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The best plates should be stylish enough for a dinner party, durable enough for everyday use, and as far as I’m concerned, shouldn’t require you to purchase a whole dinnerware set to get them.
Sure, fully-coordinated sets are fine if you don’t want to put too much thought into your dishes, but the best dinnerware set is really the one you build yourself, mixing and matching your favorite pieces, whether they’re from a variety of makers or a single tableware line. Either way, you won’t be stuck with tea cups and soup bowls you’ll never use.
Since the dinner plate is the foundation of any table setting, I set out to find the best plates in a variety of materials, including stoneware, porcelain, bone china, and even melamine. I spent way too much time researching popular and promising dinner plates, then ordered all of my top picks based on construction, style, functionality, and price point. For weeks, I used and sometimes abused these nine plates in my own kitchen. What I found is below.
1. The best West Elm’s Stoneware Dinner Plates
The outer edge and underside are more matte and textured, and that’s where you can get a pop of color if you want. These plates are dishwasher- and microwave-safe too. One thing to note: If you’re precious about your dining table, you may want to use a placemat with these because the unfinished bottom can leave incredibly faint surface scratches.There’s nothing fancy about West Elm’s Kaloh stoneware dinner plates, and that’s why I love them so much. When I think “stoneware,” I think of the stuff from the ’70s and ’80s, usually in shades of brown, yellow, and orange, and often with an ornate floral design in the center.
These 10-inch dinner plates, a West Elm collaboration with British industrial designer Aaron Probyn, recall those vintage vibes with a natural—though more neutral—tone (the “white” is really more of a pale beige). They’re also thick and have a nice heft, as stoneware should. That said, they definitely feel more modern than your grandma’s stoneware plates thanks to a sleek but subtle rounded lip and a glossy scratch-resistant glaze.
2. The best porcelain plates
They’re “high-fired” (which means both the porcelain and the glaze are extremely durable), and as such are microwave-safe, oven-safe to 350ºF, and freezer-safe. If you’re looking for a bright white plate that’s modern, roomy, and durable, you might consider signing up for a trial membership at Public Goods. If plates seem like an odd thing to get a membership for, know that wouldn’t be all you get.
In addition to a limited selection of cooking tools and tableware, most of the brand’s wholesale-priced offerings are household items you replenish regularly, like cleaning products, toiletries, pet food, and pantry staples. You can even get wine!
I really tried to find porcelain plates I liked better than the Dinner Plates from Public Goods, a membership-based online retailer, but I couldn’t. These 10.5-inch plates are a true white and have the heft and shape of our favorite stoneware plate, above, but they’re slightly larger and smoother on bottom.
3. Best bone china plates
If you want a bright white plate but prefer a classic shape to something more modern, the Jasper Conran for Wedgwood White Bone China Dinner Plates are timeless and elegant without feeling stuffy. Because they don’t have any embellishments, these plates can work with a variety of table setting styles and the high-quality bone china is actually quite strong. Bone china is chip-resistant, too, thanks to the presence of actual animal bone ash. I guess you could reserve these fine china plates for special occasions, but you don’t have to because they also make great everyday dinnerware (and yes, they’re dishwasher-safe). These plates have a 10.5-inch diameter and an elevated edge that makes the usable surface area about seven inches.
4. The best ceramic plates
The Main Plates’ simple shape and straight-sided lip feels modern, but the warm, hand-painted hues also make them feel like something your very cool aunt might have made in the ’70s. They feel lighter than they look and they’re surprisingly durable, thanks in part to a subtly speckled scratch-resistant (though not entirely scratchproof) glazed surface. The Main Plates are dishwasher- and microwave-safe, and I love that they stay fully vertical on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. They do get really hot in the microwave, though.
These porcelain ceramic dinner plates come from Our Place, maker of the Internet-famous Always Pan. With a 9.75-inch diameter, they’re on the smaller size for a dinner plate, but because of the straight-side lip, nearly all of that space is usable.
