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19 Different Types of Silverware

A collage of different types of silverware.

Early man used knives made of sharpened stones and bone as an all-in-one tool for hunting, as a weapon, and also for eating. These sharp primitive knives decorated with feathers, jewels, and carved designs were present at the dining table until the Middle Ages when forks became in vogue. Then France’s Louis XIV in 1669 banned these overly sharp knives on the table and replaced them with blunter ones. Stainless steel knives came around during the 20th century.

Spoon comes from the Anglo-Saxon word spon which means “a splinter or chip of wood” because primitive spoons were carved from wood, bone, stone, shell, and other materials. They existed in ancient Egypt, India, and both the Greek and Roman cultures used spoons with pointed stems for eating soups. The design of the spoon evolved throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods and gained its modern look from the 18th century.

Forks existed during the ancient times but they were two-pronged and only used for cooking and serving food because using them for eating was considered an affront to God. Venetians in the 11th century believed that the Lord gifted men with fingers as natural forks. Ancient Egyptians, however, used the first table forks while the Qijia culture during 2400-1900 BC also used forks. It was Italy’s Catherine de Medici during the 16th century that made forks popular with the French tables.

Related: Types of Tools for Eating Seafood | Types of Serving Trays | Types of Bowls


Salad Forks

New Star Foodservice 58062 Slimline Pattern, 18/0 Stainless Steel, Salad Fork, 6.25-Inch, Set of 12

Salad forks are one of the most common types of forks that you will find in silverware sets. You can purchase sets of salad forks specifically as well. If you know anything about proper table etiquette, then you are aware that certain types of forks, spoons, and knives are meant to serve particular purposes. In this case, salad forks are meant for eating salad.

Your average person doesn’t slavishly adhere to these dining etiquette rules, though. You will find that most people use salad forks for eating literally anything that a person would normally use a fork for. These forks are well made and large enough to work for many purposes. You should always have several good salad forks in your kitchen that are ready for use.

Dinner Forks

Made from 18/0 stainless steel in a satin silver finish, these dinner forks are well-balanced and tarnish-proof.

Source: Wayfair

As you might expect from the name, dinner forks are meant to be the main type of fork that people use for their meals. Dinner forks are large enough to easily use for eating primary courses where meat is the main focus. You will want to have plenty of dinner forks in your kitchen as this is what you are going to be using the most often out of any of your silverware. Buying sets of dinner forks won’t cost you too much money so you will be able to get plenty of them at an affordable price.

Most dinner forks are made with a nice solid steel design. You will be able to make good use of a set of these types of dinner forks for many years. You might find these forks in a set of other dinner utensils as well so you should seek out the best option to suit your needs.

Dessert Forks

Snamonkia Appetizer Small Forks Set of 12, 5.4 Inches, Dessert Forks Stainless Steel, 3-Tine Portable Cocktail Salad Fruit Forks for Party Travel

There are forks that are meant specifically for eating desserts and owning some of them can definitely be beneficial. You might want to adhere to the fine dining etiquette principles and use the proper silverware for the right dishes. You also might just find that dessert forks are quite convenient for enjoying a good dessert. Either way, you will be able to find beautiful sets of dessert forks at very good prices.

If you want to have the most convenient fork possible for enjoying a tasty treat, then you will want to have some dessert forks in your silverware drawer. They are made very solidly and will stand the test of time for you. You can use these quality pieces of silverware for many years so you shouldn’t hesitate to purchase a good set of these. They will prove themselves useful and you will be happy to have them in your kitchen.

Oyster Forks

Winco 12-Piece Windsor Oyster Fork Set, 18-0 Stainless Steel, Silver

Admittedly, not everyone is going to need an oyster fork in his or her silverware drawer. If you aren’t the type of person who eats shellfish with any sort of regularity, then you may find that this fork will see little use. Regardless, this can be a very handy utensil to have around if you do like oysters and other shellfish. It is the perfect size to crack open a shell and easily eat these types of meals.

