Dinnerware is so much more than just vessels for holding and serving food. Yes, they should be functional, but that function depends on the occasion: For example, are you having oatmeal for breakfast, or are you plating turkey and sides for a big holiday meal? Furthermore, dinnerware sets are also an extension of your style and help create the ambiance for any occasion, no matter if it's a casual solo meal or a fancy dinner date.
Whether you're looking for an elegant canvas on which to present your meals or a simple everyday set that won't break the bank, there are several important factors to consider. Dinnerware comes in a wide range of styles, offering different colors, textures, and materials. You may want to build your collection piece by piece as you go, incorporating multiple types of materials such as earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, or melamine—or opt for the convenience of an organized set that includes everything you need all at once.
We know navigating through different dinnerware sets can be daunting, so we decided to test some of the most reputable brands on their durability, design, versatility, quality of finish, and overall value. From breakfast to dinner and dessert, many meals were eaten off of these collections of plates, bowls, and more to make sure they are truly the best dinnerware sets available.
Fiesta 4-Piece Dinnerware Place Setting
Color choices to please anyone
Matching serveware available
Mug has small finger hole
No one does bright, bold colors like Fiesta. This four-piece place setting is available in a variety of beautiful shades, all in that classic Fiesta style. People often collect Fiesta dinnerware, which has been manufactured in the United States for decades (though the company's history dates back to the 1870s), and many more dishes and accessories are available for people who want to expand their collection. And, since the brand keeps the pattern consistent, all your pieces will match even if years pass before you buy more. Have a hard time picking just one color? It’s fun to mix and match as well.
There's a good reason why Fiesta has been around for so long. The dinnerware is classic, festive, and extremely sturdy; Plus, each piece will stand the test of time with the proper care. The classic set will include a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and mug, but Fiesta also offers a ton of matching pieces, from bakeware and pitchers to butter dishes and serving platters.
While testing, we noted that the dinner plates are great for large or small meals, and the lip of the plates keeps chaotic food from slipping off the side while eating. These dishes can be used in the microwave, dishwasher, and even in the oven. Although the dishes are incredibly durable, they also have a five-year chip resistance warranty in case they do get damaged.
Price at time of publish: $47 for 4-piece set
Material: Ceramic | What's Included: 1 dinner plate, 1 side plate, 1 bowl, 1 mug with additional options available | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Amazon Basics 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4
Lightweight but not flimsy
Wobbly when stacked
This classic set has a contemporary and timeless appeal. Plus, the dishes are safe to put in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher, making them a practical choice. The plates do not retain heat when used in the microwave or oven, so you can grab them without fear of scorched fingers.
The budget-conscious and durable porcelain set comes with dinner plates, bowls, dessert plates, and mugs. Minimalists will love these straightforward dishes, which are perfect for those moving into a first apartment who don’t want a hand-me-down set. When we ordered this white dinnerware set, all of the dishes arrived well-wrapped and without any breakage or shipping damage, all while coming in a reasonably-sized box. The finish of the plates also stood up to our favorite silverware set without leaving scratches or marks.
Perfectionists take note: Stacking these dishes revealed that the plates are not all of the same thickness and may even be uneven from one side of the plate to another. Many even had one or two tiny pits or pinpricks in the glaze, which didn't disfigure or affect the performance of the plates—just something to think about. At a price this low, you get what you pay for—a basic dinnerware set that holds food and is easy to wash.
Price at time of publish: $43 for 16-piece set
Material: Porcelain | What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 side plates, 4 bowls, 4 mugs | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
West Elm Textured Stoneware Dinnerware
Part of a larger coordinating kitchenware collection
Stoneware prone to glazing defects and chipping
These dishes may be neutral, but there’s nothing boring about them. During testing, we noticed that the color is more of a warm cream than a true white, and each piece is adorned with different textured patterns that bring visual interest to the table. The dinner plates and bowls feature stripes, while the side plates and mugs feature dots. The textures coordinate into a cohesive set, but each piece also stands out on its own.
