Hosting a party comes with many responsibilities—decor, music, entertainment, drinks, and most importantly, good snacks. However, your carefully curated chips, charcuterie, cookies, canapes, and Cheetos are only as good as the dishes you serve them on. The best serving bowls will complement and contain your food, helping to keep things clean while brightening up a table.
We recommend stocking your kitchen with serving bowls and dishes of various sizes, so you have a stock to pull from when you throw a party. You can go with a classic white look or be bold and grab a few in fun colors to match your other cookware or dining room decor. While you’re at it, you might also want to grab a dish with a lid just in case you need to transfer your carefully cooked sliders to a friend’s house. Overall, when it comes to purchasing serving bowls, you have many options to choose from. It can be overwhelming to start the search for the best serving bowl for your home, so we’ve collected our favorite products as well as some helpful tips to get you started.
Features to consider when shopping for serving bowls
The best serving bowls and dishes will be versatile, functional, and suit your entertaining style. A lavish spread of snacks deserves a beautiful presentation, so keep your table in mind when you start thinking about new purchases. Whether you’re only inviting a small-handful of folks or you’re throwing a full-blown birthday rager, we’re ready to dive deeper into the various dishes we think will complete your kitchenware collection.
A divided serving platter for dips, chips, and more is a must when it comes to party snacks
If you want a fantastic dip to be the focus of your platter, go for a divided serving platter. We recommend finding a model with a beautiful bowl at the center so everyone can dip their preferred snack. Some guests prefer carrot sticks while others would rather chow down on pita, but all can agree that both would taste great dipped in a silky-smooth hummus. Or, if you’re more inclined towards a spinach dip, a divided platter will give you the chance to try four different types of bread or crackers with it.
Tend to have guests with various dietary restrictions? The best serving platter can keep everyone happy by providing space for more food options, eliminating a lot of cross-contamination. If you entertain frequently, or you really want to pull out all the stops when it comes to snacks, a few divided serving trays are great to have on hand.
Best with dividers: Sweese Porcelain Divided Serving Dishes
This porcelain dish from Sweese has four large bowls centered around a smaller bowl meant for a dip; all rest atop an 11.5-inch tray. Best of all, each piece is removable, which means quick and easy refills if one snack becomes particularly popular. This dish comes in a few color combinations, including a crisp, clean white, so you can match your established kitchenware aesthetic.
An excellent appetizer tray is key for passing around sliders
If you plan on putting out party appetizer classics like sliders, pigs in a blanket, or mini grilled cheeses, you’ll need a sturdy platter to get the job done. Large appetizers need a tray that can accommodate them without any overflow. We recommend looking for a platter that is around 16 inches long to display your powerhouse apps. That way, you won’t run out of space, and you also won’t be struggling to carry something that’s entirely too big for your arms. On that note, it’s good to look for an appetizer tray with handles. Handles will keep the tray steady while you pass out snacks, and they make carrying the platter back and forth for refills a breeze.
Best of all, a big platter is super versatile. Not only is it great for appetizers, but should you be holding an exclusive dinner party, it’s a great way to serve the main course. Dishes like roast chicken, fish, or even a Christmas ham will sit beautifully on your table. A stately platter will look elegant enough for a formal event, but minimalist enough to host hot dogs and hamburgers.
Best for appetizers: Le Creuset Stoneware Oval Serving Platter
A Le Creuset serving platter is truly top of the line. It measures 16 by 11 inches and comes in many bold colors, though we prefer white. The flared sides and built-in handles are perfectly designed for easy transportation; plus, it’s oven- and dishwasher-safe for maximum convenience. The enamel finish is stain and chip-resistant, so your carefully cooked (or ordered) food will always be presented with a beautiful backing base.
Serving Chicken Wings?
A party just isn’t complete without chicken wings; we’re talking buffalo, dry-rub, barbecue, honey-garlic, teriyaki, the list goes on. Chicken wings are in a class all their own, which is why they need the best of the best when it comes to serving dishes. As described, wings can be made in many ways, so we recommend finding a set of serving trays per wing type. This will allow guests to try each variety without getting them confused or having the various sauces and rub mix with each other; it will also make refills much easier. We also recommend grabbing a set of matching mini serving bowls so you can hold all the necessary dips; blue cheese, ranch, honey mustard, and more.
While chicken wings are easily one of the best party snacks to serve, they also happen to be one of the messiest. We recommend grabbing a set that is dishwasher safe, so you don’t need to stay up any later post-party to clean up the messy sauces and leftover celery.
