20 Types of Bowls to Have in Your Kitchen

Did you know that different types of bowls have been the primary food vessel for many cuisines for centuries, but they only really caught on in the United States in 2016? The rise of bowl eating ushered in a new wave of cookbooks and fast food chains that wanted to capitalize on this new trend, including Dig Inn, Chipotle, Sweet Green, Subway, and Tender Greens.

Also, using a type of bowl to eat can be beneficial. For example, the appearance and weight of a full bowl can actually encourage you to eat less because it tricks us into thinking that the food is much more substantial than it really is. The food also gets more aromatic than when you set it on a plate, and the act of holding a bowl and feeling the warmth seep through can boost your mood.

It’s also easier to prepare food in a bowl, and it makes eating those whole grains and veggies much more appealing. A healthy dish featuring layers of spiralized veggies, grains, topped with grilled chicken and sprinkled with herbs and a sauce all get compacted together in your type of bowl. Also, bowls are naturally photogenic, so it’s easy to snap a picture for social media. If you want to add a few types of bowls to your collection, we’re going to outline several popular ones below.

1 Pottery Bowls
You don’t have to go boring and plain when it comes to the bowls you have in your kitchen, and you can even use them to make a design statement. Bowls by brycebriscopottery / CC BY-ND 2.0

1. Bamboo Bowls

Bamboo is a very popular plant, and bamboo bowls have been on the rise for popularity in recent years. People are getting much more environmentally conscious today with taking steps to stop global warming at the forefront of the green movement. You might or might not know that you can buy disposable bamboo plates and other items, and they’re fully biodegradable. This means that they won’t hurt the environment in any way.

The bamboo types of bowls aren’t something that you need to get rid of after you use them one time. You can reuse these bowls over and over again, as long as you are willing to hand wash them. The bowls look very nice, and a lot of people use bamboo bowls to serve salads.

However, you have to keep in mind that bamboo bowls aren’t microwave or dishwasher-safe in any way. If you try to pop this bowl into the dishwasher to clean it, it’ll start to break down. Washing these bowls by hand is a simple process though. It won’t take up much time, and it can help them last much longer.

2. Bone China Bowls

Bone china is much more durable than fine china. This type of bowl is actually thinner than fine china, despite being more durable. This is due to the fact that there is actual animal bone mixed into this china to make it less prone to breaking, and this is where the name originates. Animal bone gets turned into ash to help you create a paste-like substance that companies then use to make these bowls.

The bone content makes these bowls stronger than fine china or virtually any type of china. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be careful when you handle it. It’s critical that you take care of these bowls properly if you want them to last you a long time. These tend to be very ornate bowls that you will usually only bring out for special occasions.

Having types of bowls on hand that are really nice is appealing. Knowing that you have some impressive dinnerware sets that you can bring out for a special dinner can boost your mood. A lot of people tend to display their bone china when they’re not using it because of how nice it looks. These bowls usually have a very decorative look, and they’re decently practical to use without causing any damage.

3. Candy Bowls

Candy types of bowls are something that many people like to leave out on their desks or coffee tables for guests. You can put candy or other snack types into the bowl so that people can feel free to grab one or two pieces or a quick bite to eat. These can also be very neat looking, and they can add to your table’s overall aesthetic value. You may also hear these bowls called nut bowls, but they all have the same purpose.

4. Ceramic Bowls

Ceramic bowls are a favorite for millions of people around the world. This type of bowl isn’t indestructible, but they’re much more sturdy than the average glass bowl. A really nice ceramic bowl can also be visually appealing, and they have a very distinct look with a heavier weight that will look nice on your table. This is usually your bowl for everyday use that works for a range of purposes.

These bowls are great because they are very versatile in every situation. You can easily use them for decorative purposes because they’ve very pretty to look at. They work well to serve any type of food that you would want in a bowl. They are also safe to pop into the microwave to heat up your food, and they can go in the dishwasher to clean. Chances are, you’ll put these bowls to use as soon as you get them.

5. Cereal Bowls

Cereal is a big part of a lot of people’s day, especially if you have kids. You’ll want to have a bigger type of bowl to help you enjoy your cereal to the fullest. You can buy cereal-specific bowls that work perfectly for your breakfast meal. Most of these types of bowls are made out of ceramic, melamine, or glass, but you can find other options too. You can even purchase extra-large bowl designs if they strike your fancy.

6. Decorative Bowl

There are several people who like to purchase decorative bowls that are more meant for display purposes than actual use. Sometimes, a bowl will come with a very interesting look that makes it the perfect centerpiece for your table setting. There are people who like to put things inside these decorative bowls, like pieces of fruit to add to the aesthetic. You will find a huge range of styles available when it comes to decorative types of bowls, and you can use them to inject visual appeal into your home.

