/ / / 14 Essential Serving Pieces You Need for Entertaining

14 Essential Serving Pieces You Need for Entertaining

Are you wondering what serving pieces are essential to have in your kitchen? Or trying to figure out what to register for your wedding?

Maybe after the holidays and possibly the first time hosting a large dinner party you realized you don’t have what you need to serve dinner. That’s the worst – right?

Or you maybe you are setting up your home for the first time, getting married and have NO idea what to put on your registry.

Who wants to scramble last-minute digging through cabinets to find something that will work. I am here to help!

For many years I have hosted both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner plus countless cocktail parties and have exactly what I need.

You know why? Because my mom is the best hostess I’ve ever seen and trained me to be PREPARED for any type of entertaining large or small.

In my gratitude to her, I was thinking that not everyone has a mom that trained them to handle entertaining a crowd, so I wanted to share with you what she shared with me so long ago.

Dinner Party and Entertaining 101

To keep things simple, let’s think through the types of items that are typically served when you are having a dinner party (we won’t be talking drinks):

  • Appetizers
  • Salad
  • Side Dish
  • Main Course
  • Condiments
  • Dessert

You will need serving pieces for all of these items whether you are hosting a buffet or sit down dinner. 

It’s all the same 🙂 The items I am recommending I have similar versions of in my cabinets that have been used over and over – proven serving piece winners!

Contains hand selected products, with affiliate marketing links where I may make a small commission if a purchase is made. {full disclosure here}

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The Essential Serving Pieces You Need!


Luckily, serving appetizers is easy and you only need a few simple pieces.

It’s important to have serving pieces that can be multi-use for things like: dips, chips, cheeses, olives, crackers, and bread slices.

Cheese or Cutting Board

Serve crackers, grapes, and cheese on these simple boards.


Buying an all-purpose board opens them up to more uses.

Spreader and Cheese Slicers

Take a step beyond toothpicks and move to fun cheese spreaders and slicers! I use the small spreaders for butter too.


Each type of cheese you offer should be served with the correct cheese slicer and the set with the names makes it fool-proof!

Chip and Dip Server

Who doesn’t love dip with chips or crackers. This is a classic party favorite, so you will definitely need a go to option for serving.


Think beyond just chips and dips and use this serving piece with fruit and veggies or marinated olives and red peppers.

Divided Condiment or Dip Tray

Use these to serve a trio of humus, cheese spread, and a mayo based dip or a variety of nuts or olives.


You can even use these to serve multiple salad dressing options for your guests – much prettier than setting out bottles.


Salad Bowl

Having a large salad bowl is a must and can be used for any type of salad: lettuce, fruit, or pasta.


A favorite thing to serve at my house is my made from scratch marinara!

Salad Tongs

Tongs can be used for not only serving salads but also pasta, meat and fish too!


I LOVE the wood “hand” type of tongs too and need some in my life.

Side Dishes

Ah the side dish.  To me this one gets hard because most of the time you make these ahead of time and they need to stay warm. 

No one wants to serve cold mashed potatoes or vegetables.

Chafing Dish

Here are some solutions that keep those items warm while you are preparing the main course and look pretty too!

I WISH I had the electric version, but the candles keep food surprisingly warm.


OR try this great electric warming tray that you use with your own dishes and pans. WINNER!

Basic Serving Dishes

These serving dishes are nice enough to put on the table and come in handy to both serve and to keep leftovers in the fridge.

Plus you can cook in them too! 


I love “one pot” recipes and will marinade and bake chicken thighs with butternut squash in the round glass server with the lid.

Serving Spoons and Forks

Honestly, you can NEVER have too many serving spoons and forks.


This is a great area to invest and a set that includes a gravy ladle and a slotted spoon is a life saver.

Main Course, Condiments, and Water

Platters are essential serving pieces because they have so many uses.

Platters can be used to serve anything from turkey, ham and steaks to simpler items like sandwiches, crudités or cookies.

Serving Platter

I collect platters and have a variety of sizes and shapes plus materials: Oval, Rectangular and Round.

It seems I am partial to pewter platters because they hold the temperature and don’t break 🙂


Many I received as wedding gifts and are really special.


It’s just as important to serve your salt & pepper, butter and gravy in a beautiful container as it is anything else.

My philosophy is go for the crystal versions because they can be used in formal or informal settings. 


Have you heard of the trend “glam farmhouse”? This supports that look…

Water Pitcher

Keeping a pitcher of cold water handy to fill glasses is always a nice touch.


When you have guests over for other occasions you can use the pitcher for lemonade, ice tea, or cocktails.


Who can forget about dessert? My favorite part of the meal 🙂

This is simple and I’ll recommend 3 key pieces: multi-purpose cake stand, pie plate, and mini dishes for serving just about anything!

A pie plate can double for Quiche as well!

Cakes, Pies, Cupcakes and Pudding or Ice Cream

The one cake stand doubles as a punch bowl too 🙂


If you are trying to be budget conscious, the multi-use cake stand is great for appetizers, punch, dips, cup cakes, cookies, and cake. 

Cake and Pie Server

Have you ever tried to wrestle a piece of cake or pie onto a plate?


These will make life so much easier!

You are Now Ready to Entertain!

This group of essential serving items will have you prepared and ready to tackle any cocktail hour or dinner party small or large. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money and can collect these items as your budget allows between now and your next entertaining event!

To being the “hostess with the mostess” – cheers!

Need a way to organize ALL of these serving pieces? 

Organize Cabinets with Pull-Out Drawers

Or you may want to read these two helpful kitchen posts or see my kitchen?

Simple Ideas to Organize Spices

Replace Worn Stove Labels and Refresh Knobs

Kitchen Remodel Facelift REVEAL!


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Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer


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Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer


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  1. Tracey, your post was great! You haven’t left out anything! You have a wonderful Mom who helped you and I had a wonderful Mom, too. My Mom loved entertaining all kinds of events and taught me a lot through the years. I miss her so much!

    We love to entertain, too, and this past while we haven’t been able to do the large groups like we used to do. Covid has really put a stop to a lot of things.

    I love dishes, serving pieces, crystal glasses, etc., etc.! My husband always teases me when I buy a new piece and says: “Yes, I know that we really needed this for entertaining because we just haven’t got enough yet!” What can I say?! I just love dishes — and linen, too! I know I have more than I can ever use but you just never know when you will need that “special” dish for something — or that gorgeous linen tablecloth & napkins! My Mom taught me well and I think I have taken up where she left off! I miss my dear Mom & Dad so much. They were precious!

    Glad you had time to spend with your friends this weekend! This is so important. We always have a lot of company on weekends up here at the lake. We love having our family and friends!

    I am starting to decorate for Fall this week. I love the Fall. It is such a beautiful time of the year!

    Meant to tell you that I enjoyed your carpet video! It was so cute to have your little Mick make a few appearances! He is such a cute little dog!

    Hope your son is doing well at University. So glad that he got a place to stay. This is always a problem for these kids as there just never seems to be enough university housing for them.

    Enjoy your Fall! Keep happy — and well!


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