The Dansk Ingram Bone China Dinnerware Collection has a modern silhouette that feels casual but sophisticated. Our testers liked the elegance of this set’s thin rims, bright creamy color, and translucency. Although the Ingram set is very lightweight, it’s still sturdy enough for everyday use. This dinnerware collection includes only the basics: a dinner plate, a salad plate, a bowl, and a mug.
- Material: bone china
- Buying options: $48 for a four-piece set, sold open stock
- Serving pieces: none
If you prefer heavier dinnerware, we recommend the Williams Sonoma Brasserie All-White Dinnerware collection. Although this set is much thicker than the Dansk Ingram bone china set, it still feels refined. The porcelain is grayer and less creamy than bone china, but it has an even glaze with no visible pitting. The Brasserie set allows you to choose mugs or teacups and soup or cereal bowls.
- Material: porcelain
- Buying options: $180 for a 16-piece set (online only), $200 for a 20-piece set (online only), open-stock sets of four (in stores and online)
- Serving pieces: none
The Wedgwood White 5-Piece Place Setting is thin, light, and practically flawless, so it looks and feels like fine china but is tough enough for daily use. This set has a bright creamy hue similar to that of the Dansk Ingram dinnerware, and a simple yet sophisticated design. We think its superior quality is well worth the high price. The White collection also includes bowls and several serving pieces that are sold separately.
- Material: bone china
- Buying options: $90 for a five-piece setting, $80 for a four-piece setting, or open stock
- Serving pieces: a handful of options, all sold separately
The Crate and Barrel Aspen Dinnerware set was the best inexpensive set we tested. We found some minor imperfections, but the overall quality of this set far exceeds its low price, and we like its clean lines and simple design. The Aspen collection even allows you to choose mugs or teacups and soup or cereal bowls, which is unusual for most dinnerware in this price range.
- Material: porcelain
- Buying options: fully open stock or in open-stock sets of eight (in stores and online)
- Serving pieces: none
Everything we recommend
To determine the durability and availability of dinnerware collections, I relied heavily on customer reviews from Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, and Williams Sonoma.
As a kitchen staff writer for Wirecutter, I have reviewed all kinds of tableware items, including wine glasses, drinking glasses, and flatware, as well as other kitchen gadgets and equipment. Prior to joining Wirecutter, I was an editor at the International Culinary Center in New York City, and I worked in various facets of the food and restaurant industry for over a decade. I’m the person who flips plates over at restaurants to see the maker, much to the dismay of my family and friends.
Who this is for
An all-white porcelain or bone china dinnerware set is classic, timeless, and versatile enough to work for any occasion. According to our experts, food always looks best on an all-white plate because the design is free of distractions. Whether you’re looking for a full set of everyday dinnerware or choosing a few plates for a holiday gathering, whiteware is the best choice. If none of our picks appeal to you, and you’d rather shop around, see our dinnerware buying guide for advice.
How we picked
With thousands of patterns to choose from, shopping for a set of dinnerware can be a daunting task. Our goal was to find the best whiteware for anyone who doesn’t want to search endlessly for a pattern and just wants a versatile, affordable, quality set that will last. We prioritized sets that were elegant enough for fine-china occasions like a dinner party but also sturdy and casual enough for everyday use.
We also searched for dinnerware collections that you can purchase open stock, which allows you to customize the set to suit your needs and to replace the dish or two that will inevitably break. Ideally, we wanted sets that allow you to choose shallow soup bowls or deep cereal bowls, simple coffee mugs or dainty teacups and saucers, and a variety of dinner and salad plate sizes. But at the very minimum, we thought each set should contain the essentials: dinner and salad plates, cereal bowls, and coffee mugs (the latter two are more practical and versatile than daintier soup bowls and teacups). We also ruled out any sets with bowls that were flat-bottomed, too deep, or too shallow. Additional serving pieces offered outside the main place setting were a nice bonus but not a requirement for us.
How we tested
After considering hundreds of dinnerware collections in stores and online, we settled on 30 place settings to test for our 2019 update (roughly 140 pieces of dinnerware in all), and invited 15 Wirecutter staff members to evaluate them in our New York City test kitchen. To prevent our testers from being influenced by brand names, we covered the manufacturer’s marking on the bottom of each piece.
