Serving baskets come in a variety of styles and materials, including baskets made from woven materials, porcelain, and plastic. Some serving baskets have folding handles, while others have handle tabs or no handles at all. Some baskets are specialized for particular types of food, such as breads, condiments, and fruits. Serving baskets are also available featuring multiple tiers, which can make the best use of limited table space.
A common type of serving basket is an oval, plastic basket used by many diners and restaurants to serve "basket-style" meals that typically consist of a sandwich and potato chips or French fries. The re-usable baskets are typically lined with paper before the food is placed inside, making cleanup fast and easy. This convenient style of basket is often used when customers are responsible for clearing off their own table and dishes after dining.
Many serving baskets are made from wire configurations, including baskets for serving bread and rolls. Tall, wire "bird's nest" baskets are often used for serving appetizers and side dishes, such as French fries, hushpuppies, and cheese sticks. Some types of wire serving baskets also incorporate holders into their shape suited for dips, sauces, and other condiments.
Wire baskets are available is assorted shapes, including square, oval, and oblong. Those on pedestals are well-suited for serving fruit, as they allow air to freely circulate around the fruit. Some types of serving baskets are simply spiraled wires on a base, and these can be used to serve a variety of buffet foods, including breads and fruits. Many wire baskets are stackable, allowing for easy storage when not in use.
Woven serving baskets are often used for serving bread, biscuits, and cookies. Long, rectangular baskets are designed for serving crackers, and round sticky-rice serving baskets also are available. Chip-and-dip serving baskets typically feature a small location for a dip container and a larger area for chips. Some types of baskets are crafted from sterling silver, including sugar baskets. In order to protect the silver baskets from corrosive foods, a glass insert can be placed inside the basket.
Some serving baskets are designed to hold serving dishes, such as glass cake and casserole pans. Other baskets are intended to serve more utilitarian purposes, such as utensil and napkin baskets. In order to display a variety of baked items, such as assorted cookies, some baskets are shaped in the form of over-sized trays.