The Truth About Corelle

Ever since I switched out my counter tops to granite, my regular stoneware dinnerware has slowly been chipped away due to my lack of spatial acuity. If you misjudge granite even by a centimeter you'll find it's quite unforgiving. It was time to consider other options. For the first time I included Corelle.

While I've been better about distancing plate from counter, the damage has been done. It was time for a replacement, but which one?

My first option was to do nothing, but it sets my teeth on edge to serve guests on chipped dinnerware. Then I considered, and even bought a set of matching dishes at a garage sale.

The purchase was terrific. A complete service for 12, including serving pieces for $20. I made one fatal mistake though. It was a pretty set and I really liked it, but the seller had it out in bright sunshine and I never realized the band at the edge of the plates was gold.

Banded dinnerware can't be washed in the dishwasher without losing its enamel over time. I ended up giving it to my niece, but that left me once more with a decision to make.

I still had hopes I could find a similar great buy at a garage sale, but the season had ended and nothing new was found.

Enter Corelle. I've known about Corelle since I was a kid. Lots of families used it back then. Over the decades it seemed to go in and out of fashion.

I posed the question to my friends on Facebook. Several people chimed in and said their families still had the same set from 30 or more years ago.

These were some of the other contenders. Click on the pictures to learn more.

Corelle is not indestructible, but it is strangely forgiving. Corelle is made of multilayered vitrified glass. It is highly chip resistant. I've used it nearly two months now with nary a chip despite a few (serious) accidents. Most of the sets I looked up had a 3 year warranty.

Greg and I differed on which was the prettier set. I wanted a round white embossed pattern, (the 2nd one on the second row above) but he liked the more artistic black line design on a square plate. Mine was more expensive, but that wasn't a deciding factor.

No matter which one we chose, if the claims about its hardiness were true, it had to be something we'd like for many years to come.

I decided to accede to Greg's choice. We'd never had square dishes before, and I was afraid the embossed white dishes might be susceptible to breakage because the layers weren't all the same depth.

Here's what I discovered about Corelle:

• The dishes are lightweight--really lightweight.

• They are deceptively thin. You don't realize how thin it is until you're holding one in your hand. On the plus side, you can store a lot more plates in the same space.

• Because Corelle is made of glass, dishware can become very hot. Beware of pouring hot soup in a bowl. You'll need to carry it on a tray or with an oven mitt.

• Corelle slides. We were eating in front of the tv once and had put the dishes on tv trays. Tilt that tray too far, and your dishes will go with it.

• It comes in an extraordinary number of styles and colors. It took many days to whittle it down to a handful of choices.

So far, I'm pleased with it. The only downside I found with the set we selected is that the dinner plates were larger than I expected. (10 1/4"). We find we tend to use the 8.75 inch lunch plates for dinner more often than not.

Amazon and the Corelle company seem to have virtually the same prices, though Amazon seems to mark theirs down more often depending on the vendor.

If you're interested, go to the Corelle web site first because they have the largest inventory, then see if Amazon carries it for less. They seem to carry the most popular styles so your chances are good to find it for a better price.

For myself, I kind of miss the heftier weight of regular stoneware, but that's my only real complaint. I still have my black-on-black ironstone dishes that we bought as "fancy" china when we got married. I only bring them out for special occasions and take exceptional care of them, so it's withstood the test of time with not a single chip. If only I had been that careful with my regular dishes.

Aw well. Have you heard of Corelle? If you've tried it, what was your experience?


Darke Conteur said…
Our first set of dishes was Corelle. Got a set for a wedding present and a duplicate set later for Christmas from the same person. Loved it. Had them for about ten years before they started to break, and when they do, they shatter. Millions of pieces. We weren't easy on our dishes either. Some were left outside for a winter, others were broken by dogs trying to grab food off the counter. It's been 25 years and I think we still have *a* bowl left.
Maria Zannini said…
Darke: I'd be content with ten years. I try to be careful, but I can be so accident prone sometimes. I would've settled for 8 settings, but 12 will give me some wiggle room in case a couple break.
lynnviehl said…
I have a 25 year old small set of Corelle that still looks like new. My mom bought the set with gold butterflies back in the seventies when it came out and had hers for forty years. So (if you don't thump them around too much) they do last.

Because it's so light Corelle is great for people with arthritis in their hands, as I imagine you've learned. It's also fine in the dishwasher. If you get silverware marks on yours, use some baking soda or glasstop stove cleaner to remove them.

I don't do china -- too many years of handwashing my mother's when I was a kid -- but I've been through five sets of good stoneware dishes. Pfaltzgraff Naturewood lasted the longest, about twelve years before the surfaces began etching and pitting. Target's Heather Garden started chipping like immediately; one plate chipped as I took it out of the box. That was the worst (and it was a gift from my guy, who knows zero about dishes.)

