Growing up in a household that always sat around the table for meals, I have a ton of memories from family dinners. There are the good (Sunday morning bacon and whenever mom made her cornflake chicken), the bad (dad’s occasional attempt at making dinner), and the ugly (the end result of “finish your peas” even though I said I wasn’t feeling well).
The one constant among all these memories involves little blue flowers. But these tiny treasures weren’t in a vase; they were on our plates. The pattern: Old Town Blue. The dishes: Corelle.
With its 105-year history, chances are that Instant Brands (the parent company of Corelle) was also in your kitchen, whether it was a CorningWare casserole, Pyrex storage container, or the instantly recognizable Corelle dish patterns. In 1970, Corelle launched its proprietary three-layer glass dinnerware in Winter Frost White, and it’s still available today. But this isn’t the dish set that jogs everyone’s childhood memories: Spring Blossom Green, Gold Butterflies, and Snowflake Blue were introduced later that year are the nostalgic prints that sat on so many American tables in the 1970s.
The last of Corelle’s original Livingware patterns and the one from my house, Old Town Blue, came out in 1972. Believe it or not, they’re still on the table today. My mom has had some of the same plates for almost 50 years.
Corelle dinnerware clearly has a hold on our hearts, but does it continue to stand up to its reputation today as almost indestructible? We decided to bring this question to the table—literally—by putting the dishes to the test.
What I ordered
I chose Corelle’s contemporary Delano pattern. It’s much more subtle than Old Town Blue with an arched border in light aqua (inspired by Spanish tiles) is a very gentle design that “matches” most foods, if you’re into that sort of thing. I apparently am now because my meals have never looked prettier.
The 16-piece Corelle dinnerware set has service for four people, including dinner plates, appetizer plates, soup bowls, and stoneware mugs. They all have one thing in common: Corelle’s chip- and crack-resistant material that’s dishwasher, microwave, and preheated-oven safe.
The only exception is the stoneware mugs. The mugs are stoneware and would definitely break if they fell off the counter.
What I like
When you first pick up the dishes, they’re surprisingly light and easy to handle. Tapping your nails against them, they give off the signature tinny sound as would a melamine plate.
Because they’re non-porous, they’re super easy-to-clean. Even stay-put fried egg wiped off quickly and easily in the sink, and every dish came out squeaky clean after a trip through the dishwasher.
Corelle’s border design stood up to sharp steak knives, even when we sawed at it trying to unnerve the pattern. Not a scratch in sight.
We also tried to put the oven-safe notion to the challenge, so we heated up dinner in a low-temp setting. Once again, the plates persevered safe and sound.
Corelle has “triple layer strong glass plates and bowls that highly resist chips and cracks.” We have a balcony. I thought, let’s introduce the two and put Corelle’s claim to the test.
While I couldn’t wait to get to the celebratory “opa!” plate smashing, I wanted to start simply by “accidentally” knocking a bowl onto the hard wood dining room floor. The bowl made it intact, so I moved into the outdoor area for some serious testing.
We gently dropped a plate from the balcony onto the brick patio, and it made it back into the kitchen in one piece. Then, my daughter hurled it off the balcony, and this is when it shattered into a million pieces. Clean up on aisle four.
Sidenote: I highly doubt this is the type of situation Corelle considers in its three-year limited warranty on plates and bowls.
What I don’t like
While the plates and bowls pass muster, the Corelle mugs look and feel like dollar store items. Interestingly, the mugs are the only part of the dinnerware set that is not made in Corning, New York, of Corelle’s signature chip-resistant material. Instead, they’re made in China.
This translates to not being chip-resistant or oven-safe. There’s zero design on them, so it’s a little curious as to why Corelle would bother to include them. They just feel out of place.
Should you buy Corelle dinnerware?
There’s a reason why this has been one of the most recognizable dinnerware sets throughout the decades. These Corelle plates and bowls are ridiculously easy to clean, lightweight, and come in several cute patterns.
Given that my mom has had her Corelle set for almost 50 years and my new ones mostly survived a fall from my balcony, they are a no-brainer purchase for anyone who is tough on their everyday dishes or has kids.
The bottom line: Corelle can not only dish it out, it can take it.