The Best Food Storage Containers According to Our Tests

Experts tested top-rated food storage containers, with Rubbermaid’s Brilliance 10-piece set standing out from the rest.

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Best Food Storage Containers
Photo: Food and Wine / Greg DuPree

If you're someone who cooks often or in large quantities, chances are you're keeping your kitchen cabinets well stocked. Canned goods, jars, and bags of all sizes can quickly become a sea of disorganization, even when you have the space for them. Investing in food storage containers is one way to create order in an overflowing pantry. These bins can help you keep an eye on your edible inventory while also helping extend the shelf life of goods that arrive in hard-to-close packaging.

When selecting food storage containers, there are a few factors to keep in mind. For starters, you'll want to pick one made of a material that is durable but also easy to clean. Other key attributes include lid type (and what type of sealing mechanism it has) as well as the capacity of the containers included in the set, which will ultimately determine if a container suits your needs. We tested various vessels to help you find the best food storage container sets for your pantry, cabinets, and countertop.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Rubbermaid Brilliance 10-Piece Food Storage Containers

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Kohl's.

Pros: It includes a nice number of pieces, and all parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Cons: Some may need more than one set for adequate storage and organization.

This comprehensive set by Rubbermaid has a modular design for easy stacking and space-saving. Constructed of thick BPA-free plastic, the containers are see-through from top to bottom, so you can always see what's inside. The durable construction makes them suitable for daily use, and each container comes with a lid that seals tightly, keeping out moisture and humidity. They're also leakproof and can be used in the freezer in addition to the pantry.

Our testers were impressed with the seals on these containers, how easily they clean up, and the lack of stains and smells left behind. For more extensive organizing, Rubbermaid offers this set in several configurations, from individual pieces to larger sets, but we find that the 10-piece set is just right for storing a variety of goods, from dry pantry staples to cut vegetables or fruit in the refrigerator.

Material: BPA-free plastic
Number of Pieces: 10 plus lids

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Meredith food studios

Best Value: Senso 7-Pack Airtight Food Storage Container Set

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: The closing mechanism on this set is easy to use, and the sizes included are useful.

Cons: The plastic on this set is more brittle than others and can crack if dropped.

For a wallet-friendly food storage option, this set from Senso is a solid pick: it offers seven containers including a 12-inch tall option that fits spaghetti and six smaller sizes that are suitable for storing coffee, dry beans, nuts, sugar, and more. Each container has the same size footprint for easy stacking and comes equipped with a set of chalkboard stickers so you can label and organize them as you wish.

During our tests, the containers kept out air and moisture, but we did find that they aren't entirely leakproof, so we wouldn't recommend them for use with liquids. They're also prone to cracking if dropped, but overall we find that they performed wonderfully for such a modest price point.

Material: BPA-free plastic
Number of Pieces: 7 plus lids

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Meredith food studios

Best for Countertop: Aspen White Canisters with Scoop

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: These streamlined canisters are a fit for design-conscious kitchens, and they come with a handy tablespoon scoop on the outside.

Cons: You must purchase each size separately. The lid is hand wash only.

These stoneware canisters would be an attractive addition to a countertop, perfect for storing sugar, coffee, flour, or any item you access often. Each container comes with a gasketed hardwood lid to keep contents fresh, plus a stainless steel tablespoon scoop that fits neatly into a slot on the outside of the canister.

Our tests found that these were leakproof, stain- and odor-resistant, and held up well in the dishwasher, though the wooden lids should be hand washed to preserve their finish. If you love the clean look of white stoneware, these containers are made for you. Choose from three sizes, sold separately: 33, 53, and 89 ounces.

Material: Stoneware with hardwood lids
Number of Pieces: 1 plus lid

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Meredith food studios

Best for Bakers: Oxo Good Grips Baking Essentials POP Set

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Williams Sonoma.

Pros: Designed specifically to hold baking supplies, these containers feature scoops that attach to the lids.

