We just bought a house in California. Can a built in dishwasher be plugged into an outlet or must it be hard wired?
It can definitely be plugged into a receptacle. Some new dish washers come with the cord already attached and some give you directions. Almost all require a GFCI outlet and you need to read what size circuit you need.
My experience in the past 3-4 years. Installed 6 dishwashers. 1 had cord already on it - which is kind of a pain because often there is no outlet. The other 5 all had instructions that said it allowed for wiring to be turned into cord. 1 we did that because it made sense - used outlet behind fridge (not the same outlet as fridge). Just look up manufacturer's instructions online if you have any questions but the short answer is YES.