food serving

How to Find the Best Serveware For Becoming The Perfect Host

Dinnertime wouldn’t be the same without Serveware. These are the dishes that are used to get food from the kitchen to the table and are often expected to serve as decorative items as well. Their ability to serve in multiple capacities makes it essential that every household has precisely the type and amount of Serveware it needs.

What to Look For in Serveware

As you begin to browse and consider purchasing Serveware, you will need some parameters to help make your decision with as little frustration as possible.  When you head to your local store or a favorite online shop, remember to look for Serveware with these features:

Cleaning Properties

Do you enjoy washing dishes by hand, or do you prefer to stick them in a dishwasher once the dinner party guests have gone home?  Knowing this about your cleaning routine will help you decide which type of Serveware you should purchase.

Design

Look for Serveware that will suit your style.  This is an important feature because Serveware is meant to be seen and admired; it is not just a practical kitchen implement.

Material

Consider what type of material you need your Serveware to be made of.  This is likely to be a preference issue, but sometimes there are lifestyles and other factors that play into this decision.  Just as an example, if you have young kids at home, you may not want to purchase something easy to break, scratch, or chip.  Nowadays, there are plenty of sturdy and stylish Serveware options.  

Also, if you typically host formal events, you may want to invest in Serveware that is made from something other than plastic or wood.  You need something that holds up to the occasion.

Here are the most common materials that Serveware is made from:

China

Also called porcelain, this material is very commonly used in Serveware.  It can be very delicate and almost translucent, depending on the quality you get.  Despite this, it is rather durable, and most china is safe for use in dishwashers, microwaves, and ovens; just check the manufacturer’s label first.

Earthenware

This is an inexpensive material that is similar to stoneware.  It is a ceramic that has been fired and glazed and is usually painted and designed to look unique and stylish.  While most earthenware products are beautiful to look at, dishwasher and microwave safe, they are not typically very durable.  If you have any trouble with dropping dishes in your home, you may want to opt for something else.

Glass

Serveware that is made from glass can either be transparent or opaque; either way, it will still be susceptible to cracks, scratches, and breakage.  

Melamine

For dinner hosts who need Serveware that will not break, then Melamine is the best option.  This is a type of plastic that is durable, lightweight, stylish, and very easy to clean.  Unfortunately, they should not be placed in a microwave or an oven since this will cause them to melt and leach toxins.

Metal

Serveware is available in a variety of metals and styles.  Metal is a durable material, but some types do have their downsides.  For example, copper is soft and easy to scratch and tarnish.  It is also time-consuming to clean and shine.

Plastic

Plastic Serveware is either made from Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN), Polycarbonate, or Melamine.  We have covered Melamine separately since it is so popular, but we will talk about the other types of plastic here.  

SAN plastic Serveware is what is often used at buffet restaurants since it is meant to resist heat, scratches, and chemicals.  It does, however, turn yellow after some time.

Polycarbonate plastic Serveware is often used in bottles and other types of food containers.  Unfortunately, it is known for containing BPA, and many people choose not to use it for this reason.

Stoneware

Similar to earthenware, this is another type of fired and glazed ceramic.  The difference is that stoneware usually has some type of glass added to it so that it is more durable.  Most stoneware products are reasonably priced, dishwasher and microwave safe, and easy to clean.  They do, however, shatter if placed in extreme temperature changes.

Wood

For those who enjoy something off-beat, wooden Serveware is just what you need.  This type of Serveware can be customized and personalized to your heart’s desire while still providing all the service and stability that one needs from their kitchen utensils.

Vitrified Glass

This is another virtually indestructible material.  It is a great option for those who need Serveware that will hold up under a lot of use and a lot of spills.  It is also designed to be stylish, easy to clean, and safe for use in microwaves and dishwashers.

Pieces

As you consider what features you prefer for your Serveware, be sure to consider what types of Serveware you need.  Do you need an entire set or just a few key pieces?  You’ll know best how to determine an answer to this when you consider how many dinners hosting you do and what types of food you most often prepare.  