Cons: The plastic may hold on to smells even after washing.

Bakers rejoice: this five-container set by Oxo is designed specifically to hold essential ingredients, including five-pound bags of sugar or flour and one-pound boxes of brown sugar. The smaller containers are ideal for storing nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and other baking goods. The lids seal tightly using suction created by pressing the button on top, which doubles as a handle. On the larger containers, a half-cup scoop attaches to the underside of the lid, so you always have it handy for measuring. One lid accessory, a brown sugar saver, even keeps brown sugar from hardening.

Our tests showed that these containers do their job well by keeping dry baking ingredients fresh. Both lids and containers are top-rack dishwasher safe, and they showed no signs of staining. Finally, these sleek containers stack for optimum space saving.

Material: BPA-free plastic
Number of Pieces: 5 plus lids

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Meredith food studios

Best for Cereal: PrepWorks Large Cereal Keeper

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: This large capacity bin keeps cereal fresh thanks to a sturdy silicone seal.

Cons: There is only one container in the set, so you'll have to buy extras individually.

Cereal and other bulk foods can find a happy home in this large-capacity storage bin by PrepWorks. Made of sturdy plastic, this container has a lid with a silicone seal that keeps air out, prolonging the life of its contents. Embossed measurement markings help you gauge how much is left in the bin, so you can plan your restocking accordingly. Since it's pretty simple in design, it goes well with most kitchen decor if you prefer to leave it out on the counter.

Our tester liked the ergonomic design of the container, and the two-opening feature (one opening for pouring, and one opening for refilling). It also did great in the dishwasher, leaving no stains or streaks and providing the same excellent seal as it did before washing.

Material: Plastic
Number of Pieces: 1 plus lid

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Meredith food studios

Best Splurge: Mepal Modular Stackable Food Storage

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: Stylish and functional, these European-made containers let you see their contents from all sides.

Cons: They're not leakproof, so avoid using these with liquids.

A stylish combination of form and function, these contemporary containers by Mepal are made in the Netherlands. Each clear container comes with a windowed lid, allowing you to see its contents from all sides so that you can easily gauge when you're running low on flour or sugar. The straight sides and slim profile help to maximize storage, even in tighter spaces.

In our tests, these containers resisted staining and held up well in the dishwasher, but they weren't as secure as some of the other options when knocked over. They're also not meant for storing liquids, microwaving, or freezing. Nevertheless, if aesthetics play a big part in your decision, these are excellent — especially for displaying on open shelving. Available in a set of seven, you'll have a two-quart container and two each of the 1.5-quart, one-quart, and 14-ounce sizes to store your favorite dry goods.

Material: Styrene-acrylonitrile and polyethylene
Number of Pieces: 7 plus lids

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Meredith food studios

Best Professional Set: Tiger Chef Food Storage Containers

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: These commercial-grade containers stand up well to constant use. They're also great for anyone who cooks in very large batches.

Cons: They're bulky for home storage.

This set of food storage containers is made for commercial use, but if you have the space and prefer to buy in bulk, it can certainly be useful. Made of shatterproof polycarbonate, these large, lidded containers are equipped with gradations to help with measuring or monitoring inventory levels. The color-coded lids snap tight to keep contents secure and protected, whether you're storing them in a pantry or refrigerator. The set includes one each of a two-, four-, six-, eight-, 12-, 18-, and 22-quart size, ideal for storing large amounts of flour, rice, and other dry ingredients.

Since they are professional-grade pieces, they are extremely durable and can withstand plenty of use without damage (they're even microwave safe and freezer safe). In our tests, we found that they aren't completely leakproof, but as long as you keep them upright, you can still use them with wet foods like marinated meat or batches of sauce. Cleaning these is pretty easy, as they wash well and are resistant to staining and odors. Washing containers this large in a home, however, may prove tricky. Yet, they're a restaurant and food-service favorite for a reason — they're the best option for large quantity food storage.

