What's the difference between serving from a ceramic plate and metal plate?
I think the ceramic plate lasts longer, but suppose the metal one is in good condition for a long time.

  • What do you mean "in good condition for a long time?" As in Metal plates don't shatter when you drop them? Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 13:49
  • Allan Chow, I was thinking at the effect of rusting or oxydation Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


It is completely a matter of aesthetics, other than the tendency of a metal plate to bring its contents to room temperature more quickly due to its higher thermal conductivity compared to ceramic.

  • 3
    More than exactly, by an order of magnitude, at least. If you know of a metal--at least one commonly used in dishware--with a lower thermal conductivity than ceramic, please do share. For example, Pyrex glass has a thermal conductivity of 1.05 W/(m.K), and cast iron 55 W/(m.K), that is watts per meter kelvin--and iron is one of the worst heat conductors of the metals. Copper is 401 W/(m.K). engineeringtoolbox.com/thermal-conductivity-d_429.html
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 4:35
  • Stainless (16 W/(m.K) on that list) is the worst-conducting metal that might be used. Also, of course, when the temperature of the food is really important, you can preheat or prechill the plates.
    – derobert
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 18:39
  • @derobert And yet still an order of magnitude more conductive than any non-metal...
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 18:44
  • Yep. Metals conduct pretty well. Its actually more complicated than the thermal conductivity, though, as e.g., a thin (light) stainless platter will heat through fairly quickly (and conducted heat declines as the temperatures approach equilibrium), so it won't be much worse than the heavier ceramic plate. And the heavy cast iron plate almost certainly needs preheating, because there is a lot of iron to heat. (OTOH, a nice preheated iron plate will keep things warm for a while—think of the hot fajita plate)
    – derobert
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 18:48
  • I agree that there is more to it than the thermal conductivity--admittedly oversimplifying. The effect is magnified because the platter becomes a heat sink, effectively increasing the surface area for heat to transfer to the air. And don't get me started on unscrupulous vendors who sell lumps of iron as "miracle defrosters" when a plain cast iron pan will have the same effect...
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 18:51

One potential difference may be the color of the plate. Food on a higher contrast plate (i.e., white vs. gray) will tend to look more appealing, and will also cause you to eat less due to the Delbouef illusion.

  • @SunishthaSingh The OP has asked about the difference between serving on the two kinds plates, assuming that they're in good condition, not about their life and condition. This answer is helpful - presentation and perception are aspects of serving that certainly affect how we enjoy our food.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 16:12
  • Yes, as Jefromi said, I asked in any sense, not (only) about the life and condition of metal vs ceramic plates Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 16:23

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