Shital's-Kitchen: My Backyard Tandoor

My Backyard Tandoor

Two years back I watched Alton's Brown's Good Eats on Indian cooking. In that episode Alton Brown made his own Tandoor, and since then I have always wanted my own backyard Tandoor. After watching few videos on YouTube, sketching out the design, planning on materials,  trips to buy correct equipment, we finally did it. Yes, my husband played a very important role in executing my plan. :) It was an amazing team work and the fruit of our work are the recipes below. I will be updating this page often, so don't forget to check it out!

DIY Tandoor:

2 pots of same circumference
1 large pot for smaller pots to fit in
Vermiculite to act as insulator
1 metal dolly with wheels
1 grill mat to place tandoor on
3 terracotta pot feet to place terracotta tray
1 terracotta plate smaller than tandoor pot to place lit charcoal
1 small terracotta plate to place under the dolly to collect ash
  1. Start with 2 wide terracotta pots. This is the actual tandoor. The top inverted pot needs to be cut to open up to make place for kabab skewers.
  2. A large terracotta pot that holds tandoor pots. The distance between the large and the small pot should be at least 3 inches so that it is well insulated.
  3. Align the large pot and tandoor pot holes. They should be aligned as this is the only way air can come in. This is also the place from where ash from burnt charcoal will fall off. This should be well aligned. I did not make any additional holes in the pot. One hole in the center of both the pot was enough.
  4. Place tandoor pots inverted into the large pot and draw a line over the inverted pot to mark and cut so the top opens up. Use a diamond blade to cut terracotta.  This may take some time. But be slow and patient.
  5. Allign the bottom holes, place tandoor pot into the large pot. Fill the space between the pots with vermiculite or perlite. This will prevent the outer large pot from getting hot and will keep the tandoor hot for long time.
  6. Place 3 terracotta pot feet inside the tandoor to raise the inner plate.
  7. Drill few holes in a terracotta plate and place the plate over the terracotta feet. This keeps distance between charcoal and the bottom of the pot for air circulation. The hole in the plate are for ash to fall down. This also makes cleaning very easy.
  8. Place the entire tandoor over a metal dolly with wheels so that it is easy to move.
  9. I also placed a grill mat beneath the metal dolly to protect the floor of my backyard.
  10. Place a small terracotta plate underneath the dolly for ash to be collected.
  11. Use lump charcoal or briquettes to cook food.
  12. Enjoy your tandoor!

Recipes that can be made in Tandoor
or on Charcoal Grill
(Click on the picture for the recipe)

Sheekh Kabab


  1. Nice idea. Any video of the process? Would love to see the making of the Tandoor.

  2. Hi Shital,

    This is amazing. We will be soon moving in to our new house and this is going to my Project to enjoy lovely Tandoori dishes. Will you be able share the sizes of the all the pots/planters used in this project .Also I am finding it difficult to procure these pots/planters in UK .

  3. Amazing idea and excellent recipes

  4. Hi Shital thank you! how do you get uniform cooking across the skewer in the tandoor? The lower cubes paneer tend to get burnt as they are closer to the coals and the ones on the top don't cook as well. Can you pls help - your pictures of the paneer tikka look really good ...

  5. Can you please write more details about the Tandoor? From which store did you buy the pots and what is the size of pots? What is the total material cost for this tandoor?