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Dinnerware is so much more than just vessels for holding and serving food. Yes, they should be functional, but that function depends on what the occasion is: for example, are you having oatmeal for breakfast, or are you plating the turkey and sides for Thanksgiving? Furthermore, dinnerware sets are also an extension of your style and help create the ambiance for any occasion, from casual solo meals to fancy dinner dates.
We know it can be daunting having to navigate through all the different options, which is why we've created a list of the best dinnerware sets to help you get started.
White dinnerware can sound dull. Not these: delicate edges and sleek swoops make this white set—which serves four—unique. This everyday china set is refined and elegant in appearance. But it's also durable: it can be cleaned in the dishwasher and is microwave safe.
The 16-piece set comes with dinner plates, salad plates, mugs, and big, triangular soup bowls, but you can also buy four- and five-piece sets. With these white, modern-looking dishes as the background, your meals will pop. So if you enjoy sharing what you’ve made in the kitchen on Instagram, these dishes are a good fit.
"Each dish has an ultra-glossy finish, and despite investigating closely with our phone flashlight out, we didn’t find any significant surface flaws." — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester
It’s a cliche 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—which is available in several colors—is made of stoneware and has sweet, textured designs rimming the sides as well as a hand-applied finish around the rims.
Since the dishes are stoneware, take heed that these dishes may show marks from cutting and fork scrapes. This set is durable though 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.
"If you’re looking for dinnerware that can be fun, fancy, casual, functional, or some combination of all the above depending on your table setting, then we definitely recommend the French Perle line." — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester
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.
This budget-friendly porcelain set comes with dinner plates, bowls, dessert plates, and mugs. Minimalists will love these straightforward dishes, which are perfect for people moving into a first apartment who don’t want a hand-me-down set.
Perfectionists, take note: reviewers comment that stacking these dishes reveals that the plates are not all of the same thickness (and may even be uneven from one side of the plate to another).
"The dishes are a blank, inexpensive slate that you won’t have to think too hard about buying, and won’t have to think too hard about leaving when you’re ready to upgrade or move." — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester
No one does bright, bold color like Fiesta! This four-piece place setting is available in a variety of beautiful colors, all in that classic Fiesta style. People often collect Fiesta ware, which has been manufactured in the United States for decades—many more dishes and accessories are available for people who want to expand their collection. And, since Fiesta keeps the pattern consistent, all your pieces will match even if years pass before you buy more.
These dishes can be used in the microwave and dishwasher and even the oven. The dishes are incredibly durable, but they also have a 5-year chip resistance warranty, just in case they do get damaged.
Who says plates and bowls need to be round? For a modern, architectural look, opt for this 16-piece set of square dishes instead. Available in a crisp white, these square porcelain dishes are ideal for everyday use—but stylish enough to suit the table when company comes over as well. Plus, a white background is ideal for displaying food (take note, social media lovers!).
These square dishes are both microwave and dishwasher safe. The set comes with dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and round mugs.
This 16-piece set of melamine dishes is ideal for kitchen table meals, as well as picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties in the backyard. This cheery set comes with dishes in a variety of colors and is made from food-safe melamine and plant fiber. (Keep in mind, although the FDA has concluded melamine tableware is safe to use, it’s best to avoid heating dishes up and using it with small children.)
Although you can’t microwave these dishes, they are safe for the dishwasher (top rack only). This set includes dinner and salad plates, mugs, and soup bowls. Since the dishes are lightweight, they’re easy to bring along on any of your adventures and are a more eco-friendly choice than disposable plates. Reviewers in particular praise the lip on the plate, which prevents food from slip-sliding off.
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—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.
These dishes may be white, but there’s nothing boring about them—each item in the set has textured patterns lining the edge of the dish. Adding personality to the set is the fact that there’s a slightly different pattern on the outside of the different types of dishware. The different textures coordinate into a cohesive set, but each piece also stands out on its own.
This dinnerware set will provide a charming appeal to your tabletop—the dishes have a pre-worn, vintage style that will look beautiful on any tablescape. This stoneware set is safe for both microwave and dishwasher use.
The Red Vanilla Extreme Bone China Dinnerware Set takes our top spot: while it may not be for everyday use, it's made of stunning, high-quality china that's ideal for special occasions. If you're on a budget, we recommend the AmazonBasics Dinnerware 18-Piece Set. They have a minimalist design and are lightweight, but sturdy. They also don't take up much space.
What to Look for When Buying a Dinnerware Set
Number of place settings: Are you looking for just enough plates for your small family, or do you want enough to set the table for the entire extended family for the holidays? How often do you invite friends over for dinner? While it might not make sense to store more dishes than you need, it’s handy to have a few extra place settings so you don’t have to use paper plates when you invite the neighbors for a friendly meal.
Pieces per place setting: Most place settings include four pieces, but you can find some with fewer—and sometimes more. A three-piece setting is likely to omit the coffee mugs, so you’ll need to decide whether matching mugs are important, or whether you prefer your favorite novelty mugs instead. More pieces aren’t a bonus if you won’t use them.
Bowl shape and size: Most place settings include some type of bowl, but while dish sizes are fairly consistent, the bowl shapes and sizes are quite different. While you might not serve soup with every meal, bowls can come in handy for cereal, salads, ice cream, and even as serving pieces for side dishes. Which shapes seem most useful to you?