The best essential farms in Minecraft

We’ve gathered the best basic (and some not so basic) farms to give you an edge in Minecraft.

Minecraft Dungeon

When playing SMP Minecraft, there are some things you don’t want to worry about like finding food. Playing survival is a lot of fun, but no-one wants to stop working on their latest build because they have run out of iron. Luckily, Minecraft players have created farms for just about everything. Here is a guide to seven of the most useful farms in Minecraft. Each of these farms will provide some of the most basic materials that every player needs but hates to search for.

Wheat/carrot/potato farm

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

This is the most basic of all the farms you can build in Minecraft. It is also one of the most important ones in the early game. Food is an important aspect of survival. Setting up a simple farm for wheat, carrots, or potatoes early on will help stave off hunger and free up time to focus on more important things than finding food. Setting one up is pretty straight forward. All you need is a wooden hoe and some seeds. Seeds are found from breaking tall grass, which is very abundant in just about every biome aside from glacial, desert, and badlands. Once you have the seeds, right-click on a grass block with the hoe, then right-click it again with the seeds, then wait for the plants to mature. Placing this farm near a water source will allow the crops to grow faster. Villages usually generate with farms like these, and the villagers will automatically re-plant anything you harvest, making them an excellent place to build up a food stockpile while working on other projects.

Automated sugarcane farm

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Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Sugarcane is essential to enchant weapons and generally make life easier all around. A sugarcane farm can be easily automated with some basic redstone engineering. All you need is some redstone, a piston, and either an observer, a lever, or a button.

Plant the sugarcane on some sand next to a block or stream of water. Place pistons, preferably on the level above the sugarcane, to break the two upper blocks of growth. Place blocks behind the pistons and observers above them facing the sugarcane. Run a redstone wire across the top of the blocks behind the pistons.

This farm will automatically break the sugarcane once it reaches maturity and knocks the pieces into the water below. Create a stream of flowing water and have it feed into a hopper and chest to gather up everything while you are away. Sugar cane is essential for creating books, maps, and certain food items as it can be used to make paper and sugar. Sugarcane can also be sold on some servers with the vault plugin or a shopping mod.

Steak and leather farm

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The last thing that players want to worry about when playing survival is food. This farm solves that problem by providing a near-infinite source of cooked steak as well as leather. I used a design featured by RabidSmore over on YouTube. The overall design is pretty simple and not very costly in terms of resources. All that is required is a bucket of lava, a bucket of water, a few signs, plenty of building blocks like cobblestone, some soul sand, some glass, a couple of hoppers, and a chest.

Wheat is also needed to feed and lure the cows, but that is easily obtainable with a decent sized wheat farm.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Start by placing your chest wherever you want to pick up your steak and leather. Run two hoppers into the back of the chest, one behind the other. Place a block of soul sand on top of each hopper. When the farm is running, the cooked steak and leather will drop through the soul sand and into the hoppers. Surround the soul sand with your building blocks.

On the next layer, place glass blocks on the front and back of the farm and build up a layer of building blocks on the sides. On one of the building blocks closest to the front of the farm, place a sign. The sign will stop the lava flow.

Run another layer of building blocks all the way around with another glass block at the front. This third glass block is where the lava will be placed later. Build a platform on this layer for adult cows to stand on. Place a sign on the building block across from the third glass block, and this will prevent the lava from flowing in that direction.

On the next layer, build up the walls around the platform. A water source block will need to be placed on this layer using a water bucket at the back of the platform. You will need to place a sign on one of the building blocks on this layer to prevent water from flowing into the lava.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Once the signs are in place, you can add the lava and water and close off the rest of the farm. Build up the walls around the platform a couple of layers and leave a block open for you to get access to the cows inside. Be sure also to leave an opening for the calves to float through and down into space with the soul sand below.

The next part is the tricky bit and may require some stairs or some help from a benevolent server mod with access to the creative menu. You will need to lure some cows, at least two, into the platform on the top of the farm. This took me a good 20 minutes when I first built the farm, but it was worth it in the end.

Once the cows are happily bobbing in the water flow in the platform, use some wheat for breeding them. A baby cow will be created and float down into the space below. After that, wait till the calf grows up. The new cow will be cooked by the lava, granting you a cooked steak and possibly some leather. The more cows you have in the upper platform, the more you can gather over time.

RabidSmore suggests using a sticky piston and the glass block in the back to push any cows that get stuck in the back into the lava.

