Prison Architect Wiki

The Kitchen is a room where cooks prepare food with ingredients for prisoners. Ingredients arrive in a delivery truck and are then transferred from the deliveries to the fridges by the cooks. Four hours before it is time to eat, cooks will start cooking using cookers. Prepared food is then placed on Serving Tables in a Canteen. In the Kitchen, cooks also wash dirty food trays in the sink.

Prisoners can only work here if they have completed the Kitchen Safety and Hygiene Program which is taught by a cook in the kitchen. The cooks will not prepare any food while teaching. In Alpha 36 an event was added that causes the kitchen to catch fire, it is important to add sprinklers to your kitchen so you don't need to pay for the firefighters to come and extinguish the fire.

Beware when letting prisoners work in the Kitchen as prisoners can steal knives, forks, and spoons from the kitchen which can be used for digging and murdering staff.


By The Numbers[]

In the Kitchen

  • Each fridge can hold up to 20 each of two varieties of ingredients.
  • Each cooker can cook up to 10 each of two varieties of ingredients.
  • Each sink can wash about 40 trays per hour (after meal time)

In the Canteen

  • Each serving table can hold up to 80 cooked food in four stacks.
  • Each serving table can hold up to 40 food trays
  • Each table can accommodate 2 benches.
  • Each bench can seat 4 prisoners.
  • Each prisoner will need a place to sit and eat.

Using the above numbers and a policy of low quantity and no variety you can feed 80 prisoners with; 2 fridges, 4 cookers, 4 cooks, 1 serving table, 10 tables and 20 benches. In practice, however, you will want a higher variety and quantity to better satiate the needs of your prisoners. With high quantity, you will need three times as many fridges, cookers, cooks, and serving tables. With high variety, not all food slots will be able to be filled completely so you will need more fridges and serving tables even though they will not all be full.

A PA calculator has been made to help determine the best way to build: or the website version:

Sinks are the most flexible item in the kitchen since the number you need can vary depending on how much time you have between meals. If you have a long time between meals a single sink can be used repeatedly to clean more trays over a longer period of time. If you have a short time between meals you will need more sinks to wash more trays over a shorter amount of time. As a very rough guideline, you could estimate you will need roughly half the number of sinks as you have cookers; but you can frequently get away with slightly less than this if you have enough time between meals to get all the trays done.

More Numbers[]

Test with 100 prisoners, 1 kitchen, 1 canteen, 2 eat time(2 hours) / 10 hours, these are the numbers below:

NOTICE: This is different from the calculator above.

Meal Quantity Calculation Notes
Low Medium High Fine Dining (Console DLC)
Quantity Number 1 2 3 4 num Variety doesn't effect any number of kitchen, but it gives 'well fed' buff.
Prisoners 100 100 100 100 pris This will be a different number,depending on your kitchen and canteen, see the food logistics below.
Ingredients (cooked) 100 200 300 400 =num*pris Number of prisoners your kitchen needs to supply at eat time.
Ingredients 150 300 450 600 =num*pris*1.5 All prisoners in your prison
Trays 80(150) 120 160 200 =Serving Tables*40 All Trays in your prison. if not enough, that will be pris*1.5
Fridges 3.75(4) 7.5(8) 11.25(12) 15(16) =Ingredients/40 At least. More fridges allows for more ingredients, this may effect the efficiency. Round-up。Every fridge comes 40 ingredients.
Cookers 4 8 12 16 =Ingredients(cooked)/25 /25 cook can end cook before eat time. but they don't put ingredients(cooked) on serving table, they put ingredients on the fridge first. Use /20 is better.
Sinks 3.33(4)










In 1.5, cold water wash 7.5 Trays/hour(8 min/tray), hot water wash 12 Trays/hour(5 min/tray). At least wash 4 hours, at cook time. Need one tray for one prisoner. Round-up
Cooks 6.5 10.5 14.5 18.5 =Cookers+Sinks See above, if /25 one cook per cooker and one per sink, however more cooks could mean more efficiency, but not more than Cookers*2.

if /20, cooks = cookers

Serving Tables 1.25(2) 2.5(3) 3.75(4) 5(5) =Ingredients(cooked)/80 Number of prisoners your canteen needs to supply at eat time. Round-up
Tables 12.5 12.5 12.5 12.5 =pris/8 Number of tables needed for amount of prisoners, Considering each has two benches maximum which each can have 4 prisoners.
Benches 25 25 25 25 =pris/4 Number of prisoners your canteen need to supply at eat time. Everyone needs a seat, may be not.

