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20 Different Types of Bowls

When you’re setting up your new place, it can be hard to know what type of bowls to get. 

There are so many choices. Do you get a plastic bowl or a ceramic one? What about metal or wood? Are they all the same price? Should I get more than one kind of bowl if I’m going to have them in my house for years and years?

We’ve done the research for you and put together this blog post that answers all these questions. You’ll find out which types of bowls are best for different situations, how much each type costs, and lots more useful information. Check it out.

1. Glass Bowls

Glass bowls are a classic in many kitchens, and for good reason.

They’re made of a sturdy material that won’t crack when you drop it. They can be used to serve food or mix ingredients, or even used as decoration for when the meal is over. Glass bowls look great when paired with other dinnerware, but they also work well by themselves.

Because glass bowls tend to cost more than other types of bowls, make sure you know why you want one before going out and making a purchase. Do you need it for serving? Will you use it often? Or just sometimes? Knowing your answers will help you pick the right glass bowl for your needs. 

2. Ceramic Bowls

If there’s one type of dinnerware that’s always in style, it’s ceramic.

Because they’re so popular, many of us have them lying around our homes right now, whether we bought them or inherited them from somebody else. Ceramic bowls are the perfect addition to your dinnerware set because they come in so many different colors and styles. If you want something traditional, go with white. More of a risk-taker? Pick blue or green. There are ceramics made for just about any taste imaginable.

Ceramic can also be used to serve food, which is why it one of the most common types of bowls out there. Food looks great when displayed on a beautiful plate, but sometimes it looks even better served up in a stylish bowl .

3. Stoneware Bowls

If you’re looking for a heavier kind of bowl, try stoneware bowls. They are made from clay and fired at high temperatures so they can be strong enough to carry even the heaviest of meals. Stoneware is commonly used in restaurants where there are lots of people coming through every day because it’s strong enough to survive many uses without getting chipped or broken. Stoneware bowls also come in a variety of colors, making them easy to match with other dinnerware.

4. Earthenware Bowls

A lot like their stoneware counterparts, earthenware bowls are made from clay that has been heated up rather than glass or porcelain which are cold materials. The crafting process used to make earthenware bowls makes them more porous than other kinds of dishes, which is why they are not ideal for serving food.

That’s not to say that you can’t serve food in an earthenware bowl—you can. Just be aware that if you do drop it, the material will absorb the liquid inside of it. Once the bowl has absorbed everything it can, it might break or chip under normal handling.

5. Fine China Bowls

China is a classic dinnerware type often used by those who have fine china dinner plates . While there are few types of bowls out there as lovely as fine china ones, this type does have some downsides.

For example, these bowls are not microwave-safe, and they can break easily.

It’s also important to note that fine china bowls are made for decoration purposes only—never touch them with your bare hands. The oils in your skin will cause the surface of the bowl to become cloudy over time. Just like with other types of fine dinnerware, always use a coaster under it and handle with care.

6. Bone China Bowls

Another type of fine dish is bone china, which gets its name from its porcelain-like quality rather than any animal bones that might be involved in making it. Bone china has a beautiful finish and because it’s so strong, you won’t have to worry about dropping it or putting it in a microwave or dishwasher. Plus, if you do happen to break one, you won’t have to worry about it absorbing your food or other liquids.

Just like with fine china bowls, bone china does not do well when touched by bare hands. It’s because the material is so delicate and can absorb the oils in your skin. If this happens, you won’t be able to use any sort of cleaner on it because it’ll ruin the finish and could even chip off a piece of the bowl itself.

7. Bamboo Bowls

If ceramic and porcelain aren’t really your thing, bamboo bowls might be more up your alley. They’re made from natural materials, which means they’re usually durable enough to survive heavy-duty use at restaurants or for large catering purposes.

Bamboo bowls are often used for Asian-style foods, but they can be used to serve any kind of food at any type of gathering you might have. Of course, these bowls aren’t microwave-safe so if you do want to reheat your food with one, make sure to do it the old-fashioned way in the oven or stove.

8. Melamine Bowls

Melamine may not be most people’s first choice when thinking about dinnerware materials , but it does have its place in the world. Melamine is considered disposable because it tends to break down during recycling , which means that while most households won’t keep a set of melamine dishes on their shelves, restaurants and catering businesses will always need them as back-up.

One of the biggest benefits of melamine dishes is that they are microwave-safe, so if you’re eating breakfast in a hotel room and all they have are these bowls, you can still heat up your oatmeal or cereal without worrying about overheating the ceramic bowl.

9. Plastic Bowls

Plastic dinnerware has become increasingly popular during the last few decades because it’s durable enough to be used at home but disposable enough for catered events. Plastic dinnerware doesn’t come with any harsh chemicals either, which means that while plenty of people will use plastic bowls for parties or other gatherings, others will opt to use them as their regular dishware . After all, most people aren’t going to be using their favorite dishes every day of their lives.

