White Dishes Never Fail

By Kate Riley November 22, 2010

Heather from Chesapeake, Virginia emailed me yesterday with this question:

"I was wondering if you could email me or blog about where to buy white dinnerware dishes. I am looking for a set and there are so many on the market…but I don’t want to spend a huge amount of money!  I saw in your ’Five Fall Savory Soups’ post that you have a nice set.  Could you please tell me where you bought them?  I am looking for a durable set on a frugal budget."

Sure Heather!

First, let me say I can’t remember the last time I bought a dinnerware set with plates, bowls and mugs.  I prefer to buy open stock plates rather than have extra mugs or bowls I won’t use.  Matching basic plates is perfectly fine for everyday, but when it comes to holidays or dinner parties, I say mix up your settings for more visual appeal. 

That said, it’s so helpful to have a good set of plain white dishes that you can work with on a daily basis, or a basic white dinner plate that you can use when setting a special occasion table.

Here are a few choices:

I like Crate and Barrel’s Essential White plates you can purchase by themselves.  Six white dinner plates will run you $28, the salad plates are $4 each.  Z Gallerie’s St. Helena dinner plates are on sale for $28 for four, salad plates are four for $24.

cb z gallerie white plates


If you’re looking for a more modern restaurant style square plate, Walmart has a these Canopy white plates, $13 for four dinner plates.  These Cordon Bleu rounded edge dinner plates ($6 each) and salad plates ($5 each) are available at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Also check out their Everyday Whites collection, you can buy those plates individually as well.

square white plates

Pier One, World Market or Home Goods are also worth a visit!

But to answer your question Heather, the plates you see in my home are these:  Pottery Barn’s Caterer’s Plates!

pb caterers plates


These perfect white dishes are not too thin, not too thick, they’re just right!  And priced perfectly too:  $49 for 12 dinner plates, $39 for 12 salad plates.  You can’t beat that price for the quality and traditional style.  I’ve had my sets for almost two years and we eat off of them every single day.

One final suggestion is to check your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.  Just today, I saw these sets!

goodwill plates


Your local thrift stores are always a good place to pop in for inexpensive extra place settings.  Every now and then, you get really lucky!

White always works because you can mix it with plates from different collections, or with patterned dishes.  A plain white dinner plate makes a perfect backdrop to a decorative salad plate ~ here are a few of my holiday favorites!

holiday salad plates

Jolly salad plate ($6 each);  First Frost salad plate ($18 for 4); Winter canape plate (4 for $23); Lenox butterfly Christmas tree salad plate (4 for $30);

Add a simple colored napkin folded beautifully or tied with a festive napkin ring, plus some simple decorative elements and you have a perfect holiday place setting.

White dishes work every time!  white holiday place settings

Images: West Elm and Country Living

You can see more of my PB white dishes in this spring tablescape, and paired with these soup recipes.   Do you know of any other great sources for inexpensive quality white dishes for Heather?

  Don’t forget to enter these giveaways!

Custom Art Canvas by Geezees

Wall Stencils by Cutting Edge Stencils


More good stuff up for grabs as the ‘Week of Giveaways’ continues . . . stay tuned!




  1. Also Pier 1! I just got some red plates from there and they are great! (red for thanksgiving, christmas and valentines day)

    I love the PB white plates too… we actually have way to many plates in this house!

  2. World Market has some white plates at a reasonable price & you can buy them individually so you don’t need to buy the things you won’t use. I also have my heart set on some white ones I saw in the Ballards catalog and the price wasn’t bad at all. If you have a Pfalzgraff outlet nearby, they usually have some great things at reasonable prices too.

  3. Also Ikea!

    I have reaaaaalllly cheap white Ikea plates. The most important result of which is that my sons can unload the dishwasher every morning before school, and I don’t CARE if they chip the plates. Worth it! ;)

  4. I am gearing up to do a post on white dinnerware and serving pieces soon too! They are timeless!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Great post. Even though I love the colors ~ white is the way to go. We spent an entire semester in Culinary School learning the art of plating. “The white plate is to a chef, as a blank white canvas is to the artist”. So not only are you dressing your table but you are framing the glorious food you’ve prepared.

