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Whether you’re preparing meals ahead of time or saving leftovers for later, every kitchen needs a solid set of food storage containers. Not all containers are created equal, though. It’s important to find a set that is durable enough to withstand stacking and accidental drops—after all, the last thing you want is last night’s meal all over your kitchen floor. You also want something that’s designed well (both for aesthetic purposes and efficiency). There are so many food storage containers to choose from, so where does one start? We’ve rounded up some of the best-selling and most popular sets online to make it easier to find the set that’s right for your kitchen and cooking style. Here are the best sets on the market now.
Easy to store
Keeps food fresh
Lids hard to close
Issues with glass chipping
This container set from Glasslock stands out because of its quality build and design. The 18-piece set (the count includes the lids) has four rectangular containers in varying sizes, two square containers in a small and large size, and three different-sized round containers. The containers themselves are BPA-free recyclable glass made from silica, soda ash, limestone, and other natural components; they're also oven-safe. Each of the plastic lids has a rubber gasket and four latches, making them completely airtight and as leak-proof as it gets.
Many reviewers praised the airtight lock and the fact that these containers nest together when stacked, making them easy to store efficiently. Some also loved that they don’t stain and keep leftovers very fresh. In terms of critical reviews, some have mentioned that the lids are hard to close, and others have had issues with the glass chipping on occasion.
"I stored garlicky sauces and pungent leftover Thai food and found no residual scents after a quick wash." — Linnea Covington, Product Tester
Truly freezer safe
Containers don't stain
Splatter proof in microwave
Lids tough to clean
Difficult to open
Not all containers are suitable for freezer use—some become very brittle and can crack if bumped at freezer temperatures. These containers are designed to be freezer safe and are made from super-clear Tritan material so you can easily see what’s inside. The lids are guaranteed leakproof and the containers are airtight.
Of course, you can use them in the refrigerator, and they're also microwave safe. You can even microwave them with the cover on if you open the vent first, so you can have spatter-proof thawing or reheating. Our tester found she was able to zap a wide range of foods in these containers, including items straight from the freezer: from cooked rice to chicken to leftover quiche. Ninety seconds was the average amount of time she needed to fully cook each item.
This set includes four 1.3-cup containers with lids, two 3.2-cup containers with lids, and one 9.6-cup container with a lid. Additional containers are available in this style, so you can add to your collection as needed.
"These containers are a cinch to clean—simply throw them in the dishwasher and marvel at how clear they come out." — Linnea Covington, Product Tester
Very tight seal
Rubber seals come off
Lid latches not durable
Similar to our top pick, this glass storage container set also has 18 pieces in a similar breakdown: four rectangle containers of varying sizes, three round containers, and two square containers. The set is BPA-free and the lids each have four latches that easily secure the lid in order to keep your food safe. The containers are also safe for use in the oven, microwave, dishwasher, freezer, and, of course, the refrigerator.
The reviews for this container set have been overwhelmingly positive, with customers saying that the containers are extremely durable and that the lid seals airtight. A couple of people have reported that the rubber seals have come off over time, but the majority of customers would recommend this product to others.
Variety of container sizes
Lids fit multiple containers
Occasional damage in microwave
If you're looking for a lot of containers at a low price, this set is a great pick. It includes five ½-cup containers, five 1 ¼-cup containers, five 2-cup containers, two 3-cup containers, two 5-cup containers, two 7-cup containers, and a corresponding lid for each one. What’s great about these is that one lid fits multiple bases so you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the matching one for each. They also snap to the bottom of the container which is convenient when you’re storing them. You can use them in the dishwasher, freezer, and microwave—plus, they're BPA-free.
Overall, customers have been happy with the value of this set, with many praising the lids' design and the fact that the containers are sturdier than other budget sets. On the other hand, some users warned that these can get damaged in the microwave.
Easy for kids to use
Bringing lunch to school or work can be a healthy and cost-saving choice. It’s also important to invest in containers that are easy to pack and transport. This set is a great choice for your lunch bag because it’s durable and the lids seal completely to prevent leaking. The modular design allows the different containers to snap together to save space—plus, you can also snap a freezer pack to it to keep your lunch cool. The kit includes the following pieces: two snack containers, one side container, one sandwich container, and one blue ice pack. These containers are also BPA-free and safe to use in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher.
Many online reviewers praised these containers' durability and how even kids were able to open and shut the lids easily. Some reviewers have complained about leakage and that the containers show food stains on a few occasions, but the majority would recommend them.