If you’re uncertain about what pieces are considered Serveware and this is causing you to wonder what exactly you need, then browse this list, so you have more information.

  • Casserole Dish
  • Chocolate Pitcher
  • Coffee Pot 
  • Compote Bowl
  • Dessert Bowl
  • Gravy boats
  • Ladle
  • Pepper shakers or mills
  • Pitcher
  • Platter
  • Salad Bowl
  • Salt cellars or shakers
  • Serving Bowl
  • Serving Utensils
  • Soup Pot
  • Tea Pot
  • Tongs

Price

Build in a budget before you set out.  With a price range in mind, you should be able to say no to items that will cause any pain to your bank account.  This is also a great way to free yourself up to splurging on a special item.

Size

As you select pieces or sets of Serveware, be sure to examine how large and how small they each are.  You don’t want to get stuck with something you can’t use or store very well because the size is not right.

Recommended Sets and Types of Serveware

Now that you are aware of what to look for in Serveware, we can begin looking at the best products available on the market.  

The Best Budget Serveware Set – FEOOWV Food Server Display and Serving Trays

How easy is it to clean?

This set of inexpensive plastic Serveware should be very easy to clean by hand.  Since plastic melts under high heat, this set should not be placed in a dishwasher.

How many pieces are included?

There are five pieces in this set.  It includes two 3-tiered dessert stands and three serving trays.

What is its price?

At $19.99, this is a great Serveware set for casual gatherings such as birthday parties and graduation receptions.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Disposable
  • Reusable
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble

Cons:

  • Not sturdy
  • No serving utensils included

The Best China Serveware Set – Dowan Large Serving Platters

dowan serving platters

How easy is it to clean?

This set is easy to clean and can even be put in a dishwasher.

How many pieces are included?

There are three serving trays in three different sizes: small, medium, and large.

What is its price?

This is sold at $29.99, which is quite a deal for such a nice set.

Pros:

  • Safe for use in a microwave, dishwasher, and oven
  • 100% recyclable
  • Beautiful and chic design
  • Easy and comfortable to hold
  • Designed for easy storage

Cons:

  • None

The Best Chocolate Pitcher – Tayamma Art Pottery Chocolate Pitcher 

How easy is it to clean?

This should be hand washed.

What is it made of?

Natural unglazed clay

What is its price?

$59.90

Pros:

  • Returns are free
  • Food safe
  • Toxin-free
  • Safe for use with grills, microwaves, ovens, and stovetops

Cons:

  • None

The Best Coffee Pot – Farberware Percolator

How easy is it to clean?

With a detachable cord, this coffee pot is very easy to clean.

What is it made of?

Stainless steel exterior

What is its price?

$79.99

Pros:

  • Sleek and chic design
  • Includes an automatic keep-warm switch
  • Detachable cord
  • Produces one cup per minute

Cons:

  • Not dishwasher safe

The Best Compote Bowl – Godinger Silver Art Lumina Footed Bowl

How easy is it to clean?

This bowl should be hand washed.

What is it made of?

Glass

What is its price?

$12.99 for one or $19.99 for two.

Pros:

  • Designed to suit most kitchen styles
  • Perfect for holding many different types of food

Cons:

  • None

The Best Demitasse Set – Scandinavian Modern Demitasse Set

15 Pc Scandinavian Modern Demitasse Set

How easy is it to clean?

This set should be washed by hand.

How many pieces are included?

This set includes fifteen pieces.  These pieces include a pitcher, creamer pitcher, sugar bowl, and five cups and saucers.

What is its price?

$150.00

Pros:

  • Sleek and beautiful set
  • Made from porcelain

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Rare find

The Best Dessert Bowl – Farmhouse Potter Dessert or Snack Bowl

bowls

How easy is it to clean?

While this is an item that should only be washed by hand, it should not present any great difficulty to clean.

What is it made of?

This is a set of handmade ceramic bowls.

What is its price?