2 Decorative Bowls
Decorative bowls can have vibrant colors or an array of designs carved right into the bowl to make them stand out, and they come in dozens of styles and sizes. Empty Bowls 2016 by Liralen Li / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

7. Dip Bowls

As you may have gotten from the name, these types of bowls come specifically designed to use for dip. A lot of people like to eat chips and dip as a snack, and it can be very convenient to have this bowl on hand if this sounds like your ideal snack. They come designed to make it convenient to dip your chips, and the curved design is also very visually appealing.

If you like making things like fondue, then this would make for a great serving bowl too. You can find a range of uses for this type of bowl. They’re excellent to have around if you like to host parties for larger groups and you like to make different appetizers.

8. Earthenware Bowls

Earthenware types of bowls have some similarities to the stoneware bowls, but they have several visual points where they differ. You can find many different dining sets in this category, and they’re always very striking and eye-catching. The earthenware bowls can look very nice and make a good addition to your kitchen decor.

If you like having durable bowls that come with a very ornate look, using earthenware is going to be a huge draw. They are very practical choices for regular use, and you’ll enjoy using them each time. You shouldn’t hesitate to purchase a nice set of earthenware boles if you’re in the market for a pretty but sturdy type of bowl.

9. Fine China Bowls

Fine china is very fragile. If you’re not careful when you use these types of bowls, it’s very easy to break the bowl or chip it. This may not sound appealing, and it can lead many people to wonder why you’d ever want this type of bowl to begin with. The answer is visual appeal. Fine china is a stunning thing to have, and the visual appeal that they bring to your table during special occasions outweighs how fragile they are and how careful you have to be with them.

For the most part, people choose to display these types of bowls and plates instead of using them every day. Fine china is something most people only bring out for dining purposes for very special occasions like holidays or milestone events. This means that if you get served food on fine china in someone’s home, it’s usually an honor. Also, displaying the china is a way to ensure that it doesn’t get chipped or cracked.

Many people put their fine china in ornate and large cabinets, and they make for very interesting conversation pieces. These are usually more expensive due to how they look and the fact that you have to buy a whole set versus a few dishes, but they can be well worth it.

10. Glass Bowl

Glass bowls are some of the most common bowls that you will see in most people’s houses. These types of bowls work well for virtually any purpose, and they’re very easy to clean. Also, you can use them in your dishwasher and microwave without worrying about damaging them. Most people will have at least one or two glass bowls because of how common they are on the market and how convenient they are to use.

Some glass bowls can look quite nice as well. You will find several designs that are very eye-catching and that will look great sitting on your dining room table. Glass is stunning in its own way, but you have to be careful with how you choose to care for these bowls. As you are well aware, glass is fragile. If you happen to accidentally drop the bowls or treat them too roughly, they can break and chip.

You can find glass types of bowls in virtually any style you could want. This is going to be one of the primary materials used in most bowls you find. It may not be the most practical for everyday  use since it’s more prone to breaking, but it’s still useful. Picking up a few glass bowls in varying sizes at an affordable price is a nice way to round out your dishware collection.

3 Glass Bowls
Glass bowls are very popular for storage containers, but they can get very hot if you heat them up in the microwave. Our Daily Challenge: Glass by Sue Thompson / CC BY-ND 2.0

11. Melamine Bowls

Melamine types of bowls are another common one that you will want to have next to your pots and pans in your kitchen. These bowls are usually very cost-effective without sacrificing the look. There are a lot of bowls in this category that have fun decorative designs on them, so they are great for adding a little character to your dinner table. You’ll be able to purchase bowls that are made out of this material in virtually any style you like, so you can easily match your decor.

These types of bowls are very popular with children because they look very fun while being easy to take care of. Children can be a little rough when it comes to dishes because they tend to drop things. Giving a kid a glass bowl usually isn’t the best idea because they’re likely to break it and cut themselves. So, it’s beneficial to have some of these bowls around that they can use.

The production process with these bowls involves using an organic chemical that gets used in plastic creation. For this reason, these bowls share a lot of common traits with traditional plastic bowls. However, they aren’t the same thing. Melamine bowls are generally thought of as being a little nicer than your average plastic bowl, but they can both serve the same purpose.

Remember that most bowls in this category are dishwasher safe, but they may not be safe to put into the microwave. You won’t want to microwave these bowls because the bowl can melt. It would smell terrible and ruin your food, so  you want to avoid it. Instead, you can warm up the food in a bowl that is more suited for use in the microwave, like a ceramic one.

12. Metal Bowls

Metal types of bowls are also fairly common, but they’re not used for as many purposes as some other options on the list. You will see people using these types of bowls as mixing or decorative bowls for the most part. There are also some very nice serving bowls made out of metal or cast iron. Metal bowls are nice because they clean up very well and are very difficult to ruin unless you’re trying to specifically damage them.