  6. I have the Pearl set from Crate and Barrel…I absolutely love it and get so many complements. The little bit of detail makes them fell “dressy”.

  7. I am always drawn to white plates, too. I have 4 square, 4 round and 4 with a touch of black. Last year at this time Target had a sale of 12 white plates for $9.99! Of course I had to have them……. I have too many plates in my house as well, but even for the 2 of us, I almost always use different plates every day. I enjoy your info very much!

  8. We got a huge set at JC Penney for like $100 on clearance a few months ago, they have been used daily and are dishwasher safe and just holding up so well! They seem to mark things done frequently and usually have a good basic set available.

  9. If your a Canadian you can buy a whole set of white dishes very similar to the Cordon Bleu ones at Canadian Tire for $9.99! So cheap you can buy a few boxes for just in case!

  10. Great tips! I was thinking about that yesterday when I put out my Nannie’s old “china” that she gave me b/c she didn’t like it anymore. :s I need to invest in some white dishes that don’t look like my everyday ones. :)

  11. I only have white dishes… something purchased at Kmart quite a while ago. Simple but practical. My china is also white. Add a fun tablecloth and napkins and you have a completely different look.

  12. I found a Hotel Balfour Caterers set of 12 at TJ Maxx last year for $19.99. And Kohl’s has the Food Network brand of white dishes…very crisp white!

  13. Oh and I forgot to mention, I have a Crate and Barrel basic set of 12 dinner plates and they are too tall for my dishwasher…ugh!

  14. I couldn’t agree more. I registered for white everyday dishes as well as white china when I got married and have never regretted the decision. I’ve had to replace dishes over the years but found that Pier I and Target are the most affordable/sturdy. I have a variety of salad plates that I use interchangeably with the white dinner plates to get a variety of looks for my table.

  15. You can pick up those caterer sets at World Market for less. I saw some at Home Goods recently, also. I was tempted to add to my abundant white dish collection.

    I have Mikasa French Countryside, I began collecting almost thirty years ago. I have quite a collection of white, in various styles. I love white dishes!

  16. I agree, white plates are great – never fail, versatile and expandable. I’ve got a vintage set that I adore, and can expand all-but infinitely with my other vintage pieces and/or the plain white backup ones I got at a big box store.

  17. I love, love, love my white dishes from Ikea. Cheap, so I have settings for 12 and I like the sizes they are. They are sold as sets or openstock.

  18. You can also buy white plates from the dollar store. I think my white collection is from about five different stores!

  19. I bought our plainwhite dishes from Crate and Barrel about 6 years ago. They are similar to the square ones above, but round.

  20. If you are needing quite a few place settings. JC Penney has several styles in White/Off White that go on sale frequently for 1/2 off…especially NOW with Thanksgiving and Christmas so close. Last year, I needed 24 place settings. After shopping around, I found these were my best bet for such a large quantity. I purchased 2 boxes of 12 place settings each for a little over $100.00. Now, as items go on sale…I have began to purchase accent settings in colors/patterns to spice it up/mix and match.

  21. Love these! We actually just registered for the C&B ones for our wedding. A friend recommended doing white dishes with white serving pieces, because then you can throw in a few fun pieces, and everything will always match! I think she is right on the money!

  22. Can’t agree more Kate! Just recently replaced our blue and white dishes (matched the “old” kitchen colors) with Pottery Barn Suppertime dinnerware. We are loving it. Great everyday set, and VERY sturdy. I can’t wait to mix it with colored/patterned dishes for the holidays.

  23. I love white dishes! I use Corelle in Winter White. They are perfect for everyday & can be dressed up for holidays be adding colorful napkins and serving pieces. I purchased some of mine at Walmart and ordered some from Corelle web-site. I recently added another four settings from Walmart. I believe the set was $29.99 for dinner plate, cereal bowl, saucer & cup [four of each]. I also added the salad plate & pasta bowl at $2.76 each to complete the set. What I love most is Corelle is almost impossible to break [except for cups as they are stonewear].

  24. I have Mikasa Antique White & we use them everyday & for formal occasions. I like that it is china & not stoneware. It is very durable!

