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Whether you're looking for uniformity or something decorative, transferring dry goods from grocery packaging to airtight containers is not only a great way to organize the kitchen, but also helps ward off unwanted pests while maintaining the freshness of the product.
To help you figure out which dry food storage containers are right for your needs, we tested them side-by-side and evaluated each on its design, performance, capacity, durability, cleaning, and overall value. Each was filled with various food items, including brown sugar, flour, and corn flakes (and even water to test the integrity of the seal) to make sure these dry food storage containers are truly the best.
Here are the best dry storage containers for all your pantry needs, according to our tests.
Best Overall: Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers
Easy to scoop and pour from
May need additional pieces beyond set
Lid may be difficult to clean
What do buyers say? 90% of 15,300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
When organizing your pantry is the end goal, a variety of container sizes and compatibility are vital. The design of Rubbermaid Brilliance containers—available individually or as a set—offers a stackable line with airtight lids that latch in place, and each has a slight rim that keeps the containers secure when stacked.
Our tester particularly appreciated the line's sturdy plastic construction, which is also odor- and stain-resistant, meaning storing something more potent won't come back to haunt you weeks later. The Lab even tested the container with a potent onion and tomato mixture and found that it remained clean and without a smell. Whether you use them for flour, snacks, or cereal, scooping and pouring are easy thanks to the design. These Rubbermaid Brilliance containers are even safe to store in the freezer.
When we tested this in our Lab, another tester highlight that the small lip helps you open the lid more easily when sealed. It contributes to the clean attractive design of the container. This dishwasher-safe line comes in nine sizes with three interchangeable lids, but sets often need to be augmented with additional specialized containers to complete a pantry.
Material: BPA-free plastic | What's Included: 19.9-cup, 16-cup, 12-cup, 8.1-cup, 7.8-cup, 6.6-cup, 3.2-cup, and 1.3-cup containers with lids; (2) 0.5-cup mini containers with lids
"The lid’s airtight seal is part of what makes these storage containers so useful. You can actually hear the air escaping when you open them." — Linnea Covington, Product Tester
Best Small Set: OXO Good Grips 8-Piece POP Container Set
Doesn't stain or collect odors
Seals tight when flipped over
Easy to sanitize
Gasket on lid may be difficult to clean
In the realm of kitchen utensils, Oxo has a reputation for quality, affordable products. It's a go-to brand for peelers, can openers, turkey basters, and so much more. Oxo recently redesigned its beloved Pop Containers to improve upon the seal and stackability with a new button design that ensures an airtight closure when pushed. To test this, our expert filled the container halfway with water and shook it over a sink. It initially leaked a little when first turned over, but ceased pretty quickly, so the seal is quite tight.
Our lab testers appreciated the neat counter-worthy look of this set and all the containers' sizes and uses. They also reported that there was no staining from the tomatoes or onions. The set comes with convenient accessories, like scoops that attach to the underside of the lids. Say goodbye to digging through your canister for a measuring cup or having cumbersome parts to disassemble and clean by hand, since each cleans up well if placed in the top rack of a dishwasher. The lids also do not need to be taken apart to properly sanitize—another major bonus.
These containers also have handy fill lines for measurement and are made from sturdy BPA-free plastic. The set includes five containers in varying sizes, five matching lids, two scoops, and a brown sugar saver. The only thing to be careful of when pouring cereal or snacks into a bowl is to do so slowly to avoid major spills since the top needs to be completely taken off an individual container to get what's inside out. Also, note that the containers did not pass the shatter test in our Lab—when pushed onto the floor from the counter, they completely popped open and contents spilled everywhere.
Material: BPA-free plastic | What's Included: (2) 0.4-quart, (1) 1.1-quart, and (2) 4.4-quart containers; (2) 0.5-cup scoops; (1) brown sugar saver
"These are very easy to open and close. The lid doesn't catch or stick at all to the sides of the container, and the top knob, which also doubles as a lock, is also easy to grasp and push in and out." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
Best for Flour: Progressive ProKeeper 4-Quart Flour Container
Designed for flour leveling and measuring
Lid clicks when it's sealed and secure
Attached label may be difficult to remove
Flour is one of those dry goods that benefit from a storage container; in addition to keeping out the bugs, the right vessel will make scooping and leveling easier. ProKeeper incorporates practical accessories, like the detachable leveler on this model, which helps make measurements exact and mess-free. Adding to its functionality are the cup measure marks on the side of the container, so you always know whether you have enough for a recipe or need to head to the grocery store.
