While we’ve all got a drawer in our kitchen that is full to the brim of kitchen storage containers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have the right ones. After all, how many times have you gone to find a safe place to store your leftover food, only to discover that you can no longer find the lid to your food container?
Perhaps it’s that they’re hard to store, and you end up putting them in awkward places, maybe the lids fits badly and constantly falls off or it could be that your plastic food container has warped or bent, over time and is now no longer fit for purpose. Whatever the reason, it’s time to invest in a good quality kitchen food container- and we’re here to help.
We’ve found the best food storage containers on the market- and we’re more than happy to share why we know quality when we see. Keep reading to find out how you can discern the best kitchen containers for your needs, including why you should choose plastic tubs or glass storage jars and what makes a truly great piece of food storage.
The Best Food Storage Container
These glass containers with lids shot to the top of our list thanks to the fact that they tick nearly every box. If there were a wish list for good food containers, it would ask for a versatile, easy to use and easy to clean set that meets every food need without leaking all over the place- and this certainly meets all of these requirements.
Available at a great price, this is an 18-piece set that is great for large families and single meal-preppers alike thanks to huge range of items available in the pack. It also comes with the huge benefit of being ovenproof, which means you can easily go from fridge to feeding time without the extra dishes!
Oven-safe and microwavable
Airtight and Leak-proof
BPA free and recyclable
- Weight11.3 lbs
Pyrex are easily one of the biggest names in the container world. Their name is synonymous with quality and this container set certainly lives up to its name. Being made from Pyrex glass which is microwave, dishwasher, preheated oven, and freezer safe. Meanwhile the lids are BPA-free, and top rack dishwasher, and microwave safe.
These are currently available at amazing value and should absolutely be snapped up. Our only qualm is that we don’t know how long these prices will last!
2-year limited warranty included
- Weight11.5 pounds
Never again will you be able to make a joke about never finding the lids of your food containers, thanks to these Easy-Find lids and containers from Rubbermaid. You can easily snap the lids onto the bottom of the container or other lids, so you will never waste time looking for them, again.
Even without this feature, however, these are still a great option as they are dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe and freezable. They’re also stackable, which makes them much easier to store. And, on top of all that, they’re highly rated by over 10,000 buyers!
Microwave, dishwasher and freezer-safe
- Weight3.65 lbs
OXO have really been upping their game when it comes to kitchen accessories, lately and these are one of their best additions to the market. These airtight containers came with the fantastic feature of having a pop-up button that acts as a seal. Simply pop the button down to completely seal your food and keep everything fresh or pop it back open and use the seal as a handle.
They also look amazing and their rounded edges give them a really sleek look, making your kitchen look amazing. Our only issues are the fact that these need handwashing and also come with a fairly high price tag, compared to others on our list.
Pop-up button maintains airtight seal
Shaped for efficiency
- Weight9.15 pounds
These FDA-approved, BPA-free plastic storage set for food come with easy-open clip lids which provide an airtight seal when closed, without the hassle of struggling to get them back open. They’re also oven-proof up to 400-degrees which makes these one of the most heat-resistant containers available. This doesn’t mean that they’re not freezer-safe, however- in fact, they’re also dishwasher and microwave-safe, too. Which means you can pretty much use this set anywhere you can keep food.
Easy open-and-close lids
- BrandUtopia Kitchen
- Weight10.32 pounds
These storage jars are designed mostly for keeping ingredients and sundries to one side, yet readily available and even come with a handy measuring spoon with each size. The airtight silicone gaskets help to keep your food fresh and these work brilliantly for organizing your kitchen and/or pantry.
Unfortunately, however, they aren’t particularly versatile and, as much as we love the look and design of these storage jars, we couldn’t place them any higher than number 7 on our top picks.
- Weight3.56 pounds
Another choice from the masterminds at Rubbermaid and this time they’ve produce a completely leak-proof option from their range. They’re also stain and odor-resistant, while remaining crystal clear and BPA-free.
These containers are also stackable, which is handy for storage, as well as microwave, dishwasher and freezer-safe. This 14-piece set is also surprisingly inexpensive, and the variety of sizes is perfect for those who like to use their containers as lunch boxes.
- Weight4 lbs
Available as a set of three, these stackable glass storage jars are lovely and simple, allowing for plenty of storage space while being space-efficient. They come in a choice of three colors and are completely airtight. They also come with toughened glass, which adds to the 10-year warranty as a way of giving buyers peace-of-mind with their purchase.
Customers love the high quality of these containers and praise how well the seal holds up, even after years of use. They also mention how great these jars look and feel in the kitchen, with style and flair that you can touch.
- Weight1.5 pounds
Our final option is perfect for those who love to take soups and smoothies out and about with them. Their leak-proof lids work brilliantly as keeping in your foodstuff, while the easy-pour lids make emptying these containers a doddle. This makes these jars perfect for those who enjoy a literal liquid lunch.
