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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, our list of the best food storage container sets on the market now.
Best Overall: Glasslock 18-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set
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 recyclable glass made from silica, soda ash, limestone, and other natural components; they're also oven safe. Each of the BPA-free plastic lids has a rubber gasket and four latches, making them completely airtight and as leak-proof as it gets.
Our tester praised the airtight lock and the fact that these containers are easily stackable, allowing for convenient and more compact storage. This set also doesn’t stain and keeps leftovers very fresh. Our tester did mention, though, that the lids are a little hard to close at first, but that's the price you pay for an airtight seal.
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 9 | Items: (1) 6.3-cup rectangle, (2) 3.5-cup rectangle, (1) 1.6-cup rectangle, (1) 3.3-cup square, (1) 1.5-cup square, (1) 3.1-cup round, (1) 1.6-cup round, and (1) 0.7-cup round containers, plus 9 lids
"I stored garlicky sauces and pungent leftover Thai food and found no residual scents after a quick wash." — Linnea Covington, Product Tester
Best for the Freezer: Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage 14-Piece Container Set
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 them to your collection as needed.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 7 | Items: (4) 1.3-cup, (4) 3.2-cup, and (4) 9.6-cup rectangle containers, plus lids
"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
Best Plastic: Popit! Plastic Food Storage Containers
Airtight and leakproof
Easy to store
Not truly microwave safe
Smallest-size containers not useful
You might prefer plastic containers since they're lighter and won’t shatter if dropped. This quality set has eight square containers ranging in size from 3 to 47 ounces. The plastic is BPA-free and can be put in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. The latches are airtight and leak-proof so you can store food and liquid inside without worry. The containers also nest inside one another when not in use, making them easier to store.
Our tester confirmed the airtight seal and leak-proof lid design, and quite enjoyed the lightweight feel and sprawling array of sizes, which are actually printed on the containers, so you can portion out leftover pasta, baby carrots, sesame chicken with broccoli, and more. These containers also stack nicely, allowing for streamlined organization in your fridge.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 8 | Items: (1) 3-ounce square, (1) 6-ounce square, (1) 9-ounce square, (1) 15-ounce square, (1) 19-ounce square, (1) 28-ounce square, (1) 37-ounce square, and (1) 47-ounce square container, plus lids
"With such an array of capacities, we found that the set efficiently stored leftover pasta, portion-sized servings of homemade pesto, and sliced cucumber for easy salad fixings. They also stack nicely, so you can streamline your fridge organization." — Linnea Covington, Product Tester
Best Quantity: Rubbermaid 42-Piece Food Storage Container Set With Easy Find Lids
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 1.25-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.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 21 | Items: (5) 0.5-cup, (5) 1.25-cup, (5) 2-cup, (3) 3-cup, (2) 5-cup, and (2) 7-cup square containers, plus lids
“Some baked goods freeze quite well,” says Chef Martin Diez, Director of Americas Chef Services at Barry Callebaut. “A little tip when making cookies or biscuits at home: Freeze the raw dough when you just shaped them and bake when needed. You will ensure 100 percent freshness without having to store it for a long time."
Best for Lunches: Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Kit
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.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 4 | Items: (1) 1.2-cup side container, (1) 2.6-cup sandwich container, and (2) 0.5-cup snack containers, plus lids and ice pack
Best for Produce: iDesign + The Spruce Crisp Berry Bin
This Crisp Berry Bin from The Spruce's Home Organization Collection takes the hassle out of washing fruits and vegetables. Featuring an innovative double-layered design, it has a matte-white colander basket that you can take out, use to rinse off your produce, and then set back into the transparent plastic container. A notched lid provides precision airflow to avoid excess humidity, minimizing moisture.
Not just for berries, this 8.37 x 6.37 x 3.88-inch BPA-free bin is great for cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and more. It pairs perfectly with other bins in the crisp collection and can be stacked on top of them for easy organization, getting your fridge in tip-top shape.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 1 | Items: (1) rectangle container (8.37 x 6.37 x 3.88 inches), plus lid
Best Bento Box: Caleb Company Click & Go Bento Boxes
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.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 3 | Items: (3) 39-ounce rectangle containers, plus lids
Best Dry Storage: Oxo Good Grips Pop 10-Container Food Storage Set
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.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 10 | Items: (1) 4-quart, (1) 2.5-quart, (1) 2.4-quart, (1) 2.1-quart, (2) 0.9-quart, (2) 0.5-quart, (2) 0.3-quart containers, plus lids
"These containers are sturdy yet lightweight, making it a cinch to slide in and out of cupboards. I have no problem seeing my ingredients or fitting a measuring cup inside, and you can't beat that satisfying 'pop' seal." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director
Best Budget: Utopia Kitchen Glass Food Storage Container Set
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.