Interestingly, this type of fork is the only kind that you are supposed to place to the right of your plate in fine dining etiquette. Even if you don’t care about that, it’s easy to tell that this type of fork is a bit unusual. Being different doesn’t mean that it doesn’t serve its purpose well, though. If you eat shellfish several times a year, then it is probably a good idea to have a set of oyster forks that will work well.

Table Knife

CUTCO 1759 Table Knife with Double-D (DD) Serrated Edge

Knives are really important because you need to be able to cut your food properly. Using the right night for the situation at hand really does make things a lot easier. You’re going to want to have several table knives in your silverware drawer as these will be the knives that you use for every meal. These are going to be perfect for helping you to eat your meal as easy as possible.

Having an actual table knife will be very useful. Some people make the mistake of using duller butter knives for everyday eating purposes and the results are mixed at best. Buying a quality table knife set is highly recommended. You will enjoy how convenient they are for cutting your food and they will look nice on your dinner table.

Butter Knife

Classic and striking, yet very familiar, this satin finished 60’s to 70’s era Scandinavian inspired butter knife pattern is the perfect complement to many traditional and contemporary table settings.

Source: Wayfair

Buttering your bread is an important part of a meal. You need to have the right utensil to get the job done without ruining your piece of bread. Anyone who has ever tried to spread butter with other types of knives will be able to attest to the fact that it doesn’t work so well. You want to own a nice set of butter knives so that you can spread everything evenly without having issues.

A good set of butter knives is going to look very nice and will function well. Most of them are made out of typical stainless steel and they will stand up to many years of regular use. These are knives that you will likely be using on a daily basis so it is good to know that they are durable. Take the time to pick out a set that will appeal to your sensibilities properly.

Steak Knife

You will find that steak knives are some of the most common types of silverware that you will see in department stores. These are very important to have as you need them to cut through tough cuts of meat. Having a good steak knife set is going to make your dining experience much easier and these knives will come in handy for other meal purposes as well. You should be able to find a set that has many different sizes of steak knives if that is what you would like.

People often like to give sets of steak knives as gifts as well. Having a good set of knives really matters so you will want to take the time to pick out the best set to suit your needs. There are many fine steak knives on the market so you shouldn’t have trouble tracking down a set that is both durable and visually pleasing.

Dessert Knife

'MU' dessert knife in 18/10 stainless steel, with a mirror polished finish, designed by Toyo Ito, its design is sharp, yet with a touch of sensitivity and elegance.

Source: Wayfair

Some people don’t own dessert knives but they are actually really nice and are useful to have around. Eating a piece of cake or another type of pastry is much easier when you have a dessert knife around. It is styled perfectly to cut pieces of your dessert without making a mess. They’re also the perfect size for cutting desserts so it makes sense to use a dessert knife when one is available.

Dessert knife sets have a very refined look, generally speaking. They will add a touch of class to your dinner table if you choose to purchase them. These knives will work great for serving desserts and any guests that you have will be pleased that you are using the right knives for dessert. Some of the more stylish sets of dessert knives may cost a bit more but you can find more affordable options as well.


Hiware 12-piece Good Stainless Steel Teaspoon, 6.7 Inches

Almost every household will have some teaspoons sitting in their silverware drawers. These types of spoons are usually used for stirring drinks and eating foods that are fairly soft. You will want to have some of these spoons around for when you need them but you may not use them for every meal. Anyone who drinks tea or coffee knows that they come in handy quite regularly for stirring drinks and mixing in various creamers.

Teaspoons will come with just about any silverware set variety pack. You can also purchase teaspoons specifically in sets if you would like. Owning a set of teaspoons is imperative so you will want to make sure that you have access to some.


Saedy Stainless Steel Dinner Spoon/Table Spoon Sets, 7.8 Inches, 12-piece

The tablespoon is something that you will use more commonly for everyday eating purposes. This is the spoon that most people around the globe use for their meals. Average people use it to eat just about anything that would require a spoon so you will definitely want to have plenty of these in your kitchen. They will be useful for eating everything from breakfast cereal to soup.

