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Published Aug. 23, 2021

Food storage containers—if chosen carefully—can extend the life of a restaurant meal, keep food from spoiling, and bring your lunch to the office. They’re also great for weekly meal prep if you’re trying to kick your delivery habit. Picking the best food storage containers can be tricky thanks to a glut of options. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes: rectangular boxes, circular bowls, and even bento boxes for entire meals. You can also choose from glass, plastic, or even metal containers. Some work better for hot versus cold meals, and others are not ideal travel companions. Choose the wrong one and you could end up with a backpack full of spaghetti and lunch from the vending machine. Here’s how you can pick the best food containers for your pantry, refrigerator, or lunchbox.

How We Picked the Best Food Storage Containers 

We considered dozens of models and evaluated each based on price, versatility, durability, and expert reviews. The best food containers shouldn’t leak, and their material should be best suited for the food you’re storing. For example, a glass container is great for liquids like soup because it won’t stain as easily as plastic, and it can be heated up directly in the microwave. Plastic containers, on the other hand, are easier to transport to work and weigh less so they’re easier to tote. We also considered the variety within each set. Because even the best containers won’t get much use if they can’t handle your culinary creations. 

Best Food Storage Containers:

Best overall: Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers 

Classic Collection

This collection from this enduring brand contains bowls and boxes in multiple sizes for everyday use. Pyrex

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Specs:

  • 18 pieces
  • Glass containers
  • Freezer-, microwave-, and top-rack dishwasher-safe.

Why it made the cut: This durable glass set can fulfill the needs of an entire household thanks to its smart variety.

ProsCons
Range of shapes and sizesPlastic lids are not microwave-safe
Dishwasher-safeNot stackable
Durable material
Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers 

Pyrex offered the first temperature-resistant glassware to consumers more than 100 years ago. The brand has become a household staple over the decades. 

This set includes one 1-cup round container, one 6-cup rectangular container, one 7-cup round container, two 2-cup round containers, two 4-cup round containers, and two 3-cup rectangular containers, along with lids.. Pyrex utilizes a material called borosilicate glass for its containers. That makes them durable enough to withstand microwave and top-shelf dishwasher use. The material is nonporous, meaning it’s stain-resistant and won’t absorb smells or flavors. 

Each container gets its own plastic lid, which fits securely onto the vessel’s opening to create an airtight seal. They’re also freezer-, microwave-, and top-rack dishwasher-safe. The containers’ storage capacities range from one cup to seven cups, so you can have enough dishware to meal prep for the week.

Best value: Rubbermaid Easy Find Vented Lids Food Storage

Easy to Use and Store

This variety pack is made with non-toxic plastic and offers holders in two different sizes. Rubbermaid

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Specs:

  • 16-piece set (four 3-cup containers and four 5-cup containers, lids included)
  • Plastic
  • Freezer-, top-rack dishwasher, and microwave-safe

Why it made the cut: These containers stack neatly for easy storage with minimal cabinet space. 

ProsCons
Splatter-free lidStains easily
Two size optionsVent makes the lid more difficult to clean
Durable material
Rubbermaid Easy Find Vented Lids Food Storage

This set of eight rectangular containers is both affordable and functional. The BPA-free plastic can be used in the microwave, freezer, and top rack of the dishwasher. The entire set weighs just over five ounces, making each container considerably lighter than a glass dish with the same capacity.

Each of the 3-cup and 5-cup containers comes with a vented lid to reduce pressure and prevent your food from exploding all over your microwave. They’re also easy to store, as the containers can be stacked together vertically so they only occupy the size of one 5-cup container’s footprint.

Best food containers for meal prepping: C Crest 5 Pack Glass Meal-Prep Containers

Bento Design

These stackable dishes come with three sections and leakproof tops. C Crest

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Specs:

  • 5-container set
  • Glass
  • Microwave-, oven-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe

Why it made the cut: These sturdy glass containers have compartments for every part of your meal. 

ProsCons
Meal prep-friendlyA bit heavy
Leak-proofLids should be cleaned separately
Easy to clean
C Crest 5 Pack Glass Meal-Prep Containers

These bento box-style containers keep your pre-prepared meals ready to eat all day. The larger compartment of each box can be used for an entree, while the two smaller sections can be used for sides. The design will help prevent your grapes from getting covered in salad dressing when the container gets knocked around in your bag. 

The containers themselves can be used in the microwave, oven, and freezer making them convenient to bring outside the house. While the lids are not microwave-, oven-, or dishwasher-safe, they have silicone seals to prevent leaks. Plus, the snap-locks further prevent spills.

They’re also easy to clean when you’re done eating. The lids’ silicone seals are simple to remove for detailed scrubbing, and the glass box is dishwasher-safe.

Best glass food containers: FineDine 24-Piece Superior Glass Food Storage Containers Set

Airtight Seal

A dozen pieces of dishware with varying shapes and sizes. FineDine

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Specs:

  • 24-piece set 
  • Glass containers
  • Containers are dishwasher-, freezer-, and oven-safe

Why it made the cut: With a dozen containers in nine different sizes, this is the most versatile pick on our list. 