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 9 | Items: (1) 1.4-cup square, (1) 3.4-cup square, (1) 6.4-cup rectangle, (1) 1-cup round, (1) 1.7-cup round, (1) 4-cup round, (1) 1.4-cup rectangle, (2) 3.6-cup rectangle containers, plus 9 lids
Best Design: Glasslock 14-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set
Attractive, colorful design
Lids can be difficult to snap on/off
With the same quality and reputation of the 18-piece GLASSLOCK set we tested, this one features seven containers—a 3.3-cup square, 3.1-cup round, 1.6-cup round, two 1.5-cup squares, and two 1.6-cup rectangles—with corresponding lids. All of the containers in this set 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 the lids can be difficult to snap on and off, particularly for children.
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 7 | Items: (1) 3.3-cup square, (1) 3.1-cup round, (1) 1.6-cup round, (2) 1.5-cup square, (2) 1.6-cup rectangle containers, plus lids
“First things first: Start by being aware of the expiration date. This is especially important when you go to repack any of your unused goods or ingredients in jars or containers. You may want to mark down the expiration date on the outside of the container you store it in.” — Chef Martin Diez, Director of Americas Chef Services at Barry Callebaut
Best for Baked Goods: Snapware Snap 'N Stack Enter-Tainers 2-Layer Cookie, Cake & Brownie Carrier
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.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 2 | Items: (2) double-layer rectangle containers (14.75 x 11 x 8.5 inches), plus lids
“For items like sponge cake, madeleines, muffins, and cupcakes, I usually wrap them with plastic wrap or put them in a jar to store them in a moist environment. This category of sweet needs to stay soft and humid,” says Chef Martin Diez, Director of Americas Chef Services at Barry Callebaut. “I want to stay conscious about disposable plastic wrap usage so a sealable box container or a jar can work perfectly,” he adds.
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 compatible with your microwave, freezer, and oven. Looking to store dry foods? Try the Oxo Good Grips Pop 10 Container Food Storage Set (view at Amazon). Its durable containers, which come in varying sizes, are airtight and stackable.
What to Look for When Buying Food Storage Containers
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. 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.
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: 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.
Microwave Safe: 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.
Oven Safe: 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.
Dishwasher Safe: 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.
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.
Types of Food Storage Containers
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- and 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 to 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. They can also be used as standard storage containers by removing the bottom strainer.
Known for sturdy home products and giant storage bins, Rubbermaid makes small containers for food storage. Its containers are made from a thicker material than those from Ziploc or Glad and are designed to last longer. It also makes hard plastic containers. These are slightly more expensive than similar-sized Ziploc or Glad containers. They nest well for storage when not in use.
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.
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.
How do you organize food storage containers?
Some food storage container sets are designed to be stackable, nesting together so you can organize and store them more easily—and save space for other items. But otherwise, there are plenty of tricks you can use to store your containers more efficiently. These include basic organization such as storing lids and containers together by size, color, and/or type, using print labels, and using tension rods to create compartments, as well as more creative hacks such as repurposing book bins, plastic trays, wall-mounted file holders, and even small decorative wall shelving into storage compartments for your drawers and cabinets.
How many food storage containers do I need?
How many food storage containers you need depends on how many people are in your household, if you meal-prep, how often you cook meals at home versus order out, and many other factors. What you do want to look for is an assortment of food containers that come in different sizes, ideally as part of a set. Small containers can hold things like leftovers or small meals, your work lunch, and leftover ingredients from last night's meal prep (even smaller containers are great for things like sauces and spices). Larger containers could prove more useful for soups, grains, meal-prepped meals, storing food to bring to a potluck, and more. You want enough containers that you can rotate through them without constantly having to wash them, but not too many that they end up piling up in the sink.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Though multiple editors contributed to this piece, it was most recently updated by associate editor Taylor Rock. Not only are we experts in our field, but we're also consumers—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.
Freelance food writer Carrie Honaker contributed additional reporting and text. In addition to her work with various food media brands, Carrie has cooked in restaurant kitchens and even owned a cafe, so her experience with food storage spans her professional and personal life.
Three of the items on this list were fully reviewed by our product tester Linnea Covington, a food writer and mom who put the containers to the test with leftovers, meal prepping, and on-the-go snacks to see how they (quite literally) stacked up.