What is a Chop Plate or Charger Plate?- Materials, Features & Uses

Last Updated on December 25, 2022 by Amanda P. Brown

A chop plate is usually defined as flat, unruffled plates at least 10 inches in diameter or more. Other names for chop plates include under plates, service plates and charger plates. These plates are meant only for aesthetic purposes and are not suitable for serving meals. You can use chop plates to serve multi-course meals by stacking individual serving bowls and plates on top.

Moreover, in this article, I’ll explain more about what is a Chop Plate or charger plate, as well as their features and applications. For further information, take a look at the following article.

What Is a Charger Plate?

A charger plate is a big, elegant dish used to set the table at formal events like weddings, banquets, and other catered or high-end social gatherings and fine dining establishments. The size of a charger plate is often greater than that of a typical dinner or soup dish.

In addition, white charger plates are reserved for special events. Likewise, black charger plates are also commonly utilized. 

Although charger plates play a key role in the formal dining experience, they should never be used to serve food. In a traditional setting, charger plates contain spillage and keep hot foods, including soup, at a safe temperature for consumption.

However, using charger plates will allow you to collect any stray food bits and stop spills from falling on the tablecloth or the tabletop. Also, chargers placed directly beneath plates and bowls can help prevent tableware heat from evaporating.

How to Use Charger Plates?

How to use Charger plate

Check out the easy tips below if you want to ensure your charger is used properly during your fancy event.

1. Select a Suitable Charger Plate

Pick charger plates that match the table setting and add flair to the event’s overall look and feel. Also, think about the dishes, bowls, glasses, cutlery, serving trays, and tablecloths you’ll be using, and pick a charger that complements their designs.

2. Set the Charger Plates

It’s important to correctly place the charger plate before beginning any formal occasions. The charger needs to be placed between set cutlery, under the place settings of glasses, and about an inch from the floor of the table.

3. Include Table Accessories

Set the napkin rings, menu cards, and other tabletop accents on the charger. This improves the table’s aesthetics and makes accent pieces more accessible.

4. Serve Meals

Place a charger in the middle of the table and place each guest’s serving dish on top. Remember, it is not appropriate to serve food right on the surface of the service plate.

5. Remove and Clean Charger Plates

When the main course is finished, remove the charger plate from each place setting. If you want to keep your table looking nice, use a clean charger plate for each course; either remove it or wash it afterwards.

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Charger Plate Materials

Charger plates come in various materials to suit practical and individual needs. Check each material below: 

  • Glass: The most well-known type of charger plate is made of glass. These plates can be loud, but they have a wonderful texture. Additionally, they are ideal for catering for any occasion because of their attractive appearance.
  • Ceramic: Ceramic chargers are rather heavy. Charger plates of this kind might be used for residential services. However, using these ceramic chargers for catering is a terrible decision because they are bulky and hard to move.
  • Plastic: Lightweight and portable, disposable plastic charger plates are convenient. In addition, their disposable construction will make hosting a party a breeze.
  • Wood: Compared to the other options on this list, wooden charger plates are the most eco-friendly. Although these chargers are convenient, they are not as popular as others since they can only be used once due to their susceptibility to moisture.

What is a Charger Plate Used for?

What is a Charger Plate Used for?

Charger plates are frequently used in restaurants and catering companies to serve many dishes in a sophisticated way to enhance the look of the dining table. Uses for charger plates include the following:

  • Prevent Stains: Charger plates are the best method for protecting table cloth from dirt and stains. The charger plate catches any crumbs, spills, or other debris that could otherwise contaminate the table’s pristine appearance.
  • Upselling: Charger plates add to the ambience of a restaurant. For example, an empty glass on a beautiful underplate creates an atmosphere befitting a beautiful supper.
  • Heat retain: Chargers are put under plates and bowls to keep food warm. Additionally, they prevent tabletop burns from dishes served at high temperatures. 

Common Charger Plate Features- What to Look for?

Picking the appropriate charger plate set will help you save a ton of money on party planning without sacrificing style. The finest Charger plate will include the features described below.

1. Shapes and Color

The variety of creative charger plate forms and colors available nowadays is mind-blowing. The form of majority of the charger plates is either square or round. Both round and square charger plates can work, depending on your own taste and the style of the room you’re trying to complement. You can also opt for simple white or natural-looking hues. 