We especially loved the salad plate for smaller portions at breakfast and lunch—it's sized right to serve a sandwich or slice of avocado toast—and the salad plates can double as dessert plates for cake and pie. The plates have a wide rim, which is attractive (but, admittedly, could also limit the amount of useable space to plate your food).
The heavyweight and delicate stoneware material makes this set prone to chipping, so use extra caution when handling it. Still, there were no reported scratches or marks of any kind on the finish after eating via stainless steel utensils. Upon closer inspection of each piece, however, there were a few noticeable flaws, like dimples and bubbles from the glazing process. The pieces felt high quality, but the imperfections were a bummer, especially given the price.
Price at time of publish: $184 for 16-piece set
Material: Stoneware | What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 side plates, 4 bowls, 4 mugs with additional pieces available | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Zak Designs Confetti Melamine 12-Piece Dinnerware Set
Attractive, playful colors
Made with 40% recycled material
No cups or mugs included
You may already be familiar with Zak Designs from its colorful and iconic mixing bowl sets. Using the same confetti style, the brand has created a playful set of durable melamine dinnerware that is simple enough to haul out to the back patio for dinner and lightweight enough for a picnic in the park or your next camping trip.
The 12-piece set is available in six different colors and includes place settings for four people: a dinner plate, salad plate, and bowl. We tested this set in white, which is a bright true-white shade with multi-colored flecks of confetti. The design is casual, yet festive.
Since the melamine material is ultra-smooth and the plates aren't rimmed, we found that food had a tendency to slide around. However, the plates are quite spacious and sturdy enough to hold large portions of food. Thanks to the durability, we had little worry about chipping or cracking when stacking pieces or placing them in the sink. Additionally, there was no wear and tear or scratches from silverware or washing.
This collection is lightweight and stacks neatly for compact storage—a nice feature if you're using it as a backup or as a dedicated outdoor dinnerware set. While the whole set is top-rack dishwasher safe, melamine should not be used in the microwave or oven.
Price at time of publish: $52 for 12-piece set
Material: Melamine | What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 side plates, 4 bowls | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Our Place Set the Table Dinnerware Set
Easy to coordinate with flatware and drinkware
Recycled and sustainably-sourced porcelain
Plates and bowls get very hot in the microwave
It’s rare that a newcomer to the dinnerware market makes such a splash on the home cooking scene, but the collection from Our Place has done just that. Featured in both food and fashion publications as well as food blogger and food stylist showcases everywhere, Our Place has created a minimal and contemporary dinnerware set that maintains its warmth and homeyness with a slightly rustic appeal. Additionally, the collection offers coordinating drinking glasses and the fan-favorite Always Pan that cooks it all. We tested a previous, speckled version of the dinnerware, but the updated version boasts the same earthy ceramic with a slightly glossier finish.
Both the dinnerware and additional glassware are made for easy stacking. The entire dinnerware set is dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe to seamlessly handle whatever you’re cooking up. For those curious about the environmental footprint, the Los Angeles-based company claims to use both recycled and sustainably-sourced virgin porcelain for their products.
The modern, minimalistic design was more beautiful in person than in photos, and each piece stacked wonderfully to make for super simple and attractive storage. The raised sides provided an edge to keep the food from rolling off the plate, too. One qualm we had was that when reheating, the material became hot to the touch when microwaving longer than one minute, while the soup she was reheating was only warm, so make sure to use gloves when retrieving so that you don't burn yourself.
Price at time of publish: $260 for 20-piece set
Material: Ceramic | What's Included: 4 full plates, 4 midi plates, 4 demi plates, 4 midi bowls, and 4 demi bowls | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Lenox Winter Greetings 12-Piece Dinnerware Set
24k gold accents
Lenox dinnerware is known for its timeless designs and durable materials—an ideal combination for holiday celebrations. There are 12 pieces in this set, including four dinner plates, four salad plates, and four bowls, all of which feature the classic Winter Greetings theme with cheerful birds, red ribbon, and a garland of pinecones, holly, and mistletoe. The pieces are accented with 24-karat gold on the rims, adding another perfect touch for Christmas or other holidays.
