How to Make Charcoal in Minecraft

How to make charcoal in Minecraft

Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has remained an internet-wide sensation. This open-world adventure has been a gateway game for video game lovers. Over the pandemic, friends were able to bond and hang out on Minecraft servers.

Patch 1.20 introduced a new biome and brand new blocks like suspicious sand and cherry blossom wood. However, new and veteran players alike find that there are still materials they don’t know what to do with. One of these is charcoal.

So, what is charcoal in Minecraft? Learn how to make charcoal in Minecraft and what you can craft with it in the article below.

What is Charcoal?

Coal is one of the few essentials a player will need when starting a new Minecraft world. This mineral is present in the world as ore blocks, which you can mine in caves. Sometimes, you can find exposed coal ore blocks on mountainsides, tops, or even in lakes.

Regarding appearance, coal has a deeper color that is close to black. Charcoal has a more brownish-gray color with little pixels of highlights.

Players need coal as fuel for food, smelting ores, and lighting torches. Beginners in Minecraft may confuse this for charcoal, but these two are not the same.

Charcoal is the best natural alternative for coal in Minecraft. In terms of smelting properties, charcoal and coal are exactly the same. Minecraft charcoal and coal have a burning time of about 80 seconds.

This gives you enough time to smelt eight items. However, charcoal is more efficient due to how it’s made. It’s a great alternative if you don’t want to dive into mines or caves to farm for coal.

How to Make Charcoal in Minecraft

Much like the real world, you can obtain charcoal by burning wood. To make charcoal, you only need a furnace, some wood, and a source of fuel. For new players, it may seem counterintuitive because you need charcoal to burn things, right?

Wrong! A crucial tip for beginners: you can also use wood as fuel.

Crafting charcoal is an excellent way to get rid of extra wood blocks or unwanted wooden tools. This can come in handy if you’ve cleared out a wooden area to build a home and have stacks of wood blocks in your inventory.

This includes anything from logs, stripped logs, and wooden blocks. Here’s a step-by-step on how to make charcoal in Minecraft:

  1. Build a Minecraft furnace by placing eight cobblestone blocks on a crafting table.
  2. Place the furnace on the ground, then use your secondary action key to use the furnace. For laptop and PC gamers, this should be the right-click button of your mouse.
  3. Place wooden blocks on the upper and lower cells of the furnace. The lower cell serves as the fuel source.
  4. Allow the wood to smelt.

Congratulations! You now have charcoal.

how to make charcoal in minecraft

Can You Find Charcoal Naturally?

Charcoal is not a resource in Minecraft that you can naturally find in the wild. However, did you know that breaking a campfire can give you charcoal? Breaking a campfire will produce exactly two pieces of charcoal.

This will work even if the campfire wasn’t crafted with charcoal. Keep in mind that if you use a tool equipped with silk touch, the campfire will not drop any special items. Instead, it will drop itself as an item.

Can You Trade Emeralds for Charcoal?

Trading is a fun mechanic in the game that allows you to farm for emeralds and levels or obtain unique enchantments. Coal is one of the easiest items to trade, along with sticks and hay, due to its ready availability. You cannot buy charcoal with emeralds from villagers.

However, in the past, players were able to trade in charcoal as a substitute for coal to earn emeralds. This wasn’t game-breaking, but Mojang soon fixed this bug in a patch. With this update, players were also no longer able to substitute any color of wool if a villager specifically asks for white.

Uses for Charcoal

As a source of fuel, charcoal is much more efficient as it’s easy to craft. Strip mining often results in stacks of coal, cobblestone, dirt, and other non-valuable items. The coal you harvest will serve you for some time.

However, as you progress, you may not have the time or even want to go into caves to look for coal. Charcoal is a great substitute for coal as fuel. In addition, like coal, you can use it to craft new items.

Regular Torches

Sometimes, when you start a new world, coal isn’t as readily available as it is in most other worlds. This can depend on the biome you spawned in, or it might be a bad seed.

You can use charcoal to create regular torches in Minecraft. Using charcoal will not give you more or less light than if you used coal. Regular torches emit a light level of 14.

Mobs spawn in light levels of seven or lower, so the torch will be enough to keep monsters at bay. To craft a torch, open your crafting table. Place a piece of charcoal on any box and a wooden stick below it.

One piece of charcoal and one piece of a wooden stick will produce four torches.

Soul Torches

Soul torches were first introduced in a huge nether update in Java 1.16. This was the same patch that gave us new nether biomes and netherite, which could create stronger armor and weapons than diamonds. Soul torches emit a turquoise blue light due to their soul sand or soil component.

These special torches act the same as regular torches but have a lower light level. This means that a soul touch won’t melt ice if you place one on it. Soul torches emit a light level of 10, so they will still prevent regular mobs like zombies and skeletons from spawning.

Players can also use soul torches to scare away piglins, a hostile mob found in bastions, crimson forests, and nether waste biomes.