Having a few bowls in your kitchen that can stand up to several years of use will benefit you. You do want to keep in mind that, if you do purchase some soup-sized metal bowls, you can’t put them into the microwave. Bowls made out of metal will heat up far too quickly in the microwave, and this can result in severe burns if you’re not careful. This is common knowledge, but it never hurts to point it out again to help avoid accidents and injuries.

You’ll be able to make great use out of these types of bowls though. Whether you want to get a very nice decorative metal bowl to use as a centerpiece on your table or if you want a more rugged serving bowl, you’ll be able to find it in this category. It shouldn’t take long to find a great metal bowl in the style that you want.

13. Mixing Bowls

Some bowls get used to preparing things to cook rather than eating out of them. Mixing bowls play a vital role in your kitchen, so if you’re the type of person who likes to add spices to their food and cooks a lot, you’ll want to have a few mixing bowls on hand. They’re also useful if you bake. Mixing bowls are large enough for you to add several different ingredients and mix them together. They’re usually deeper with higher sides to help prevent spills too, and they come in a large range of materials.

14. Pasta Bowls

Most types of bowls in this category come with a very distinct look ato them, and this allows you to easily differentiate them from other bowl styles at a glance. These bowls are nice to have in your kitchen if you are a big fan of cooking Italian food. If you like to regularly serve pasta, having a few pasta bowls in your cupboards is something that you want to invest in. These bowls work well to hold you fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine, and any other type of pasta in large quantities.

15. Plastic Bowls

It’s very common to find this type of bowl in kitchens as it is a very cost-effective choice. Plastic bowls are very useful, and a lot of the time, people prefer to use them to store their food in the refrigerator. Plastic bowls aren’t exclusively used for food storage though, and you’ll find with a little research that most popular breakfast cereal bowls are made out of this material.

The nice thing about plastic bowls is that you can purchase a lot of them without going over your budget. This allows you to quickly get all of the bowls you need (some have lids too) to help you fill your cupboards. Young adults who are just starting out and college-aged kids love these types of bowls for those reasons.

However, it’s important to find out whether or not you can use your specific plastic bowl in the microwave. Most of them can easily go through the dishwasher to clean them without a problem, but some aren’t strong enough to withstand the microwave. Ideally, you’ll buy ceramic bowls or another more durable type of bowl if you plan to put it into the microwave without having any issues. The last thing you want is melted plastic in your food.

4 Plastic Bowls
Plastic bowls are a very economical and practical choice because you can easily buy matching pieces in bulk and have them last for years. Reflection by Jakub Hlavaty / CC BY-SA 2.0

16. Rice Bowls

Rice bowls are very common throughout the world, and they make a nice addition to your kitchen island. There are some countries that use rice bowls more often than others because they have a higher inclination towards cooking and eating rice-based dishes. These bowls are very popular in North America too. Some of these bowls come with a pair of chopsticks when you buy them, but you can find these bowls that aren’t as Asian inspired if this doesn’t go with your decor as well.

17. Salad Bowls

Another important bowl that you want to consider buying is the salad bowl. As the name suggests, you’ll typically use this type of bowl to mix and hold your salad. Some people prefer to transfer the salad to a plate to eat it or a smaller bowl once you mix and toss everything correctly. Salad bowls come in a range of different materials, but it’s very common to see wooden or glass options in people’s kitchens.

18. Soup Bowls

Soup bowls come in a huge range of sizes and styles. There are many different bowls available that are largely meant to serve a specific purpose, and the same goes for soup bowls. They usually have slightly more rounded but taller sides so you can put a decent amount of soup in without spilling it. However, you can use it for a range of purposes without a problem.

19. Stoneware Bowls

Overall, stoneware types of bowls are fairly rugged and make the perfect bowl for everyday use. One of the neat things about this bowl is that they usually come with fun designs on them. The bowls are very easy for artisans to work with, and they can create very intricate designs without a lot of effort that make them perfect for displaying on shelves between uses. If you’re after a few fun bowls that you can use regularly, you can’t go wrong with this option.

You can use these bowls in your microwave and dishwasher without any large issues. The bowls will work nicely for all of your purposes, and you can easily find these bowls as salad bowls, soup bowls, cereal bowls, and many other types.

20. Storage Bowls

Finally, there are types of bowls on the market that are specifically meant to work for food storage in your refrigerator. You can find a huge range of sizes and styles in this category when you shop. The important thing is that you get a bowl that has a nice lid with a tight seal to help protect your food as you store it. Everyone needs to have a few different storage bowls, so it’s a good idea to buy more than one size and shape to suit your needs.

Bottom Line

We’ve outlined 20 types of bowls for you to consider adding to your kitchen to help make the cooking, eating, and food storage process easier and more streamlined. You can purchase full sets or mix and match to create an eclectic range of bowls that you can use whenever you need.

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