The Complete Guide To Ceramic Bowls By Size & Use



From now on, you will know what each size looks like when buying from e-shops!

This article will guide you through each ceramic bowl by size, with pictures of bowls on table settings or with props, accompanied with relevant dimensions and information!

Additionally, you will find tips on the best uses of functional ceramic bowls for your table, based on their size & shape.

And tips on when to avoid using some bowls sizes that very few share.






Image from our Greek Island Blue & White Collection: “Kera Kate Collection”

So here is a very common situation: You visit an e-shop and discover a collection of hand painted bowls with beautiful patterns you would LOVE to have in your home. And then you search for more information:

–          Price: Fair. It’s created by a great and experienced craftsman. 

–          Potter: Lebesis Family 

–          Technique: Handmade 

–          Material: High quality red clay 

And here comes the problem:

–          Size: d: 15 cm | d: 5.9’’   … How big is this???



If there is an image of your bowl on a table setting, you can figure its size. Unfortunately in most cases there is an image of just the bowl with no background.

So then you fetch your meter to see how big this size is.

But you still can’t get the whole picture of how big a 15cm (5.9’’) bowl is.

Then you go to your kitchen and search for a bowl of a similar size.

Now you know exactly how big your favorite handmade bowl is.





The bowls are split into categories based on their diameter and a very important subcategory how short/broad or tall/steep are. We will elaborate on best uses for each one.





There is a wide variety of combinations of diameter and high on bowls. Based on these analogies, we consider the bowls as regular, tall & steep, short & broad.

There is a general rule for the shape of the bowls, based on the analogy of their high and diameter.

” The larger the high of a bowl in relation to its diameter, the taller & steeper the bowl.

The smaller the high of a bowl in relation to its diameter, the shorter & broader the bowl.”



Regular Bowl: When the high is around 1/3 of the diameter. This is the most used clay bowl (high = 1/3 diameter).

Short / Broad Bowl: The smaller the high to the 1/3 of its diameter is, the shorter and broader it is (high < 1/3 diameter).

Tall / Steep Bowl: The bigger the high of the bowl to the 1/3 of its diameter is, the taller and steeper it is (high > 1/3 diameter).






Their usual size is d: 6-9cm X h: 2.5cm -3cm (d: 2.36”-3.54” X h: 0.98” – 1.18”) and are often called mini bowls.

They are used in some restaurants as starters bowls, to serve few olives or tomato sauces. Alternatively they are placed on plates among the meal, as dip bowls.


Ceramic Bowl with Dipping Sauce | Cafe Delights

Above dip bowl has a diameter of approximately d: 5.5cm (d: 2.16”)



Tapas Bowl | Brit & Co

Above tapas bowl has a diameter of approximately d: 6.8cm – 7cm (d: 2.68” – 2.76”)



Mini Ceramic Bowl with Creamy Cucumber Yogurt Dip | Dinner at the Zoo

The dimensions of the above ceramic bowl are approximately d: 7.5cm X h: 2.6cm (d: 2.95” X h: 1.02”).




Their usual size is d: 9-11cm X h: 4cm (d: 3.54”-4.33” X h: 1.57”).


They are used for great many side uses on your table: They are perfect as starters bowls (to serve olives), as bowls for side dishes (to serve corn and small portion of sauces), as dipping bowls and as tapas bowls.

Alternatively, you can use them as small dessert bowls (for a couple of ice-cream scoops, for example).

Or place them on your coffee table as nuts bowls or as wine serveware bowls (like cheese bites) and their use doubles as both functional & decorative bowls.


The above are Hand Painted Bowls from our Kera Kate collection. Their dimensions are d: 11cm X h: 4cm (d: 4.33” X h: 1.57”).


Some slight variations on the size of the bowls can change dramatically the effect. For example the below bowl with d: 11cm X h: 5.5cm (d: 3.54” X h: 2.16”). It has the same diameter as the above, but thanks to its high, it gives the impression of a taller and narrower bowl…remember the analogy of the diameter and the high? …


A Tall & Small Ceramic Bowl to Serve Olives | A Dish of Daily Life 



Starter with Vegetables & Dips | Half Baked Harvest

Above ceramic starters bowls have a diameter of approximately d: 10.5cm (d: 4.13”).




Their usual size is d: 12-14cm X h: 4-4.8cm (d: 4.72”-5.51” X h: 1.57”-1.89”).

They are somewhere between the small and the atomic range. Some shops offer them as small and other as atomic.

I would place them to the small category and would regard them as the bigger among the small pottery bowls.


Above bowls are from our Kera Kate Collection.

The bowl on the back is a small/ atomic ceramic bowl with d: 13.5cm X h: 4.5cm (d: 5.31” X h: 1.77”).

And on the front are the d: 11cm X h: 4cm (d: 4.33” X h: 1.57”) bowls.



Ceramic Breakfast Bowl | Camille Styles

Above Ceramic Cereal Bowl has a diameter of approximately d: 12cm (d: 4.72”).



