The Best Outdoor Dinnerware for Every Occasion

Skip the shattered glass and dine in style with our favorite outdoor dinnerware picks.

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September 24, 2021

Fact: Food and wine taste exponentially better when enjoyed outdoors. But sweeping shattered glasses and ceramic plates off your patio brings all your alfresco fun to a screeching halt. Keep your pets’ paws and tot’s toes out of harm’s way with outdoor-friendly dinnerware that won’t break under pressure.

There are endless options to sift through online, and we’re breaking down our top outdoor dinnerware materials for every occasion, budget and lifestyle down below.

Read on to get the scoop on melamine, enamelware, bamboo and compostable dinnerware, and shop our favorites for each category.

Melamine Outdoor Dinnerware

Melamine dinnerware is a longtime mainstay in outdoor entertaining. The celebrated dinnerware is renowned for its durability, ease of cleaning and boundless versatility. There are melamine dinnerware sets to suit every design style, price point and endless options to rise to occasions big or small. The best part? Melamine is shatterproof, making it ultra-safe for kids, rambunctious pets, rowdy teens and clumsy adults alike.

Some things to keep in mind: Melamine is a food-safe plastic. While it’s approved for typical use, it is not oven or microwave-safe. And, while melamine is impervious to shattering, it may retain surface stains and scratches over time.

Bamboo Outdoor Dinnerware

Bamboo dinnerware is a popular and comparable alternative to melamine dinnerware. Like its plastic counterpart, bamboo is durable, lightweight and has unique design offerings. Bamboo sets itself apart from other materials because it’s naturally grown, innately stain-resistant and available in sustainable, eco-friendly collections you can feel confident using.

Many dinnerware sets feature bamboo fibers bound with melamine for added strength. The addition of plastic means that these plates are not microwave or oven safe. If you hope to sidestep all plastics with your outdoor dinnerware, be sure to double-check the product details or label on bamboo dinnerware sets to make sure it fits your needs.

Compostable Outdoor Dinnerware

Plastic cutlery, plates and red solo cups are not kind to our environment, but sometimes you don’t have another load of dishes in you. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, gathering your family around the fire pit or a busy parent who needs a break (and a bottle of vino), go ahead and consider compostable dinnerware a pantry essential from this day forward.

Compostable dinnerware comes in a variety of natural, eco-friendly materials including, but not limited to: palm leaves, sugar cane bagasse, paper, wheat and corn. Like all disposable dinnerware, using them regularly can become expensive over time.

Enamel Outdoor Dinnerware

Looking for an outdoor dinnerware set primed for backyard fetes and camping adventures alike? Enamelware is the answer. Enamel dinnerware features a durable steel lining and porcelain enamel finish in a variety of colors and motifs. The steel core sets this dinnerware apart from other outdoor options because it retains heat. This factor makes it a host's favorite for cold-weather camping, football tailgates and autumn events.

Steel tumblers and mugs are also must-haves for keeping your morning coffee or cocoa warm all winter long. Enamelware is dishwasher, oven and stovetop safe, but avoid microwaves at all costs. Metal and microwaves don't mix, you know?

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