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The 9 Best Serving Dishes For Every Meal

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As a former food blogger, I accumulated a lot of platters and props. Ultimately, I found myself returning to the neutral backdrops that framed my food without overpowering it. The best serving dishes are simple in design and made of go-with-everything materials like ceramic and wood.

Style

A simple design, in my estimation, generally means white serving dishes and platters that allow anything served on them to pop while also matching any tablescape. But white doesn't have to be stark: it's remarkable what a subtle scalloped edge or decorative trim can do to warm up the piece. I also love adding wood for an earthy element, and wooden charcuterie boards and salad bowls will make your table looks so luxe. All that said, if you love more colorful presentations, a piece with accent colors brings a festive vibe.

Material

Ceramic is a classic and elegant choice for serving dishes and is supremely versatile. Keep in mind easy-to-clean ceramic or porcelain dishes can chip or break if dropped, while wooden dishes or platters likely require hand washing. Either material is relatively affordable and helps food look enticing.

Size

You’ll want to stock your kitchen and dining area with serving dishes in a few sizes to accommodate main courses, pasta and salads, snacks, and dessert. I’ve compiled a mix of highly rated options to cover your bases, including an oval platter at least 14 inches wide, a wooden board for charcuterie spreads, and bowls in several sizes for serving sides, snacks, and sweets.

With all this in mind, here are the best serving dishes to stock your collection. You'll find that these pieces are must-have kitchen items.

1. This Versatile Set Of White Serving Bowls

These white serving bowls are a great shape and size for serving pasta, salad, or fresh fruit. Each of the two bowls holds just over 3 quarts, and these highly rated porcelain bowls are conveniently safe to use in the microwave and dishwasher. The simple white design makes anything from vibrant green salads to dinner rolls look good.

A helpful review: “I bought this set of bowls because I needed large serving bowls that could also hold a substantial salad or pasta dish. These fit the bill. They are heavy in weight, modern and sleek looking in design and go well with all styles of dishes and serving wear. Would definitely buy again.”

2. The Best Divided Serving Dish

The best divided serving dish is all white with a simple but brilliant feature that sets it apart from others: its five compartments are removable for easy individual refills as needed.

The chip-resistant ceramic pieces are safe to use in the dishwasher, microwave, and freezer, and this design means you can use the bottom tray separately, too. Use this platter to serve chips and dip, olives, candy, nuts, fruit, or vegetables.

A helpful review: “These serving dishes are such amazing quality and so beautiful! They are exactly what I was looking for. I love that you can take each part apart and have several parts to spread them out among guests. They are also dishwasher and microwave safe!! [...] I was already super impressed the first time I used them and got compliments on how nice they were. i cant wait to use them again on Thanksgiving and Christmas. WORTH IT!”

3. A Classic Oval Platter

This classic oval platter in ivory has a pretty scalloped edge that will accentuate roasted vegetables and other side dishes. It's made of stoneware and is dishwasher-safe and microwave-safe. The 15-inch plate (with an 11-inch well) looks good on any table and fits right in with other serving dishes. It's also available in a lovely 12-inch round size.

A helpful review: “Very nice serving dish. Needed a serving dish to hold a square bundt cake and this was perfect. Also used it for serving asparagus spears; they looked great."

4. A Set Of Terracotta Pinch Bowls For Dipping Sauces Or Olives

A pinch bowl set is great to have on hand for serving dipping sauces, finishing salts, spices, nuts, or herbs. These six terracotta bowls have colorful interior glazes, offering a modern but simple pop of color to your table.

Each terracotta bowl holds one ounce, and they should be washed by hand.

A helpful review: “These are adorable, and look much more expensive than they are. Perfect for nuts, olives, dipping sauces, or a little bits of snacks.”

5. A Unique & Decorative Serving Platter

Backed by an impressive 4.7-star rating on Amazon, this decorative serving platter is much loved by reviewers for its ornate and floral pattern on hand-painted stoneware. The combination of colors can match several other styles, and this 14-inch platter is safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave. Reviewers commented they love using this dish for serving large sides and main courses. If you love the look, you can shop the listing for a complete dinnerware and accessories set.

A helpful review: “This a really nice platter that is colorful, sturdy, and perfect for many serving options.”

6. These Gorgeous Wooden Bowls For Dips & More

I love using these wooden serving bowls for organizing smaller items as part of a charcuterie and cheese spread. Their 4-inch size is perfect for offering dips or corralling olives and nuts. The natural wood grain is neutral enough to let any food shine, whether you're serving appetizers or desserts. Plus, the tight grain of this acacia wood helps them resist leaks, stains, and odors; wash these bowls by hand to keep them in shape. You can also score the bowls in an affordable set of six.

A helpful review: “I love the durability, color, and size. It is perfect for dipping sauces and olives. I use it on my cheeseboard when I have guests and they absolutely love it. Each bowl is different in color tone and has a unique design. Highly recommend!”

7. A Beautiful Maple Board For Cheese & Charcuterie

Speaking of charcuterie and cheese, this wooden serving board is a must-have for dinner parties and entertaining at home. The 17-inch rectangular board is large enough to serve your favorite prosciutto, making it easy to assemble your own charcuterie board. I also love the built-in well on one side for holding crackers, sliced bread, or smaller items like nuts, chopped vegetables, or olives. And built-in handles on the sides of the board are convenient for moving it around.

The black walnut board with an accent stripe of cherry and maple woods is timeless and one reviewer commented it is "absolutely stunning — even more so in person than in the photos."

A helpful review: “The artistic design of this charcuterie board truly exceeded my expectations — so much so that it remains on display in my kitchen in between uses. However, as unique and beautiful as the board is, it's clear that quality and function was not compromised during its design. It's a functional piece of art for the kitchen. I primarily use the board for entertaining (I'm not the best cook) so I particularly like the cutout handles and 'cracker well.' The handles make it easy for me to transport goodies to and from the kitchen and the 'cracker well' keeps the crackers from sliding around or off the board. [...]

8. An Elegant Serving Platter For The Main Event

If you're looking for a large serving platter suitable for holding a Thanksgiving turkey, ham, or pot roast, this pick is 18.5 inches long and made of white stoneware. The simple scalloped design has a decorative bead trim that gives this plate a French farmhouse vibe, and it's safe to use in the microwave and dishwasher.

One reviewer commented this highly rated platter worked "great for my 15-pound turkey."

A helpful review: "This is a beautiful platter and just the right size for a small 11 lb. ham. I used it this past Christmas 2014. It fit perfectly in the middle of my dining table with all the other food around it with plenty of room for my dinnerware for eight people. I highly recommend this platter."

9. Your Go-To Dessert Stand For Cakes & More

I bake homemade birthday cakes for the people I love, and a white cake stand is best for serving them. This one is simple in its design with a weighted base for stability and 12-inch diameter that fits any round cake, cupcakes, macarons, cookies, fruit, and other desserts. The porcelain stand is chip-resistant and safe to use in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher.

When not in use, it doubles as minimalist table decor, and several Amazon reviewers even reported using this stand for wedding cakes.

A helpful review: “I absolutely love this cake stand. It is simple yet elegant and is very well-made!”