Airtight but easy to open
Curved edges for easy pouring
Lids not dishwasher safe
This set includes containers in a variety of sizes, so you’ll always have the right one for snacks, pasta, rice, nuts, dried fruits, dry cereal, cookies, and more. The containers and lids are made from premium-quality plastic that's built to last. The lids seal airtight but are simple to open and close with the touch of the large button on top. Reviewers love how easy these containers are to use and that they are indeed airtight, keeping their food fresh.
For pantry storage, these containers stack to save space. The curved edges make it easy to pour from them, while the wide openings make it easy to dip a measuring cup in for exact amounts. Hand-washing is recommended.
Attractive, colorful design
Not fully leak proof
Pyrex is a trusted name in food storage and this attractive 18-piece set is a great value. It includes one 1-cup round container with lid, one 6-cup rectangular container with lid, one 7-cup round container with lid, two 2-cup round containers with lids, two 4-cup round containers with lids, and two 3-cup rectangular containers with lids. All of the containers are made out of tempered glass that's dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe, and the lids are made of BPA-free plastic.
The colored lids are great for organizing a packed refrigerator full of leftovers and the sizes are convenient no matter what your meal prep looks like. Customers love how easy they are to clean and stack in storage, but some warn that they aren't the best for transporting food to school or work because they are prone to spills if thrown in a bag.
Great for families
Compartments are on smaller side
Packing lunch for work or school can be a pain, but these neat bento lunch box containers keep foods separate. The three removable compartments (two large, one small) in each box prevent you from juggling lots of containers and you can also choose to use each box without the compartments.
They are microwave, freezer, refrigerator, and dishwasher safe for added versatility and are made from BPA-free plastic. The snap-lock lids stay on tight and are perfect for kids or adults to take on-the-go. Plus, the set is stackable for easy storage in your refrigerator or cabinets. While the air-tight lid means you can even use with liquids, some users have reported spillage between compartments.
Perfect for transporting cupcakes
Can stack multiple trays together
Not the most durable
Whether you want to take cupcakes to the school bake sale or just want an easy way to store your latest pastry masterpiece without the icing getting destroyed, this Snapware storage set is the answer to your dessert problems. This two-layer set is great for cupcakes, cookies, bread, and cakes up to a quarter sheet. The reversible trays can hold up to 24 cupcakes at a time or you can the flat sides for tiers of cookies. Customers particularly like that the wells are deep enough so that cupcakes stay secure, and that the trays are sturdy enough to hold several cupcakes that are heavily decorated or frosted.
This is made from BPA-free plastic that's lightweight and it's dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe. If you really have a lot of baked goods, you can purchase more than one set to stack together.
Our top spot goes to the GLASSLOCK 18-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set because it gives you your money's worth: the glass pieces are not only eco-friendly, but also sturdy, airtight, beautifully designed, and are compatible with your microwave, freezer, and oven. Looking to store dry foods? Try the OXO Good Grips Pop 10 Container Food Storage Set. Its durable containers, which come in varying sizes, are airtight and stackable.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
The Spruce editors are not only experts in our field, but consumers too—so we left no stone unturned when we scoured the food storage market to bring you our list of the best container sets for your needs. We've also compiled lists on the top meal prep containers, dry food storage containers, and glass food storage containers.
What types of food storage containers are there?
Food storage containers tend to be made from glass, flexible plastic, or hard plastic. From there, they come in several different configurations; some have lids that you press to close, while others have airtight seals to prevent leakage.
What are the safest food storage containers?
If you buy a set of plastic containers, you'll want to check if the plastic is BPA-free. Most manufacturers have eliminated BPA from their products, but we suggest you double-check before you buy. Additionally, no matter which material you choose, check to see if the set you're considering is safe for microwaves, ovens, dishwashers, and freezers.
How much do food storage containers cost?
Food storage containers vary widely in price. There are single-use containers that are sold in bulk for less than a dollar each, while sturdy canister sets can cost around $25.
Whether you’re storing leftovers in the refrigerator or keeping pantry staples neat and tidy, sturdy food containers are a kitchen must. These containers and lids come in a variety of materials and configurations, but what's important is that they seal completely so the food will stay fresher.
Read on for the complete guide to picking the right food storage container set for your needs, taste, and budget.
