Hi friends, Emily here — resident recipe developer and eater of all the things. If you’ve been reading along for the year or so that I’ve been blogging with Shana and Co., you know that food is near and dear to my heart. It’s literally my bread and butter (pun most definitely intended). My work, my hobby, my passion. FOOD.
And, if you’ve been reading along for some time now (or following my daily eats on Instagram – @thepigandquill), you’ll have also picked up on my very specific love of bowl food. Truly, almost every meal we eat at home is served in a bowl. These white beans? Bowl. This Vietnamese Caramel Pork (pictured above)? Bowl. This ‘ere Shaved Brussel Sprout and Stone Fruit Salad? Bowl. Zucchini Fritters? You get the idea.
The Best Bowls For Dining & Outdoor Entertaining
So, since I’ve been forcing bowl-friendly recipes on you for some time now, it only seemed right to finally round up some of the gorgeous bowls out there in which to serve up these meals. (In fact, shout-out to reader Erin, who requested this exact article a couple of months back — apologies I didn’t get to it sooner.) I went ahead and broke them into price ranges — under $10, under $20, and $20 and up (per piece) — and let me tell you, there are some gorgeous options out there for every budget. I also threw in a mini roundup of outdoor-friendly pieces since we’ve been eating two meals a day in the backyard, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before we suffer a stoneware casualty.
Across the board, all of these bowls fall into what is most commonly referred to as the “pasta bowl” family — that is: a wide, shallow bowl that functions more like a high-sided plate than, say, a soup bowl or a cereal bowl. I find that the bowls I turn to the most are around 9″ in diameter, so most of these are right around there, with a couple of small exceptions. Honestly, there’s not a bad choice in the bunch.
The Best Bowls Under $10
Some of the best entree-sized bowls are a serious steal, friends. Everything below is under $10 a piece (in some instances, like these bistro-inspired beauties, just $6!).
My personal pick: these matte black bowls with an exposed red clay foot — they feel seriously handmade, and the reviews are great.
NOTE: Click on the collage below to quickly shop all items shown.
1. The Everyday White Bowl // The name says it all — it’s classic and versatile, easy to dress up or down, 9″ in diameter, and that little interior dish allows it to be used for elegant plating of more conventional “bowl” foods, like soups or stews.
2. Matte Black Bowl (Set of 4) // These earthenware bowls have a handmade feeling with an unglazed, red clay foot that feels really special and eclectic. Possibly my favorite of the bunch, especially for the price ($34 for a set of 4). Great reviews, too.
3. Accent Rim Bistro Bowl (Set of 6) // I gravitated toward these right away — they remind me of my own personal favorite bowls (pictured at the top of the post, from H&M, no longer available) in that they have a universally appealing bistro vibe that complements literally every food imaginable, from salads to meatloaf and mashers. Microwave, oven and freezer safe — and on sale for $34 for a set of six (!!).
4. Painted Mezze Bowl // I find it hard to believe these are under $10, but they’re on clearance at Pottery Barn for just that ($6.99 in fact!). They look really special — enough that I’m including them on this list even though they come in a little smaller than what I would normally recommend at 7.5″ across. I rarely “set” a table, but these would be so pretty styled for the summer (with sunflowers!) or even for the holidays. A departure from my more minimalist aesthetic, but so gorgeous.
5. Cambria Soup Bowl // This is another bowl that is quite a bit smaller (7″) but I love the artisan-made look and feel. It’s available in five colors, all of which have a vibe that could work with so many decor schemes. Granted, this might not be the best scale for plating up full-blown meals, but for soup, ice cream or smoothie bowls — perfection. And priced just right.
6. Oversized Glazed Pasta Bowl (Set of 4) // I love these for the dimensions alone — 10″ makes them generously enough sized for playing full meals without overcrowding. They only have a handful of reviews, but they’re all great. Another piece with artisan vibes for a steal.
7. “Blue Plate Special” Bowl // I’m calling these guys such for obvious reasons. Love the French bistro/diner vibe and the size, and I’ve had great luck with all of Williams Sonoma’s Open Kitchen products. A steal at $5.99 each.
8. Black Glazed Earthenware Bowls (Set of 12) // Need bowls for a crowd — or just want to get through a few meals without having to run the dishwasher? These. They’re $79 for the full set of 12, and at 9″ across they’re perfectly scaled for everyday use.
9. Aqua Glazed Earthenware Bowl (Also in White, Navy or Merlot) // Ha! I put these in the wrong section. Well, the right and wrong sections. These are melamine, so they could technically be for outdoor use — but what I like best about them in concept is that they’re super family-friendly. As in: I want to be eating out of something beautiful, Lana would prefer to be eating out of the same bowls as mom and dad, and no one wants a shattered piece of pricey pottery. I featured the aqua here because I love the pop of color, but if I were using these for everyday, the white seriously looks like a piece of handmade pottery.
