The Best List

I’ve Tested Nearly Every Food Storage Container on the Market. This Is a List of the Best of the Best.

updated 3 days ago
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counter with glass containers full of food prep: berries, pasta, salad, beans
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

Having great food storage containers really makes a difference. Mediocre (or just plain bad) containers that leak, stain, or totally fail to keep your food fresh — who wants any of that? My advice is to ditch any that are stained, pitted, don’t have a lid, or simply don’t bring you joy. Then, when you’re ready to restock your cabinet, take a look at this list.

If there’s a container out there, I’ve probably tested it. These are the five best options when it comes to food storage, whether you want glass, plastic, or something you can give away. But don’t just take my word for it, either — these container recommendations all come with second opinions!

Picked by a Pro. Tested by Real Home Cooks.

I’ve tested what feels like every storage container ever on the market (at all the price points, low to high!) and these are my all-time favorites. But you don’t have to take my word and my word alone, either. Kitchn editors — a unique hybrid of professionals and home cooks, who develop and test great recipes in real home kitchens — weighed in on some of these picks too, testing my favorites in the context of their actual home cooking.

After all, when it comes to kitchen gear, what matters is that it works for a home cook — not just that a chef endorses it, or that it passed some high-flying bar in a sterile test kitchen. You want gear that is above all, practical, long-lasting, and mindful of real cooks, real kitchens, and real budgets.

Why You Should Trust Our Gear Pro

For more than 30 years, I was in charge of testing and reporting on everything from wooden spoons to connected refrigerators at the Good Housekeeping Institute. I’ve also walked the floors of every trade show and read every new product release for longer than most digital publications have existed!

As for my street cred? I worked as a chef in New York City restaurants for seven years.

I’ve tested, used, and played with nearly every piece of kitchen gear (including storage containers) to come on the market for years. When it comes to gear, it takes a lot to impress me, and I know what actually works. Check out my top five picks below!

Do you have a favorite food storage container we missed? We want to hear about it. Share your favorites with us in the comments below!

1 / 5
The Best Aesthetically Pleasing Storage Containers
was $305.00

Food storage isn't exactly known for its looks, but Caraway's Food Storage set is changing that notion with containers in six aesthetically pleasing colors ranging from deep sage green to creamy eggshell. From the side, they resemble bowls more than storage containers, so eating leftovers at your desk won't sound — or look — quite as sad. The 14-piece set includes five ceramic-coated glass containers with matching lids, four (much) smaller inserts for snacks or salad dressing, straps for security during transit, and a storage organizer, which helped keep Senior Commerce Editor Ian Burke's cabinets, well, organized. The containers are safe for the dishwasher, microwave, oven, refrigerator, and freezer, and are free of harmful chemicals like PFAs. The lids (which have a glass top so you can see what's inside) and inserts, however, are not rated for the microwave or oven.

Second opinion: "I’ve dropped one (full of soup!) without any messy consequences, not even a crack in the container," says former Best List editor Kendall Cornish. While an investment, the pretty colors mean you'll also find plenty of ways to bring them to work or picnics just to show them off. Cornish says, "Leftovers tend to look unappealing to me when they’re in plastic storage containers, so I love that only the lids have glass in the center so you can see what’s inside while the ceramic bodies of the containers are a minimalist opaque matte finish. They’re sleek enough to keep out as display, especially when sorted vertically. The best part for me, though, is that they’re still function-first without looking like it."

2 / 5
The Best Glass Storage Containers

There are a lot of reasons to choose glass food storage containers. First of all, it's not plastic, which means there are no worries that it'll leach into your food, stain, or start to smell. And it's attractive enough to use for serving. Eating your lunch out of a glass container isn't quite as sad as scarfing down leftovers from a plastic one. And most importantly, glass isn't porous, so it does the best job of keeping food fresh, with one caveat — it has to have a tight-fitting lid.

With a gasket and four locking tabs on all sides, Snapware containers are absolutely airtight. This particular set comes with five 4-cup containers. They can be used in the freezer, microwave, or dishwasher and you can even write on the lids (and then erase your note) so you know just how long that leftover chicken has been sitting in the fridge. When storing your cabinets, they'll nest within each other. Keep in mind that the lids are made of plastic so they could stain if you store something like marinara sauce in them, and should only be in the top rack of your dishwasher.

Second opinion: "I've collected a random, jumbled assortment of storage containers over the past several years, but when I reach into my cabinet, I always grab the Snapware ones first," says former deputy food director Grace Elkus. "Not only is it super satisfying to snap them shut, but the airtight seal also means I'm never worried anything will leak. Plus, they stack or nest inside one another, so they take up less room in my kitchen."

3 / 5
was $29.99

That said, plastic does have its advantages. It's lighter in weight than glass, which is ideal if you're transporting food. In addition, it's unlikely to break (unless it's frozen). Rubbermaid Brilliance is made of clear, hard plastic and, thanks to two snap-on fasteners and a gasket in the lid, is totally leakproof. Unlike many plastic containers, it's also fairly attractive for serving or displaying your dried beans and lentils. The containers come in various sizes including ones that are perfect for on-the-go snacks and even containers with two compartments for sauces or sides.

Second opinion: "These are the only containers I trust when it comes to stashing liquids." says former lifestyle editor Lauren Masur. "I also love that they are microwave-safe and go right in the dishwasher — and the fact that they stack really nicely in the fridge."

4 / 5
The Best Storage Containers for Dry Goods

If you keep dry items like flour, beans, and cereal on a kitchen counter, open shelves, or in a showcase pantry, how your containers look is probably important to you. Whatever you do, don't fall for ceramic canisters. They're porous so air can seep in (even if their lids have an airtight gasket), which means crackers won't stay crunchy and coffee won't stay aromatic.

Evak's glass storage containers are attractive and effective at keeping food fresh. The lid doesn't sit on top of the canister but rather sits inside it. Push down on the lid to force any excess air out that can make food stale, and to get to the goods, just pull up. Choose from glass jars in small, medium, and large sizes with lids in dark chrome, glossy black, and matte black. The jars (but not the lids) can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Second opinion: "I first got a few of these because I was enamored of how they looked," admits former executive lifestyle director Lisa Freedman. "But they also work really well! I have one for coffee beans, one for rice, and one for pasta, and I couldn't be more obsessed with them. The lids are a little tough to pull out, but that just means that the vacuum seal is legit."

5 / 5
The Best Disposable Storage Containers
was $7.99

When you're dropping food off at a friend's or neighbor's and it's highly likely that you won't be getting that container back, you probably don't want to use a pricey container. For times like that, there are these plastic containers from Glad, which are so inexpensive that you won't fret about giving it away or even if it gets tossed. While these lightweight plastic containers aren't tops at food preservation, they aren't the worst either. You can use them in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher — but they will stain badly if you warm up something like leftover baked ziti in them. A myriad of sizes and shapes are available. When not in use, the Glad containers nest and the lids snap together.

Second opinion: "I used to have plastic containers from another well-known brand, but they stained pretty easily and I felt like the lids never fit perfectly," says former features director Ariel Knutson. "Those issues have yet to come into play with my Glad pieces that I've had for a few months."