Now that we're down to two for dinner I'm going back to Corelle. We were looking at sets the other day and my guy liked that pattern you and Greg picked out, so we might end up with the same dishes. :)
Darke Conteur said…
Good plan and like I said, they SHATTER. I remember staring at the fragments thinking omg. I didn't know it was made of layered glass. Now it makes sense.
Maria Zannini said…
Darke: I hope I never shatter one. We walk barefoot all the time. I'd have to be meticulous about finding every little piece.

Mostly, I worry about the dogs. I don't want them to get stabbed walking into the kitchen.
Maria Zannini said…
Lynn: Pfaltzgraff was our very first set of dishes, but they died in a fire. Whenever I see a piece at a garage sale it makes me feel nostalgic.

It was heavy though! Heavier than most stoneware. I was shocked at how light Corelle was.

I like the style we picked. It's got a timeless quality that I think will last through the years. Besides, Greg liked them and he rarely offers an opinion on dishes. :)

re: Target
Ugh! You reminded me of a set of dishes we bought at Target once. Just like you, they started chipping almost immediately. We never bought anything from them again.
Stacy McKitrick said…
We still use the Corelle set I bought before we got married. Yes, I bought it before I even KNEW my husband because I thought it was so pretty and knew eventually I'd need plates anyway (I was in the Army at the time). Since then, two plates had shattered. I was able to get a replacement for the large one (since the pattern was still available), but not for the smaller one. The pattern has faded over the past 38 years, but it's our everyday set, so who cares? It still works. I have Pfaltzgraft stonewear for when company comes over. Owned that set for over 20 years (I think I bought it with Betty Crocker points!) and it's still chip-free. But then I don't use it all the time. Our new house will have granite countertops. Guess I'll need to be more careful with it then, huh?
jacabur1 said…
Corelle has been in our home since day one. Along with some plastic Melamine dishes that came with Karl that his Mom passed on to him when he moved away from home. Our dishes lasted through every move we made, except maybe a bowl or cup or two, for over 20 odd years.

Finally traded the originals out for more Corelle at some point and those sets lasted until the 2011 fire.

Now the only dishes out of the two sets we bought to replace them that I have broken are a couple of the stoneware coffee mugs and I think 1 bowl Maria.

We have tile in our kitchen and it chips before the Corelle does.
rmacwheeler said…
hm...we're collecting chips. It's about time for us too.
marlenedotterer said…
We have stoneware dishes we bought not long after we got married. So they're 15- 17 years old. They are beautiful, but it was probably the biggest wasted purchase we've ever made - we bought a very expensive set from Z Gallerie. They have chips galore - I'm so hard on things. A couple of the plate have faint cracks that run from one side to the other. I'm just waiting for them to crack in half. When we got them home, we realized the dinner plates were too big for our dishwasher. That's not the problem it could be, because we generally don't use the dishwasher at all, except as a drying rack, but still. And yes, they are VERY heavy.

I keep using them because we spent the money and I hate to waste things. Do I throw away an entire set of dishes just because nearly every piece has a small chip or two? Sometimes I want to because they do look awful, especially for company. But the world doesn't need more trash. I wonder if they can be recycled usefully?
Maria Zannini said…
Stacy: What a testimonial! i hope mine last that long. I hope I live that long!

Granite is nice, but breaking glass containers is not unusual. I've learned to keep a light touch on landing.
Maria Zannini said…
re: We have tile in our kitchen and it chips before the Corelle does.

LOL! I believe it.

I honestly didn't think I would like it, but it has more pros than cons. I think it was a good choice for us.
Maria Zannini said…
Mac: I'm not generally too fussy, but when the chips are outnumbering the dishes, I decided it was time.

They're all so expensive though, that's why I decided to go with Corelle in the hopes I wouldn't have to replace them again in my lifetime.
Maria Zannini said…
Marlene: The good thing is, it's a clay product. In time it'll go right back into the soil. I suppose a lot depends on the glaze used, but most should decompose without a problem.
Jenny Schwartz said…
I had no idea Corelle was glass! or that it transferred heat so fast. Hmm. Live and learn. Thanks, Maria!
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: Don't feel bad. I didn't realize it either before I started researching it.
Angela Brown said…
I haven't tried Corelle yet. We still have our stoneware, the heftier plates. We don't use them very often but we use the mugs. And those poor things are just chipping away on us. Soon, it will be time to replace. I'm saving up so I can make sure we have a variety to choose from.
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: I didn't think I'd like them, but in the end, they turned out to be a good choice for me (and my fumble fingers). :)
Michael Keyton said…
Never heard of them. Sounds like a Neil Gaimon book or a Y.A. Princess. We still have our wedding gift plates etc, but over here there's a neat online place that gathers discontinued lines so if you chip a plate you can get it replaced with a new one at a very reasonable price. I think we've replaced three over 35 years. But then we don't have granite work tops :)
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: I'm betting it might go by another name there. It's a really old brand.

I don't need granite to chip a plate, but it seems exceedingly easier with it. :)