Cost is always an important consideration, but with food storage containers, it’s wise to first consider whether your set will actually stay at home. On one end of the spectrum, there are single-use containers that are sold in bulk for less than a dollar each, while more durable canister sets often cost around $25. You might find that you need several sets for several purposes, with one dedicated to long-term storage, one for refrigerator and freezer use, and one for giving leftovers to guests.
Food storage containers tend to be made from three types of materials: glass, hard plastic, or flexible plastic. Each has its pros and cons. Glass containers are durable but heavy. Hard plastic containers are great for canister-type storage for flour, sugar, and other pantry ingredients. Flexible plastic containers are the least expensive. While BPA in plastic is a health concern, most manufacturers of food-storage containers have eliminated BPA from their products, but it’s wise to check before you buy, particularly if you’re choosing an unknown brand. Lids also come in a variety of materials that might be different from the container material. While plastic lids are common, certain ones have silicone gaskets for a tighter seal.
Type of Lid Seal
While all food storage containers have lids that seal, some are more secure than others. A lid that seals simply with pressure is perfectly safe for holding your food, but it’s more likely to pop open if it’s bumped or dropped. Other lids have flaps that snap onto the side of the containers, which are more secure but take longer to open and close, and the hinged section could break with excessive use. Other lids have buttons or levers on top that seal with a press or pull. Some round food storage containers have screw-on lids, much like the ones you’d find on glass jars.
Freezer-safe containers are a must if you make food ahead of time to store in the freezer. While many plastic containers and most glass containers are freezer-safe, some plastics can become brittle at cold temperatures and can crack or break if they’re bumped or dropped. While most glass containers are freezer-safe, they can break if they slide out of the freezer and drop to the floor. If you plan on preparing and storing food in the freezer on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to buy containers that are specifically made for freezer use.
While you may never have a reason to put a canister in the microwave, smaller containers holding leftovers are even handier if you can heat them in the microwave. While most food storage containers are microwave-safe, you should always check with the manufacturer, lest you come back to a melted container and spilled soup. Some flexible plastic containers are prone to staining if you heat tomato-based or other dark-colored food products in them. While this won’t harm the containers, it can make them look less attractive.
Some glass storage containers may be oven-safe. This is great for preparing food ahead of time and baking it before serving, or for reheating leftovers in the oven. Smaller containers are also good for heating individual portions. Not all glass is oven-safe, so if this is an important feature, check the manufacturer’s information before you buy. Even when glass is oven-safe, it’s best to make sure you don’t subject it to thermal shock by moving it rapidly from one extreme temperature to another.
While most food containers are dishwasher safe, some canister-style containers have lids that require hand-washing, and some very inexpensive containers are designed for single-use purposes and might warp in the dishwasher. While hand-washing a container once in a while isn’t a terrible chore, if you use storage containers often for lunch, leftovers, and food-prep storage, you might find that the time saved from using the dishwasher is worth paying a little extra for a sturdier container that's dishwasher-safe.
The least expensive flexible plastic containers are sold in bulk and meant as single-use containers, although they can be used multiple times if you're careful. They’re also great for sending food home with guests. Higher-end flexible plastic containers are meant for long-term use and are likely to be microwave-safe as well as dishwasher-safe. These are usually sold in small sets and they’re inexpensive enough that if one doesn’t return home, you won’t miss it terribly. You’ll get a lot of use out of them, but they're more prone to cracking or discoloration. While some are freezer-safe, others can get very brittle at cold temperatures and may crack or break.
More durable plastic containers can be just as sturdy as the bowl of your food processor. These models are slightly more expensive than flexible plastic containers and are almost always dishwasher-safe (though the harsh detergents used in dishwashers can dull the finish). While this doesn’t harm the effectiveness of the containers, if your canisters are left on display, you might want to wash them by hand to maintain their appearance.
Sturdy but heavy, glass containers are stain-proof and won’t retain odors. You’ll find these in a variety of shapes and sizes, including shallow casserole-shaped containers that are great for marinating, storing flat foods, and using in your oven. While glass food storage containers are likely to be safe in the dishwasher, microwaves, refrigerator, and freezer, it’s always best to check with the manufacturer to make sure. Even if the containers themselves are safe for those uses, the lids might need special care. Because glass storage containers are heavy, you might not want to nest as many of them as you would if the containers were lightweight plastic.
Canister-style food storage containers are meant for holding flour, sugar, pasta, and other pantry staples for long-term storage, with large openings that make it easy to measure ingredients for recipes. Their lids are designed to be secure to keep pests out, and should also be easy to open and close, since you may be using them during cooking. Since they're meant for long-term storage of single ingredients that you would simply refill as needed, these likely wouldn't need to be washed as often as other containers, but you'd wipe down the outside as needed.