  25. We registered for the Tin Can Alley line by Lenox and I LOVE all the pieces so much that after my wedding I decided to purchase more from this line! The design is so versatile and not stuffy looking at all (we’re not fancy fine china folks, but we wanted good quality china). Any type of food looks good on these plates- whether it’s a casual messy burger or a formal and colorful salad. They are so durable, we accidentally dropped a cup on top of one of our plates and there were no chips or even scratches. The best deal that I found for this line was waiting for them to go on sale at Macys, and then using a coupon on top of it.

  26. Maybe not as cheap as Kmart etc. BUT I love Wedgewood “Edme” – very classic and I found my first ones cheap at an antique store!

  27. Wow!!

    Thank you everyone for your feedback to my question!! Your comments and tips are so very helpful!!!

    Now I have to go white plate shopping!! :)

  28. I just got new white dishes as a wedding gift! I’ve been dying for real deal, grown up dishes for awhile now. I got the Oneida Regency 32 pc. set (times 2) for $29.99/set. It looks a lot like Pottery Barn’s Emma set because of the beaded accent. Each set has 6 place settings plus a serving bowl and platter. I heart it so far, they seem really sturdy but not thick and bulky.

  29. I have found plain white plates at Dollar Tree – added bonus – who cares if they break?!?!

  30. I have used white plates for several years now. They are so versatile to partner with fun linens and chargers. They never go out of style. My husband actually purchased ours at Target on a ridiculous after Christmas sale. They were something like 75-80% off because the packaging was holiday themed. The plates are perfectly white with a ribbed edge around the perimeter. I will not go to another color for plates again.

  31. Kate–
    Since we’re on the topic of table settings, what are your recommendations for good quality cloth napkins that don’t shrink after washing and do up nicely, even with a little ironing? I’m amazed how many perfectly beautiful napkins reduce in size after laundering. Agree on white plates — purchased ours at Pier 1 and they are still in good shape.

  32. I recently hopped on the white-dish bandwagon. I thought I’d be bored with them, but that they’d do until I found something I was in love with…and it turns out I’m in LOVE with them. :) Mine are plain ol’ Corelle – bright smooth, and caress-ably simple. Also on mega-sale, since I got them from my local Corelle/Pyrex outlet store. :)

  33. I got a white dish set at ikea — 6 dinner plates, 6 salad plates, and 6 bowls for $25! they have a great, simple, clean, but contemporary shape to them, and I can mix them in with other dishes that I like to collect as i find them at thrift stores and yard sales :)

  34. I got a white dish set at ikea — 6 dinner plates, 6 salad plates, and 6 bowls for $25! they have a great, simple, clean, but contemporary shape to them, and I can mix them in with other dishes that I like to collect as i find them at thrift stores and yard sales :)

  35. Amen to white dishes! I’ve been slowly amassing a collection of off-white Canonsburg American Traditional pottery the last few years. It can be dressed up or down and it’s just beautiful!

  36. When I got married last year, I was able to find some really great white dishes from Walmart that were almost identical to a set at Crate and Barrel. They only sale the really cute plates at Christmas. They have a new set now that are really cute, and you get 4 plates for $5. Every set comes with four different dishes for $5. So I was able to buy a complete set of dishes for less than $50! I absolutely love them!

  37. These are just beautiful! I want them all! I need new dishes, and these are some great ideas– most of them all in my budget. Thanks for a great post!

  38. I love white plates. Like you, I rarely buy entire sets anymore. I use the same dinner plates over and over and just change up the dessert/salad plates and flatware. This was great information.

  39. I totally agree that you cannot go wrong with white plates. I found a box of antique white ironstone plates at Goodwill a few months ago. Yes, please! They are my favorite for photo shoots.

  40. I love white dinnerware. I have been building my own collection of white dishes and I found the best deal at Home Goods. They have some really interesting shaped bowls and the price is unbeatable.

  41. The Cordon Bleu have just enough umph to them. What a fun and reassuring collection to have hanging out in your cupboard!!

  42. I am dying to find some white English ironstone china and am so curious about how people find it in all of these obscure little places. Wish I could have that kind of luck as I really want/need some white china. Thanks for the info on substitutes though in case my dream of finding real ironstone does not pan out!!!

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