feet deep and three feet wide with your shovel. Make the sides and bottom of the hole as smooth as possible. Remove any large rocks from the hole.

Mix heat-resistant mortar and water in your wheelbarrow. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations in regard to the amount of each ingredient. Use your hoe to stir the mortar to a consistent texture.

Pour a one-inch layer of mortar into the bottom of the hole. Place a layer of brick pavers in the hole. Press each of the pavers 1/2 inch into the wet mortar. Leave a 1/2-inch gap between the bricks.

Place a one-inch-deep line of mortar around the outer edge of the brick base. Press bricks into the mortar. Continue building layers of brick and mortar toward the top of the hole. Alternate the pattern of the bricks from layer to layer so that the joints are not on top of each other.

Lay the last layer of bricks sideways so that the half of each brick hangs over the open pot. Apply a two-inch-thick bed of mortar on top of the overhanging bricks. Use your trowel to smooth the mortar on top and to scrape off any excess mortar from your brick lining. Let the mortar dry for 24 hours.

Clean your wheelbarrow and other tools. Place the clay into the wheelbarrow and spread it into a three-inch layer. Add water slowly to the clay while you stir the mixture with your hoe. Keep thinning the clay with water until it reaches the consistency of toothpaste.

Spread the thinned clay on the bottom and sides of the brick-lined oven by hand. Apply a solid, smooth one-inch layer of clay inside the oven. Let the clay dry for 48 hours.

Lay a pile of tinder into the bottom of the oven. Light the tinder with your barbecue lighter. Add pieces of hardwood slowly to build a fire. Add enough wood to fill the oven.

Let the fire burn itself out. Do not leave a fire unattended at any time. Wait three hours after the fire has completely died. Scoop the ashes out of your tandoor oven with a small garden shovel and it is ready for a cooking fire.


Build a large fire in the tandoor oven. Let the fire burn down to coals before adding food you want to cook.


Never leave a fire unattended at any time. Work gloves and safety glasses are required whenever you dig. Always call your local utility-locating service before you dig.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Heat-resistant mortar
  • Water
  • Wheel barrow
  • Hoe
  • Brick pavers
  • Trowel
  • Rags
  • Heat--resistant clay
  • Tinder
  • Barbecue lighter
  • Hardwood
  • Small garden shovel
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.