$30.00 is an excellent price for these unique and completely handmade bowls.

Pros:

  • Beautiful and unique design
  • Handmade in Texas
  • Seller wants you to love the product, so they will work with you on returns and exchanges

Cons:

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Actual product will vary from what is shown on the website

The Best Earthenware Serveware Set – Denmark Tools Serveware

denmark tools

How easy is it to clean?

This set is designed for easy clean-up and can conveniently be placed in a dishwasher.

How many pieces are included?

This set includes five serving bowls in five different sizes.  These bowls are designed to nest inside one another for easy storage.

What is its price?

At $69.99, this is a fairly pricey set, but its chic and simple design makes it very versatile, which is an offset to its price.

Pros:

  • Simple design that will look good in any kitchen
  • Safe for use in a dishwasher, freezer, microwave, and oven

Cons:

  • Slightly pricey

The Best Glass Serveware Set – Navaris Glass Serving Bowls

How easy is it to clean?

This set should only be washed by hand and should not be exposed to extreme shifts in temperature.

How many pieces are included?

This set includes three bowls in three different sizes.

What is its price?

$25.99 is a great price for these very artistic and lovely bowls.

Pros:

  • Designed for use with both hot and cold items
  • Highly decorative

Cons:

  • Not safe for use in dishwashers, microwaves, or ovens
  • Can scratch and break very easily

The Best Gravy Boat – Gravy Boat and Tray

Gravy Boat and Tray

How easy is it to clean?

This is dishwasher safe.

What is it made of?

This is made from ceramic.

What is its price?

$19.95

Pros:

  • Safe for use in both a dishwasher and a microwave
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Includes a stray to catch messes

Cons:

  • None

The Best Ladle – Avant Grub Store Super Ladle

How easy is it to clean?

This is an easy-to-clean item that can be placed in a dishwasher or washed by hand.

What is it made of?

This item is made from stainless steel.

What is its price?

$10.21

Pros:

  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable
  • Guaranteed for life
  • Designed with a hooked handle for easy storage

Cons:

  • Does not include pour spouts

The Best Melamine Serveware Set – Beatriz Ball VIDA Alegria Serving Pieces

How easy is it to clean?

Melamine is dishwasher safe.

How many pieces are included?

This is a set that can be purchased in individual pieces or together.  There are six pieces available.  They are a cake plat, a rectangular tray, an oval tray, a salad bowl, salad servers, and a divided bowl.

What is its price?

The price will depend upon which pieces you purchase.   It ranges between $14.00 and $56.00.

Pros:

  • Elegant and vintage design
  • Pieces sold individually
  • Returns and exchanges are accepted

Cons:

  • None

The Best Metal Serveware Set – XINLIYA Antique White Serving Set

How easy is it to clean?

While this set is not dishwasher safe, it is designed for easy washing with a wet cloth.

How many pieces are included?

This set includes six pieces.  These pieces are a three-tier cake tray, two rectangular serving trays, and three cake stands.

What is its price?

At $65.99, this is a great value for such a durable set.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Food safe
  • High-quality metal

Cons:

  • None

The Best Pepper Shaker and Pepper Mill – Stainless Steel Spice Dispenser (Shaker)

pepper shaker

Pros:

  • It is very easy to use and to fill
  • It has four adjustable modes
  • Sleek, modern design
  • 100% customer guarantee

Cons:

  • None

OXO Good Grips Contoured Pepper Grinder

Pros:

Cons:

  • None

The Best Pitcher – Karafu Store Glass Pitcher

pitcher

How easy is it to clean?

It is best to wash this pitcher by hand, but it is dishwasher safe.

What is it made of?

This is made of borosilicate glass.

What is its price?

$29.99 is an excellent price for this beautiful and durable pitcher.

Pros:

  • Safe to use with both hot and cold beverages
  • Designed with a lid that provides easy pouring and filtration
  • Designed with a large handle
  • Safe for use on a stovetop

Cons:

  • None

The Best Plastic Serveware Set – Avant Plastic Serving Trays

avant plastic serving set

How easy is it to clean?