Finding really nice sets of tablespoons is easy too. You will be able to get a set of these spoons that will look gorgeous on your dinner table. Simply look around for a set that has the eye-catching qualities you are looking for. It won’t take you long to find a set of spoons that will match up perfectly with your other sets of silverware.

Dessert Spoon

Artaste 59373 Rain 18/10 Stainless Steel Grapefruit Spoon, 6.35-Inch, Set of 6

Dessert spoons are something that you will want to use specifically to eat your desserts. In fine dining, people use dessert spoons to eat custards and other types of soft desserts. They’re made to help make eating dessert as simple as possible and many of the dessert spoons that you can purchase look really nice too. If you want to have a nice set of spoons to impress your dinner guests, then it’s appropriate to make sure that you have some dessert spoons as well.

You will notice how dessert spoons differ from regular spoons as soon as you examine them. They have these little edges that make eating your dessert simpler. You can buy sets of dessert spoons from most major retailers so they won’t be difficult to find.

Soup Spoon

Soup Spoons, AmoVee Wholesale Stainless Steel Alpha Round Spoons, Set of 8

As you might expect, there are also spoons that are meant for eating soup specifically. Some people just use their tablespoons to eat their soup but soup spoons are much better suited for the purpose. You will be able to eat soup in the right amounts when you have access to a soup spoon. Tablespoons are just too large and a teaspoon wouldn’t be the right size either.

Luckily, getting a nice set of soup spoons is very simple. You will be able to find soup spoons that will go perfectly with your other types of silverware. Some silverware sets will come with soup spoons as well, though you may need to seek them out by themselves.

Bouillon Spoon

Bon Chef's Reflection bouillon spoon flatware is designed for commercial use made with heavy 18/8 stainless steel.

Source: Wayfair

Bouillon spoons are usually used to eat very light soups at formal dinners. This is typically an appetizer to whet the palates of those in attendance. These spoons are a bit smaller than your average soup spoon so they aren’t used as often by the masses. Whether or not you will find it practical to own a set of bouillon spoons really depends on your needs and sensibilities.


A spork is definitely not something that you would see in fine dining but it is a utensil that many people like having around. When you want to have a tool that has the capabilities of a fork while also possessing the convenience of a spoon, then you need to buy a spork. Sporks aren’t something that comes in most traditional silverware sets so you will need to seek them out specifically. You can buy a quality set of sporks from most major retailers but they may not be seen as commonly as the more traditional types of silverware.


Stainless Steel

Artaste 59380 Rain 18/10 Stainless Steel Flatware 36-Piece set, Service of 12

You most likely have a set of stainless steel silverware somewhere in your home. This type of silverware has been used by the masses for many years. It is quite durable and is also easy to clean either by hand or in your dishwasher. Having this type of silverware makes things really convenient for you by being strong enough to withstand years of regular use.

If you want to purchase silverware that you are going to be able to use for a long time, then getting stainless steel silverware is a very sensible choice. This silverware has the durability to last you for many years and you will also be happy with the way it looks. They don’t sacrifice the visual appeal of the silverware when making it out of stainless steel. You can find plenty of options that are very ornate and will work well in a formal setting.

Sometimes you will find that the basic structure of the silverware will be made out of stainless steel but the handle might be made out of something ornate. This is nice from a visual standpoint but you may find that these types of silverware sets won’t stand up quite as well as the ones that are made of just stainless steel. Oftentimes, people find that the handles on those variants will crack over the years while the stainless steel remains completely fine.

Birchwood Silverware

This silverware is made with 100% natural solid birch wood, heavyweight flatware that looks clean and is overall sturdy and also compostable, biodegradable and recyclable.

Source: Wayfair

Many people who are more environmentally conscious have taken to buying birchwood silverware. This silverware is made out of birchwood entirely and it is completely biodegradable. These types of silverware can be used for compost or recycled as well. It really is a convenient option that will allow you to feel as though you’re making a good choice for the environment at large.