Of course, with a specialty like that, it was inevitable that they might falter elsewhere- and these aren’t great for other types of food, due to their shape. Being thin and tall limits them to working at their best with liquids, only which is a real shame as these hold and seal themselves beautifully. They’re also handwash only, as the seal needs to be removed before putting in the dishwasher, otherwise it will become damaged.
Hand wash only
- Weight1.81 pounds
Best Food Storage Containers Buying Guide
What to Consider When Buying Food Storage Containers
If you’ve got a big family or like to do a lot of meal prep, you’ll know already just how much size matters. In order to get the most out of your food containers, you’ll need to get a few in various sizes- with a few extra to meet your own preferences, of course.
The best way to side-step the above issue regarding size is to invest in a set of food storage containers that come with multiple shapes and sizes. Not only will this make your kitchen and/or pantry look neater, but you’ll be able to sort your food into the right size without leaving yourself with too much space or having to throw any excess away.
The most versatile products in food storage are microwavable, dishwasher-safe and freezer-safe. While an increasing amount of these are coming onto the market, there’s still quite a few out there that aren’t suitable for dishwashers, can cause damage to your microwave or crack and break in the freezer. So, be sure to check the labels thoroughly, if you’re looking for a truly versatile container.
- Ease of use
It can be a real pain trying to get in to some containers- especially those that are considered air-tight! Look for airtight food containers that are easy to open and close, with an added lip over the side to help with grip, a push-button that acts as an airlock or click-down lids that are easy to pop back open. Of course, you’ll still want to keep a tight-fitting lid, preventing leakage, so don’t compromise on one for the other.
The best food containers are made from a long-lasting material, such as plastic or glass. Both of these are hardy enough to handle being shoved in a drawer or go through heat changes (such as when you’re reheating stored food in the microwave).
They also, ideally, would be suitable for multiple uses such as acting as a sandwich box for those light dinners at school or work, or simply to be able to meal prep your food and keep it to one side for a good, few days.
- Cleaning and storage
Since you’ll likely be using these a lot, it’s best to find a kitchen storage jar that is easy to clean- preferably being dishwasher-safe. Not only that, but it can be a pain to put your kitchen containers away, when not in use. So, try to look for those containers which are stackable, or generally easy-to-store. After all, there isn’t much point storing food in an attempt to neaten up your kitchen if the result is even messier than before.
While not an essential, there are definitely some benefits to grabbing containers that have a few extra features, such as easy-pour lid, or being oven-proof. Of course, extra features generally mean a rise in the price, so look at the convenience of these features vs the cost and decide what the best choice is, for you.
Benefits of Using Food Storage Containers
- Prevent food waste
The biggest and most obvious benefit of using quality storage containers is having the ability to prevent food waste in your household. Quite often, we know it works out cheaper to batch-cook large meals for multiple people- even if there’s only one of you. Because of this, there’s been an increase in the amount of food waste each household throws away, every year.
This doesn’t have to be the case and using a food storage container means you can cook large meals without throwing away food, every day. Instead, you can take a small container for work and have the rest there- or keep a larger meal in the freezer, ready for when you fancy it, next.
- Keep fresh food, for longer
If you’re into your meal prep, you may have already discovered the joy of food containers. Since we all know fresh food is good for you, we love to buy plenty- only for it to quickly turn your fridge into a salad graveyard. Using airtight storage containers puts a stop to this- or, at least, slows it down considerably- giving you time to eat fresh food before it withers and spoils.
- Save money and reduce the environmental impact
Rather than spending money every week on tin foil, clingfilm and disposable plastic bags and boxes, simply invest in good quality food containers. Not only will your food stay fresher, and you’ll be able to batch cook, you’ll be saving money too!
If that isn’t enough to convince you, just think about the good you’ll do the environment without all of that throwaway trash going in the bin, every week. It’s fair to say that getting yourself some food containers is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Glass Vs. Plastic Food Containers
While both materials can do a great job and have many crossovers, in terms of benefits, there will always be a personal preference when it comes to which is better- which is, essentially, down to the user. Below are some of the main benefits of each, to help you make up your mind as to which type better suits your household.
- Better for the environment
Not only is plastic more likely to end up in our oceans, but plastic production actually produces harmful toxins that are released into the atmosphere during production. Glass production doesn’t do this, it’s also more likely to have an improved longevity and the recycling of glass is cost-efficient, since glass doesn’t lose quality when it is remade into new items.
Generally, glass storage jars are much easier to clean and therefore can be better to have around the home- especially if you use these regularly for hot meals, which are more likely to cause stains in plastic containers.
