Properly organized storage of various food items greatly helps to keep your kitchen cupboards as well as pantry and freezer shelves clutter-free and easy to navigate.
Having everything in place is key to using things up. It also makes it much easier to find what you are looking for and to create an efficient shopping list.
Your containers are prone to wear out over time, thus you might want to look for those that are built to last, which means durable materials and lids.
We have reviewed some of the best food storage containers to make your choice easier.
Best Food Storage Container Reviews
1. Rubbermaid 2065352 Food Storage Containers
This is a well-designed set of plastic food storage containers from a popular brand. We’re listing this as a 21-piece set with 21 containers and 21 lids, instead of the manufacturer’s listing of all 42 pieces.
This inexpensive plastic set with bright red lids is entirely BPA-free. It offers a good range of container sizes from 0.5 to 7 cups.
What's to like about the Rubbermaid 2065352 Food Storage Containers
Definitely a great value for money. While this set of containers doesn’t seem to be designed for heavy-duty tasks, and according to many people, it shouldn’t be used in microwaves or dishwashers, it might still be useful, such as for storing dry ingredients. These cleverly designed containers snap together nicely, and one lid can fit multiple bases, which is another plus. Last but not least, the all BPA-free plastic makes it a safe choice for your family.
What's not to like about the Rubbermaid 2065352 Food Storage Containers
The lids weren’t very durable. They tend to crack after several months of washing in the dishwasher, which can also cause the lids to shrink and compromise their fit. Thus, you should consider cleaning them by hand instead. Either that or you could skip the heat dry cycle. Rubbermaid doesn’t sell replacement lids for these containers.
2. 1790 Glass Food Storage Containers
This high heat-resistant set of glass food storage containers are also FDA approved.
The 1790 glass food storage containers are made of borosilicate glass for easy heating and durability. The containers are heat resistant up to 450°F. The lids are made of 100% BPA-free plastic.
What's to like about the 1790 Glass Food Storage Containers
The glass material and high heat resistance make these containers suitable for quick and convenient food prep as you don’t need to transfer your food into other kitchen dishes to heat it up.
It is also easy to thoroughly sterilize them and the stain and odor resistance makes this set superior to most plastic containers. When handled properly, they will last for a long time. This product is covered by a money-back guarantee which makes it a risk-free purchase.
What's not to like about the 1790 Glass Food Storage Containers]
You need to be careful when handling this kind of containers as the glass may chip if handled roughly. Fitting and closing the lids don’t seem like the easiest thing to do, either.
Closing one or two of the tabs isn’t an issue but having all four snapped down at the same time might be challenging unless you line up the lid well first. The relatively shallow design of these food containers makes them unsuitable for certain types of items.
3. Fullstar Plastic Food Storage Containers
This is an inexpensive set of good-quality plastic food storage containers manufactured by a Chinese company.
While Fullstar may not be the most recognizable brand, these containers seem solid. The BPA-free plastic and FDA approval, together with a well-designed locking system, make this set worth its price.
What's to like about the Fullstar Plastic Food Storage Containers
The leakproof locking lids allow for safe storage and transport of any kind of food including liquids. These plastic food containers seem to be doing the job well but need to be handled with care to make them last for a while.
The design is decent, and they are easy to wash. The plastic used is BPA-free and these containers also have FDA approval, which makes them safe in your kitchen.
What's not to like about the Fullstar Plastic Food Storage Containers
There are issues with the locking lids as they seem to wear out fairly quickly, but your results may vary depending on the usage. Also, keep in mind that the lids are not microwave safe and washing these containers in the dishwasher isn’t recommended as it will cause the plastic to break easily.
You may also get some staining with these but that’s the usual case with most clear plastic containers.
4. Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
Stylish and premium borosilicate glass containers by Prep Naturals.
The two-compartment design makes it easy to organize your meals, stick to your diet plan, and eat healthier. It is also perfect for storing leftovers. The borosilicate glass (which you may recognize under the brand Pyrex) is thick, and thus these containers are quite heavy and very strong. However, the lids are not microwave, oven, or dishwasher safe.
What's to like about the Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
Divided container design is a great feature when you need to store various leftovers, or quickly heat your food up without mixing it. Also, the steam opening built into the lids is a great idea. The lids aren’t easiest to snap on but they fit securely and are leak-proof.
The plastic lids are BPA-free which means they are safe for food storage over an extended time. These containers can also be used for baking/cooking in the oven. They are covered by the seller’s satisfaction guarantee – if you don’t like them, you can send them back for a full refund.
What's not to like about the Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
The two compartments aren’t fully separated – liquids might flow between the two sections if the container is tilted. Heat drying the lids may warp them, so may heating them at high heat over greasy food in the microwave.