This farm is handy early into SMP server games. It gives you quick access to an ample food supply, and leather is useful for a lot of things, particularly making books needed for enchanting.

Egg farm

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Egg farms are beneficial. Eggs can be used for making food or spawning more chickens. Egg farms can be very simple, and most are automated by default. A simple farm requires some hoppers, a chest, and a block or flowing water for eggs to fall through. Servers with shop plugins or mods often allow players to sell eggs. Eggs aren’t usually worth much, but a farm generating a lot of them will allow players to rack up the currency steadily over time.

First, place the chest where you would like to gather your eggs. Then create a chain of hoppers in the shape you want and make sure they all feed into the chest or other hoppers. Create an enclosed area for the chickens to sit above the hoppers and not get out. Fill the enclosed area with either soul sand for the eggs to drop through, or water by using a water bucket in the corner so any eggs will be pushed to the opposite corner. Finally, lead some chickens into the enclosed space or use eggs to spawn them and block it off.

Iron farm

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These farms can be a bit difficult to make for newer players, but it is handy. Iron is essential in the game for making tools, armor, and a lot of redstone components. The best way to farm iron is to get it from iron golems. The resources for this build are relatively cheap, but overall the build itself is very time-consuming. The most expensive part of the build is getting a name tag to use on the all-important zombie. You will need four beds, four profession blocks (barrel, composter, grindstone, etc.), a bucket of lava, several buckets of water, 16 signs, a lot of building blocks, and some walls or fences.

To start, you will need to catch a zombie in a minecart or suck up to a moderator with access to the creative menu for a zombie spawn egg. You can trick zombies into minecarts by placing one on the ground, getting a zombie’s attention, then playing tag with the little green irritant while running around the minecart as close as possible until it finally gets the picture and jumps in. After you have the zombie in the cart, you will need to build a small platform for the little fella at the center of where you want your farm to be. Make sure the platform is only one block wide and is enclosed an all four sides going up.

Use some rails and redstone to push the zombie into position on the platform and place a block above his head, so he doesn’t get a sunburn.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Now would be the best time to name the zombie using the nametag. Once you named the zombie build four more platforms adjacent to him. Each adjacent platform will need to be three blocks long and have walls at least three blocks tall. These platforms will be for villagers and their beds. Place the beds and the profession blocks in the villager platforms. The beds can go anywhere in the three-block space, but the profession blocks work best if they are near the front closest to the zombie, and the beds are at the back.

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Once these platforms are done, build a more substantial platform over them for the golems to spawn on. This larger spawning platform will need to be at least eight blocks long.

Once you have finished the spawning platform, build another slightly smaller adjacent platform one block above it. The elevated platform will help lengthen water flow and push the golems into the killing chamber. This platform will need to be at least four blocks long. Once that is completed, fence in the upper platforms on three sides and find a village.

Drag or trick some villagers onto the villager platforms or try begging your nearest moderator for more eggs. Once there, be sure to place some slabs on the block we put above the zombie earlier and the adjacent blocks for good measure. This will prevent the zombie from getting loose and killing the villagers.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Now it is time to make the killing chamber to cook up your iron golems.

Build a wall down about eight blocks from the open edge of the largest platform. Use that wall to make an eight by three box for the golems to fall into. Place some fences on the top layer of this chamber to prevent golems from spawning on top of the walls.

Leave a three by three block hole in the center of the floor in this chamber. Golems will be pushed through here to be harvested for their iron.

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Beneath this chamber create another smaller chamber extending two blocks beneath the floor to collect the drops from the golems. Use hoppers to create a floor for this chamber and feed all of them into a chest so you can collect your goodies.

On the layer directly beneath the floor of the first chamber, create a floor of signs. You can do this by placing signs on one of the walls then shift-right clicking to place another sign on top of the first. Fill the three by three block space so that the lava won’t flow down into the collection chamber and burn up all of the iron before it reaches the hoppers. Do the same thing two layers above the first sign floor to prevent water flow from turning the lava into obsidian.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

The final steps are easy. Empty a lava bucket in the layer between the two sign floors; one should be plenty. In the large first chamber empty a water bucket in each of the corners. Once these chambers are done, head up to the topmost layer of the entire farm and empty water buckets along the furthest edge from the collection chambers. The water should flow down towards the collection chambers and will take any iron golems with it. If water from the uppermost platform flows down into the collection chambers, you may have to extend it, so the source blocks are further away from the chamber until the water stops flowing just as it reaches the edge of the lower platform.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Finally, remove the upper blocks from the sides of the zombie’s platform. These blocks are preventing it from seeing the villagers and vice versa. Once they are removed, the zombies will become aggressive towards the villagers, and the villagers will start to panic. Once the villagers start panicking, you will have to wait a little while for the golems to begin spawning. Sometimes it can take as long as a full day/night cycle.