These sets are dishwasher safe when set on the top rack.

How many pieces are included?

This will depend on which set you purchase.  Four different sets include different types of serving trays and different amounts of trays available.

What is its price?

This will depend on which set you purchase.  The price ranges between $15.99 and $17.99.

Pros:

  • Several different sets of different trays
  • BPA free
  • Designed to nest inside each other for space-saving storage
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Cons:

  • None

The Best Platter – Large Script Personalized Platter

jackson

How easy is it to clean?

This is safe for use in a dishwasher.

What is it made of?

This is made from BPA-free plastic.

What is its price?

The starting price is $36.99, but it will cost more depending on how you personalize it.

Pros:

  • Customizable
  • Safe for use in microwaves, dishwashers, and ovens for up to 30 minutes at 300° F.
  • Food safe
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Cons:

  • None

The Best Salad Bowl – Extra Large Salad Bowl with Servers 

salad bowl

How easy is it to clean?

This bowl should be cleaned with a damp cloth.

What is it made of?

This bowl is made from Acacia wood.

What is its price?

This bowl is $69.95

Pros:

  • Beautiful handmade design
  • Includes serving tools
  • Free shipping
  • Returns and exchanges are accepted

Cons:

  • None

The Best Salt Cellar and Salt Shaker – Acacia Wooden Salt Box with Lid

Pros:

Cons:

  • None

OXO Good Grips Salt Shaker with Pour Spout

oxo shaker

Pros:

Cons:

  • None

The Best Serving Bowl – Dowan Ceramic Bowls

DOWAN Ceramic Bowls

How easy is it to clean?

These can be placed in a dishwasher for easy clean-up.

What is it made of?

These are made from ceramic.

What is its price?

$29.99

Pros:

  • Set of four differently sized bowls
  • Includes a lid for each bowl
  • Lead-free
  • Safe for use in dishwashers, freezers, microwaves, and ovens
  • Designed with a date dial to track when storage began

Cons:

  • None

The Best Serving Utensils – Gourmet Basics by Mikasa Store

Gourmet Basics by Mikasa Kaylee

How easy is it to clean?

These are dishwasher safe.

What is it made of?

These are made from stainless steel.

What is its price?

$29.99

Pros:

  • Includes everything you need to serve a meal
  • Does not require polishing
  • Stylish design

Cons:

  • None

The Best Soup Pot – Korean Ceramic Bowl with Lid

How easy is it to clean?

korean ceramic bowl

This bowl is designed to be easy to clean and can even be set in a dishwasher.

What is it made of?

This bowl is made from ceramic.

What is its price?

This bowl is priced at $28.99.

Pros:

  • Lead-free and non-toxic
  • Safe for use with dishwashers, microwaves, ovens, refrigerators, and stovetops
  • Can be exposed to extreme temperatures

Cons:

  • None

The Best Stoneware Serveware Set – Elama Ceramic Stoneware Condiment Appetizer Set

How easy is it to clean?

Bowls are dishwasher safe, and the serving tray is easy to clean with a damp cloth.

How many pieces are included?

This set includes six serving bowls and one bamboo lazy Susan serving tray.

What is its price?

This set is regularly priced at $59.00.

Pros:

  • This is a beautiful setting for serving small bites and appetizers
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive

The Best Tea Pot – 22-Piece Tea Set

How easy is it to clean?

This set should be carefully washed by hand.

What is it made of?

This set is made from ceramic porcelain.

What is its price?

$59.90

Pros:

  • Set includes teapot, cream pitcher, sugar bowl, tea filter basket, six spoons, and six cup and saucer sets
  • Beautiful design
  • Easy returns

Cons:

  • Breakable

The Best Tongs – Wood Tongs

How easy is it to clean?

Since these are made from wood, they should be cleaned by hand.

What is it made of?

Available in bubinga, cherry, maple, and zebrawood.

What is its price?

