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The Best Food Storage Containers for Your Leftovers

A good set of food storage containers is a near necessity for anyone who likes to cook often or meal preps. Food storage containers can be used to store food and leftovers in the cupboard or pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, depending on the food in question. They can come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and sturdiness. Food storage containers are generally considered superior to items like plastic bags because their (often airtight) lids generally help foods from going stale too soon. Food storage containers are also much more durable and sturdy than plastic bags or aluminum foil and are reusable to boot. Here are a few we recommend.

What to Consider in Food Storage Containers

Here are some things to think about before buying food storage containers:

  • Plastic vs. Glass: Almost all food storage containers will be made of plastic or glass. Glass may be clear, frosted, or colored, very sturdy, and doesn’t stain, peel, or affect the taste or smell of the food it contains. Plastic is lighter, won’t shatter if dropped, and tend to be easier and more flexible to store. Also note that glass food storage containers may have glass or plastic lids, depending on the brand.
  • Size: Food storage containers can come in a wide range of sizes. They may be small enough for half a cup a food or large enough to contain several quarts, with plenty of size options in between. Many food storage containers are sold in sets, and the containers in a set may vary in size, or they might all be the same size. And even if two containers have the same capacity, one might be short and long while the other is tall and narrow.
  • Features: There are a few different features you can look for in your food storage containers. Some are microwave and/or freezer safe. Microwavable food storage containers will often have vented lids. Some may be better equipped to store wet or dry foods. Others will be odor and/or leak proof. And others will have airtight lids or lids with flaps or clips that hold them more securely against the container. Consider what you’re looking for in your food storage containers and what features will be most useful for your cooking or storage habits.
  • Quantity: How many food storage containers are you looking to add to your collection? They may be sold individually or, more commonly, in sets. If you’re looking for a set, be aware that the number of containers per set can vary wildly. A set may be as small as two to four containers or have 40 pieces or more. Sets of 14, 16, 21, and 24 are also quite common. Note that the number of pieces in a set usually counts both the container and the lid, so a set of 24 would consist of 12 containers and 12 lids.

Best Odor-Resistant: Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Containers

The last thing you’ll want is a set of food storage containers that leaks residue or allows the food’s smell to permeate the whole fridge. This 24-piece set of clear, plastic food storage containers will prevent both of those issues. Each container is leak proof and airtight, made of stain- and odor-resistant, BPA-free plastic that will not only keep your food safe and fresh but ensure that the containers look like new for longer. The plastic is also lightweight to ensure that the containers are highly portable and easy to carry. The containers are also designed to stack perfectly on top of each other to save space in either the fridge or pantry. Each of the lids has a built-in vent under the latches so that you can heat food in the containers in the microwave without worrying about splattering. The containers are dishwasher and freezer safe as well. This set includes 12 total containers (four miniature, four small, two medium, and two deeper medium ones) in four different sizes plus 12 lids for 24 total pieces. You can get 14-, 16-, and 44-piece sets as well.

Best Odor-Resistant

Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage 24-Piece Plastic Lids | BPA Free, Leak Proof Food Container, Clear

A set of dishwasher-, microwave-, and freezer-safe food storage containers that are designed to be leak and odor proof.

Best for Dry Foods: Vtopmart Large Airtight Food Storage Containers

If you bake often or cook a lot of pasta, you may prefer to store your ingredients in separate containers instead of bags for more security and less risk of accidental leaking or spilling. If you want to save yourself from messy flour bags or stale pasta, consider these four food storage containers designed for dry foods and baking supplies like sugar, rice, cereals, and more. Each has a capacity of 4.7 quarts (5.2 liters/176 ounces). If that capacity is too large or small for your purposes, there are three other size options available. The plastic material is high-grade, BRA-free, and clear so that you can see the contents without opening the bin. The side locking lids provide airtight storage to keep your food secure and fresh for longer, protecting it against air and water alike. The containers can be stacked on top of one another for more efficient use of pantry, cupboard, or tabletop space. They’re also dishwasher safe, though the lids should be hand washed. Besides the four containers and four lids, you also receive four measuring cups and 24 chalkboard labels so that you can label the contents of each container if desired.

Best Glass Option: Bayco Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids

If you prefer the thick sturdiness of glass containers to plastic ones, these glass food storage containers are an excellent option. The durable, BPA-free, and leak-proof glass keeps your food fresh and odorless. They’re great for solid foods and liquids like juices, sauces, and soups, thanks to the snap-locking system that makes the containers both airtight and watertight. They’re also oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe, although the lids shouldn’t be used in the oven and will hold up better if they’re hand washed. This set of containers includes 24 pieces: 12 containers and 12 lids. The containers come in three different shapes: square, rectangle, and round, in 12 different sizes. The accents are available in white, gray, or blue.

Best Glass Option

Bayco 24 Piece Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids, Glass Meal Prep Containers, Airtight Glass Lunch Bento Boxes, BPA Free & Leak Proof (12 lids & 12 Containers) - White

Durable, leak-proof glass food storage containers with a snap-locking system for airtight and watertight properties.

Best Budget Option: Rubbermaid Vented Lid Food Storage Containers

A 42-piece set of food storage containers that won’t break the bank. Made of BPA-free plastic, these containers are safe for reheating in the microwave and washing in the dishwasher. The walls are thick and strong enough for daily use, and the lids snap together at the base to reduce the risk of leaking. The containers come in six different sizes, three of which have built-in vented lids that ensure your food won’t splatter when the container is used in the microwave. This set includes 21 assorted food containers and the 21 matching lids, consisting of five 0.5-cup containers, six 1.25-cup containers, six 2-cup containers, two 3-cup containers, one 5-cup container, and one 7-cup container. All 21 containers are square-shaped.

Best Budget Option

Rubbermaid - 2063704 Rubbermaid Easy Find Vented Lids Food Storage Containers, Set of 21 (42 Pieces Total), Racer Red

A 42-piece set of food storage containers that come in six different sizes with snap-lid seals.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »

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