ProsCons
Variety of sizesContainer may get hot in the microwave
Safe to transfer directly between freezer and ovenLids are not dishwasher-safe
Hinged locks
FineDine 24-Piece Superior Glass Food Sto

Got a big family? This glass set has plenty of options. You get two 12-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, one 35-ounce, two 11-ounce, one 17.5-ounce, one 27-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, one 32-ounce, and two 13.5-ounce containers, and lids for all of them. The transparent borosilicate glass allows for rapid temperature changes without damaging the containers themselves. The glass material also prevents staining and lingering odors.

The varying sizes in this FineDine set mean you’ll have a container for every need. (Thanksgiving leftovers, anyone?) The leakproof lids use a hinged locking system and rubber gasket to stay sealed and avoid spills. They’re also stackable for easy cupboard storage. 

This is one of our favorite glass sets because of its ability to adapt to multiple needs, whether you need something small to bring for a post-workout meal or a large container for a dinner party. Its locking lids take away any stress of potential mess. Plus, it’s available in two colors: gray and blue.

Best plastic food containers: OXO Good Grips Smart Seal Leakproof Plastic Food Storage Container Set

Silicone Seal Prevents Leaks

This collection was designed to avoid spills and be convenient to carry. OXO

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Specs:

  • 16-piece set 
  • Plastic
  • Microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe

Why it made the cut: This set is convenient and compact. Containers can be stacked inside each other, and lids feature four locking tabs.

ProsCons
Locking lidsNot oven-safe
Interchangeable lidsPlastic may stain
Compact storage
OXO Good Grips Smart Seal Leakproof Plastic Food Storage Container Set

This set has one of the widest ranges of sizes on our list. From 5.7-ounce containers that can handle some grapes to a 49.6-ounce container that can hold an entire salad, OXO’s plastic storage containers have you covered. 

On a practical level, these are designed to avoid leaks. The four locking tabs on each lid secure it in place against the containers, and a silicone seal helps further lock in food and liquids. Plus, if you have OXO’s glass containers, you can use the plastic lids from this set on the same-sized containers in the glass collection. 

We’re a fan of these containers because they are easy to clean, store, and transport. And, if you need more, you can pick up the 20-piece, 28-piece, or 30-piece set.

Best portable food storage container: Porzu Bento Lunch Box

All-in-One

The case comes with a fork and spoon so you’re always prepared. Porzu

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Specs:

  • Four-piece set (one 1400 milliliter bento box, one fork, one spoon, and one carrying bag)
  • Plastic
  • Microwave-, dishwasher-, and freezer-safe 

Why it made the cut: This set comes with everything you need to take it out for the day—utensils, a three-compartment box, and a bag. It’s sturdy and lightweight (and, honestly, it’s really cute). 

ProsCons
Includes everything you need for a mealMultiple parts are not dishwasher- or microwave-safe
Durable and shockproof boxOnly one box
Three colors available
Porzu Bento Lunch Box

If you just need a single container to bring your lunch to and from work, this may be the only one you need. Porzu’s 5.5-inch by 8.3-inch bento box has three compartments: one sizable enough for a main dish, and two for sides. The inner tray is removable, so you can have a box with just one big compartment if you want. And, the spoon and fork fit neatly inside the lid.

While the outer tray, cutlery, and lid are not dishwasher- or microwave-friendly, the compartmentalized tray can be easily heated up and washed. An elastic ring and snap-on lid keep food secure and prevent mess. It’s also lightweight enough that you can put the entire box in your bag if you don’t want to carry the provided bag in addition to the rest of your belongings.

Things to consider when buying food storage containers

What are you eating?

The food you store will affect the material you need for your containers. For example, if you’ll be storing liquids like soup or messier food like casseroles, a glass container will be the better option, as it doesn’t retain smells or stains. You’ll also likely be able to easily microwave the container, making it better for hot meals. On the other hand, plastic containers are great for cold or dry meals, like sandwiches and chips. They’re also lighter than glass containers, making them easier to transport on the go. 

Do you need a set?

Some people only need one or two containers for sporadic use, but if you know you’ll use a food container on a daily basis, it’s better to look for a set. When selecting one, we recommend looking for those that offer varying sizes and shapes so you can cater to as many of your household’s needs as possible. It’s also useful to find a set that can be stacked together when not in use so you can maximize your cabinet space. 

Key features to look for

Lids that lock will help prevent spills, and those with rubber seals help further prevent leakage. In addition, having a food container that can be washed in the dishwasher also helps ensure you can use it as often as possible—after all, hand washing them every day can add up to an annoying chore. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best container for food?

The best container for food will prevent spills and keep your meal safe. In short, it should fit into your life seamlessly. Whether you choose glass or plastic will depend on what you plan to store (when in doubt, go for glass). If you’re paranoid about leakage, look for containers with secure snap-on lids.

Q: Are plastic food containers safe?

At the least, your container should be BPA-free. From there, you can look for those that can be used with multiple kitchen appliances (for example, the freezer and/or microwave). If you’re just going to store dry food, you should be safe with a plastic container.

Q: What food container is suitable for transporting food?

Containers with secure lids can be safely transported, but if you’re looking to make a trek just a little easier, we suggest using plastic or paper containers, as they’re more lightweight than glass. Plastic containers are even better, as they often have locking lids that keep your food from spilling out.

Final thoughts

There’s more to a food container than meets the eye. Our favorite set is the Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers because it can cater to a number of needs for either a single or multi-person household. It’s stain-resistant, comes in multiple sizes, and can be easily stored, making your meals one less thing to worry about.

Related: Best Storage Bins

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