Serving Bowl vs. Serving Platter: Which One Should You Choose?

When setting the table for a meal, choosing between a serving bowl and a serving platter might seem like a small decision, but it can make a big difference in how you present and serve your food.

Both serving bowls and platters have unique purposes, and the choice between them depends on what you're serving and the overall dining experience you want to create.


Serving Bowl vs. Platter


serving bowl is a deep, round, or oval dish with high sides, often used for dishes like salads, pasta, mashed potatoes, or anything that contains a sauce or liquid component. Serving bowls are great for family meals, as they allow everyone to help themselves and pass the dish around the table. They also keep the food contained and can help retain heat.

On the other hand, a platter is a large, flat dish with a rim, typically used for serving whole pieces of meat, poultry, or fish. Serving Platters are excellent for showcasing your meal's star, making it easy to carve or serve portions directly onto plates.

Today, we'll explore the differences between serving bowls and serving platters, the types of dishes best suited for each, and some tips for making the right choice to enhance your dining experience. If you're hosting a casual gathering or a formal dinner party, understanding when to use a serving bowl or a platter can elevate the presentation of your food and contribute to a memorable meal.

Understanding the Basics

Before we dive into a detailed comparison, let's understand the basic features of serving bowls and platters.

Serving Bowls

Blue Green Flowers Hand Painted Ceramic Serving Bowl with Lid


Serving bowls are typically deep, round or oval-shaped dishes with high sides. They are designed to hold a variety of dishes, from salads and pasta to soups and side dishes. Serving bowls come in various materials, including glass, ceramic, and stainless steel. They are ideal for dishes that contain sauces or liquids, as the high sides help contain the contents and prevent spills.

Serving Platters

Tranquil Mint Ceramic Twin Serving Platter

On the other hand, Serving platters are flat, shallow dishes with low or no sides. They are usually rectangular or oval and are primarily used for serving larger portions of food, such as whole roasted meats, seafood, or appetizers. Snack Platters are typically used for their luxury presentation, allowing the food to take center stage.

Choosing the Right Dish

The decision between a serving bowl and a serving platter mainly depends on the type of food you plan to serve and the presentation you have in mind. Here are some key considerations to help you make the right choice:

1. Food Type

Moroccon Blue Triangle Serving Plates Set of Two

Consider the nature of the dish. For saucy or liquid-based dishes, serving bowls are your best bet. They keep the contents contained and make it easy for guests to serve themselves without making a mess. Serving Platters, on the other hand, are perfect for dry dishes or foods that are best served in a single layer.

2. Portion Size

Peacock Green Hand Painted Mosaic Boat Serving Bowl

Think about the portion size you intend to serve. If you're planning to serve a large roast, a whole fish, or a selection of appetizers, a serving platter is the way to go. Serving bowls are better suited for smaller portions, such as side salads or pasta dishes.

3. Presentation

Consider the aesthetics of your presentation. Serving platters are known for their ability to showcase food beautifully. They offer a flat canvas for arranging your dishes in an artistic manner. If presentation is a key factor, a platter can add a touch of elegance to your table.

4. Versatility

If you want a versatile option, serving bowls are the way to go. They can be used for a wide range of dishes, from salads and soups to casseroles and desserts. Serving platters, while elegant, are more specialized and may have limited use in your kitchen.

5. Occasion

Think about the occasion for which you are serving the food. Serving platters are often reserved for special occasions or formal events due to their elegant appearance. Serving bowls are more casual and can be used for everyday dining as well.


In the serving bowl vs. Serving platter showdown, the choice ultimately comes down to the type of food you're serving and the presentation you have in mind. While serving bowls offer versatility and practicality, serving platters excel in showcasing the beauty of your dishes. Consider your specific needs, the occasion, and the aesthetics you wish to achieve, and you'll be well on your way to selecting the perfect serving dish for your next culinary masterpiece. Remember that both options have their unique place in the world of dining, so feel free to embrace them both in your kitchen and elevate your dining experiences.