5. Elacra Glass Food Storage Containers
Well-designed food storage containers made of premium borosilicate glass.
The manufacturer of these containers claims that it is made of quality borosilicate glass, which won’t crack or chip easily. The snap-on lids are easy to use and BPA-free.
What's to like about the Elacra Glass Food Storage Containers
Being made of borosilicate glass, they are heat-resistant and as such, can be used for warming up your food in the oven or microwave (without lids). They look and feel heavy and premium. The sturdy lids snap on easily and tightly. These containers are very easy to clean and the manufacturer offers free returns or replacements within 30 days.
What's not to like about the Elacra Glass Food Storage Containers
There are issues with the silicone seals that tend to fall off or become misshapen quite easily. There is also a risk of chipping; thus you need to handle these containers with care. The lids aren’t safe for use in the oven. Each lid only fits one specific container. Also, the containers tend to slide off each other when you attempt to stack them.
When shopping for the best food storage containers, you should take a few things into consideration before making that final decision. You will definitely want to pay attention to the container materials, shape, size, lids, and stackability.
There are so many options to look into when buying your food storage containers set. We hope that our brief buyer’s guide will make it easier for you, once you know what to look for and what to avoid. You’ll also find an FAQ section at the end. Keep reading to find out more.
The two most popular materials for food storage containers are glass and translucent plastic.
The overwhelming type of glass material is borosilicate glass. Glass is silica, and borosilicate glass also contains boron trioxide in the silica when forming the glass. In fact, you may know borosilicate glass by the trade name Pyrex, which Corning started making in 1915.
The addition of boron significantly lowers the thermal expansion coefficient of the glass. This is why Pyrex quickly took over as the material of choice for glass containers used in chemistry labs.
Borosilicate glass food containers are high heat-resistant and you can directly heat up your food in such a container in the oven, microwave, etc. They are stain and odor-resistant, too. Also, they are very easy to clean.
The downside of glass containers is that they may chip relatively easily so you need to take special care when using those. They are heavy also, which makes them harder
- Stain- and odor-resistant
- High heat resistance
- Very easy to clean
- Much heavier than plastic ones
- Chipping may occur when handled incorrectly
Speaking of plastic containers, you should know that they may become stained by the food, especially if you heat the plastic container in the microwave and it contains things with tomato sauce, curry, etc. They also aren’t quite odor resistant. Another downside would be their durability – they may become grainy or just wear out easily. And obviously, you cannot use them in the oven either.
They are light though, and easy to carry and stack. Good quality plastic food containers are FDA approved and made of a healthier, BPA-free plastic which is another important aspect that you’d want to look for.
- Low cost
- Very light and easy to carry
- Drop resistant
- Acidic foods items may stain them
- May absorb strong flavors and odors
- Degrade over time
- May leach chemicals
Your choice here solely depends on the type of food items that you are going to store or prep. Plastic containers might be a great choice for dry ingredients, while pickles, soups, and jams are generally best handled using glass containers.
Food containers consist of a base and a lid that ensures that your food remains fresh until ready to use. A quality closure system should be both easy to operate and leak-proof. Some food storage containers come with snap-on lids with silicone gaskets for an airtight fit and spill resistance.
Note that it’s very difficult to make something completely airtight – so if you put a hygrometer in a supposedly airtight container, it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to pick up some moisture after a period of time. However, it’s much easier to make something spill proof.
A stackable design allows for easy and safe stacking with other containers of the same type or brand to save space in your fridge or on a kitchen counter. And nesting allows you to nest containers easily when they are not in use.
Shapes and Sizes
Food storage containers are available in a variety of shapes like round, rectangular, or square, and they come in a wide range of sizes too. The shapes and sizes you will need depends greatly on their primary uses. Luckily, the sets we reviewed here come in a convenient mix of sizes and shapes.
When buying a plastic food storage container, or generally any food-related plastic item, you should make sure that it’s a BPA-free product. It means that a particular container has passed specific FDA’s guidelines so certain dangerous chemicals like bisphenol-A and phthalates aren’t present in the plastic.
But do you know why the plastic shouldn’t contain BPA and other harmful chemicals?
That’s because plastic containers have been shown to leach chemical molecules into hot liquids. There are also studies showing that it doesn’t even have to be hot liquid. If you store liquid in the fridge for weeks, the plastic might leach chemicals into the content as well. That’s why you don’t want the plastic to contain BPA, which is suspected to be carcinogenic.
There’s a concern over plastic containers because who knows what other chemicals can leach into the food or drinks. These chemicals may not be as stigmatized as BPA right now, but at any moment, they may be found to be harmful. That’s why many people are switching from plastic, BPA-free or otherwise, to glass containers.
