How To Choose A Platter

Wondering how to create a focal point on your table? Need the ease and heft of a serving platter to make service easy and attractive? With great platters, you can make your table - and your food - look amazing. You can work with different matters to match and contrast for a truly dynamic table spread.

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What material is best for a platter?

Because its concept is overarching - a platter could be a flat disk of a plate, or it could be as complicated as a filigreed tureen - a platter can be made of almost any material. You'll see this evidenced in online shops with options for purchasing a platter of virtually any substance, including tin, marble, and bone china.

However, the most popular platter materials over the years have been:

  • China: For the ultimate traditionalist, china is the material out of which the finest platters were made in years of yore. Use it now and appreciate its thin, delicate layers and eggshell-like qualities.
White Oval China Platter
2 Piece China Platter Set
Decorative Round China Platter
White Decorative Oval China Platter
Small Square China Platter
Long White China Platter
  • Melamine: This colorful, durable substance comes in a variety of finishes, making it a good choice for children's platter-ware.
Sea Themed Melamine Platter
Melamine Oval Platter in Blue
Brown Deep Handled Melamine Platter
Green Leaf Melamine Platter
Long Flat Melamine Platter
2 Piece Melamine Platter Set in White
  • Glass: Glass doesn't tend to be extremely decorative, but it can be very functional. Use a glass platter when you're displaying a food which is a work of art in itself, such as lasagna or layered nachos.
Soft Glass Square Platter
Long Rectangular Glass Platter
Glass Decorative Rowboat Platter
Glass with Gold Finished Glass Platter
Small Round Glass Platter
  • Wood: While not seen as a high-class option in the past, wood - particularly polished wood, with natural or rough edges - is coming more into the limelight. However, you'll want to serve it mostly with dry foods; soups and cheese sauces will not fare well in a wooden platter.
Wood Round Platter Set with Handle
Wooden Platter with Rope Handles
Big Round Wood Platter
Wood and Metal Modern Platter
Rectangular Wooden Tray Platter
Classic Round Wood Platter Set
  • Crystal: Although not very durable, this delicate material is extremely classy and can allow ultimate glitz and glamour on your table-spread. This material is best if you tend to serve fancy, small bits of food; canapes, rather than entrees.

What styles of platters are there?

Although you might be most familiar with the type of platter which has French countryside patterning around the rim, fashion is catching up to platters and helping produce an entire new wave of interestingly patterned platters.

If you're wishing to emulate a traditional feel in your home kitchen, opting for oval or circular platters in china or crystal, with perhaps a floral or pastoral edge, will serve you best.

However, there are legions of novelty and modern platters which may suit your home better: Ultramodern black melamine trays with square edges, and even platters shaped like lovable movie characters. These will be harder to clean but will undeniably add some fun to your dinner times!

You won't be disappointed if you are a boho style enthusiast or a shabby-chic lover, as there are many different decorative patterns and bold colors available in platters.

Ultimately, if you're looking for a more classic feel,white or blue china will never steer you wrong. For something which feels a bit more specific to you, using your tastes to find a statement platter or one that will act as a focal point in your kitchen will provide a talking point for years to come.

Decorative Platter with Grapes themed
Orange China Serveware Platter
Elegant Decorative Blue Platter
Elegant Porcelain Rectangular Platter
Modern Round Black Platter
Classic White Rectangular Platter

Which different types of platters should be used for different food?

There are several things you can learn about a platter which will tell you which type of food it was made to carry. For example, the depth of the dish can provide specific information about the viscosity of the intended food; if a dish is quite steeply sloped, the intended food is likely a soup of of a thin consistency.

The size of platter can give a good idea of what it's intended for, as well. The smallest platters are less than 6" wide and are likely good for little more than an appetizer. Larger platters, up to 18" wide, can almost be used as TV trays - depending on how much depth there is to their basins.

Remember, too, that there is a specific type of platter reserved for dipping sauces which has multiple wells. These can come in handy for having several condiments open at a bar or having a place to put shells for nuts or seafood handily nearby at a dinner table.