There's much to love about the ProKeeper container, including its capacity. It comfortably stores up to 5 pounds of flour, and the easy-open lid is airtight. If you are a baker with many different types of flour in your pantry, you will appreciate the stackable design from a space-saving perspective.
Our tester particularly appreciated that the container continued to open and close as expected after regular use. However, it is important to ensure the notch fully clicks into place when closing because that is a clear indication the lid is completely sealed and secure. To make sure it was airtight, we filled the container halfway with water and shook it. Not a single drop escaped.
A variety of dry measuring cups will fit inside this container without difficulty, and there is an included lever which can be inserted just below the top of the container to level off scoops before removing from the container. This product is safe to store in the freezer, and it is dishwasher safe, too.
Material: BPA-free plastic, silicone seal, stainless steel hinges | What's Included: (1) 4-quart container with lid
"It is easy to pour from this container. However, if filled all the way to the top, I would recommend pouring slowly, as there is not a smaller hole in the lid. To get anything out, the whole top has to be removed." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
Best for Cereal: PrepWorks by Progressive Large Cereal Keeper, 4.5 Quart
Slim design for easy storage
Pour spout for mess-free dispensing
Comfortable to hold while pouring cereal
Lid does not detach
Product-specific design wins again with Progressive’s 4.5-quart cereal dispenser. It has a spout for easy pouring and holds a family-size box of cereal. The container is made of food-safe, BPA-free plastic and boasts an airtight silicone seal to ensure freshness. Like other Progressive products, this one is designed for vertical storage to optimize space in your pantry, and it is dishwasher safe.
Our product tester noted that the container was very easy to fill thanks to the wide opening. The top has an uber-tight seal, though, so she recommends washing by hand periodically to properly clean between the groves of the lid. The rest of the container can be regularly sanitized in the dishwasher. If you have varying palates at home, these containers are slim enough to stock a couple of different types of cereal comfortably, and the design makes spill-free pouring a cinch.
Our Lab also conducted a test storing an onion and tomato mixture in this container and found that there were no streaks on the plastic and detected only a faint aroma of onion. Design-wise, our tester highlighted the comfort of having an ergonomic spot for the hands with this container. She also appreciated that there were two different openings, one to fill the container and another to pour out the cereal.
Material: Plastic, silicone seal | What's Included: (1) 4.5-quart container with lid
"A dry measuring cup fits inside without difficulty, although one end of the container does narrow toward the bottom, so any flour on that side will need to be shaken out to the other in order to reach it." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
Best for Spices: Libbey Vibe Mini Glass Jars with Lids
Seals tight but easy to open
Does not come with labels
Spice drawers are notoriously disorganized—unless one is perusing Instagram posts created by interior designers—but a well-stocked home cook can also pull off a pro décor look in the kitchen with these mini Libbey jars. The versatility of this set equally matches how aesthetically pleasing they’ll look lined up in a pantry or on a shelf.
Each jar features a wide mouth to accommodate various measuring spoons. They’re food-safe, and the lids are BPA-free, designed with optimal freshness in mind. Spices can lose their potency when exposed to air, so having airtight storage at the ready is doubly important, and our home tester loved how well these little jars sealed—especially since they are so easy to open, too. Whether grinding your own spices, buying in bulk, or purchasing from a grocer, these containers provide a chic, uniform, and tight seal for a plethora of herbs and seasonings.
Material: Glass | What's Included: (12) 4.5-ounce jars with lids
"I would recommend cleaning the lids by hand more often than not just to be sure the rubber rings actually get completely clean. The base of the jars can be washed by hand or placed in the top rack of a dishwasher." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
Best for Brown Sugar: Progressive Prep Solutions Brown Sugar Keeper
Easily cleaned lids
Generous storage capacity
Terracotta disk must be soaked weekly
Brown sugar offers unique challenges when storing. It has more liquid than white sugar, is slightly less sweet, and has more minerals because of the addition of molasses. The dark syrup causes it to harden faster than white sugar as the liquid evaporates. There are tricks to soften it, but finding the right container is proactive.
This BPA-free canister can hold 2 pounds of brown sugar and has a strong seal (although our tester did note that it leaked a little from one side of the container after filling it with water and giving it a couple of shakes). From a functionality standpoint, it is a clear standout when compared to other storage options thanks to the removable terracotta disk that comes attached to the underside of the lid. A quick soak in water will lock moisture in the disk, which helps prevent the sugar from drying out or forming hard clumps inside of the container.
Our product tester suggests occasionally hand washing to clean between the groves of the lid. The rest of the container can go in the dishwasher.
