Though both types of dishes are used for casual dining, stoneware is sturdier than earthenware and is less likely to scratch, chip, crack or break. If not glazed, earthenware is more porous than stoneware and is more suited to making planters or food steamers, rather than items that need to be leak-resistant. In addition, stoneware is generally dishwasher safe, whereas earthenware should be washed by hand.
The reasons for the differences between the two types of dishes come from their materials and manufacturing process. Both stoneware and earthenware are ceramic, but stoneware has additional clay components that can be fired at a much higher temperature, which makes it harder and more durable. These higher temperatures also make stoneware less absorbent, particularly when glazed. In contrast, unglazed earthenware soaks up grease and water.