5. The best oven-safe plates
If you like to put your plates in the oven, Year & Day’s ceramics can handle temperatures all the way up to 480ºF. They’re also dishwasher- and freezer-safe, so if you need your dishes to hold up to every appliance in your kitchen, these are the plates for you.Matte plates are prone to showing scratches, and if you try hard enough you can scratch the lighter colored Big Plates, but the marks are easily removed with Bar Keepers Friend. You can also avoid the issue altogether by buying these plates in the darkest color, Midnight. I
which are simply called Big Plates. With a 10.7-inch diameter, the plates are pretty big, and because they’re rimless, all of that space is usable. While they aren’t handmade, they are “hand finished,” which gives them a modern look that’s casual, but definitely not too casual. Like the Year & Day serving platter and bowl, the Big Plates come in four fairly neutral colors inspired by the California coastline—each with a semi matte finish.
6. Matte plates
Which makes them stackable, but the ceramic material is still durable and these plates feel like they could last forever. They’re absolutely the kind of plate you’d turn over in a restaurant to find out who makes them. If you like to take pictures of your food, a matte plate is often the best choice because you don’t have to worry about your lens picking up a glare. Matte dishware is prone to showing scratches.
7. AmazonBasics High Dinner Plates
Because they’re made of porcelain, which is very durable, they can go in the dishwasher, microwave, freezer, and the oven. And according to the product description, these plates can withstand temperatures as high as 572ºF, but my oven only goes to 500ºF so I wasn’t able to test that claim. If you want a classic white plate but you don’t want to spend a lot, the Amazon Basics white dinner plates are timeless, durable, and affordable. Like the bone china Wedgwood plates, these are 10.5-inch plates and instead of a lip, they have a more classic elevated edge, leaving seven inches of usable space. The white is more of a grayish off-white than a true white, but unless you’re comparing it to a bright white plate, you likely won’t notice.
8. West Elm Melamine Plates
In addition to being kid-friendly, melamine plates are the best choice for outdoor dining. And the thing I love most about the West Elm’s Kaloh melamine plates is how much they look like the Kaloh stoneware discussed above. Though the melamine version weighs less and has a smoother base than the stoneware, they’re the same shape and size and come in many of the same colors.
If you’re still using your parents’ hand-me-down Corelle tableware with your own kids just because it’s hard to break, it might be time for an upgrade to melamine. You could intermingle both types in a stack and you’d have to get pretty close to notice which is which. So if you want kid-friendly plates that don’t scream, “I come from the Target Pillowfort line!” or if you want outdoor plates that look just like your indoor plates, these are the melamine plates for you.
9. Potten seeds dinner plate
What also sets these plates apart is their tactile matte glaze, which, because they’re hand-painted, is textured – run your fingers across the surface and you can feel each individual “seed”. This does mean they require more care than some, however: while they are dishwasher-safe, hand-washing is advised, and over time, metal cutlery can leave traces on the surface. They are safe for the microwave though. The only thing to bear in mind is that they may wear faster than those with a more durable finish, leaving the evidence of dinner parties and intimate suppers behind.
When a matching dinner service feels too formal, this coordinating design-led set is just the thing for your table. Each porcelain plate comes in a different colour – pink, yellow, orange or blue – with a sunflower seed-inspired pattern that gives them a stylish yet relaxed vibe.
In terms of size, the plates are fairly average at 26cm – big enough for dinner and not too tall for our dishwasher. They’re not too heavy at 638g each and the porcelain doesn’t feel scarily delicate. And for an eye-catching designer set, the price isn’t as steep as you might imagine.
10. Royal Doulton dinner plate
They are large 28cm traditional porcelain plates with a contemporary pink and coral-hued section of colour finished with ridges and an 1815 stamp on the underside. And, as they’re a set of two, they’re ideal for mixing and matching with other pieces from the range to create a set that suits your lifestyle.
There are hundreds of plate and bowl sets available, which can often make buying more difficult. Fortunately, we’ve sorted through a stack of options on your behalf, assessing sets for their practicality, durability, value for money and design.
Pieces have been measured (to see if they can accommodate an average meal while still fitting in a standard-sized dishwasher), weighed and washed to see how they fare with everyday use.
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