Material: Plastic, silicone seal, stainless steel hinges | What's Included: (1) 1.5-quart container with hinged lid
"A dry measuring cup fits inside without difficulty going in or being taken out. However, there isn't much room to do a sweep off the top of the measuring cup while inside the container if it's filled more than halfway." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
Best Glass: Le'raze Glass Kitchen Canisters with Airtight Bamboo Lid
Wide enough to fit measuring spoons
Set with varying sizes
Pieces sold individually and as a set
Lids must be washed by hand
These glass containers are made of lead-free borosilicate glass with a tight-fitting bamboo lid. The set includes five containers of varying sizes, with capacities ranging from 16 to 54 ounces, and while the mouth doesn't particularly accommodate measuring cups for scooping flour and similar ingredients, our tester said dry measuring spoons can easily fit inside. Use them to store things like dried pasta, nuts, candy, oatmeal, popcorn kernels, coffee beans, and more.
Lab testers remarked how the containers stayed fresh even after the tomato-onion stain and smell test. Although the lids are meant to be hand-washed, our testers found that they endured just fine through a run in the dishwasher.
If you don't need all five, don't worry. A few of the sizes can be purchased as a set of three or individually. Another major advantage is the sleek style, allowing this practical set to do double duty as dry food storage and decorative kitchen elements. Be mindful that the fragility of the glass makes them moderately heat- and cold-resistant, but the lids must be washed by hand as only the bodies should be placed in the dishwasher.
Material: Lead-free borosilicate glass, bamboo wood lid | What's Included: 6.75-cup, 5-cup, 3.7-cup, 2.8-cup, and 2-cup containers with lids
"These containers can hold liquids. However, I wouldn't recommend having liquids inside for too long because the lids are not supposed to be wet for a prolonged period of time." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
Best Ceramic: Kaloh Stoneware Kitchen Canisters w/ Wood Tops
Holds full bags of pantry staples
Sold individually or as a set
If minimalist style is the kitchen vibe you’re looking to cultivate, a Kaloh Stoneware Kitchen Canister from West Elm is an ideal choice. Glazed stoneware is paired with a maple lid, which adds an elegant touch to any dining nook or countertop. The designer, Aaron Probyn, is passionate about sustainability and creating products with longevity to aid in combating reliance on disposable items.
These canisters come in four colors and can be purchased individually or as a set. Although the lid is not airtight, the ceramic base will retain moisture better inside than most plastic alternatives, making this home good a solid investment if looking to primarily use it to maintain the freshness of flour and other dry baking goods usually purchased in large or bulk quantities.
According to our tester, a 1-cup dry measuring cup can easily reach all the way to the bottom of the large, 114-ounce container. The wide opening at the top (and the equally wide shape of the rest of its base) make scooping and sweeping easy to execute. This container is meant to be washed only by hand with warm, soapy water and a nonabrasive cloth or sponge to avoid scratching.
Material: Stoneware with maple wood lids | What's Included: Sold individually or as a set of 3, 4, or 5 (12-ounce, 44-ounce, 65-ounce, 114-ounce, and 194-ounce canisters with lids)
"The most important thing when opening and closing this container is making sure it is sitting on a stable surface. The lid comes on and off smoothly, however the size of the base can make it challenging to grip if attempting to maneuver the lid at the same time." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
Best for Snacks: iDesign + The Spruce 14 x 6-inch Plastic Multi-Use Insert Drawer Organizer
Dividers for keeping snacks separated
Integrated handles for easy transport
Not suitable for loose foods
While this isn't an appropriate receptacle for loose foods like unpackaged cereal, pretzels, or pasta, it is a superb crate for individually packaged items, such as snack packs, protein bars, fruit cups, and more. The 14 x 6 x 8-inch durable plastic bin (which also comes in a smaller, 12 x 8 x 8-inch model) is a space-saving tool for the inside of cupboards and refrigerators.
Our home tester appreciated that the compact size made it easy to slide in and out of a variety of spaces, like overhead cabinets and built-in lazy Susans. Three other wonderful design elements include the removable dividers (which keep munchies separated and upright) and integrated handles, along with the see-through sides, which provide an unobstructed view of the goodies inside. If you wanted to, you could even place this container in your fridge. When it comes to cleaning, all it takes is a simple wipe-down with soap and warm water.
Material: Durable plastic | What's Included: (1) 14 x 6 x 8-inch bin with (2) removable dividers
"Individual instant oatmeal packs or single-serve cereal cups could be placed inside of this to help achieve a more organized or aesthetically pleasing pantry." — Rachel Werner, Product Tester
How We Tested
We sent dry food storage containers to our product testers, who used them to store brown sugar, flour, cornflakes, and more. We even had them add water to test the integrity of the seals. The containers were also used in our Testing Lab, going through hours of different tests, including a Brown Sugar, Smell/Stain, and Shatter/Spill test. Each container was rated on its performance, capacity, ease of cleaning, and design.
