While the idea of a serving platter may sound fussy and only reserved for dinner parties and other special occasions, they’re actually quite practical. In fact, they can be used whenever you’re serving two or more. Serving platters are perfect for everyday foods like salad and pasta, and grander things like Thanksgiving turkey. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials to suit different purposes and occasions, and homing in on what works best for your cooking and entertaining style can be a fun and delicious journey.
Fable The Oval Serving Platter
Multiple color options
Matte finish can get marks from flatware
This simple oval serving platter makes an elegant addition to any dining spread. Its long, lean shape doesn’t take up too much space, and it can even double as a decorative tray when you’re not using it for food. Made of local Portuguese clay, each tray is hand-finished and organically shaped, which gives each platter a one-of-a-kind feel. It’s available in a variety of matte neutral hues that will let your food shine. Lastly, caring for this serving platter is a breeze, since it’s dishwasher-, microwave- and even oven-safe up to 450 degrees.
Price at time of publish: $47
Material: Stoneware | Size: 15 inches x 8.3 inches x 0.8 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Dansk Vandvid Ceramics by Niels Refsgaard 7-Piece Serving Set
Various shapes and sizes
Designed by famous Copenhagen-based ceramicist Niels Refsgaard, this playful serving set features patterns inspired by Refsgaard’s hand-painted designs. Since each piece bears a different design, the overall effect has a chic mix-and-match feel to it. The sturdy stoneware can hold up to everyday use, and it’s a nice way to add some retro Danish flair to your home-cooked meals. Oh, and they’re safe to go into the dishwasher and microwave. The set includes three large serving platters, two small serving platters, one shallow serving bowl, and one deep serving bowl.
Price at time of publish: $199
Material: Stoneware | Size: Large serving platter measures 11.25 inches x 8.25 inches x 0.5 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best for Turkey
Pillivuyt Oval Porcelain Serving Platters
For showstopping Thanksgiving turkeys, weekend roasts, and everything between, these porcelain platters are up for the task. They’re available in three sizes (medium, large, and extra large), so you can choose the size that works best for you. The white porcelain makes a classic backdrop for whatever you’re serving, and the material is durable and chip-resistant. Whichever platter you choose, know that it can go in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher, and oven up to 650 degrees.
Price at time of publish: $96-$120
Material: Porcelain | Size: Extra large serving platter measures 15 inches x 22 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Jono Pandolfi Medium Oval Platter
Flatware can leave marks
Jono Pandolfi makes serving platters in three different sizes, but we’re partial to the medium one. It’s the perfect size for crudités and cheese, and it makes snacking feel like a more elegant affair. You can pick one with a classic white glaze or an ombre glaze for a fun pop of color. No two ombre pieces are the same, as the second color is sprayed on to create the gradient effect.
Price at time of publish: $85
Material: Stoneware | Size: 8 inches x 12 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Crate & Barrel Tondo 12-Inch Acacia Round Platter
Attractive wood finish
Must be washed by hand
We love the warm vibes that natural wood platters bring to a table, and this acacia wood platter would feel right at home at a summer picnic or a fancy dinner party. It has a clear lacquer finish which makes it easier to clean and can be a standalone serving piece or paired with matching acacia wood serving boards and bowls.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: Acacia wood | Size: 12 inches x 1 inch Dishwasher-Safe: No
Best With Lid
Crate & Barrel French Kitchen Marble Cheese Dome
Unique marble finish
Protective lid for easy transport
Must wash by hand
Impress your guests with this marble cheese dome. In addition to looking cool, the dome is said to allow the cheese to breathe, providing an ideal setting for storing and ripening. The base is made of real marble, and the veining and coloring will vary from dome to dome, which gives each piece a unique flair. Plus, if you’re eating outside the glass dome will keep bugs away.
Price at time of publish: $70
Material: White marble, glass | Size: 7.75 inches x 11.25 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: No
HomeSleekHome Personalized Bamboo Cheese Board Set
Built-in storage for cheese knives
This cheese board set is ready for future game nights, date nights, and whenever you’re in a snacky mood. Personalizing it with a name or initials comes with an added cost but makes the board extra giftable for weddings, housewarmings, birthdays, and the like. The grooves on the sides are designed to hold crackers, and a built-in drawer holds cheese knives, slate labels, and a wine key.