Atomic Ceramic Bowl with Greek Salad and Quinoa | Wine and Glue

The above Atomic Ceramic Bowl has a diameter of approximately d: 13.5cm (d: 5.31”). Perfect size for atomic meals!



A bowl with Basil Ice Cream | A Beautiful Plate

The diameter of the above bowl is approximately d: 14cm (d: 5.51”). Many shops & e-shops sell this size as an Ice Cream Bowl. I would avoid this suggested use because I believe that 6 scoops are too many.


* Calories Tip: I prefer this size for dessert bowls and in particular the d: 12cm (d: 4.72”) rather than the d: 14cm (d: 5.51”) to enjoy anything that contains lots of calories. The reason why is because with smaller amount of food they look full. For example, I use them as ice-cream bowls and both enjoy a full bowl of ice-cream and at the same time consume less calories. For desserts that contain high calories the atomic bowls are out of question too. 😉






There are 4 subcategories: The usual size, the larger, the short and the tall.


The Usual Individual Ceramic Bowls

Their usual size is d: 15-16.5cm X h: 6-6.5cm (d: 5.9”-6.5” X h: 2.36”-2.56”).

This is considered the perfect size for atomic meals because they fit the right portion for one (not too much, not too little).  They are also used for liquid food, creamy food and all food in small pieces. That’s why they are useful during all meal hours and are therefore the mostly used. Alternatively, this is the size of a serving bowl for dressings and sauces, for 2-4 people.

On e-shops you encounter them as cereal bowls, soup bowls, individual salad bowls, rice bowls, noodle bowls, snack bowls and dessert bowls (I have already explained on the above calories tip why I would prefer the smaller size for dessert bowls).

This is the size I personally use most, because I love eating in handmade ceramic bowls on a daily basis (….Yes…that’s how I eat: I pick my favorite pottery bowl based on my mood, the pattern and what colour best fits with my current meal).


Hand Painted Bowl from our Kera Kate Collection.  Size: d: 15.5cm X h: 5.5cm (d: 6.10” X h: 2.16”).



Individual Ceramic Bowls | Huffington Post

Above ceramic individual bowl with this delicious selection of salads has a diameter of approximately d: 16cm (d: 6.30”).



Pottery Bowl with Spicy Chipolte Pumkin Hummus | Popsugar

This Ceramic Appetizer Bowls has a diameter of approximately d: 16cm (d: 6.30”) too. Perfect to serve creamy salads for 4.


Larger Individual Ceramic Bowls

Their usual size is d: 17-18cm X h: 6-7cm (d: 6.69”-7.09” X h: 2.36”-2.76”).

They are perfect for atomic fresh green salads, because green salad occupies bigger volume. And as serving bowls for tomato sauces, dressings, corn salads and other sauces for 4-6 people.


Ceramic Atomic Bowl with Chickpea | The Mediterranean Dish 

Above ceramic atomic bowl has a diameter of approximately d: 17cm (d: 6.69”).



Pottery Appetizer Bowls with Pink Aioli | The Pretty Blog

This ceramic bowl has a diameter of about d: 17cm (d: 6.69”). It is perfect as an appetizer bowl because it fits a very satisfactory portion for 4.


* Calories Tip: I avoid using them as individual bowls for meals. The reason why is that they have a big capacity and therefore either look half empty with a regular meal portion, or I end up eating more when eating one full bowl.  😉


Short Individual Ceramic Bowls

Their dimensions are around d: 18cm X h: 4cm (d: 7.09” X h: 1.57”).

Despite the fact that they are shorter, they have similar capacity to the regular atomic bowls, thanks to their larger diameter. These bowls are more broad & open (remember the analogy explanation at the beginning of this post?).

I am no fun of these sizes. They are ok for soups… I guess. Although I would prefer a regular bowl for my soup (more stylish) or a deep plate (more functional).


A Short Soup Bowl for Broccoli Cheese Soup | Pancake Warriors


Tall Ceramic Bowls

Their usual size is d: 15-18cm X h: 11-15cm (d: 5.9”-7.9” X h: 4.33”-5.9”).

They fit both in the atomic bowls category (because of their diameter and space they occupy on your table) and in the large serving bowls category (thanks to its high, their capacity doubles and becomes that of a large serving bowl).

“One of the most important serving bowls because they occupy the space of a medium bowl on the table and yet their capacity is that of a large one!”

These are the perfect serving bowls for creamy salads like mayonnaise salads, or yogurt salads, serving for 8. And thanks to their high, they are perfect to serve bread-sticks.


A Tall Ceramic Bowl with Bread-sticks from our Hand Engraved Bowls Collection. Its shape is handmade and unusual: square on top and round on the bottom! This beautiful result can be achieved only by a very good potter. The size of the above bowl is 15cm X 15cm X h: 12.5cm (5.9” X 5.9” X h: 4.92”).




There is a wide variety of large serving bowls d: 21- 29cm X h: 4.5–11.5 cm (d: 8.27”-11.42 X h: 1.7”-4.53”) and their best use.

They are split in categories based on their high (regular, tall and short) and their diameter (smaller, medium and large).