Best Food Storage Containers FAQ
How to organize food storage containers
The best food storage containers are designed to allow stacking – they can be stacked safely on top of each other without risk of sliding off. This means that you can organize them efficiently in your fridge, cupboard, or on a shelf so they don’t take up a whole lot of space. When stacking, make sure that the heaviest ones are always placed at the bottom. Same rule goes for liquid-filled containers.
Another great tip to remember is to line plastic food storage containers with aluminum foil, wax paper, or parchment before adding food items to them. That’s the easiest way to keep them from getting stained. One thing to keep in mind is to avoid packing tomato products like sauce over tinfoil; the acidity of some tomatoes may cause them to react with metal and create an unpleasant flavor.
How to store plastic containers
You could use a plate rack to stack the lids vertically, while the bases can easily be nested on a shelf. Storing the containers in under-the-shelf storage basket can also work. You could just as well keep them in a standard kitchen drawer and use regular book bins as dividers.
Another great hack is to add a pegboard to your slide-out cabinet inserts to keep your containers tidy. If you decide to store them with the lid on, always make sure not to seal them to allow for optimal air circulation.
Do plastic food storage containers need to be washed before use?
Yes. You should always wash new food storage containers just to be safe. Sometimes they can be dusty and you also want to wash off any chemicals that might have been used during the manufacture, finish process, packaging, etc. as they most likely aren’t sterilized.
And it doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to prepare your containers for the first food storage. Pouring hot water over them (avoid boiling water) and using a dishwashing soap (an antibacterial would work best) to gently clean them with a soft sponge is all you need to do. After that, leave them to dry.
How many food storage containers do I need for meal prep?
When meal prepping, which is essentially all about creating a few dishes and portioning them out, it is mostly about figuring out how many meals you need. Simply try to imagine how many lunches, dinners, snacks, breakfasts, or suppers you might need throughout a given period of time, e.g. for the week.
It will take a little trial and error and your results may vary depending on the kind of food items you typically prepare, your family size, personal food preferences, how many meals you prep per week, etc. You will most likely want to store not just basic dry ingredients but also some leftovers, soups, sauces, oats, lunches, peanut butter, etc.
Thus, having a good number of food storage containers handy, like 10 or even 15 of them of various sizes for a start, may be a good idea.
Do plastic storage containers keep roaches out of food?
Yes. Plastic food storage containers that feature a quality closure system will be tight enough to keep bugs out, even if it’s not truly airtight. In fact, some tension lids with multiple snap points can keep the smell of your food items inside the containers and prevent it from luring bugs in the first place.
How do you remove stains from plastic food storage containers?
You can clean most stains, such as those of tea, coffee, tomato sauce/juice, curry, etc., with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Simply squirt some isopropyl alcohol or your favorite hand sanitizer into the container and rub the stained plastic surface. Make sure to wash and rinse after, before leaving it to dry.
Baking soda will also work – just add water to make a paste and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Then wash, rinse, and let dry. Salt is also known to remove stains and discoloration – all you need to do is rub it away with salt, damp cloth, and warm water.
Can I still use my plastic food storage containers when they get moldy?
Plastic containers may get moldy if they are left with some food leftovers inside long enough, especially if they’re not refrigerated. Usually, a good wash will remove most of that, but you should disinfect the container as well because some species of mold can be very unhealthy or even toxic.
Leaving the affected plastic box to soak in a bleach (unscented) and water solution for 30 minutes will do the job. We suggest using no more than 50-55ml of bleach for every 1 liter of water. Make sure to thoroughly wash and rinse them after soaking.
What is the best method for cleaning plastic food containers?
The best way is to use hot, soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge. Rinse with clean water afterward and allow to dry with the lid off. Alternatively, you could possibly toss them in your dishwasher but first, you need to make sure that your plastic boxes and lids are dishwasher-safe.
If you’re afraid that the plastic may start to break or warp, set the dishwasher to a non-heat cycle (i.e. without heat drying).
A great rule of a thumb is to always clean your food containers as soon as you possibly can. That will minimize the risks of staining or catching food odors.
The food storage container sets reviewed in our article are well-designed and made of quality materials. Finding the best all-rounder seems impossible due to the very different designs, number of containers in the set, and material used.
You may prefer plastic ones because they are lighter and more affordable, or you can decide on borosilicate glass containers because you really care about durability, or if you simply prefer glass over plastic.
In the case of plastic containers – make sure that they are all made from BPA-free material, which also applies to all the plastic lids of glass boxes. All 5 sets in this review pass safety measure as far as your health is considered.