Price at time of publish: $45-$71
Material: Bamboo | Size: 13.5 inches x 13.5 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: No
Open Kitchen by Williams Sonoma 3-Tiered Stand
Some assembly required
For pastries, finger sandwiches, cupcakes, and more, this three-tier stand is just perfect. The plates are made of sturdy porcelain, and the ring handle at the top makes it easy to transport from kitchen to table. Plus, when it’s not in use the stand can be disassembled for more portable storage. It’s a gorgeous display piece on its own, or you can pair it with other white porcelain serving pieces.
Price at time of publish: $40
Material: Porcelain | Size: 10.63 inches x 13.75 inches | Dishwasher-Safe: No
The Oval Serving Platter by Fable checks all of our boxes as far as versatility, aesthetics, and durability are concerned. If you’re looking for a set of complementary serving pieces with a touch of whimsy, the Dansk Vandvid Ceramics by Niels Refsgaard 7-Piece Serving Set is your best bet.
What to Look for in a Serving Platter
In addition to your personal aesthetic and tablescape, something you want to consider when choosing a serving platter is how the food will look on it. “I’m a big fan of simplicity when it comes to platters, as I like the focus to be on the food and the other elements on the table,” says Kelsey Barnard Clark, chef and owner of KBC Eatery in Dothan, Alabama. “I typically stick to white, silver, or wood platters in varying sizes.”
Susan Spungen, food stylist and author of “Veg Forward: Super-Delicious Recipes that Put Produce at the Center of Your Plate,” is a fan of mixing and matching serving pieces with interesting glazes, textures, and colors, and playing around with different shapes. “Very flat platters work well for some things, and those with a bit of a lip are great for containing saucier dishes,” she says.
What you’re serving, the number of people you’re serving, and even the size of your table are key considerations when purchasing a serving platter. “For round platters, anything over (and around) 12 inches is a good size,” Spungen says. “For ovals or rectangles, approximately 12 x 17 inches is good for a generous platter, and you can size up or down from there.”
What is a serving platter for?
Whenever you’re cooking or baking for a group is a great time to bring out a serving platter. “Serving platters are best used for dishes that are scooped and served,” Clark says. “Think casseroles, rice, and pasta.”
The beauty of serving platters is that you don’t have to wait until a special event to use them––even everyday meals can benefit from using one. “My husband and I use our collection of ceramics even for everyday weeknight dinners,” Spungen says. “Using our beautiful objects brings us joy and enhances our dining experience. When we entertain, it’s a chance to mix and match our favorites to make a gorgeous buffet or family-style meal.”
What size serving platter do you need for a turkey?
This answer will depend on the size of your turkey. “You want to leave enough room to be able to serve,” Clark says. “My rule of thumb is to leave at least a 2-inch lip around the food.”
Spungen added that a typical turkey platter measures around 15 x 22 inches but can be a bit smaller (13 x 18 inches). “They come in handy at other times of year for large gatherings, but even if you only pull it out once a year it’s a nice thing to have and pretty essential if you’re hosting the big feast,” she says. “The whole bird looks grand on a grand platter, and it can hold all the carved meat from a big bird. ”
How many serving tongs should be placed on a platter?
In general, just one pair of serving tongs should suffice––though if you’re serving a potluck, Spungen notes that two will keep the line moving along faster. She also says that not everything should be served with tongs: “Sometimes a serving spoon, spatula, or large serving fork works.”
What is the best material for serving cheese on a platter?
Wood and marble are beautiful (and practical!) choices for serving cheese. “A slab of marble or a flat platter is perfect for cheese or charcuterie if it’s already cut, but if you’re putting cheese out with knives, you’ll want to use a wooden board,” Spungen says.
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 serving platters, and she’s always keen to share this knowledge with readers. She loves to serve everything from charcuterie to carrot cake on her trusty walnut cutting board.
Kelsey Barnard Clark is the chef and owner of KBC Eatery in Dothan, Alabama. She was the fifth woman and first Southerner to win “Top Chef.”
Susan Spungen is a food stylist and the author of “Veg Forward: Super-Delicious Recipes that Put Produce at the Center of Your Plate” and four other titles. Spungen was the founding food editor at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and a culinary consultant and food stylist on “Julie & Julia,” “It’s Complicated,” and “Eat, Pray, Love.”