What to Look for in Dry Food Storage Containers
Transferring sacks of flour and sugar to containers is not just about organization. It also adds to the longevity of the product and keeps pests like pantry moths out. The less contact dry goods have with air, the fresher they'll be, which is why it's important to purchase containers featuring an airtight seal. Sugar won't harden, cereal won't go stale, and all pantry products will maintain freshness.
“For baked goods, [storage] all depends on the item,” says Chef Martin Diez, Director of Chef Services Americas at Barry Callebaut. “For cookies, fill up your container to the brim for storage. Occupying more space helps to avoid air pockets and can increase shelf life."
Ease of use and efficiency should be at the forefront of your mind when shopping for containers. Cereal keepers without a functional spout will cause an over-pour, and a canister that can't fit your measuring cup comfortably defeats its purpose; a wide mouth is essential if you plan on measuring the dry goods directly from the container.
Useful Shapes and Sizes
One of the biggest considerations when purchasing canisters is capacity. Think about the products you want to store and choose containers that will replace the original packaging and fit all of the contents, so nothing gets left behind to go stale.
Another consideration is space. If you have a small counter or pantry area, you need something compact. Square or rectangle containers stack easier, and slim, vertical-style vessels save space by stretching up instead of out. What you need all depends on the space you're working with, whether that's a countertop, kitchen cabinet, or pantry.
Cleaning and Convenience
Frequent washing is not a consideration for most dry storage containers, but you do need to clean them before use, and occasionally throughout their life span to maintain a debris-free interior. The container you choose should be easy to wash, without intricate crevices or gaskets that complicate the process. Since the cleaning happens so infrequently, you don't necessarily need to eliminate hand-wash-only containers. Do allow them to fully dry before filling.
Why should dry food be kept in airtight containers?
There are two main reasons to store dry foods in airtight containers: unwanted pests and freshness. Transferring uncooked pasta, flour, sugar, cereal, and other dry goods to an airtight container extends the life of those products. A good seal also aids in impeding bacterial or mold growth. You can expect fresh, non-musty dry goods when you take measures to protect against air damage.
Pantry moths, flour mites, grain weevils, and ants can also pose a problem if you do not store products in an airtight container. Most of these pests can get in through cracks in paper sacks or even burrow through mesh, paper, and cardboard containers. A hard material, like plastic or glass, keeps them away from dry goods.
"Especially during hot and humid summer months, we have to be extra sensitive to our food storage methods, particularly with dry goods," says Todd Ferensak, the culinary director at Citizen Chicken & Donuts. "Although it is OK to store some dry products in their original packaging when unopened, I highly suggest investing in some clear, good quality, reusable food storage containers with airtight seals," he says. This will keep your products safe from getting damp, clumping from the humidity, or picking up any unwanted odors or pantry bugs.
Is glass or plastic better for dry food storage?
The answer to this question depends on your intended use. If you have a large number of pantry items to organize, plastic is more modular and less expensive. You can purchase slimline, stackable containers made of heavy-duty plastic, which is lighter than glass options.
If you are looking to make an environmentally conscious decision, glass or ceramic are your best bet. These materials last an indefinite amount of time and can be recycled if broken or marred. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all plastics. Glass is also nonporous and does not absorb food smells, but it is heavier and takes up more real estate on counters or in pantries; it is also susceptible to cracks and breakage.
For those looking to save space or invest in something a little more budget-friendly, look for a safe, recyclable plastic option. If you want something sustainable that adds style to your kitchen while storing goods, consider glass or ceramic.
Can dry food containers store liquid?
Dry food containers are not manufactured to hold liquid for extended periods, especially hot liquid. Airtight seals on dry food containers are made for pantry goods, and though they may keep liquid in place, they are not meant for that.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who has been on the hunt for the perfect dry storage container solution for over a decade. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of finding the right container. She loves her Kaloh canisters for their beauty and functionality, and also swears by the Libbey Vibe jars for the spice blends she creates. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Basically, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
Rachel Werner, who updated this article, is a culinary writer who has been profiling farmers, chefs, restaurants, and food-based businesses for more than seven years. Her work has appeared in a variety of regional and national publications, such as TheKitchn, Fabulous Wisconsin, BRAVA, and Hobby Farms. Rachel personally tested eight dry food storage containers for this list.
Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.
Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.
Safe Food Storage: The Cupboard. K-State Research and Extension