While this farm is very time-consuming, it will give you an infinite source of iron so long as the zombie and the villagers remain loaded.

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Slime farm

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Slime farms are beneficial for redstone engineers or players that plan on building a lot of redstone devices. Slimeballs also tend to be in constant demand on some SMP servers, especially in the early game. Slime can spawn in swamp biomes and underground in slime chunks. Each chunk in the game has a 10% chance of being a slime chunk, so using a swamp biome if one is available is a lot easier.

Slime spawn is affected by moon phases in Minecraft. During a full moon, slimes will spawn 100% of the time, while during a new moon, the spawn rate is almost zero, with the percentages varying with each phase.

Most slime farms follow the same basic design. There is usually a golem perched a few blocks in the air to attract the slime, something to damage the slime, and something to collect the drops.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

The farm above is a common example of the basic slime farm. Just place a sand block and build a pillar of cactus on top of it. Place a stone slab on top of the cactus then make an enclosure of transparent blocks around the slab so the slime can see the golem. Leave the layer immediately around the slab clear to be sure the golem drops onto it. Build the golem on top of the slab using iron blocks and a jack o’ lantern. Finally, dig out an area around the cactus and fill it with hoppers running into a chest to collect the slime drops. Slime, and other mobs, will ram up against the cactus and effectively kill themselves trying to get at the golem. The golem will also try to attack the mobs with varied success but can’t get out of its enclosure. This farm requires a lot of iron to build but can pay for itself in slime.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Another common version uses magma blocks over a layer of hoppers instead of the cactus. The golem still sits suspended on a slab surrounded by transparent blocks.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

To cut down on expenses, you can replace the multiple hoppers with a hopper cart on a rail system. This works best with a magma block slime farm and can be lengthened to increase the area of the farm.

Mob farm

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A mob farm can be a bit tricky because the best ones require mob spawners. Ideally, you’ll want a skeleton or zombie spawner in the overworld as these mobs tend to drop better loot. If you can’t find one of these spawners, others will work fine and will still grant experience. Spawners can be found in dungeons, mineshafts, woodland mansions, strongholds, and nether fortresses. All of these spawners a useful for gathering experience and loot, except for the silverfish spawner in strongholds, which are just irritating.

Spawners in mineshafts and dungeons are probably the easiest to find. Once found, the farm itself is a simple build. There are a lot of different designs for mob farms that can range in size and complexity. One of the simplest is a compact canal farm. All it requires is a pickaxe, some buckets of water, a sign, and a slab if there are smaller mobs like baby zombies. If the area around the spawner is open, you should seal it off, so there aren’t any chances for mobs to sneak out.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Mine out two levels below the spawner, then start digging a single block shaft directly beneath the spawner for the mobs to drop into. Create a chamber several blocks below the spawner where the shaft ends so you can grind XP and pick up loot. Make sure there is a small one block window for you to access the shaft and the mobs that are dropping into it. Pour a single water block in each of the corners of the dungeon or area where the mobs are spawning. When the mobs spawn, the flowing water will force them down the shaft and into the chamber below.

Place a sign about three blocks above the bottom of the shaft to stop the water flow before it fills your grinding chamber. If you are using a zombie spawner, place a slab on a block near the opening into the chamber to prevent baby zombies from hopping out of the shaft.

Screengrab via Minecraft Java Edition

Once all of this is completed, remove any light sources in the room with the spawner. This farm is afk, and the mobs will keep spawning and dropping into the shaft. After some time, if there are too many mobs in the shaft, they will start suffocating and die. Adding hoppers and a chest to catch loot can be useful. The hoppers will catch any loot that is dropped by mobs dying while you aren’t actively using the farm. It will also prevent you from filling up your inventory with drops.

This farm is great if you plan on doing a lot of enchanting or have tools with the mending enchantment. You can rack up a lot of experience over time that will mend your tools and can be used for enchantment.

Related: See the guide on Minecraft Redstone Farm Ideas and Tutorials.