Best Serving Bowls of 2019

A serving bowl is a smart purchase that makes serving, eating, and entertaining others a little more fun. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best serving bowls.

Shopping Guide for Serving Bowls

A serving bowl is a smart purchase that makes serving, eating, and entertaining others a little more fun.

Serving bowls are perfect housewarming gifts, wedding gifts, or simple "thinking of you" presents (especially if they contain something yummy to eat). They do not have to be expensive, but before you buy, there are some features you will want to consider.

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Be Sure Serving Bowls Are Dishwasher-Safe Before Buying

Many of even the most beautiful serving bowls are also dishwasher-safe—an important feature for most households.

Serving Bowl Features

It is a good idea to have a variety of depths in your serving bowls if you're going to serve everything from casseroles to chip dips.

● If you are planning to use one for bread, whole fruit or chips, you will want to have about 4 to 5 inches of depth.

● To serve a salad or soup, you will want something even deeper, perhaps 6 to 7 inches with a wider diameter at the top for easy access.

● Pastas and rice serve nicely in medium-size bowls.

Keep in mind that certain items, like rice, generally do well if they pile over the top of the lip of the bowl. Other items, like gelatin salads absolutely need to fit completely inside the bowl, or messes will ensue.

Serving bowls come in a variety of materials. Many are made of a stoneware or ceramic material. These are very versatile and can be both formal and casual. A glass serving bowl is another great option for a wide variety of settings. Some glassware is made to be oven- and microwave-safe. If you have children in your home, or like to eat outside a lot, you might consider getting one made from melamine. Melamine is a plastic derivative, which, while not completely unbreakable, will provide you more durability than glass or stoneware.

Coordinating Pieces
A nice coordinating set of serving bowls in several sizes, or several pieces in the same size, can allow you to serve an entire meal beautifully. Unless you are purchasing high-end items made as part of an entire dishware set, it is most practical to buy those matching bowls in a set.

Some serving bowls are made for cooking, too. Check the underside of your serving bowl to find out if it is microwave- or oven-safe. Do not put your serving bowl in the microwave or oven unless it is marked safe.

Lids are great for two reasons: traveling and leftovers. If you have a small household and will usually be using your serving bowl for taking food out of your home, you will be glad you chose one with a lid. It will make transporting food easier and super easy to store those leftovers after the occasion.

Some serving bowls come with a carrying case, which is a nice option if you know you will be using it to take food to gatherings.


Q. Can you cook in a serving bowl?
A. Many serving bowls are made microwave-safe for easy reheating of side items. Some are also oven-safe. If it is oven-safe, the serving bowl will also likely have a maximum acceptable temperature range. If you go over this temperature, you may risk cracking the serving bowl. Usually serving bowls that you can cook in are dishwasher-safe, too.

Q. What is a good size for a serving bowl?
A. When considering a good size for your serving bowl, check out the number of cups of food it can hold. Compare that number to the number of people you need to feed and the type of food you are serving. Small serving bowls hold about 6 cups. Medium bowls about 10 cups. Larger bowls can hold 15 to 20 cups of food. If you plan to use it for fruits or vegetables, 1 cup is generally considered to be the size of one serving. Grains and proteins generally measure out at one-half cup per serving.

Q. Are there any common flaws to look for in a serving bowl?
A. A serving bowl is an item that is often best to buy new. Despite your nostalgia at your grandma's old serving bowl, not all old glazes back in the day were completely safe for eating. What you need to watch out for are old pottery pieces that may have contained either lead or cadmium. Neither is safe for food use. Make sure whatever bowl you buy contains nontoxic materials and is free of chips, cracks, and flaking paint or glaze.

If you plan to use your serving bowl in the oven, keep in mind it will be too hot to set directly on the table for a long time after taking it out. Consider getting a serving bowl that comes with a stand, or don't forget the trivet and hot pads!