Many players also use soul torches in creative builds as it adds a certain depth and vibe. If you’re looking to make a whimsical and mysterious build, try using soul torches.

To craft a soul torch, you will first need charcoal, wooden sticks, and soul sand. Place down a crafting table and use your secondary key to open it. Use any of the three columns and place charcoal, wooden sticks, and soul sand in descending order.


Campfires were only recently added to Minecraft in Patch 1.14. Before that, players used cobwebs to create the illusion of campfire smoke.

You can cook food by clicking on a campfire with a piece of raw food in your main hand. A campfire can cook up to four pieces of food at the same time. This is an excellent way to cook food without exhausting your coal on a furnace.

Campfires are also a spread-proof light source and will stay lit even in bad weather. You can also use this item as a trap to damage aggressive mobs. Campfires also became more valuable with the addition of bees and honey in patch 1.15.

To craft a campfire, open your crafting table. Place a piece of charcoal in the most central square. Next, place three sticks, one on both sides and one on top of the charcoal.

Finally, add three pieces of wood in the bottom row.

As a bonus, you can also use campfires as a building material. This can spice up your build if you don’t like the appearance of regular wooden blocks.

Place down a campfire and extinguish the flames by using a shovel. You may also waterlog the campfire or throw a splash water bottle on the campfire.

Fire Charge

Fire charges are unique items that many casual Minecraft players may not even know about. You can find these items by trading with a piglin or finding a chest near a ruined portal in the overworld. However, players only have a 46.4% chance of finding a fire charge in the chest.

The easiest way to obtain a fire charge is to craft it.

Fire charges are commonly used to create fireworks. To do this, you must combine a fire charge with a dye color of your choice and a piece of gunpowder.

This will transform the fire charge into a fire star, which you can combine with a piece of paper and more gunpowder to create a rocket. You can fire these rockets into the sky or use them to navigate your world with Elytra.

Another interesting use for fire charges is that you can use them as projectiles. When placed into a dispenser, a fire charge can deal up to nine hearts of damage on a direct hit. This is similar to a blaze or a ghast.

However, unlike a ghast’s projectiles, you cannot deflect fire charges. Fire charges can also serve as a substitute for flint and steel. You can use this item to ignite nether portals and TNT.

To craft a fire charge, you first need charcoal, blaze powder, and gunpowder. Place the gunpowder on the left-most grid, the blaze powder next to it, and the charcoal on the right-most grid. This will produce three fire charges.

Other Sources of Fuel in Minecraft

Cooking food is part of the Minecraft experience. However, if you find the process of mining coal or crafting charcoal difficult, there are plenty of other fuel sources.


One stick of bamboo can quickly grow out of hand. If you live in a jungle biome or want to trim down your bamboo, consider using them as fuel. The good thing about bamboo is that you’ll never run out since they grow with ease.

One bamboo will only burn for 2.5 seconds and smelt 0.25% of an item. However, if you have stacks of bamboo, this might not be a cause for concern. Some players also craft scaffolding from bamboo and use that as fuel, as one scaffolding can smelt six items.

Blaze Rods

Blaze rods can be a limited resource as you need to kill blazes in the nether to farm them. It also has more valuable uses, such as creating brewing stands and Eye of Nethers for the endgame. However, if you can build a sustainable blaze farm, you might have plenty of blaze rods to spare.

To create a blaze farm, you must first find a blaze spawner in a nether fortress. You can follow some tutorials to build an automatic blaze farm or enclose them in a box and wait for them to come to you.

As a fuel source, blaze rods have two minutes of burning time. One blaze rod can smelt up to 12 items.

Dried Kelp Blocks

Dried kelp blocks are another excellent source of fuel, especially if your base is near an ocean. Making dried kelp blocks isn’t easy, but the payoff is worth it if you have plenty of kelp to spare. Jump into the ocean to collect some fresh kelp.

Stick the fresh kelp in a furnace and smelt it to acquire dried kelp. Use a crafting table to create dried kelp blocks.

Kelp blocks give you a burning time of three minutes and four seconds, which is twice the burning time of coal. This allows you to smelt about 20 items per block.

Lava Bucket

If you find a lava pool while strip mining, don’t cover it up! You can use that pool as an infinite source of fuel. A bucket of lava is the most efficient fuel source in the game.

This item gives you 16.6 minutes of burning time. One bucket can smelt 100 items. This gives you the best value if you don’t want to keep returning to your furnace to replace the coal.

Learn More About Crafting in Minecraft Today

Now you know how to make charcoal in Minecraft. Players can obtain charcoal by smelting wood blocks and use it as a substitute for fuel or other recipes that require coal.

Use your new fuel source to explore some of the darker areas of your Minecraft world. Check out this article on dark forests in Minecraft.

Avatar for Calvin Swanton

An avid gamer since the early '90s with a love of strategy & RPG games..... Big fan of all things Bethesda, Total War & FromSoftware.

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