This will depend on which type of wood you select.  The prices range between $26.00 and $28.00.

Pros:

  • Available in four different types of wood
  • Designed for use with pasta, pastries, and salad
  • Food safe

Cons:

  • Expensive option

The Best Vitrified Glass Serveware Set – 5-Piece Hostess Set

set

How easy is it to clean?

These should be hand washed.

How many pieces are included?

This set includes four pieces.  These are a creamer pitcher, a sugar bowl with a lid, a vegetable bowl, and a serving platter.

What is its price?

This set is $79.95.

Pros:

  • Microwave safe
  • Virtually unbreakable
  • Other Serveware pieces can be purchased separately

Cons:

  • Pricey option

The Best Wooden Serveware Set – Octagon Serving Trays

How easy is it to clean?

These should be carefully hand washed and dried.

How many pieces are included?

This set includes two trays.

What is its price?

$28.98

Pros:

  • Beautiful and stylish set
  • Designed for easy storage

Cons:

  • None

FAQs

Question: From Where Does the Term ‘Serveware’ Come?

Answer: This word ‘Serveware’ is a combination of the Anglo-Saxon word for special merchandise and the Latin word meaning to serve.  By combining ‘waru’ with ‘servire,’ English now has a very meaningful term for dishes that are designed specifically for carrying food from the kitchen to the table and from the table to each dinner plate.

Question: How Should a Table be Set?

Answer: This will depend on the type of meal you are hosting.  Hosting a casual meal versus a formal event will require different preparations. To help you with this, here is the rundown of table setting basics:

Everyday Dinner
• Begin by setting out a placemat, if you prefer to use one.
• Center a dinner plate on the placemat or at the table setting.
• Set a fork to the left of the plate, a knife to the right of the plate, and a spoon to the right of the knife.
• Set a water glass to the top and right of the plate, just above the knife.
• Set a napkin on top of the plate or under the fork.
Casual Meal
• Begin by setting out a placemat, if you prefer to use one.
• Center a dinner plate on the placemat or at the table setting.
• Set a salad plate on top of the dinner plate if you plan to serve a salad.
• Set a fork to the left of the plate, a knife to the right of the plate, and a spoon to the right of the knife.
• Set a salad fork to the left of the dinner fork if you plan to serve a salad.
• Set a water glass to the top and right of the plate, just above the knife.
• Set a wine glass to the right of the water glass.
• Set a napkin on top of the plate or under the fork.
Formal Event
• Begin by setting out a tablecloth.
• Center a dinner plate on a charger plate or at the table setting.
• Set a salad plate on top of the dinner plate.
• Set a bread plate above and left of the dinner plate.
• Set a bread knife in a horizontal position on the bread plate.
• Set a fork to the left of the plate, a knife to the right of the plate, and a spoon to the right of the knife.
• Set a salad fork to the left of the dinner fork.
• Set a dessert spoon in a horizontal position above the dinner plate.
• Set a water glass to the top and right of the plate, just above the knife.
• Set a wine glass to the right of the water glass.  White wine glasses go in front of red wine glasses.
• Set a napkin on top of the salad plate.
• Set a place card above the dessert spoon.
• Set a coffee cup with a saucer just below the glasses during the dessert course.

Question: What is the difference between the terms Serveware and Dinnerware?

Answer: While there are items that crossover in the definitions of each of these terms, they are intended to refer to certain dishes used at certain times during a meal.  Here is the basic summary of what each term is referring to:
Dinnerware is a reference to the dishes that are directly eaten from.  This means that plates, glasses, and tableware can be included within this term.
Serveware is a reference to the dishes that carry the food to the table and hold the food during meal service.  This means that salt and pepper shakers, gravy boats, bowls, and trays can be included within this term.

Serving up Success

Now that we have done our due diligence and have researched what Serveware is and does, we are more prepared than ever to head out on a shopping spree.  With all this information at our fingertips, we can be sure that we will get the product we need, in the style we want, at just the right price.  Happy hosting!

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