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Dining al fresco—whether that's on the deck, patio, or a blanket on the backyard lawn—can make dinnertime more fun. On the contrary, it’s not a great idea to bring breakable plates outdoors. That's where a dedicated, durable dinnerware set comes in handy. The ideal candidate is not only break-resistant, but also attractive, light, and easy to clean. Beyond outdoor use, they’re even practical for kids who can use grownup-sized plates that are also safe from accidental breakage.
Here are the best outdoor dinnerware sets.
Best Overall: Zak Designs French Country House Melamine 12-Piece Dinnerware Set
The French country style of this dinnerware will look great for casual meals and more formal dining, and pairs well with everything from paper napkins to pretty linens. The design is understated, so it won’t clash with existing serving pieces, but if you need them, a round serving plate and rectangular tray in the same pattern are available. This set features four place settings, each including a dinner plate, salad plate, and bowl. They're top-rack dishwasher safe, but can't be used in the microwave.
Best Melamine: Gufaith 12-Piece Melamine Dinnerware Set
At first glance, this looks like stoneware with a brown outer rim and pretty blue interior. Instead, it's sturdy melamine that won’t break if dropped. It's much lighter in weight than stoneware, as well. These pieces are great for casual dining on the deck, and are safe near the pool, too. The set features four place settings of dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls. When your meal is done, they're dishwasher safe, but not microwave safe.
Best Plastic: US Acrylic Cambridge Dinnerware Set
This affordable set adds a bright spot of color to the patio table and is sturdy enough for everyday use. Made from plastic, it won’t shatter if dropped, so it’s safe for use around the pool and great for kids who aren’t quite ready for adult dinnerware. This set includes four dinner plates; four bowls that are great for salad, soup, cereal, and snacks; and four transparent cups that match the color of the dishes. Cleanup is easy with these, since they’re top-rack dishwasher safe. If teal isn’t your preferred color, there are other colors available.
Best for Picnics: Certified International Sedona 12-Piece Dinnerware Set
These colorful dishes will look great on a picnic table in the backyard, and just as great packed in a basket to take on a trip to the park. The colors are evocative of the Southwest, with rich hues and bright pops of colors that bring cheer. This set includes four dinner plates, four smaller plates for salad or dessert, and four bowls that are ideal for soup, sides, or even cereal. Made from melamine, they’re dishwasher safe and break-resistant.
Best Indoor/Outdoor: Aidio Melamine Dinnerware Set
With a shabby chic design that will look just as good on the dining table as the picnic table, this dinnerware will easily do double-duty. The set is made from sturdy melamine, so even the kids can have a pretty plate for holiday dinners without worries of breakage—and the color will blend well with almost any decor. This collection includes four dinner plates, four smaller plates for salad or dessert, and four bowls for soup, salad, cereal, and more. When dinner is done, these are dishwasher safe, so cleanup is a breeze, but they aren’t microwave safe.
Best Budget: Focus Line 175-Piece Silver Dinnerware Set
When you’re hosting a celebration, there’s no need to spend a fortune on plates when you can get this inexpensive set of 25 place settings for outdoor dining. It includes 25 dinner plates, 25 salad/dessert plates, 25 glasses, 25 napkins, and 25 sets of silver plastic forks, spoons, and knives. The silver accents on the plates, glasses, and napkins add an upscale look, but they're completely disposable. Still, they’re durable enough for reuse. The plates, cups, and utensils can be hand washed.
Best Bamboo: Lekoch Bamboo Dinnerware Set
Made from sustainable bamboo fibers, this dinnerware is an attractive and durable alternative to plastic. The white color works for every occasion and fits well with existing serving pieces or dining room décor. The slightly uneven surface makes them look like handmade pottery, adding a special touch to the table. This set includes four dinner plates, four salad/dessert plates, four bowls, and four glasses. For those who want more color on the table, this set is also available in other colors. When it’s time to clean up, these are dishwasher safe.
Best Casual: Craft & Kin Woodgrain Melamine Dinnerware Set
There’s no doubt this dinnerware is excellent for casual dining, whether it’s on the patio at home, a barbecue in the backyard, or a cabin in the woods. It’d be fun for camping, too, considering each piece is lightweight and easy to bring along. They look like they’re made from wood, but they’re actually crafted from durable melamine. This set includes four dinner plates, four salad/dessert plates, and four bowls. They're dishwasher safe, but aren’t safe for the microwave.
Best Acrylic: CreativeWare Acrylic 21-Piece Dinnerware Set
Great for outdoor dining for the family, including kids, these are sturdy and non-breakable. Perfect for heating leftovers, they’re microwave safe, and when dinner is done, they’re top-rack dishwasher safe for no-fuss cleaning. This includes four dinner plates, four bowls, four tumblers, four mugs with handles, and four travel tops, so drinks can be taken on the go. It also includes one large bowl that can be used for serving or holding popcorn and other snacks.
The Zak Designs French Country House Melamine Dinnerware Set (view at Amazon) is our top pick because of its easy versatility, since it’s suitable for indoor or outdoor dining and casual or slightly formal affairs. For super-casual dining, we love the faux wood of the Craft & Kin Woodgrain Melamine Dinnerware Set (view at Amazon).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
When it comes to dinnerware, Donna Currie has used everything from her grandma’s old-fashioned china to sturdy plasticware and even flimsy paper plates. She’s even tested a few for The Spruce Eats. After plenty of searching, these outdoor-worthy sets caught her eye for the next backyard dinner.