The 9 Best Outdoor Dinnerware Sets in 2022

The Zak Designs French Country House Melamine Dinnerware Set wins our top spot

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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 Spruce Eats' Top Picks

Topping our list is the French-inspired dinnerware set from Zak Designs, made of break-resistant melamine and has an elegant, yet neutral design that works for any occasion. For those who prefer a more rustic and natural aesthetic, the Craft & Kin Woodgrain Melamine Dinnerware Set is a great choice.

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

Zak Designs French Country House Melamine 12-Piece Dinnerware Set

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Generously sized

  • Neutral design

  • Matching serving pieces sold separately

  • Dishwasher safe

What We Don't Like
  • Not microwave safe

  • No matching cups or mugs

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.

What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 bowls | Material: Melamine | Care: Dishwasher safe

Best Melamine: Gufaith 12-Piece Melamine Dinnerware Set

Gufaith 12-Piece Melamine Dinnerware Set

Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in several colors

  • Made from biodegradable materials

  • Dishwasher safe

What We Don't Like
  • Not microwave safe

  • Doesn't include matching cups

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.

What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 bowls | Material: Melamine, bamboo | Care: Dishwasher safe

Best Plastic: US Acrylic Cambridge Dinnerware Set

Cambridge Plastic Plate, Bowl and Tumbler Dinnerware

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes cups

  • Multiple color choices

  • Dishwasher safe

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't include salad/dessert plates

  • Not safe for microwave

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.

What's Included: 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 cups | Material: Plastic | Care: Dishwasher safe

Best for Picnics: Certified International Sedona 12-Piece Dinnerware Set

Certified International Sedona 12-Piece Dinnerware Set

Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

What We Like
  • Fun, colorful design

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Heavy enough to not blow away

What We Don't Like
  • Not microwave safe

  • Dishwasher may wear finish

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.

What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 bowls | Material: Melamine | Care: Dishwasher safe

Best Indoor/Outdoor: Aidio Melamine Dinnerware Set

Aidio Melamine Dinnerware Set

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Break resistant

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Elegant and rustic feel

What We Don't Like
  • No color choices

  • Not microwave safe

  • Food tends to roll, spill off plates

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.

What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 bowls | Material: Melamine | Care: Dishwasher safe

Best Budget: Focus Line 175-Piece Silver Dinnerware Set

Focus Line 175-Piece Silver Dinnerware Set

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in bulk count

  • Recyclable

  • Can be reused if hand washed

What We Don't Like
  • Not microwave- or dishwasher-safe

  • Prone to cracks

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.

What's Included: 25 of each: dinner plates, salad plates, cups, napkins, forks, spoons, knives | Material: Plastic | Care: Hand wash or disposable

Best Bamboo: Lekoch Bamboo Dinnerware Set

Lekoch Bamboo Dinnerware Set

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Minimalist design

  • Multiple color choices

  • Includes cups

What We Don't Like
  • Not microwave safe

  • May be less durable than melamine sets

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.

What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 bowls, 4 cups | Material: Bamboo | Care: Dishwasher safe

Best Casual: Craft & Kin Woodgrain Melamine Dinnerware Set

Craft & Kin Woodgrain Melamine Dinnerware Set

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Rustic wood aesthetic

What We Don't Like
  • Not microwave safe

  • Plates don't have a rim

  • Some report dishwasher wears finish

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.

What's Included: 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, 4 bowls | Material: Melamine | Care: Dishwasher safe

Best Acrylic: CreativeWare Acrylic 21-Piece Dinnerware Set

CreativeWare Acrylic 21pc Dinnerware Set Navy

Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Dishwasher- and microwave-safe

  • Includes tumblers, mugs, and lids

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most aesthetic

  • Bowls are a little small

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. 

What's Included: 4 of each: plates, bowls, tumblers, mugs, travel lids, and 1 serving bowl | Material: Acrylic | Care: Dishwasher safe

Final Verdict

The Zak Designs French Country House Melamine Dinnerware Set 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.

What to Look for in Outdoor Dinnerware

Material

Most outdoor dinnerware sets are made from plastic. There are several different types of plastic dinnerware including acrylic, melamine, and polypropylene.

Plastic dinnerware is lighter, more durable, resists shattering and scratching, and tends to stack more compactly compared to traditional porcelain, ceramic, or glass dishes and serving pieces. A plastic set of plates also offers more stability and is more eco-friendly than using throw away paper or plastic plates.

