6 Easy Plating and Garnishing Ideas

by | Oct 5, 2018 | Tips And Techniques | 0 comments

6 Easy Plating and Garnishing Ideas


“We eat with our eyes first,” happens to be a common and true statement. According to research, our perception of taste, smell, and flavor are affected before we take our first bite simply by what we see on the plate (Physiology & Behavior 107(4) · August 2012).  Whether we realize it or not, dishes that are colorfully and pleasingly presented will heighten our senses and influence our taste buds more than ones that are colorless and drab. Adding eye appeal to a plate or finished food does not need to be complicated. A sprinkling of fresh herbs, citrus zest, cheese, or chopped nuts over top is a great start to adding color and texture.

To move beyond that, a few simple tools and techniques are all that is necessary to take any dish up a notch or two. To get started, check out these 6 easy plating and garnishing ideas.


General Plating Guidelines

  • Consider the plate or bowl size and color. The plate or bowl size should be reasonable and complimentary to the serving size. White is a classic color that shows off most foods well, and colored dishware can provide a striking contrast, especially to neutral-colored food.
  • Arrange food items in odd numbers and add a bit of height if possible, keeping it within the rim of the plate.
  • Choose only edible garnish, ones that compliment flavor, color, contrast, and texture.




Option 1:

  • Place sauce into a squeeze bottle
  • Choose where to place drops on the plate
  • Vary the size of the drops (photo 1) or make them equal





Option 2:

  • Use a toothpick to form the “tail” on each drop (photo 2)








Option 1:

  • Using a squeeze bottle or spoon, lightly drizzle sauce over food and allow it to pool on the plate.
  • The addition of fresh fruit builds flavor, color, texture, and interest.







Option 2:

Spoon sauce around food forming pools and drops on the plate






IDEA #3 – LINES – Zig Zag, Parallel, Intersecting


  • With the sauce in a squeeze bottle, gently apply pressure and form desired line pattern. Make a pattern directly on the plate (then place food on top), or drizzle over the food and on to plate.
  • Sprinkle something complimentary (such as chopped nuts) lightly over top of the food and on to plate.
  • Whipped topping piped decoratively on edges provides a





  • Using two spoons, form a quenelle out of the whipped topping. (Also see – Quenelles Dress Up A Plate retrieved from www.finecooking.com)
  • Using a paring knife, thinly slice a lemon, then cut ¾ of the way in half and twist. The sprig of mint adds further
  • color and texture to the dish.


photo:Love + Craft Kitchen



  • Place a spoonful of sauce onto plate, then use the spoon to form a “swoosh or smear” by spreading part of the sauce away from the original spoonful. The shape can form a comma, or be straight.









  • For a slight variation, place a spoonful of sauce on one end of the plate, use a pastry brush to “paint” the sauce across the plate in one or two motions.
  • Sauce does not need to be evenly distributed.
  • Food may be placed on top of the sauce or to the side.






For further ideas on garnishing, check out these websites –



Have an easy plating or garnishing idea? We’d love to hear it! Share it with us in the comments section.


© 2018 Love + Craft Kitchen, LLC, All Rights Reserved

Main photo:iStock.com