Soup Bowl
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We all know that a Soup Bowl is an individual portion-sized bowl used to hold Soup at the meal, but did you know that there is a nomenclature to describe the different areas of a bowl? Do you know that there are two main types of Soup Bowls or that there are a number of different Soup Bowl forms used for different types of Soup?

Before we can get to the types of Soup Bowls, which hold 8-12 ounces on average, we need to know the terrain that we will be discussing. A bowl is typically composed of The Well, The Lip, The Rim and The Base.

The Well is the part of the vessel where the soup is placed.

The Base is the underside of the well; the part that rests on the table.

The Lip is optional. If it is present, it is a flat surface that runs around the opening of the well. It is frequently and incorrectly called "The Rim." The most notable incorrect use is in the description of the category of Rimmed Soup Bowls, which we explain below.

The Rim is the narrow, outer edge of the soup bowl, which can even be gilded in fancier china sets. Ironically, if we were to drink our broth straight from the bowl, our lips would be on the rim and our hands would be holding the bowl by the Lip. The confusion of the naming convention is likely a function of the history of chinaware.

Having hopefully checked the Lip / Rim confusion, we can now let you know that the two main types of Soup Bowls are Rimmed Soup Bowls, sometimes called a Soup Plate, and Coupe Soup Bowls. Rimmed Soup Bowls have a one inch flat lip /rim around the well of the bowl. Coupe Bowls have no lip / rim because "Coupe" means cut off in French. Presumably, the lip / rim has been "cut off" in a Coupe Bowl. 

The other major types of Soup Bowls, are:  Soup-Cereal Bowl, Covered Soup Bowl, Lugged Soup Bowl, Cream Soup Bowl, Covered Soup Bowl and the Bouillon Soup Bowl. See the Varieties Section below to learn more.

A larger bowl that contains multiple portions of soup at the table, and from which guests are served by a Ladle, is called a Soup Tureen. In the kitchen, behind the scenes, Soup is normally cooked in and served out of a Stock Pot.


Again, the major types of Soup Bowls are:  Rimmed Soup Bowl, Coupe Soup Bowl, Soup-Cereal Bowl, Covered Soup Bowl, Lugged Soup Bowl, Cream Soup Bowl, and the Bouillon Soup Bowl.

Each of these seven different Soup Bowls has a use and reason for being. Shallow, wide bowls are used for items that retain heat and can benefit from some cooling forces, like thick, chunky Soups filled with denser Meats (Beef Soup). Shallow, wide bowls are good at releasing heat.

Smooth soups, like Pureed Soups, tend to cool quickly. A deep bowl with thicker ceramic sides will do a better job of retaining heat. Narrow Bowls are used to serve clear soup, and also help preserve heat.

In addition, the handles are conducive to enjoying different types of soups. If the soup bowl has solid, horizontal handles, like a Lug Soup Bowl, it is easier to grasp and tilt, so that those last drops of thicker soups and stews don't escape. If the soup bowl has vertical handles with open loops, like a Cream Soup Bowl or a Bouillon Cup, they are easier to pick up and sip. Often these bowls which are designed to aid drinking the contents work best with a Saucer, to catch any spillage.

Soup Cups, which typically hold 4 to 8 ounces, are also used in the kitchen for holding smaller portions of soup.