Most, but not all, plastic dinnerware sets can be run through the dishwasher. Some may be top-rack only, so be sure to check what the manufacturer recommends before purchasing. Most plastic dinnerware sets are not approved for microwave use. 

If you prefer a durable non-plastic option, look for a dinnerware set made from bamboo fibers, stainless steel, or wood. Be aware that dinnerware sets made from these materials tend to cost more than those made from plastic.

Weight

Finding the right weight for your dinnerware is crucial, especially if you plan on eating outdoors. If it’s too light, your plate will blow away in the wind. If it’s too heavy, it’s a chore to carry from the kitchen to the deck. Stoneware and porcelain tend to be on the heavier side, while melamine and plastic lean towards the lighter end of the spectrum.

Quantity

Most outdoor dinnerware sets include service for four people. If you need more than four place settings, you’ll have to purchase multiple sets. Outdoor dinnerware is not typically sold by individual place setting or in individual pieces or open stock.

Outdoor dinnerware place settings usually include a large dinner plate, a smaller salad or dessert plate, and a bowl. Some sets include a matching tumbler in addition to two plates and a bowl.

Some sets have matching serving pieces, like platters and large bowls, available for separate purchase. If it’s important to you to have serveware that matches your dishes, be sure to check the full collection before purchasing.

Design

The color, pattern, and shape of an outdoor dinnerware set will likely be the first thing that catches your eye. You can find outdoor dinnerware sets in neutral whites and grays that let your food shine as well as assorted solid colors and vibrant patterns that add flair and personality to your outdoor dining table. Some plastic sets are even designed to look like ceramic or wood.

One particular design detail to pay attention to is the shape of the plate. Since many outdoor dinnerware sets are constructed from plastic, they tend to have a slippery feel that can make food slide around. If the plates lack a rim to keep food in place, you could risk food spilling and rolling off the plate. This might not be much of a concern if you’re serving outdoors, but it’s something to think about if you prefer to plate your food indoors and carry it outside. 

On the other side of that coin, too large of a rim on a plate can cut down on how much surface area you have to hold your food. Consider the overall plate dimensions, as well as the depth of any bowls and capacity of any tumblers, to get an idea of their capacity.

Maintenance

Outdoor dinnerware is typically easy to care for and highly durable, so breakage isn’t much of a concern. As mentioned above, most plastic sets are not microwave safe, but can be run through the dishwasher. Even when plastic items are approved for dishwasher use, the extreme temperatures and detergents can cause them to fade or wear faster. If you want your outdoor set to last as long as possible, consider hand washing whenever possible.

FAQs

Are bamboo plates unbreakable?

Bamboo plates and bowls are sturdy, durable, and resist chipping, shattering, and scratching, making it a good alternative to plastic. Be aware that some bamboo sets are actually a combination of bamboo and plastic for added strength, so double check with the manufacturer if you’re trying to avoid all plastic.

Melamine is a type of plastic. It shares some of the same characteristics as other plastics, such as being sensitive to heat and not safe for use in the microwave. Melamine is more durable and shatter-proof compared to other plastics, like acrylic. Melamine also resists scratching better than other plastics.

How long does a dinnerware set last?

Longevity depends on the material and the frequency of use. If treated well, ceramic sets can last a lifetime given their durability. However, they can easily shatter if dropped. Melamine sets are hardy and won’t easily break, but they only last two to five years or so. Most disposable sets are intended for single use, but you may be able to rinse them off and get a few more uses out of them. Bamboo dinnerware sets are an eco-friendly alternative that last around two years. 

What comes in a dinnerware set?

While a few individual pieces may vary, a typical dinnerware set includes an entree plate, salad plate, bowl, and sometimes a cup or mug—or both. Sets usually come with four or six of each item. 

What is the most durable dinnerware material?

Again, what’s “most durable” may depend on what kind of dinnerware you’re looking for. In terms of ceramics, bone china is the most durable type of dinnerware. A mixture of bone ash and porcelain clay, it is a sturdy, yet lightweight option that won’t easily break. On the plastic end, melamine is nearly indestructible and a great option for families with kids since it isn’t heavy and doesn’t shatter.

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.

Allison Wignall, who updated this article, is a writer who focuses on food and travel. She’s always in the kitchen trying to recreate recipes from around the world. Her work has been featured in publications, such as Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.

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