10. Metal Bowls

One type of material that you might not have guessed to see included in this list is metal. Believe it or not, metal bowls are available for purchase and can be made into just about any shape you want them to be in. They’re often used when there’s a need for a bowl with more durability —think: mixing dough—but they can also be found as decorative pieces . If you choose to use stainless steel bowls as your dinnerware, make sure to wash them by hand and check the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding heating metal dishes (if it can go in the microwave) and using abrasive cleaners on them (some types of silverware will scratch the finish).

11. Soup Bowls

If this wasn’t already obvious enough from all the types of bowls used to serve soup, there are even more bowls available to make the serving process easier. Cereal bowls come in many different shapes and sizes depending on what you need them for, but some manufacturers have fun with it by adding a few grooves along the sides for more convenient cereal grabbing .

Soup can be served in just about any type of bowl. You can even use a mug if it’s soup-related.

12. Salad Bowls

Salad bowls are completely up to your own personal preferences since they’re meant for serving food, not decoration. Some people like using large wooden salad bowls , while others prefer more modern metal salad bowls that offer splash resistance due to their wide mouths. Salad bowls come in all different colors and styles, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a bowl that suits your needs.

13. Rice Bowls

You can find a rice bowl for just about anything, including ramen soup or fried rice. Most of them are large and deep so you can fit plenty of food inside, but some types of bowls resemble plates with smaller openings to keep the contents from spilling out. If you’re using a rice bowl for its cooking abilities, then expect it to be microwave safe as well as dishwasher safe . You only need to use warm water , mild soap, and a soft sponge when cleaning these dishes by hand.

14. Cereal/Mixing Bowls

Cereal/mixing bowls usually come in sets along with other similar-sized bowls because they work best when used with each other. If you’re making a large recipe that requires more than one bowl, then these are ideal to have on hand. Since cereal/mixing bowls are meant for holding food instead of decoration, they aren’t typically dishwasher safe but most are microwave safe , so check with the manufacturer if you have any questions about this.

15. Storage Bowls

If you don’t want your leftovers chilling out in their original containers or pots anymore, storage bowls are perfect for keeping them stored until it’s time to heat them up again. These types of bowls come in many different shapes and sizes so you can easily find something that will hold just what you need without wasting too much space. Unfortunately, not all types of storage bowls are dishwasher safe or microwave safe , so read the description or product manual before buying one if you’re not sure about the dish’s cleaning abilities.

16. Dip Bowls

If you love fresh veggies, fruit, tortilla chips, fish crackers, pretzels, or anything else that tastes good with a dip of some kind then you’ll want to get yourself a few of these. You can even use bowls for holding dips while entertaining guests since they aren’t typically used for food storage anyway . Some types of dipping bowls are only meant for decoration while others are designed for serving purposes as well. They come in many different styles and colors so it shouldn’t be difficult finding one that fits your needs.

17. Candy Bowls

These types of bowls are perfect for candy buffets, Halloween gatherings , and large events because they keep the candy contained in a fun way. Many people will serve small candies inside these containers while larger candies could be placed right on top to make it easier for guests to grab what they want. You can also get creative with filling these types of bowls with other foods since most of them aren’t meant only for holding candy.

18. Pet Bowls

Bowls designed specifically for use by dogs and felines should come with warning labels that state “not food safe” because you don’t want your pets eating out of dishes that contain dangerous chemicals or toxins. Some pet bowls are even made from materials like stainless steel, ceramic, or bamboo that help with odor control, are non-slip , or are dishwasher safe . Since pets can be picky eaters with sensitive stomachs, make sure to buy pet feeding dishes that will allow you to easily mix and match food types inside of them.

19. Decorative Bowls

Since these types of bowls aren’t used for serving purposes and instead feature designs and colors meant for decoration, most decorative bowls aren’t meant for holding food either. If you need a bowl to serve something in but don’t want to worry about it breaking later on down the road due to accidental usage or damage, then consider getting one that’s made from ceramic glass . Glass is extremely durable and since it looks just as beautiful as it does functional, decorative bowls can really tie your dining room together if you’re trying to achieve a certain look.

Bowls made from ceramic glass are also much easier to clean than other types because they don’t feature harsh glazes and aren’t as delicate as other types of dishes. You can dust them off, rinse them out with warm/hot water, and wipe them down with a damp rag without any fear of leaving behind smudges or fingerprints afterwards. Just make sure to check the description before buying one since some decorative bowls only come as single pieces while others may include several inside a set so there won’t be any confusion about what you’re getting.

20. Pasta Bowls

If you love a big plate of spaghetti then pasta bowls should be a staple in your cabinet. These types of dishes are perfect for serving meals from because they have large openings at the top which allow water to drain out easily once your noodles have been cooked. Unfortunately, not every type of pasta bowl is dishwasher safe so always read the description before making a purchase if you’re not familiar with how something is cleaned or maintained.