10. Lavender Bistro Bowls (Set of 4) // Maybe it’s the food photographer in me, but I’m a total sucker for bowls that look different when viewed from above vs. the side. These are simple and, moreover, they look great with food in them. (Why don’t more catalog images show them plated with food?) And if lavender isn’t your jam, they’re available with a pretty blue or gray wash of color, too.
11. Classic White Pasta Bowls (Set of 6) // These are a crazy good budget buy — $33 for a set of six porcelain bowls that are about as classic as it gets. They’re right-sized for entrees (9 3/4″), and there are more than 200 excellent reviews, too. If you aren’t sure of your dinnerware style or you want something that will complement just about any other dishes you might find in your kitchen, these are your buds.
12. Marbelized Dinner Bowls (Set of 4) // I love marbled finishes on dishware, so long as it’s done well, and I think the blue and teal hues of these porcelain bowls are so pretty. (Tip: almost all food looks good plated on blue — even the boring brown stuff.) There’s a mediterranean restaurant in the city that uses enamelware with a really similar vibe, and it always feels so playful and chic. Great budget buy, too.
The Best Bowls Under $20
Ready to invest just a bit more into your bowl game? These mid-range bowls are sturdy enough for everyday use and special enough build a dishware collection around.
My personal pick: These pebbled white bowls. The texture is so interesting, and I love the handmade feel. (If you can’t tell, that’s kinda my jam.) Perfect scale, too, at 9.5″ across.
NOTE: Click on the collage below to quickly shop all shown items.
1. Speckled Gray Pasta Bowl (Set of 4) // I have a serious weakness for all things speckled in stoneware. It adds so much visual interest, feels rustic and handmade — very modern minimalist. This set of four feels artisanal while still being priced right.
2. Pebbled White Pasta Bowl // My kiddo chose these as soon as she heard that Gordon Ramsey makes them — ha! (Still on the MasterChef Junior kick over here…) And I don’t know what I would have expected from his collection of dishware, but these are so cool. Again, they feel handmade and collected (broken record over here — I clearly have a “type” of dishware), and they’re right-sized for just about everything.
3. Matte Gray Pasta Bowl // These come in four different colors, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. The matte glaze feels super high-end.
4. Color Dipped Bowls (Set of 4) // Ok, these are gorgeous. More colorful than I typically go for, but imagine each one plated with poké and rice or a heap of hummus with mediterranean accoutrements or grains and grilled veggies — beautiful. They’re undeniably sunny, and I love the deep, straight sides.
5. Oversized Rustic Pasta Bowls (Set of 4) // These are a full 12″ across, and if you have the surface area for these on your dining space, I love that you’d still be able to see some of the dish, even heaped with food. The brown-tipped edge feels both rustic and modern.
6. Le Creuset Pasta Bowls // Classic Le Creuset bowls available in two sizes (8.5″ or 9.75″) and loads of colors. That signature glaze is too pretty in the Caribbean, but I love the French Gray, too.
7. Hand-painted Organic Blue Pasta Bowl // Pretty, organic shape and a hand-painted gold rim. These guys aren’t dishwasher or microwave safe, but they sure are lovely looking. (In a neutral creamy white, too.)
8. Solid Porcelain Black Pasta Bowl (Also in White) // These have great reviews, but what intrigues me most is that the porcelain is solid black, so you can enjoy having darker dishware without risking obvious white chips. And the subtle texturing on the exterior feels really high-end.
9. Two-Tone Neutral Earthenware Bowls (Set of 4) // Wide and dishy with a hand-thrown look. And I love the contrast of the neutral clay color with the white glaze.
10. Mint Stoneware Pasta Bowl // These feel like something between Fiestaware and a classic bistro bowl, and this color always looks so complementary with grains and greens. Average size at 9.3″, so perfect for everyday use. Well-reviewed, too.
11. Black + White Earthenware Bowl // These are so striking in the black + white, but they’re available in loads of colors (like, more than 10) and have great reviews. A true 9″ diameter, so not too big or too small. Dishwasher and microwave safe. If you’re looking for style AND substance, these feel like a good choice.
The Best Bowls $20 & Up
Artisan-quality — and, in some cases, genuinely artisan-made — ceramics that are completely worth gifting to others or collecting for yourself.