We judged the dinnerware on its weight, size, shape, and overall design. Since the shade of whiteware varies dramatically from set to set, we also compared the hue and brightness of each; in general, dinnerware that had a blue or gray hue was less appealing to our testers than pieces that were creamy or bright white. We then examined each piece under light to check for any flaws, such as uneven rims, drippy or inconsistent glaze, pitting, scratches, or crazing (you can read more about these flaws in our guide to buying dinnerware).
After our test panel helped narrow down the list, we took a plate from each of our top-rated sets and scratched it with a fork and knife 50 times to see if the utensils damaged the glaze or left metal marks. Finally, we refrigerated a mug or teacup from each of our picks and filled each with boiling water to see if the extreme change in temperature caused them to break.
Our pick: Dansk Ingram Bone China Dinnerware Collection
Get this if You want lightweight bone china set with a modern silhouette and don’t need anything more than the basics: a dinner plate, a salad plate, a cereal bowl, and a mug.
Why it’s great: The Dansk Ingram Bone China Dinnerware Collection was a favorite among our testers because it’s casual yet elegant, and versatile enough for both everyday use and entertaining. Even though it’s thinner and more delicate in appearance than most porcelain dinnerware, it’s surprisingly durable. It has a bright, creamy color and a slight translucency, both of which help it look more refined than many of the blue-gray porcelain sets we tested.
We liked the simplicity of this set, which includes only the essentials: a dinner plate, a salad plate, a bowl, and a mug. The modern coupe silhouette was popular among our testers, who liked “the clean, modern lines of the rimless plates,” as one person put it. We also appreciated the slight dimple around the perimeter of the dinner plates, which helps keep sauces from running aimlessly to the edge of the rim. The salad/dessert plate is big enough for a small salad or two slices of pie, and the bowl is wide and deep enough to hold a substantial amount of cereal or soup. The curved shape of the mug sits comfortably in the hand, and its 13-fluid-ounce capacity is plenty big for a morning cup of joe. You can fit three or four fingers through the handle, depending on the size of your hands.
Some of our testers didn’t like the style of the mugs in this set because it reminded them of “the ones that have inspirational quotes on them.” One of our testers also said he wished the mug handle were a little wider. Since all of the pieces in this set are sold open stock, you have the option to skip the mugs if they’re not your style.
Looking closely under the light, we noticed some very minor bubbles in the glaze on the salad plate and a slight dimple along the edge of one of the dinner plates. But since the glaze was so even and the overall quality of this set is great, we’re not bothered by these occasional blemishes, which are normal for most dinnerware sets in this price range.
Upgrade pick: Wedgwood White 5-Piece Place Setting
Get this if: You want wide-rimmed dinnerware that looks and feels like fine china but can still withstand the rigors of daily use.
Why it’s great: In our tests, the Wedgwood White 5-Piece Place Setting stood out on a crowded table of dinnerware for its bright creamy hue, attractive translucency, and simple but sophisticated look. It’s expensive, but you’re paying for a superior-quality set that has virtually no visible flaws. We’re confident that its classic design will elevate any table setting and never go out of style.
Like the Dansk Ingram collection, this set is made from bright and creamy bone china. The quality of the Wedgwood set is undeniable. It feels more like fine china than the Dansk set because all of the pieces are flawlessly shaped and glazed. The wide-rimmed plates have a smaller eating surface than other plates of a similar diameter, and they look like something you’d see at a fine-dining restaurant. And it’s hard not to feel like royalty drinking from the thin, dainty teacups. If you entertain often, the saucers are handy for resting a demitasse spoon, holding a small cookie, and keeping coffee rings off your tablecloth.
If you don’t love the items in the five-piece place setting (which includes dinner, salad, and bread-and-butter plates, plus a teacup and saucer), Wedgwood also sells a four-piece place setting that includes a dinner plate, salad plate, cereal bowl, and mug. Or you can purchase mugs, cereal bowls, or soup bowls separately outside the main five-piece set. This dinnerware collection offers several serving pieces too, such as large platters and bowls, which are nice for entertaining.