Best for chicken wings: Stonarc Three-Tier Serving Tray
This unique serving set is the perfect way to serve wings and other appetizers. It comes with three 11.25 by 6-inch plates and three 3-inch square bowls, all of which are dishwasher safe. This set also comes with a wooden base and wire stand, which means you have many options when it comes to organizing your table. As for storage, the wire stands collapse, and the bowls and plates are stackable, so you can make things much more compact when it’s time to clean up a big spread.
What are the best serving bowls for an endless amount of chips?
It’s probably become clear by now that size is everything when it comes to finding the best serving bowls and dishes. Generally speaking, bigger is better when it comes to single snacks. If you have friends over for a big game, like the Super Bowl, you don’t want to be continually walking away from the television just to replenish the chip bowl. We recommend going for a bowl that can hold an entire bag; something that can hold at least fifteen ounces will suffice. Since chips leave crumbs but not a ton of sticky residue, so you have some flexibility when it comes to material.
If you like to entertain and host a variety of parties, think about getting a serving bowl you would also fill with a summer salad to share. If you want a versatile serving bowl, stay away from shallow models, which can lead to spillage. A deep bowl will keep your lettuce leaves contained, your fruits from rolling, and your chips from tumbling.
Best large bowl: Lipper International Footed Serving Bowl
This serving bowl is a great dish to have on hand for dinner parties and larger hangouts. The cherry finish and wood material will elevate your meal’s look, and at almost 14 inches wide, you won’t have to worry your food won’t fit. It can easily serve a fresh salad, hot sides, loads of chips, and other crunchy snacks. The foot at the base of the bowl will keep it from tipping over. When you’re not hosting a party, this bowl would be a beautiful centerpiece when filled with fruit.
If you’re assembling a cheese board or are getting creative with nuts, go with a set of pinch bowls
Once you’ve got your large bowl covered, you can start to think about a few extra accouterments you’d like to add to your snack table. A set of small bowls, also called pinch bowls, can bring a little bit of continuity and class to your party without being too formal. They are great for holding nuts, olives, and candies. If you want to get a little fancier, fill them with cornichons, herbs, or finishing salts and place them on a charcuterie board. If you’re having a game-day party, a set of small bowls can hold a ton of different dipping sauces. Plus, pinch bowls are a great way to introduce a little color or some fun patterns to an otherwise solid-color kitchenware collection.
While they are definitely great for serving, a set of small bowls can also help during food prep. They are a great wait to hold seasonings, spices, and chopped-up veggies like ginger or garlic, and extra garnishes. Once you’re done cooking, give them a rinse and they’ll be ready for you to incorporate into your snack display.
Best small bowl: Now Designs Terracotta Pinch Bowls
This set of six bowls is an excellent addition to your kitchen. They are 2.75 inches and hold around one ounce, the perfect amount for additional sweet treats or savory snacks. Each bowl gives off a cool, bohemian vibe with an earthy unglazed terracotta exterior and a vibrant color dotting the inside. Just remember to take the time to wash these bowls by hand once you throw all your larger serving platters in the dishwasher.
Q: What’s the best game-day snack?
While I’m sure you can sense our affinity for chicken wings, the best game-day snack is entirely dependent on your guests. Before you throw a party, take a mental note of any dietary restrictions and preferences your friends have. Our surprise recommendation? Jalepeño poppers. These spicy snacks are great for fried food lovers, and they’ll satisfy vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Q: What are the most popular finger foods for parties?
One of the most popular finger foods at almost any party has to be the cheese plate. While you might not break them out for the game, a cheese plate is a guaranteed success. You can buy a pre-made plate or make your own board; with each option, you’ll find a size that will satisfy a large crowd. A cheese plate is also a great way to get some variety on the table with crackers, dried fruit, and maybe even a little meat.
Q: What should you serve for dessert at a large party?
If you’re looking for a dessert to satiate a lively crowd, we recommend whipping out trays of cut brownies, a large platter of cookies, or, if you’re feeling fancy, some miniature tarts. Everything can be bought at the store, but if you plan to make your own, we recommend a few traybakes like cookie bars or blondies, which typically don’t take a ton of time while also resulting in numerous servings.
A final word on shopping for serving bowls
Having a party should be fun, not stressful. With the right serving bowls, platters, and plates by your side, you won’t need to stress when it comes to snacks and sides. Keeping a small collection of various shapes and sizes is the best way to always have what you need for a mouth-watering appetizer table. Chips, Cheetos, and Cheez-its have never looked better.