They are dishwasher safe and extremely durable (just don't put them in the microwave). The holiday-themed collection also includes plenty of matching items like serving bowls, mugs, and platters to be purchased separately. They're also backed by the Lenox Replacement Promise, which offers a free replacement if items break during normal use.
Reviewers love the quality of this dinnerware set, noting how well the pieces complement the rest of their holiday decor on the table. Others appreciated how the plates and bowls are suitable for both casual dining and special occasions due to their sturdy construction and soft design.
Price at time of publish: $212 for 12-piece set
Material: Porcelain | What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 bowls | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Red Vanilla Extreme Bone China Dinnerware Set
Bright white china
Lightweight and high-quality
Sharp angular edges seem to chip easier
White dinnerware can sound dull, but that's not the case here. Delicate edges and sleek swoops make this "Extreme" white set from Red Vanilla quite beautiful. Although it looks refined and elegant in appearance, it is sturdy enough to be cleaned in the dishwasher and used in the microwave. While these porcelain plates are plenty durable, you'll still want to take care not to chip the corners when stacking and storing.
The 16-piece set comes with dinner plates, salad plates, mugs, and big, triangular soup bowls, but smaller sets and serving platters are also available in the same collection. With these white, modern-looking dishes as the background, your meals will pop, so they're a great fit if you enjoy sharing what you’ve made in the kitchen on Instagram. Each dish has an ultra-glossy finish—we even investigated closely with a flashlight and didn’t find any significant surface flaws.
When it comes to functionality, though, take caution. While a polished plate may look great, the slippery surface runs a slight risk of food sliding off the edge. The plates are designed to bow slightly at the center, but without a lip, rim, or textured surface to grab onto, rice and a number of peas ended up on the dining table. This set lends itself to more formal dinners and entertaining than everyday meals, anyhow, and when treated as such, should last many years to come.
Price at time of publish: $147 for 16-piece set
Material: Bone china | What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 soup bowls, and 4 mugs with additional options and single pieces available | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Lenox French Perle 4-Piece Place Setting
Ornamental but practical
Part of a larger product collection
Lifetime replacement for broken dishes
Shows fork and knife marks easily
It’s a cliché you’ll hear all the time if you watch cooking shows: We eat with our eyes first. So, if you’re having company over or setting the table for a formal occasion, you’ll want to use dinnerware that looks particularly lovely. This Lenox set is made out of stoneware and available in two colors, white and ice blue. The rims have a sweet, textured design on the sides and a hand-applied finish.
Since the dishes are stoneware, take heed that these dishes may show marks from cutting and fork scrapes. With that said, the plates were very easy to clean during testing, and silverware scratch marks can be removed with a non-abrasive cleanser. This set is durable, and in fact, Lenox offers a lifetime replacement program for broken dishes. These pretty plate settings are a great match for country, farmhouse, or shabby chic decor.
Price at time of publish: $43 for 4-piece set
Material: Ceramic | What's Included: 1 dinner plate, 1 side plate, 1 bowl, 1 mug | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Fable New York Colorful Bamboo Dinnerware
Beautiful color options
Made of renewable bamboo
Matching drinkware not included
Made from a palette of beautiful summery hues, you’d hardly guess that this dinnerware set is eco-friendly and incredibly durable. It's made from organic bamboo fiber, which is highly renewable, bound together with cornstarch and a touch of melamine.
We tested a set in a deep golden yellow and found that the overall aesthetic brought a clean and modern look to the table while providing a cheerful pop of color to her wooden dining surfaces. The design effortlessly transitions from the dining room table to a backyard barbecue.
There's no rim on either the dinner or salad plate, so there's a lot of space to fit food. The pasta bowls have a slight curve, making it easier to toss veggies with dressing and scoop pieces of chopped salad onto a fork compared to the flat salad plate.
Even though the finish on the bamboo material is rather dull and papery, which doesn't feel the best on hands, it kept food in place and resisted both scratching and staining. After cutting turkey cutlets and chicken breasts with steak knives, the dishes remained unmarked.