As you might expect, these birchwood silverware sets are mostly meant to be disposed of after you use them. Some people have had success with washing these pieces of silverware by hand to get more than one use out of them. Depending on what you eat, it may not be practical to get the pieces of silverware looking presentable again after they have been used. These are mostly a simple option for when you need disposable silverware for a large gathering.

Thankfully, purchasing this birchwood silverware is rather inexpensive. If you have a birthday party coming up and you don’t want to have to wash dozens of individual forks and knives, then this is going to be a blessing. Everyone will love the way that this silverware looks and it is very sturdy and easy to use. These sets will typically come with forks, spoons, and knives.

Plastic Silverware

[210 Piece] EDI White Disposable Plastic Cutlery Set, Assorted - 70 Forks, 70 Knives, 70 Spoons | Extra Durable

Of course, everyone knows that it is possible to purchase plastic silverware when you need a simple disposable option. People have been buying these plastic silverware sets for decades and they definitely can make things a lot easier on you. When you don’t want to have to clean up after a large gathering, such as a family reunion, then having these plastic silverware sets handy is going to be perfect. The problems with these sets are mostly about them not being environmentally friendly.

Using plastic silverware presents a bit of a moral conundrum for some people. They like the convenience of not having to wash a bunch of dishes but they don’t want to feel as though they are contributing to the pollution and garbage problem on the planet. In this situation, you may feel better about yourself by purchasing the birchwood silverware mentioned above. This will be a better option for anyone who has environmental concerns.

For those who don’t put much thought into environmental issues, these plastic silverware sets are perfect. They’re very affordable and you get a lot of silverware in one box. One of these boxes will have hundreds of pieces of silverware so you could presumably not have to wash forks, spoons, or knives for quite some time. The convenience of this type of silverware is undeniable; it’s just up to you to decide whether it is appealing for your situation.


Cambridge Silversmiths Bamboo 20-piece set includes 4 place settings with dark bamboo handles on each piece and has dishwasher-safe stainless steel.

Source: Hayneedle

You will also find that bamboo is used to make some sets of silverware. It’s possible to find things such as spatulas and tongs that are completely made out of bamboo, of course. You won’t typically find forks, knives, and spoons that are entirely made out of bamboo too often. Most of the time, the bamboo is used in an ornate fashion to accentuate the handle.

Bamboo handles look really nice on different pieces of silverware. Bamboo is also really sturdy so you won’t have to worry about whether it will stand up to repeated uses. You can even wash these bamboo silverware sets in the dishwasher without being concerned. The handles are made to stand up to the pressure of the dishwasher so everything will be perfectly fine.

If you want a silverware set that is going to be able to impress your guests, then buying this bamboo set is going to be a good choice. It looks really nice and is overall really strong. You get the benefits of owning a stainless steel set of silverware combined with the natural beauty of bamboo. It will definitely add a touch of charm to your dinner table if you choose to buy it for your home.


The warmth adds lustrous sheen to this timeless silhouette in unmatched style and polished to a brilliant mirror finish, refined titanium flatware brings modern luxury to the table.

Source: Wayfair

Some sets of silverware are made using titanium. They don’t make the whole piece of silverware out of titanium, though. Stainless steel is used to make the silverware and then it is plated with titanium to give it even more strength. This also gives the silverware a very distinct look and color.

People really enjoy the look of titanium-plated silverware. If you want something that has the same durability as the stainless steel silverware but also looks quite unique, then this is a good option. You will be able to purchase this type of silverware at a very reasonable price, too. It might be a bit more expensive than a typical stainless steel set but it isn’t an absurdly high amount of money.

Most often, these titanium-plated silverware sets are sold with copper color. This gives off a very charming vibe and is something different from the typical silver color that you see in most sets. It’s this reason why this set of silverware appeals to so many people. It deviates from norms and provides a different aesthetic, giving it a significant amount of visual appeal.