Material: Polycarbonate
Number of Pieces: 7 plus lids

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Meredith food studios

Our Favorite

We selected the Rubbermaid Brilliance 10-Piece Food Storage Containers as our favorite based on how well they held up to each test we put them through. We also like this set for the sizes of the containers and the number of pieces it includes. If 10 containers are not enough, however, you can expand the set with other containers from Rubbermaid's Brilliance line.

Factors to Consider

Material

Food storage containers typically come in sturdy plastic, glass, or stoneware. Each material has its merits, so choosing one will depend on what is most important to you. Plastic tends to be less expensive, lightweight, and more durable than glass or stoneware. Glass and stoneware tend to be more aesthetically pleasing, heavier, a bit more expensive, and more fragile, on top of resisting stains and odors better than plastic, in general.

Lid Type

To keep contents fresh, you want a lid that seals well. Look for features like silicone or rubber gaskets that provide an air-tight seal and snap closures that help to keep items contained even if the bin takes a small tumble. If you're storing food in a deep drawer, you may prefer clear or windowed lids, and if you're storing in a pantry, you may prefer lids that allow you to stack containers securely to maximize space.

Capacity

When picking a storage set, you want to be sure that the sizes included are useful for your household. As a rule of thumb, it's better to have bins that are slightly larger than you think you need.

Cleanup

Most food storage containers can be easily washed by hand, but for a more thorough cleaning, you may prefer to pick a set that is dishwasher safe. Always check with the manufacturer's instructions to ensure your set can be run through the dishwasher without warping or damaging its seal.

Best Food Storage Containers
Food & Wine / Meredith Food Studios

The Tests

In our lab, we tested 21 food storage container sets, which included 15 plastic sets and 6 glass or ceramic sets. We assessed how well each container performed in the following tests: keeping brown sugar from drying out, resisting stains from tomato sauce and odors from raw onions, protecting against leaks, and (for plastic containers) being dropped. The food storage containers that made our list received top marks in testing, in addition to meeting our standards for capacity, ease of cleaning, and design.

What Didn't Make the List

Anchor Hocking 96-Ounce Montana Jar with Acacia Lid

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Bed Bath and Beyond

This jar looks great on the counter, but we wish it were more functional. It felt more appropriate to use as decor than as food storage.

mDesign Airtight Stackable Food Storage Container

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Target

This set didn't include any large containers, and one container warped in the dishwasher.

BerHOFF Leo Covered Glass Food

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

This set's stackability is great, but because the containers are glass with a fairly narrow footprint, they made our tester nervous about stability and breakage.

Le'raze Glass Kitchen Canisters with Airtight Bamboo Lid

Best Food Storage Containers
Courtesy of Amazon

These are beautiful for countertop storage, but their glass construction is delicate and requires hand washing.

Best Food Storage Containers
Food & Wine / Meredith Food Studios

Q+A

Q: How do you organize food storage containers?

A: A set that stacks will take advantage of any vertical space you have. Place heavier, larger containers on the bottom, and stack lighter, smaller containers on top. If you're storing food in a deep drawer, you may want to opt for uniformly-sized containers with see-through lids for easy identification. To make organization easier, you can also use a label maker or wine bottle pen to note each container's contents.

Q: How many food storage containers do I need?

A: This depends on the quantities and varieties of food you need to store. For example, if you tend to consistently stock your pantry with bulk ingredients like all-purpose flour, rice, dry beans, or nuts, you'll want larger, dedicated containers for each, as you can refill them when they're low or empty. If your pantry contains small quantities of a variety of ingredients—think chocolate chips, coconut flakes, nutritional yeast, and dried chilis—you might want an array of smaller containers. It's always a safe bet to start with a small, buildable set that you can add onto if necessary.

Our Expertise

Bernadette Machard de Gramont is an LA-based freelance writer specializing in food, wine, and kitchen products. After a two-year stint at Williams Sonoma headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.

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