According to the Wedgwood representative we spoke to, the original design for the White dinnerware was introduced in 1920, though newer pieces have been added to the collection over the years. Since the set has stood the test of time, replacing any broken items or growing your collection in the years to come shouldn’t be an issue. Wedgwood, which dates back to the mid-1700s, has a long history of making high-quality ceramics for various heads of state and royal families, including custom dinnerware for the White House during President Theodore Roosevelt’s term in 1903.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The five-piece setting comes with bread-and-butter plates instead of bowls, which probably isn’t as practical for most people. But since buying the five-piece place setting is significantly cheaper than getting each piece individually, you can buy bowls separately and still save money over buying all the same pieces individually. Plus, as mentioned earlier, Wedgwood sells a four-piece place setting that includes a bowl and mug instead of a bread-and-butter-plate and a teacup and saucer.
Wedgwood’s mugs and teacups are on the small side, and some of our testers preferred ones that could hold more. As other testers noted, however, the cups’ smaller size allows you to finish hot beverages before they have time to cool. The pedestal on the foot of the teacup was also polarizing for our testers, as some thought it was too formal for everyday use. Also, the soup bowl measures 7⅞ inches in diameter, so it’s smaller than those in most other sets we tested, but we still think it’s sufficiently deep.
Our pick: Williams Sonoma Brasserie All-White Dinnerware
Get this if: You’re partial to thicker, heavier dinnerware.
Why it’s great: The Williams Sonoma Brasserie All-White Dinnerware collection feels similar to durable restaurant dishes, but it’s still refined and not at all clunky like the plates you’d use at a diner. Thanks to their heft, you won’t feel like you need to be gentle with these pieces (though they’re not necessarily more durable than lighter bone china—see our section on durability in our dinnerware buying guide for more information). The porcelain has a slightly gray hue compared with the creamy white of bone china, but in our tests we were impressed with the overall quality of this set, which had almost no visible pitting and an even glaze.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: At just under 2 pounds, the Brasserie dinner plate is about 10 ounces heavier than the Dansk Ingram dinner plate, and our testers who preferred lighter bone china found the set too heavy overall, though most still liked its classic styling. Just remember, even if the weight of one plate doesn’t bother you, the weight of a whole stack might. Some testers also thought the color of the Brasserie dinnerware looked muted and gray next to the bright creamy color of bone china.
Another drawback to this set is that you can’t buy individual pieces fully open stock. Each piece is sold only as part of a place setting (online only) or in open-stock sets of four (in stores and online).
Budget pick: Crate and Barrel Aspen Dinnerware
Get this if: You want an inexpensive but stylish set of porcelain dinnerware and won’t find some minor imperfections bothersome.
Why it’s great: Our testers liked the Crate and Barrel Aspen Dinnerware for its clean lines and simple design. Remarkably, the collection isn’t plagued by the pitfalls of most dinnerware in this price range, such as wonky plate rims, drippy glaze, and pitting. Although we spotted some very minor inconsistencies on the surface of the glaze, this set’s quality far exceeds its low price. One of our testers remarked that the Aspen was “a really nice set with even glazing and decent heft.
The Aspen dinnerware has been sold at Crate and Barrel for more than 20 years and has excellent owner reviews that attest to its quality and longevity.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: As we mentioned earlier, the Aspen set has some minor inconsistencies on the surface of the glaze, but you can detect these only when you hold the pieces up to the light. Although the Aspen set is slightly bluer than our other picks, we don’t think this is a problem unless you plan to use it next to creamier bone china serving pieces.
We wish the soup bowl were a little deeper and had more of a rounded bottom like those in the Brasserie and Wedgwood White sets. It feels a little shallow for eating soup, but we don’t think this is a dealbreaker.
Care and maintenance
All of our dinnerware picks remained free of scuffs after our fork-and-knife tests, and any glazed dinnerware is unlikely to mark up. If for some reason metal marks develop after prolonged use, Noritake recommends using Bar Keepers Friend to remove them. To avoid coffee and tea stains, it’s best to rinse mugs and teacups with water after use if you can’t get to cleaning them right away. You can remove most stains with regular dish soap and hot water.
Always retrieve plates from the top of a stack rather than sliding them out from the middle, to avoid unnecessary pressure that could scratch or break them. Also, avoid subjecting your dinnerware to extreme temperature changes, such as pouring boiling water into a cold teacup, as this can cause breakage due to thermal shock. Though none of the mugs or teacups from our picks broke in our thermal stress tests, breakage can occur, so be mindful.
We’re confident that our picks will be around for years to come should you need to replace pieces. However, if pieces become unavailable in the future, companies such as Replacements, Ltd. specialize in selling discontinued dinnerware.