My personal pick: These handmade blush pink watercolor bowls. They’re undeniably special and yet I’d have no qualms serving all our everyday bowls up in these pretty babes (microwave and dishwasher safe, too). Lovely enough to leave out or on open shelving. And free shipping!
NOTE: Click on the collage below to quickly shop all shown items.
1. Footed Speckled Wide Bowl // Dishwasher, microwave, freezer and oven safe to 500 degrees — this is a serious piece of pottery, friends. Made in England from locally sourced clay, too. Just gorgeous. And on sale for 50% off right now.
2. Handmade Jade Ceramic Bowl // This color is outta control, friends. And I mentioned it before, but food just pops off of things in the mint-teal-blue families. The shape here is beautiful, too. Would love to invest in a whole cupboard fulla these. Just under 10″ across.
3. Stoneware Shaker Bowls (Set of 4) // I love that Verishop offers home goods, and they still fall under their fast shipping and free returns policies. Made in Portugal, these guys can go from the oven to the freezer (and the dishwasher, and the microwave). Classic shape and size. And in a super pretty “greige” color, too.
4. Year & Day Fog Blue Serving* Bowl // This is kind of an “it” pottery brand at the moment that combines old school craftsmanship with California style. The blush pink is in particular demand — but I love the muted hue of this Fog color, which is coming soon to Verishop. (You can sign up to be notified.) And since it’s Verishop, it’ll be offered with super easy shipping and returns. *Note that this is one exception where the bowl is actually a serving vessel at 13″, but it was too gorgeous to pass up. The individual bowls are more affordable ($13/each) and are sold out here but worth stalking a bit if you’re smitten.
5. Hand Thrown Ceramic Meal Bowl // I love ceramics that combine a dark clay with light glazes, so I would collect one of these in every color. They’re surprisingly affordable for a hand-thrown item (though you do have to pay for shipping from Canada). For truly artisanal ceramic, though? Worth it.
6. Handmade Blush Ceramic Bowl // Holy heck, friends. THESE. Obsessed with the pretty wash of pink, the organic shape, and the generous 10″ size. Loaded up with chocolate chip cookies, one of these would make a gorgeous gift. Free shipping.
The Best Bowls For Outdoor Entertaining
Most of our summer dining takes place outdoors, so it only makes sense to have bowls that can withstand the trip from the kitchen to the backyard — and back again. Oh! And in case you missed it up there, these melamine bowls somehow missed making it into the outdoor roundup below, but they’re a close dupe for pottery, especially in the white, and such a bargain.
My personal pick: Seriously considering stashing the whole set of these bistro bowls (all 24 of them!) under the BBQ so we have bowls at the ready for outdoor cooking. (There are matching plates, too.)
NOTE: Click on the collage below to quickly shop all shown items.
1. Rounded Square Bamboo Melamine Bowls (Set of 4) // These are ever so slightly smaller and have a cool rounded square shape. And they’re a bamboo-melamine blend, which is pretty slick. Also available in some super bright, summery hues.
2. Melamine Bistro Bowls (Set of 24!) // Need to stock up on truly reusable bowls (or plates) for a get together? (Assuming those will be happening again…at some point…) This 24-set is just over $100, and the classic bistro stripe looks great in an outdoor dining setting. Thinking of snagging them so we can just keep a stash of dishes in the cabinet under the grill at all times for easy access when cooking outside.
3. Bamboo Fiber “Deep Plates” // Deep plates schmeep plates — these are bowls. Bamboo bowls, specifically — with a distinctly cool, juice bar vibe that I kind of love. In the pictures in the reviews (which are great), they actually look far more substantial and modern. Under $24 for the set of 4.
4. Cabana Melamine Individual Bowls // These are almost identical to the Pottery Barn Cambria bowls above, but they’re made of sturdy, outdoor-friendly melamine. Also available in three other pretty, muted hues. And guys — some colors are on sale for as low as $2.99!
5. Recycled Melamine Bowls (Set of 6) // The confetti bits of recycled melamine in these bowls feels so 1950’s retro-cool. Loads of colors, too. On the smaller side at 8″, so while I would still use them for entrees, they’d be great for salads or even desserts. Budget-friendly, too.
6. Bamboo Low Bowls (Set of 4) // Made from bamboo, corn and a BPA-free melamine binding, these have a substantial look that almost feels like hand-thrown pottery at first blush. Available in five colors including this super on-trend peachy-pink and a hue called “glass slipper” that is especially pretty. $40 for the set on Verishop.
So…get bowl’d over, friends. And if you’re still looking for more recipe inspiration to fill those bowls, I rounded up 10 seriously inspiring veggie bowls right here.
Guys! Follow me on Instagram for more peeks into our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!