Price at time of publish: $148 for 16-piece set
Materials: Organic bamboo fiber, non-GMO corn starch, and a food-grade BPA-free melamine binding | What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 pasta bowls, 4 cereal bowls with additional options available | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Crate & Barrel Lina Stripe Dinnerware
Artisan, handmade look
Safe for a warm oven
Irregular shapes can wobble when stacked
Delicate blue stripes ring the outer edges of plates and the exterior of bowls and mugs in this set. Available in a single four-piece setting or a 16-piece set (enough for four people), this dinnerware is full of rustic charm. Each dish is hand-painted, and the set is truly beautiful. The speckled background and blue stripes are eye-catching but flexible enough to match a wide variety of tablecloths and placemats.
These dishes are ideal for entertaining but also practical enough to be used on an everyday basis. The set has a casual, rustic look that works for casual dining, but we could also see it being used for more upscale settings because of the artisan, handmade vibe. They are also microwave and dishwasher safe and can be placed in the oven to warm. Reviewers note that the irregularly-curved edges of the dishes—while attractive—make chipping easy, so wash with care. Serving bowls and platters are also available in this pattern if you'd like your whole kitchen to match.
Price at time of publish: $247 for 16-piece set
Material: Speckle-glazed stoneware | What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 side plates, 4 bowls, 4 mugs | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
For something clean, classic, and bright, consider the Fiesta 4-Piece Dinnerware, which is available in a wide range of colors and will last a lifetime with the proper care. If you're looking for a great starter set or something more budget-conscious, we recommend the minimalist Amazon Basics Dinnerware 16-Piece Set. Each piece is lightweight, sturdy, and doesn't take up too much space.
How We Tested
We sent dinnerware sets to our experienced home chefs and product testers, who used them to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks during the trial period. Each dinnerware set was rated on durability, design, versatility, quality of finish, and overall value. Our testers then offered additional insights on each dinnerware set's strengths and weaknesses.
What to Look for in a Dinnerware Set
Ceramic is one of the most common dinnerware materials, but the types of ceramic (and its quality) can range dramatically. Unlike “silverware,” which has become a generic term for all flatware regardless of material, plenty of dinnerware sets today are considered “china,” which is the same thing as porcelain. Porcelain was invented in China, hence the term.
Porcelain is made from clay that has been fired at high temperatures and is typically white and shiny. While we often think of fine china as the special-occasion plates that brides might register for in a chosen pattern, you can get porcelain dinnerware at big-box stores for low prices. “Bone china” is a term for porcelain that has—you guessed it—bone mixed in, a process invented in England in the early 1800s. It has a slightly translucent look and is lighter in weight. It was traditionally seen as more durable, but as porcelain manufacturing has changed, the differences in durability have become more and more negligible. Choosing one or the other is now more a matter of preference.
Earthenware, made from clay and with a more porous surface than stoneware, is traditionally seen as an even less expensive option. But because it’s less durable, earthenware sets can be just as expensive; they have a rugged, handmade feel to them—and some may even be handmade. As modern production techniques evolve, many of our assumptions about what is better and what is worse have been upended.
The other common ceramic dinnerware is stoneware. Made from fired clay-like porcelain, stoneware is usually heavier and more opaque than regular porcelain. While it doesn’t have the lustrous shine, stoneware can be finished with matte or shiny glazes. It can also be slightly porous, unlike porcelain, which is non-porous. However, just because it’s traditionally seen as a more everyday alternative to porcelain doesn’t mean it's cheap. You can find inexpensive stoneware sets as well as long-lasting, durable ones.
Other materials, like enamel and glass, are also available but are less common because they’re higher maintenance and more likely to chip. For some people, however, the payoff of making a statement is worth it. Plastic dinnerware may seem like a good budget option, but cheap plastic plates can warp or stain. Melamine, a lightweight, non-porous plastic that won’t easily scratch or break, is a good option for outdoor dining or families with young children. Many melamine options are now so good that guests will assume it’s china—until they pick it up.
