The Best Dinnerware Sets for Everyday Use and Special Occasions

Whether you need a new dinnerware set for everyday eating or for a special occasion, this guide can help you find the perfect match by zeroing in on your needs.

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Best Dinnerware Set Options

Photo: amazon.com

If you’re looking for the best dinnerware set, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices out there. The options can seem endless.

Beyond style preferences, there are purpose-driven characteristics to keep in mind when searching for a new set. For example, your dinnerware set can serve your family’s everyday needs or be used exclusively for special occasions. In addition to the number of settings you need, the benefits and drawbacks of different materials also can help inform the best dinnerware set material for you.

Whether you need something durable and dishwasher-safe or want more delicate dinnerware for occasional use, some of the top options are listed below to help guide your selection.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Elama Round Stoneware Dinnerware Dish Set
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Amazon Basics 16-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set
  3. BEST FORMAL: Pfaltzgraff Sylvia Dinnerware Set
  4. BEST STONEWARE: Rachael Ray Cucina 16-Piece Stoneware Dinnerware Set
  5. BEST COLOR SELECTION: Gibson Elite Soho Lounge Stoneware Dinnerware Set
  6. BEST DECORATIVE: Elama Square Stoneware Pattern Dinnerware Dish Set
  7. BEST RUSTIC: Sango Siterra 16 Piece Dinnerware Set
  8. BEST DURABILITY: Corelle Service for 6
  9. BEST OUTDOOR: Craft & Kin Melamine Dinnerware Set
Best Dinnerware Set Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Dinnerware Set

The best dinnerware set depends on a variety of factors, including the material, the number of place settings you need, the design elements you like, and the features that are important to you such as durability, color, or microwave-ability. Knowing which dinnerware characteristics matter most in your life will help you choose the set that best suits your needs.

Materials

When looking at dinnerware sets, it’s important to consider your needs along with the qualities and features of the material. Some materials are made for everyday use or special occasion usage. The most common dinnerware materials are bone china, porcelain, earthenware, stoneware, and melamine.

  • Bone china is strong, durable, resistant to chipping, lightweight, and elegant. It’s ideal for either everyday or special occasion use and is usually microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
  • Porcelain is nonporous, durable, and versatile. Being oven-, dishwasher-, and microwave-safe makes porcelain a practical choice.
  • Earthenware is heavy, sturdy, and casual. However, it isn’t the most practical. Extreme temperature changes from the microwave or oven can degrade the look of earthenware.
  • Stoneware is great for everyday and family use. It’s made with a finishing glaze that has a smooth finish. Although stoneware is more durable than earthenware, it can’t be exposed to high heat or freezing temperatures.
  • Melamine is shatterproof and hard to chip or break, making it ideal for entertaining, families with little kids, and for outdoor use. It can be washed in the dishwasher. However, melamine isn’t oven- or microwave-safe.

Quantity

You’ll usually find dinnerware in formal five-piece sets and casual four-piece sets. Sets typically consist of some combination of a dinner plate, salad or dessert plate, bread plate, soup bowl, teacup, and saucer.

The number of place settings you need will depend on the number of people in your household, how often you host guests, and how much storage space you have to hold dishes. Eight to 12 five-piece place settings are usually ideal for most entertaining purposes, though you may want just four settings if you have a smaller household or living space.

Design

When considering design, think about your needs and how you plan to use your dinnerware. You might want more formal and stylish dishes or ones that are more casual and simple. Dinnerware sets often come in hand-painted, patterned, banded, or solid designs. Colors and patterns can express your personal style and complement your home decor.

Neutrals like white or ivory are the most versatile when it comes to formal dinnerware, and solid or banded white dishes are classic and timeless. If you’re looking for versatility, consider a simple and elegant white dinnerware set that works for both formal and casual use. Your meals will not only stand out, but you also can use accessories like napkins, place mats, and linens to dress the set up or down with colorful or patterned accents.

Our Top Picks

Below are some of the best dinnerware sets for all sorts of occasions. Whether you’re looking for something that will withstand nicks and scratches, is ideal for outdoor use, or will catch the eyes of your dinner guests, there’s a dishware set that may be perfect for you.

Best Overall

Best Dinnerware Set Options: Elama Round Stoneware Luxurious Mellow Dinnerware
Photo: amazon.com

If you’re looking for an all-around high-quality dinnerware set that will suit various purposes for years to come, look no further. The dinnerware set from Elama is made from durable stoneware. It is dishwasher-safe and easy to clean with its smooth and sleek interior. Plus, the larger size and shape of these dishes helps keep liquids and messy foods contained.

Featuring a powder blue and brown speckled interior, the dishes have a glossy cream exterior with debossed dots for a unique look. This set can be used in the microwave and includes four sets of deep-edge dinner plates, deep-edge salad plates, deep bowls, and mugs.

Best Bang For the Buck

Best Dinnerware Set Options: Amazon Basics 16-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set
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This porcelain Amazon Basics 16-piece dinnerware set is a great value because of its dual usage. The neutral, elegant white finish means it’s ideal for every day or for dressing up with table accessories when you’re entertaining guests.

