Plates are something we use every day, so why shouldn’t they be beautiful in addition to being functional and practical? Ceramic pieces have a slightly rougher texture and more weight to them than their porcelain counterparts, which gives them a handcrafted feel (and some are indeed made by hand). Spruce up your tablescape with everything from simple dinner plates to admirably gorgeous sets complete with pasta bowls, salad plates, and mugs.
Made In The Tabletop Set Essentials
This versatile dinnerware set can take you from everyday meals to holiday dinners. The simple design (all white or white with a colored rim) will ensure that the food takes center stage. These bowls will easily match any tablescape and can go in the microwave, dishwasher, and even the oven (up to 580 degrees).
Made In’s ceramic plates are fully vitrified, a process that gives the clay a smooth, glass-like surface and stronger build. The company stands behind the durability of its scratch-proof, stain-resistant plateware, offering a “1-Year No-Chip Guarantee.” All of Made In’s ceramic plateware is crafted in Stoke-on-Trent, England, a city that has been producing pottery for centuries.
Price at time of publish: $339
Number of Pieces: 16 | What’s Included: 4 appetizer plates, 4 dinner plates, 4 side bowls, 4 entrée bowls | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
AmorArc Ceramic Dinnerware Set
Only 2 color options
This budget-friendly set has a rustic feel, with pieces that vary slightly in shape. Each plate is fired with two different glazes, giving them a unique finish. The slight differences in color and shape lend a charming, handmade feel to the set, which is perfect for everyday use. The brand claims its glaze is highly chip- and crack-resistant, as well.
Price at time of publish: $90
Number of Pieces: 12 | What’s Included: 4 salad plates, 4 cereal bowls, 4 dinner plates | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Le Creuset 16-Piece Chambray Blue Dinnerware Set
Smooth glazed finish
Mugs aren’t blue inside like the other pieces
From the company best known for its chef-inspired enamel cookware (like its beautiful Dutch ovens), this chambray blue dinnerware set is effortlessly cool. Part of Le Creuset’s premium stoneware collection, these pieces boast signature design elements like creamy glazes, graduated coloring, and concentric ridges that feel right at home with the brand’s cookware. And like their cookware, these pieces are resistant to chips, scratches, and stains. They’re also dishwasher-, microwave-, freezer-, broiler-, and oven-safe to 500 degrees.
Price at time of publish: $300
Number of Pieces: 16 | What’s Included: 4 salad plates, 4 dinner plates, 4 cereal bowls, 4 mugs | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Jono Pandolfi Coupe 4-Piece Place Setting
Expensive for one place setting
Every handcrafted piece that comes out of the Jono Pandolfi studio feels like a work of art—there’s a reason why its pieces grace the tables of some of the top restaurants in the world. You can actually find these exact dishes at Girl & The Goat in Los Angeles and Lilia in Brooklyn, New York.
This particular set includes the essentials: a salad plate (that can also be used for snacks), a cereal bowl (that also works for ice cream and soup), an entrée plate, and what they call an Alaska bowl (perfect for pasta and meal-sized salads). I’m lucky enough to own a few Jono Pandolfi pieces, and I love how they elevate my at-home meals.
Price at time of publish: $150
Number of Pieces: 4 | What’s Included: 1 salad plate, 1 cereal bowl, 1 entrée plate, 1 entrée bowl | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Hawkins New York Essential Stoneware 16-Piece Dinnerware Set
Several color options
Can mix and match colors
May be difficult to fit in a dishwasher
Minimalist and chic, this dinnerware set is made for mixing and matching to suit your color preferences and needs. While you can purchase a 16-piece set in a single color, you can also pick up the different types of plates and bowls in sets of four. So if you want to mix it up with different colors or skip the cereal bowls, you can. These versatile pieces are simple and striking, with thoughtful design touches like ripples on the plates and small feet on the bowls for stability.
Price at time of publish: $184
Number of Pieces: 16 | What’s Included: 4 salad plates, 4 cereal bowls, 4 dinner plates, 4 pasta bowls | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Crate & Barrel Farmhouse White Dinner Plate
Can be warmed in the oven
Sold individually or as a set
Hand-thrown pottery look
Only comes in one color
Made in Portugal, this dinner plate is part of Crate & Barrel’s Farmhouse collection which is characterized by bold rims and a sturdy feel. These plates are a favorite of Lidey Heuck, a recipe developer we interviewed for this story, and we like that the creamy white glaze is classic and goes with everything. If you want to complete the set, Crate & Barrel sells matching cereal bowls, salad plates, mugs, and soup bowls. You save a little money if you buy in sets of four, but it’s nice to have the option to buy individual pieces if you’re serving a number that isn’t divisible by four––or if one of your plates breaks.
