Yes, These Tiny Bowls Have a Purpose (and They’re Totally Worth It)
So small and so handy.
Published Apr 10, 2019 7:00 AM
I have a hard time resisting miniature objects, so you can understand the absolute joy that I feel each and every time I cast my eyes on the most adorable of all dinnerware objects: the pinch bowl. Designed to hold a small pile of salt, pepper, or any spice that can effectively be “pinched” and sprinkled atop a dish, it can alternatively be used as a holder for things that can be dipped into or poured (olive oil, hummus). In other words, these small basins are mealtime’s unexpected heroes.
With the help of a pinch bowl, you suddenly have the perfect dish for dunking a scallion pancake into soy sauce or grabbing a literal pinch of sea salt to sprinkle over a perfectly runny egg. You no longer have to resort to just pouring or shaking things onto your food. Thanks to these tiny bowls, the act of finishing off a dish and adding that final flavor element suddenly feels more deliberate. Also, they look very, very cute.
Your table might be missing this VIV (Very Important Vessel), but never fear: There are plenty of pinch bowls on the market sure to strike your fancy, no matter what your style and no matter what you plan on dipping, pouring, dunking, drizzling, or sprinkling. Find your fix below.
If you’re frequently found at the farmers market
East Fork’s “Bitty Bowl” is a tiny version of its highly popular cereal bowl. Glazed by hand, each one is unique, and we won’t blame you if you decide to scoop one up in every color.
If you love a good game night
Leave it to Mackenzie-Childs to craft a bowl that’s just as exciting as winning an especially competitive round of trivia. This checkered option is perfectly playful yet elevated, thanks to its bronze rim.
If you’re all about a deal
The organic shape and muted colors of these bowls from Chrissy Teigen’s Target line make them look expensive, but for just $5, you can nab all three. Now there’s no excuse not to pour all your dips and sauces into something beautiful.
If you think two is better than one
A duotone dish brings a bit of flair to your table with a super-subtle speckle effect, giving it an organic feel. Now, who wants some hummus?
If you favor watercolors
Perfectly sized for a little drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, these glazed bowls come in a selection of colors so dreamy that you might be tempted not to fill them with anything at all.
If you think it’s easy being green
Workaday Handmade’s small bowls are technically intended for salt, but they can also be used for soy sauce, tzatziki, and any other dipping sauce. If you do spring for salt, though, do yourself a favor and make it Maldon.
If you’re dreaming of your next beach vacation
The sea urchin–inspired design of these blue-and-white pinch bowls brings just the right amount of pizazz to a simple vessel. They’re the perfect size for serving up a small helping of olives or nuts as you settle down to watch Queer Eye.
If you’re a romantic at heart
The hues of these tiny speckled bowls evoke rosy-hued memories of soft-serve ice cream. What could be better at making your tablescape feel a bit cheerier?
If you love a choose-your-own-adventure
No matter what you’re serving up—a dash of salt, a pinch of pepper, or even a schmear of dip, this dreamy set from Sugar & Cloth will ensure you always have the right vessel on hand. This array of geometric and abstract shapes makes any table at least 30 percent more delightful.
If you’re looking for a Midas Touch
Just a touch of gold gives these ruffle-edged pinch bowls from Fisheye Brooklyn an even dreamier effect. Consider them the accessories your tabletop has been needing.