Is an electrical receptacle allowed inside a kitchen cupboard by the California Electrical Code? (i.e. installed so that the receptacle face plate is on the inside back panel of the the cupboard, so that an electrical device inside the cupboard may be powered). Please cite applicable section of code.

In the case the cupboard is made of wood, it seem the box face would have to be flush with the inside of the cupboard face:

In walls and ceilings constructed of wood or other combustible surface material, boxes, plaster rings, extension rings, or listed extenders shall be flush with the finished surface or project therefrom.

2010 Electrical Code, see section 314.20



  • For some reason, this question reminds me of this Reddit DIY post: reddit.com/r/DIY/comments/3nc87h/…
    – alexw
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 4:45
  • Reading the quoted code, the main requirement is that the opening of an electrical box, extender or ring not be inset into the wall, but be even with or proud of the surface of the wall. Not sure that is specific to cabinets, but it might include them. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 13:38

3 Answers 3


You should be able install a receptacle inside the cabinet, I'm not aware of any code that says otherwise, and the code you quoted describes the minimum requirements. It's often done for garbage disposals, dishwashers, and over the range microwaves. Using an extender ring is probably the easiest way, so you don't need to predict exactly how far the outlet box needs to be installed from the wall. With some cabinet installs, it may be so far out you wouldn't have a proper nailing surface for the outlet to the stud.

  • Thanks. I was planning on using an old-work box (with wings). cut size exact hole in cabinet before mounting, poke romex through small hole in dry wall at approx location, install cabinet, cut out drywall exposed through hole in cabinet (OMTs are great :), slip in old-work box, and tighten up. any reason not to do that?
    – tom
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 3:09
  • I suspect that would pass inspection, though my personal preference is to have the outlet box mounted to a stud if possible, or anchored to the drywall for old work situations. It makes it a lot easier to pop out when replacing the cabinets. Anchoring it to the cabinet as you're thinking of does have the advantage of less measuring and one less part (no extension ring) needed.
    – BMitch
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 4:11

A receptacle is required to be in an upper cabinet for an over-the-range microwave. I cannot think of a code that would somehow prohibit it, although I am not up on all of California's amendments.

Typically we (I) cut the receptacle box into the back of the cabinet so that there is no problem with the box setback and I can place it exactly where I need.

Can you elaborate on why you want code citations and why you are asking?? Is someone telling you it's not allowed?

  • Thanks. An electrician once eluded to it not being allowed, so I'm just checking. Seems like the consensus is that it's OK - thanks. Of course, no code citation required if it is allowed, only if not :)
    – tom
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 3:06

While I can't specifically address California code our house was built by a California company using California plans (for example, some earthquake engineering that's not needed locally. It was cheaper for them to use the existing plans than redo all the engineering to save some materials.)

There is an outlet under the sink and an outlet above the range. Both of these are actually directly on the wall--the cabinets in question have only minimal backs and are mostly open.

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