Types Of Plates And Bowls: How To Use Them Right
There is a wide variety of plates and bowls available, each designed for specific purposes or to enhance the presentation of certain dishes.
Who is types of plates and bowls micro-class for?
If you are hosting, learn how to choose the most appropriate plates and bowls for your event, menu, and table setting.
As a guest, knowing how to use the most common types of plates and bowls helps you avoid any embarrassment and enjoy the dining experience.
Types of plates and bowls micro-class
1) Common types of plates and bowls
There are 5 common types of plates and bowls that you are likely to find on a formal table setting.
Description: A flat, round plate with a slightly raised rim.
Average Size: 10-12 inches in diameter.
Use: Used for serving main courses like meats, fish, vegetables, and starches.
Description: Smaller than a dinner plate, with a slight rim.
Average Size: 7-9 inches in diameter.
Use: Designed for serving salads or appetizers.
How to Use: Serve salads or appetizers on these plates before the main course.
Description: A bowl with higher sides and a wide opening.
Average Size: 8-10 inches in diameter.
Use: Ideal for serving soups, stews, or pasta dishes with a significant liquid component.
Description: A small, usually round plate or dish.
Average Size: 6-7 inches in diameter.
Use: Typically used for holding individual slices of bread or rolls.
How to Use: Place a bread roll or slice on this plate to accompany your meal.
Description: Smaller than a dinner plate, often decorative.
Average Size: 6-8 inches in diameter.
Use: For serving desserts like cakes, pies, or pastries.
2) Types of specialized plates and bowls
There are several types of specialized plates and bowls. Each one of them is designed for a specific food or use.
Charger plate (underplate)
Description: Large decorative plate used as a base for other plates.
Average Size: 12-14 inches in diameter.
Use: Adds elegance to a place setting and is meant to be removed before serving food.
How to Use: Place this plate under the dinner plate for a formal table setting.
Description: Large, flat plate or dish for presenting cooked dishes.
Average Size: Varies widely.
Use: To serve main dishes, roasts, or other family-style meals.
How to Use: Arrange the cooked food attractively on the platter and serve it at the table.
Description: Wide, shallow bowl with a flat bottom.
Average Size: 8-12 inches in diameter.
Use: Designed for serving pasta dishes, allowing easy mixing of pasta and sauce.
Description: Small, deep bowl often used for serving rice in Asian cuisine.
Average Size: 4-6 inches in diameter.
Use: Commonly used for serving individual portions of rice.
Description: Rectangular or square plate, often with divisions.
Average Size: Varies, but typically smaller than dinner plates.
Use: Specifically designed for presenting sushi and accompaniments.
How to Use: Arrange sushi pieces neatly on the plate, use the divisions for soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi.
Description: A flat or slightly concave plate with ample surface area.
Average Size: Varies, but typically 8-12 inches in diameter.
Use: Designed for serving a variety of cheeses, often accompanied by fruits, nuts, and crackers.
Description: A plate designed for serving fresh fruit, often with a decorative edge.
Average Size: Varies, but typically 8-10 inches in diameter.
Use: Ideal for serving slices or sections of fresh fruit.
Tea plate (saucer)
Description: A small, often round plate with a shallow well in the center.
Average Size: 5-7 inches in diameter.
Use: Used to hold teacups, catching drips and providing a place for a teaspoon or small pastries.
How to Use: Place a teacup on the saucer.
Cereal or breakfast bowl
Description: A deep, round or oval bowl with a capacity for holding cereal and milk.
Average Size: 5-7 inches in diameter.
Use: Used primarily for serving breakfast cereals.
How to Use: Pour cereal into the bowl, add milk, and enjoy with a spoon.
Additional resources & links
- Etiquette references: table setting etiquette, formal dinner etiquette
- Etiquette for foods that require special plates or bowls: pasta, rice, soup, cheese, sushi, bread
- Interesting reads and sources: Assessing the impact of the tableware and other contextual variables on multisensory flavour perception biomedcentral.com