Serving platters are the hands-off entertainer’s best friend. Plated on beautiful trays, Trader Joe’s appetizers and salad from Whole Foods suddenly look like fancy catered fare. Bonus: The ensuing dish washing will be minimal. So it goes without saying that they’re worth sacrificing a bit of kitchen cupboard space. If your weekends are earmarked by family-style dinner parties and last-minute get-togethers, it’s time to invest in a few.
These 16 serving platters will turn you into the carefree hostess you’ve always wanted to be. Proceed to swan about your backyard barbecue doling out Brie bites.
For the Frequent Picnicker
Choose serving platters whose portability is their selling point. This means three-in-one stackable vessels and trays with handles, both of which can easily be carried to the park. Dishes with curved edges will ensure your crudité assortment won’t roll onto the ground along the way. If you’re bringing sandwiches and wraps, pick up a lightweight perforated tray like this one from Hay, which doubles as decorative storage when picnic season is done and dusted.
For the Dinner-Party Devotee
When your platters will be safely on a table, you can afford to splash out on delicate ceramic. Opt for moodier shades of classic colors, like rich plum or mustard yellow, in timeless silhouettes. The darker hues will make the perfect backdrop for vibrant summer salads.
For the Afternoon-Tea-in-the-Garden Type
Grab your white sundress and your best straw hat: We’re taking this meal to the patio. Play up the English countryside look with elegant serving dishes emblazoned with floral patterns. Finger sandwiches and mini pastries are a must.
For the Potluck Barbecue Fan
You’ll be leaving these plates unattended at the buffet, so choose something in a worry-free material, such as melamine or enamel. Large, rectangular trays are the ideal catchalls for big-batch appetizers and desserts. We suggest stacking hot dogs on the red splatter-paint platter to complement the ketchup (hey, no-fuss entertaining can still be color-coordinated!) and serving the rest of the barbecue fare on this tortoiseshell resin plate.
See more entertaining tips:
A Fashion Insider Schools Us on the Art of the Sicilian Dinner Party
This Ice Cube Tray Crushes It—No, Really
Setting the Table May Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)