The set is lightweight but still durable and safe for use in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher. It includes four settings, each with a 10.5-inch dinner plate, 7.5-inch dessert plate, 5.5-by-2.75-inch bowl, and 4-inch-tall mug.

Best Formal

Best Dinnerware Set Options: Pfaltzgraff Sylvia Dinnerware Set
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The Pfaltzgraff Sylvia Dinnerware Set features a raised-curl pattern with beaded bands, giving it a fresh take on a traditional style. This 32-piece porcelain dinnerware set is extremely durable and won’t show scratch marks. It includes eight of each of the following: 10.5-inch dinner plate, 8.25-inch salad plate, 6.5-inch diameter soup/cereal bowl, and 14-ounce mug.

Although this set is great for formal use or entertaining, it also can be used every day since it’s microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

Best Stoneware

Best Dinnerware Set Options: Rachael Ray Cucina Dinnerware 16-Piece Stoneware Dinnerware Set
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The Rachael Ray Cucina Dinnerware set comes with four sets of dinner plates, salad plates, cereal bowls, and mugs. It’s perfect for everyday use, as it’s dishwasher-safe and made from durable stoneware. You can conveniently warm these dishes in the oven up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. They’re microwave- and freezer-safe, too.

You don’t have to compromise style for functionality, as this set combines practicality with relaxed, casual character and a nice earthy, rustic design and texture. Choose between eight color schemes for this stylish set.

Best Color Selection

Best Dinnerware Set

This stoneware set comes in a wide selection of 13 colors, so you can choose what best suits your decor. It includes service for four with 11-inch dinner plates, 8.25-inch dessert plates, 31-ounce cereal bowls, and 12-ounce mugs.

Everything is dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Because of the thick build, high firing temperature, and mix of all-natural clays in the stoneware, this set is extremely durable and tough to break or scratch. Gibson Elite Soho Lounge pieces are made using a technique that brings multiple colors and hues within the glaze together to create a vibrant quality. As a result, each piece is unique and exudes modern elegance.

Best Decorative

Best Dinnerware Set Options: Elama Square Stoneware Pattern Dinnerware Dish Set
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This high-quality square dinnerware set from Elama comes with four settings of stoneware dishes: 14.5-inch dinner plates, 11.25-inch salad plates, 7.25-inch large bowls, and 5.75-inch small bowls.

The set’s matte black exterior and high-gloss inner finish combined with the tan tile pattern and square shape make it an interesting backdrop for entertaining. Plus, it’s microwave- and dishwasher-safe for easy heating and cleaning.

Best Rustic

Best Dinnerware Set

This beautiful stoneware set includes four settings of dinner plates, salad plates, dinner bowls, and soup bowls in a mix of clean and fresh white, light blue, sea-foam, and chestnut-brown colors. They’re neutral enough to be versatile with your existing decor, and the speckles give the dishes a casual, rustic character.

Durable but not heavy, this stoneware set can be heated in the microwave and washed in the dishwasher.

Best Durability

Best Dinnerware Set Options: Corelle Service for 6, Chip Resistant
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If you’re looking for a break-resistant dinnerware set, look no further than this chip-resistant set from Corelle. The triple-layer-strong glass plates and bowls won’t break or chip and are ultra-hygienic and nonporous. Their light weight makes them easy to handle and clean, and they are conveniently dishwasher-, microwave-, and preheated-oven-safe. The plates and bowls stack in a compact way, which is a great space-saver for smaller kitchens and cabinets.

This 18-piece set comes with six 10.25-inch dinner plates, six 6.75-inch appetizer/snack plates, and six 18-ounce soup/cereal bowls. Plus, you can add the matching 8.5-inch salad plates to your collection, too.

Best Outdoor

Best Dinnerware Set Options: Melamine Dinnerware Set - 12 pcs
Photo: amazon.com

This Craft & Kin 12-piece melamine dinnerware set for four diners has an outdoorsy, farmhouse look. It’s charming indoors, and perfect for dining al fresco, whether you’re at the beach, on a camping trip, or in your own backyard.

The set includes four large 10.5-inch dinner plates, four 8.5-inch salad or dessert plates, and four 6-inch-wide-by-3-inch-high bowls. The lightweight melamine is sturdy and free of BPAs, and it’s safe on the top rack of your dishwasher.

FAQs About Dinnerware Sets

With so many choices available, it’s understandable that you may still have questions about the best dinnerware set for your household. We’ve gathered some of the most commonly asked questions and answers to help.

Q. What is in a dinnerware set?

Three- to five-piece place settings consist of some combination of a dinner plate, cup, saucer, salad plate, and bread-and-butter plate or soup bowl.

Q. How do you properly care for a dinnerware set?

For baked-on food, soak dishes in soap and hot (not boiling) water, in a plastic basin or towel-lined sink to cushion the dinnerware. Carefully remove food with a plastic scouring pad.

Q. What’s the best dinnerware material?

The best dinnerware material depends on your lifestyle. Bone china or stoneware for everyday use are best as they’re practical and durable. Porcelain also is durable and versatile, and melamine is ideal for outdoor use.