And we will discuss what each size is best used for.


Pattern on The Bowls:

Before splitting them into categories, we have to add another characteristic that plays a role when we purchase big ceramic bowls: Does the pattern look better on the outer or the inner part? You see, the bigger the bowl, the more it adds character and plays a decorative part. We are therefore more concerned on this issue.

On the regular bowls, the pattern looks good both on the inside and the outside part.

On the tall steep bowls, the pattern looks much better when it is hand painted on the outer part of the bowl.

On the short broader bowls, the pattern looks better when it is painted on the inner part of the bowl.


“Small” Large Serving Bowls

Their usual size is d: 20.5-23cm X h: 7-8cm (d: 8.07”-9.06” X h: 2.76”-3.15”).

They are used as ceramic serving bowls for 4 persons. They are perfect to serve salads in small bites (like potato salads, Greek salads, tomato salads and fruit salads) and all kind of meals in small bites too (like rice).


A large serving bowl with hand painted sardine from our Exclusive Collection.

The dimensions of the above bowl are d: 22.5cm X h: 8cm (d: 8.86” X h: 3.15”). It features artistically hand painted sardines and is perfect to serve Greek salad for 4.



Serving Pottery Bowl with Detox Salad | Eat Yourself Skinny

The diameter of the above Serving Pottery Bowl is approximately d: 20.5cm (d: 8.07”).



Pottery Serving Bowl with Village Greek Salad | A Cedar Spoon

The diameter of the above Pottery Serving Bowl is approximately d: 21cm (d: 8.27”).



Pottery Serving Bowl with Fresh Salad | Heavenlynn Healthy

This Pottery Bowl has a diameter approximately d: 23cm (d: 9.06”). It is perfect as a pottery serving bowl for 4-6 people.



A Ceramic Serving Bowl with Caprese Chicken Salad | Carlsbad Cravings

The diameter of the above Ceramic Serving Bowl is approximately d: 23cm (d: 9.05”).


* Serving Tip: I would prefer the larger bowls to serve green salads. The reason why is because all green salads occupy bigger volume and therefore better fit in larger bowls.  😉


“Medium” large Serving Bowls

Their usual size is d: 24-26cm X h: 8-9cm (d: 9.45”-10.24” X h: 3.15”-3.54”).

These extra cm / inches make a great impact on their volume. They are used to serve all those meals mentioned on the “Small” Large Serving Bowls category. This time serving 4-6. And are great salad bowls for green salads too (serving 2-4).


A Large Ceramic Bowl with a country charm from our Yiota Collection

The dimensions of the above bowl are d: 25cm X h: 7cm (d: 9.84” X h: 2.76”).


Large Serving Bowls

Their usual size is d: 28cm X h: 9cm (d: 11.02” X h: 3.54”).

They are used as serving bowls (serving for 6-8). And they are great as ceramic fruit bowls.


An impressive Ceramic Fruit Bowl, again from our Yiota Collection. The detailed pattern on the above bowl is hand painted by Yiota, an Aegean traditional artisan!

The dimensions of the above bowl are d: 28.5cm X h: 9cm (d: 11.22” X h: 3.54”).



Large Pottery Bowl with Greek Salad | A Spicy Perspective

The above red clay bowl has a diameter approx. d: 28cm – 30cm (d: 11” – 11.8”). A very impressive bowl to serve!


* Serving Tip: Because they occupy enough space on the table, they are functional only for those who have big dining tables and therefore enough space. For the rest of us, one of the smaller bowls will do just fine and we can save some extra space for something else we need to place on the table. Alternatively, they work perfectly well as fruit bowls or just decorative bowls on dining tables (during non-eating hours, when the dining table is empty).  😉


Larger than 30cm (11.81”) Serving Bowls

I avoid using bowls so big bowls as ceramic serving bowls, for two reasons:

The first is that they occupy enough space on the dining table.

And the second reason is that clay bowls are heavy. This large ceramic bowl will definitely be heavy and when adding food will create a big and heavy hard-to-carry piece.

However, they are very impressive as decorative bowls!


Low Large Serving Bowls

The most usual dimensions I have met are:

–          d: 24.5cm X h: 4.5cm (d: 9.65” X h: 1.77”)

–          d: 31-33cm X h: 6cm (12.20”-13” X h: 2.36”)

They are low and wide. Because they are wide, the pattern looks great solely in the inner part of the bowl.

Those bowls are great to serve something with volume, for example green salad & fruits.




To wrap it up, each bowl based on its dimensions and analogy of diameter & high has some best uses on what to eat or serve.


I do hope this article will become your personal helpful & informative assistant when you buy bowls from e-shops.

And will provide you with ideas & small tips on their best uses.


If after reading this article you are in search and need of beautiful & functional ceramic bowls, you are welcomed to

Shop our Exclusive Collection of Ceramic Bowls from Aegean Traditional Craftsmen & Artisans!



If you have any information that will HELP US ENRICH THIS BUYING GUIDE FOR CERAMIC BOWLS, please comment below. You will make it easier for more people when buying bowls from e-shops.


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