Price at time of publish: $8
Number of Pieces: 1 | What’s Included: Dinner plate | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
For a dinnerware set that covers the bases, has a timeless feel, and will last for years to come, look no further than The Tabletop Set by Made In. For a rustic and affordable set that comes in two colors, we recommend the AmorArc Ceramic Dinnerware Set.
What to Look for in Ceramic Dinnerware
Ease of Cleaning
Buying ceramic dinnerware can be a pricey investment, so it’s important to know ahead of time whether or not it can go in the microwave, oven, or dishwasher (or all of the above). “I always make sure the ceramics I buy are marked dishwasher-safe,” Heuck said. If you know you’ll be less likely to use plates and bowls that need to be washed by hand, make sure the set you’re buying is dishwasher-safe. (Psst, all of the products in this roundup are!)
Number of Pieces
Another thing to look at is the number of pieces included in a dinnerware set. Most sets are designed to serve four, so if your family is slightly bigger or smaller, it’s something to make note of. Plus, having extra plates isn’t always a bad thing.
“I generally buy three to five more [plates] than the seats I have at my table, as inevitably an unexpected guest will arrive, or some may break depending on how much you've imbibed by the time you get to washing dishes,” Emma Hearst, chef, author, and CEO of Forts Ferry Farm in Latham, New York, said. For her tablescapes, she loves to use a mixture of vintage finds mingled with pottery from local potters. “I am an antique hound and have a pretty eclectic style regarding tablescapes. It's a bit granny-chic with modern tidiness and a dash of humor,” she said.
Is ceramic dinnerware durable?
It depends. Hearst noted that ceramic dinnerware can be durable when it’s well-made and cared for. “The type of clay, and how it was fired in a kiln, has much to do with its durability,” she said. “Clay with more impurities fired at a lower temperature will inevitably be more fragile.”
Heuck echoed this sentiment, adding that some ceramics are more durable than others. “Stoneware is more chip-resistant than earthenware, which I tend to avoid for that very reason,” she said. “When shopping for ceramics online, it's always a good idea to read the description to see what you're buying.” Since earthenware has a more porous surface and is fired at a lower temperature, it’s more susceptible to breaks and chips.
Is ceramic or porcelain dinnerware better?
When choosing between ceramic and porcelain, it’s all about your personal preference and style. “There are a million different types of clay out there, and one isn't necessarily better than the other,” Hearst said. She explained that porcelain is an extremely pure type of clay that’s stronger than others, and it tends to have a more refined finish. “Other types of clay that contain more impurities will have more texture and be more earthy and rustic, no matter how clean-lined and modern the form may be,” she said.
Heuck added that even though we often think of porcelain dishes as being fancy, they’re actually more durable than stoneware (and more expensive). “I love stoneware for my everyday, workhouse dishes and porcelain for accent dessert plates and serving platters or when I want the table setting to feel a little bit more elegant,” she said.
Can ceramic dinnerware go in the oven? The microwave?
In most cases, yes it can. In the making process, ceramic dinnerware is fired at temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees––much hotter than your average oven. There are a few exceptions, of course, and Hearst notes that ceramics with metal in the glaze cannot go in the microwave. “I don’t put any vintage plates in the microwave or oven because of that unknown,” she said. When in doubt, check the product listing or with the maker.
Does ceramic dinnerware chip easily?
This answer will depend on a number of factors, including the purity of the clay, the temperature at which it’s fired, and the design of the plates and bowls. Some ceramics have vitreous (glass) material added (like the ones from Made In), which makes them stronger and less likely to chip. “You can’t handle ceramics like paper plates, but some of the oldest human-made objects left on this earth are ceramics,” Hearst said.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a freelance journalist who specializes in food and drinks content. She’s interviewed experts to learn more about ceramic dinnerware, and she’s always keen to share this knowledge with readers. She loves breaking out her fancy ceramic pasta bowls when guests come over for dinner.
Lidey Heuck is a Hudson Valley-based cook, writer, and recipe developer. She was Ina Garten’s assistant for six years before cooking alongside Erin French at The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine, when she appeared on Magnolia Network’s “The Lost Kitchen Show.” Heuck is currently writing her first cookbook.
Emma Hearst is a chef, author, and the CEO of Forts Ferry Farm in Latham, New York. Hearst was formerly the chef and co-owner of Italian restaurant Sorella in New York City and the youngest competitor to ever appear on “Iron Chef: America.”