These containers are much like canister storage sets, but with a twist. Many have their own vacuum system or may require a separate vacuum device to remove the air from the container to create a secure vacuum closure. These are particularly great for storing foods that might go stale, like nuts or whole grains. Smaller vacuum storage containers can be used for cheese kept in the refrigerator, rapidly marinating meats, or making quick-pickled vegetables. While these can be used to store almost anything, they’re more expensive than standard containers and are best used for foods that benefit from a vacuum seal.
You’ll find two basic types of freshness-preserving containers. The first type is made entirely from a plastic that's designed help preserve perishable foods. While these may not offer any benefits for your dinner leftovers, you could certainly use them for that purpose, if you prefer to have just one type of storage container. The second type has a strainer at the bottom to allow moisture to drain away from foods. This keeps fruits, vegetables, and herbs from sitting in moisture which can promote spoilage. These options may also have a filter to improve the longevity of the food being stored. They can also be used as standard storage containers by removing the bottom strainer.
Known for making plastic food storage bags, Ziploc also makes food storage containers, including flexible plastic containers with press-on lids as well as slightly more durable round containers with screw-on lids. These are affordable and come in sets. While they’re not as inexpensive as bulk containers, it's not a big deal if you send one home with a friend and it doesn’t come back. These also nest neatly for storage.
The flexible plastic containers from Glad are similar to those made by Ziploc, although the sizes and shapes are slightly different. Glad also makes a variety of colored containers as well as seasonal containers that are perfect for gifting cookies or treats. They also have a line of freezer-safe containers that are more durable at low temperatures. These nest neatly for storage.
Known for sturdy home products and giant storage bins, Rubbermaid also makes small containers for food storage. Their containers are made from a thicker material than those from Ziploc or Glad and are designed to last longer. They also make hard plastic containers. These are slightly more expensive than similar-sized Ziploc or Glad containers. They nest well for storage when not in use.
Known for their glass baking dishes, Pyrex also makes glass storage containers in a variety of shapes. These have snap-on lids and most can be used (without the lids) in a pre-heated oven. While you can nest these for storage, they’re heavier than plastic containers, so you won’t be able to stack as many without making them uncomfortably heavy.
From hard plastic to glass to larger canister-style containers, you’ll find almost everything except the least expensive, one-off containers. While other brands make containers that look similar, the quality of OXO products makes them worth considering, even though you’ll pay more for the name brand.
FoodSaver might be best known for its vacuum-sealing machines for plastic storage bags, but they also make food storage containers and canisters that can be vacuum-sealed. They use the same vacuum-sealing machines that are used for the bags and offer better food preservation than standard storage containers. These containers can also be used for marinating and quick pickling. The containers are made from hard plastic that can withstand the vacuum-sealing process.
Best known for green bags, Debbie Meyer also makes flexible plastic containers for food storage that have the same preservation qualities as the bags, but are easier to clean—all you need to do is pop them in the dishwasher. Since these are a green color, it will be easy to see which ones you mean to use for your parsley or strawberries, while you continue to use other containers for leftovers. While there may be no benefit to storing your leftovers in these containers, there’s no reason not to, so if you prefer to have one type of container, you can use these for all your food storage needs.
Accessories and Warranties
Given the low price of most of these products, warranty replacement may not be worth the effort unless a set arrives with obvious issues. Since most warranties only cover manufacturer defects, accidental breakage, damage from misuse, or normal wear and tear wouldn't be covered. Some companies offer satisfaction guarantees, so you can return products you don’t like. A satisfaction guarantee is not the same as a warranty since no defect is required for you to return the product, but restrictions might apply. Always check with the manufacturer before you try to return a product.
The least expensive plastic containers might require hand-washing since dishwashing temperatures could warp them or cause the lids to fit improperly after washing. Most other plastic food storage containers are dishwasher-safe, although the manufacturers often suggest top-rack washing to avoid the excessive heat at the bottom of the dishwasher. While some flexible plastic containers can stain when used to store tomato-based products or similar foods, this doesn’t affect the usefulness of the container. Glass storage containers should be dishwasher safe on either the top or bottom rack, and they won’t stain or retain odors after washing. While most food storage containers are likely to be dishwasher-safe, some lids should be washed by hand, so check the manufacturer’s instructions.