- Doesn’t absorb smells
Plastic has a bad habit of absorbing the smells and flavors of any food that’s placed in them. Especially stronger smelling food or hot food. Since glass food storage containers are non-porous, they won’t stain or absorb smells and flavors, which makes them better for continuous use.
- Holds heat better
While plastic can sometimes warp in heat, glass will never have any issues with chemical leaching- or issues with transfer of chemicals from the container to the food.
- More versatile
Generally speaking, it’s more likely to come across glass containers that are microwavable and dishwasher-safe. You can even find glass containers that allow very high heat resistance, so you can cook stored food straight from the fridge to the oven.
Plastic food containers are considerably lighter than glass, and therefore are more versatile in how they can be used e.g. as a lunchbox at school or work.
If you drop glass, it’s almost guaranteed that it will break- but, if you drop plastic, all that will happen is you might lose your food to the dog.
Plastic is cheaper to produce than glass and this is usually shown in the price. It’s likely that you can get plastic for a fraction of the cost of a glass container.
- Better choice
While glass storage containers tend to be rather simple and come in limited sizes, plastic has a much better variety available to shoppers. From tiny cups to massive tubs, plastic will usually have a size to match whatever your needs may be.
Best Food Storage Containers FAQ
Q: What about BPA in plastic containers?
A: BPA is used in the manufacturing process of plastics, and there has been limited research as to how the possibly ingestion of BPA may affect humans. One study has suggested that BPA may mimic hormones and interfere with the endocrine system of glands, which release hormones around the body, for example- although there isn’t any definite science to back-up or refute this claim.
While the US is taking action to lower the risk of any exposure to BPA and have banned the use of it in baby bottles and similar items, it has also mentioned that there is no significant risk to adults. Naturally, of course, you might want to opt for BPA-free plastics, until such research has been carried out.
Q: Why is my tempered glassware spontaneously shattering?
A: The sad fact is, there’s no such thing as glass spontaneously shattering- even if you can’t see the cause. Like windshields, glass food storage containers usually shatter as a result of previous damage to the tub. This can include minor damage, such as a chip or nick which later develops into a full crack or thermal stresses such as extreme heat or cold- which is why it’s important to always ensure your food container is able to withstand the temperatures you’d like to place it (e.g. the oven or freezer).
There are also some cases where there has been a defect in the manufacturing process that created the glass containers for food. In these cases, it may be best to contact the company you bought the product from, to ensure there hasn’t been any recalls of your model and see if you can get a refund.
Q: Can I freeze my food storage container?
A: Unfortunately, not all storage containers have the required flexibility or durability to handle being put in the freezer. If you do try to pop these in the sub-zero temperatures they’ll likely crack, and your food will leak all over your freezer!
Luckily, the likelihood of you coming across these tubs is much less likely by the day, as the majority of manufacturers know that the extra features of their food storage containers can make or break a sale. Thus, more companies than ever have made it possible to do so and freezer storage containers are becoming increasingly popular on the market.
If you’re not sure whether your food containers can handle being placed in the fridge, check out the description online, or look for a watermark on the base of your kitchen storage container which will indicate whether or not it is safe to do so.
Q: How do I clean food storage containers?
A: For glass containers, the cleaning process is a little easier. As it simply requires a good soak with some soapy water- preferably overnight. Once the food comes away, scrub the inside, outside and lids with hot water and some dish soap- you can always repeat this step for particularly stubborn stains. Then rinse, dry and put away in a cool, dark space to avoid any nasty bacteria growing.
Plastic can be a little more complicated, as it likes to soak up colors and smells from food. If you need to get rid of the smell of the previous held food, dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water and give the sides a good scrub, ensuring the mixture reaches the entire surface. Allow this to soak for 30 minutes, then give it a rinse and wash as normal.
If you have some funky-looking colors in your plastic food storage container, try using a tablespoon of chlorine bleach with a cup of warm water (don’t forget to wear gloves!). Again, allow this to soak and then wash and rinse as normal.
In order to avoid these stains in the first place, try lightly spray the containers (you can do this with glass or plastic) with some oil or cooking spray before use. This will create a barrier between the food and your container- meaning smells and colors shouldn’t seep in!
Our Top Pick
Purchased by over 2,000 customers online, this 18-piece oven-safe set from GlassLock is easily the best food storage container on the market. Being both BPA-free (with a glass tub and plastic lid) and completely leakproof, these are amazing for almost any foodstuff you like to store- be it stews, salads, pasta or soups!
Available in a range of sizes, it’s easy to see how this investment can mean you never have to buy food containers ever again! It helps that they’re also oven-proof, which allows you take your food straight from the fridge to the oven- perfect for busy families!
- The Advantages & Disadvantages of Plastic Containers - Hunker
- How To Organize Food Storage Containers - HuffPost Life