Most dinnerware sets come in a four-piece place setting: two plates, a bowl, and a mug. Larger settings with even more plates exist, but are rare, typically found in high-end sets; they also include items like teacups, bread plates, and chargers. For most of us, though, four-piece settings work just fine.
You can typically purchase dinnerware sets in individual place settings, as well as in sets of 16 or four-place settings. Often, you can purchase individual parts of the set in sets of their own (like six bowls) or individually, which is referred to as “open stock.” Open stock can be a great option, especially if you want insurance against dropped plates or may simply want a larger set as your family expands or you move.
Ultimately, design may be your deciding factor; while materials offer you some clue as to what the dinnerware will likely look like, there's often some variation. You can find porcelain these days that has a more organic, handmade feel, and stoneware with delicate detailing. White is common in all dinnerware, regardless of the materials, and this color can give you a lot of flexibility and make food look good (some things just aren’t going to look appetizing on certain colors). You can also find dinnerware with simple designs, either in the shape of the dinnerware or added later with paints or glazes. Even if you want to play it safe with color, you can find many subtle embellishments that still make your set unique.
Traditionally, most fine china has some kind of rim. Rimless plates, with just a slight lip on the edge, tend to have a more modern feel. Some designers will also play with shapes to update dinnerware, making plates square instead of round.
On a more practical note, small changes in design, like the depth of a bowl or the size of a mug handle, can have a real impact on your day. If you like big cups of coffee (or just the occasional chamomile tea), your ideal mug will reflect that. Bowls can vary from very deep to traditionally shallow-looking soup bowls. A deeper, cereal-style bowl, or an option between the two, will likely be the most versatile.
Another thing to consider is if the dinnerware set also offers coordinating pieces like platters, serving bowls, or even gravy boats. Whether or not this is important is a matter of preference, but if you want a clean, unified look on your table, it’s good to know what your options are.
What comes in a typical dinnerware set?
Basic dinnerware sets include a dinner plate and bowl and at least one or two other pieces. The additional pieces are either a salad plate and/or a coffee mug. Occasionally, two bowls are included in a set: both pasta bowls and cereal bowls. Most dinnerware sets serve at least three people, although four or more sets are also standard.
What is the most durable dinnerware?
While you might not expect it, bone china is the most durable dinnerware. Its high-heat firing makes bone china resistant to chipping, as well as microwave, dishwasher, and oven safe. If you’re concerned about plates breaking more than overall functionality, melamine-based plates are mostly indestructible when dropped but often cannot be used in the microwave.
What is open stock dinnerware?
Open stock dinnerware is generally made up of pieces that can be purchased individually. This can be helpful when you want to assemble a collection of pieces that differs from the pre-selected set or if you need to fill in your set when individual pieces are lost. Occasionally, other coordinating dinnerware and serveware pieces that aren’t included in a set are sold as open stock if you’re interested in growing your dining collection.
Which dinnerware type is best for every day?
Since these pieces are likely to get more use, everyday dinnerware should be durable, easy to clean, and budget-conscious. Opt for casual, neutral designs that are suitable for weeknight meals or your morning bowl of oatmeal but still won't look out of place at a dinner party.
How many dinnerware sets should you have on hand?
The amount of dinnerware sets you should have depends on the size of your family and how often you entertain. Generally, it's a good idea to invest in enough everyday sets for everyone in the home as well as a few extra for guests (or a whole other set that's especially for formal gatherings).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This collection was originally compiled by Madeleine Burry. Madeleine is a health and wellness writer and has contributed to The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, and other major publications.
The buying guide for this collection was written by Marshall Bright, a freelance food and cooking writer based in East Nashville. She has been writing for The Spruce Eats since 2020, and has appeared in several other publications, including Refinery29, Bustle, and America’s Test Kitchen.
Most recently, this article was updated by Jenny Kellerhals, a professional pastry chef and food writer based in Queens, NYC. It was then updated by Rebecca Treon, a writer specializing in food and travel who's currently writing a book on Colorado's foodways.
Several sets on this list were tested by Sharon Lehman, RDN, a passionate home cook, recipe developer, and registered dietitian.