2. Go for Eco-Friendly options

Choose eco-friendly charger plates. The sustainable alternative eco-friendly charger plates let you make sure your business takes the necessary precautions to have a beneficial impact on the environment. Also, the eco-friendly plates provide the table with a more natural appearance when used with single-use tableware.

3. Ensure the Dishwasher Safety

What kind of charger plate you’re looking for will determine everything. For ceramic charger plates, you need to seek any term referencing its dishwashing warranty. The dishwasher is not required for disposable charger plates made of plastic or other eco-friendly materials; thus, that is an exception.

However, dishwasher-safe charger plates enable you to clean up more quickly after the service.

Charger Plate Etiquette

Understanding the proper charger plate etiquette is crucial for formal parties. Charger plate etiquette is discussed below.

1. Prepare Ahead

It is important to set the table and arrange the charger plates before guests arrive.

2. Follow Charger Placement Instructions.

You certainly have all the information you need at your disposal if you are an old hand at this. But, if you’re completely new to the concept or a seasoned expert, it’s vital that you adhere to the criteria precisely. Charger plates should be aligned properly by being set an inch apart from the bottom border of each table (2.54 centimetres).

3. Avoid Serving Meals on Charger Plates Directly.

Knowing when and how to remove chargers from the table is crucial. Before removing the charger plates from each table, ensure all guests have eaten their main course. Please remove any chargers while the underneath dinner plates or soup bowls are still in use. This allows you some time to prepare the next part of the meal and arrange the table for its presentation. 

Other Charger Plate Uses

The following is a list of possible other uses for the chargers Plates:

  • Centerpieces can be set atop charger plates. They can be flawless, offering you the perfect platform to showcase your most impressive centerpieces to your visitors.
  • Charger plates can be used in place of a tray or platter for passing around small snacks or sweets; just be sure to use a piece of fabric or a linen napkin to protect the plate from being dirty or stained.
  • Pillar candles can be placed on the charger plate in the middle of the table or near the entrance to the event to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.


What is the Purpose of a Chop Plate?

The purpose of chop plate is used as a traditional server bowl. You can use it to serve multiple courses elegantly, where each dish is served on particular plates. Traditionally, a chop plate is a big round platter used to serve roasted meats.

What is a Chop Plate Vs. a Dinner Plate?

Chop plates are usually slightly larger food serving plates than a dinner plates. The chop plate’s average size is 11 to 13” in diameter, whereas the dinner plate consists 10 to 10.5 inches in diameter size. Chop plates are traditional decorative plates used for formal sitting in occasions or restaurants and dinner plates for usual fine dining.

Is a Chop Plate a Charger?

Yes, a chop plate and charger plate are the same. They are just different names of one unique type of plate. These traditional plates are used for versatile course meals gracefully. On your table, you need to keep it under

Why Are Fancy Plates Called Chargers?

Charger plates usually consist of classic standard designs and appearances. These plates are used for classic fine dinners at weddings, parties, and restaurant formal sittings. Their beautiful appearance is the reason for calling them fancy plates. They have a giant size to comprise different dishes.

What is a Fiestaware Chop Plate?

Fiesta is a Chinese brand that produces exclusive designs and quality chop plates. The plates are big and round, used to serve guests. And you can eat entire meals in this one dish. Fiesta-ware chop plates usually come in 2 sizes – 13” and 15” with chinaware.

What is the Meaning of Under Plates?

Underplates means giant size plates, which you can usually use for serving a versatile menu on occasion. As the plates are large, they are set under other dinner plates or bowls at the setting up of the dining table. Chop plates or charger plates are also one kind of under plate.

Are Charger Plates Necessary?

Yes, to ensure fine and elegant dining, charger plates are necessary. Your formal dinner or lunch events will get another grace with the presentence of traditional charger plates on the dining table. Moreover- they can support holding hot soup bowls or eating food freely, preventing food spills.

Final Verdict 

I hope the information above helped you to understand “what is a Chop Plate or charger plate” and its purposes. Now, it’s time to improve your place settings for catered banquets or other formal parties. 

Be sure to use charger plates with serving ware, tablecloths, and centerpieces. The beauty of the dinner table and the atmosphere at your event will much improve if you do so.

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