Kitchen efficiency[]

The number of cooks depends on distances to deliveries, staff room, serving tables, and between fridge and cookers. The number of cooks needed can be reduced if you have all of; prison labor assigned to the kitchen, prisoners who have completed the kitchen safety and hygiene program, and work regime in the hours immediately preceding eat time. Without any help from prisoners you will need a cook for each cooker. The variety of the food (none, low, medium, large) does not increase the portion size, but it does increase in efficiency slightly. While figuring out your kitchen it may be easier to set your meal variety to low and quantity to medium and make sure you can feed all of your prisoners twice a day. Adding variety and quantity will better satiate your prisoners and may give them the well fed status effect. Larger prisons may benefit from having a couple of extra cooks due to the long run times to the delivery area for more supplies and to get trays washed fast enough for the next meal service.

Since the maximum number of prisoners that can be assigned to a single room as workers is 100, 1 per 12 squares; the kitchen would need 1200 squares to reach this. If you want more prisoners than 100 to work as kitchen staff you will need to build additional kitchens. Staff cooks do not have a maximum per kitchen and you can hire as many regular staff cooks as you want regardless of kitchen size.

If you are building a kitchen with no prison labors, you can have it in any shape and size, as long as it can fit all the objects you wish to have in it.

Tips and Tricks[]

  • With Medium Meal Quantity, 1 cooker is capable of providing food for 20 prisoners. On low 1 cooker will provide enough for 40 prisoners. On high 1 cooker will provide for 13.33 prisoners.
  • Each Serving Table can hold 80 servings, but only 40 trays. So you need 1 Serving table for 40 prisoners on low and medium quantity or 1 for 26 prisoners on high quantity.
  • A Kitchen can be placed outside of the area where prisoners are allowed or marked as staff only in the deployment overlay. This will greatly reduce the chance of prisoners stealing something. This will of course prevent prisoners from working or receiving instruction in the kitchen.
  • Cooks will start cooking four hours prior to eating time. With this in mind, prisoners can help cook with prison labour if work is scheduled on the four hours need to prepare food. If you do this, it is recommended to have metal detectors directly out of the kitchen's exit, since prisoners can easily steal forks, spoons, and even knives from the kitchen. You can also schedule work after the meal and prisoners will collect trays and wash then in the sink.
  • Cookers, fridges and sinks are non-solid so cooks can walk through them. This property can be used to maximize efficiency by placing the objects directly adjacent and in front of each other, with no gaps on the floor.
  • Contraband can be smuggled in food deliveries. As the deliveries get transported from the deliveries area to your kitchen it is beneficial to funnel them through a metal detector and past a dog, thus catching all metal and smelly contraband.
  • A relatively small kitchen can be used to feed a large, mixed population that shares the same canteen, i.e. minimum security and medium security prisoners. Giving the different populations a staggered eating regime will allow the cooks time to prepare meals for each population. For example, setting minimum security to be fed at 10 a.m., and medium security to be fed at 12 p.m. This can both reduce downtime for your cooks and allow different prisoner populations help feed each other.
  • Assigning multiple canteens/cell blocks to one kitchen/laundry/canteen: Hold SHIFT while left-clicking each destination.
  • It is recommended to have two or three hours of work before meal times so that your staff and prisoners have time to cook.
  • Make sure your serving tables are all in a row in 1 direction. If they are scattered throughout your Canteen, prisoners may not be able to get to the serving table they want.