The Best Food Storage Containers for the Fridge and Pantry
Keep all sorts of food fresh and delicious in the safest, best-designed containers available.
You’ve made the commitment to avoid wasting good food, but part of that promise requires storing it in a healthy way to preserve freshness and nutrients. With increasing concerns over toxins and pollutants in everyday products, you’ll also want to be sure you’re choosing safe containers that won’t allow unwanted chemicals to creep into your diet.
Read on for our guide to the features to look for in the best food storage containers, then check out our recommendations below.
- BEST OVERALL (AND MOST ECO-FRIENDLY): Food Storage Containers by Greener Chef (set of four)
- BEST FOR ON-THE-GO: Food Storage Containers by Fullstar (set of five)
- BEST VALUE: Glass Storage Containers by Prep Naturals (set of 10)
- BEST FOR DRY FOODS: Good Grips POP Containers by OXO (set of five)
- BEST FOR BULK GOODS: Airtight Food Storage Containers by Wildone (set of six)
Key Considerations for Choosing the Right Food Storage
Go for Glass Over Plastic
In general, glass is a safer, healthier food storage choice than plastic. Borosilicate glass, in particular, is resistant to heat fracturing, so it can be placed in your oven or microwave. Unlike most plastics, borosilicate glass won’t leach toxins into your food and can be effectively cleaned in the dishwasher.
In contrast, there are concerns about the safety of prolonged plastic exposure. Bisphenol A (BPA) is an ingredient in hard, clear polycarbonate plastic, widely used in food containers. Growing evidence (as published in the journal Philosophical Transactions B) suggests that BPA can be harmful to humans, though what the exact effects are—and at what levels it causes damage—are still under investigation.
In reaction to such concerns, companies are now promoting BPA-free plastic containers as a safer, less toxic option. However, the jury’s still out on whether BPA-free plastic is completely risk-free. Research on mice exposed to BPA replacements published in the journal Current Biology shows reproductive damage that can be passed on to future generations. This is not to say that BPA-free plastic is unsafe for humans, but caution should still be exercised by safely recycling both BPA and BPA-free plastic food containers that are old or scratched.
Plastic containers remain popular because they tend to be lighter and less expensive than glass. If you prefer them, use them primarily for dry or refrigerated storage, rather than heating meals in a microwave or oven. Heat causes the breakdown of plastic, allowing toxins to leach into food. Also, double-check your containers for instructions, as some plastics aren’t dishwasher- or freezer-safe either.
Look for Locking Lids
Plastic snaps or silicon seals are the best options for a tight, leak-proof lid.
- Snaps press into place after securing the lid to ensure a tight seal.
- Silicon seals also prevent air and moisture leakage without snaps, but prolonged exposure to high temperatures can deform and warp this silicone seal, so washing by hand is recommended.
Most glass containers come with lighter, shatterproof plastic lids. Even if BPA-free, these lids should not be microwaved or placed in the dishwasher because high temperatures can cause microscopically damage them, leaching chemicals into food.
To steer clear of plastic entirely, look for eco-friendly options. Bamboo lids are lightweight, nearly unbreakable, and can also serve as a cutting board or serving tray in a pinch.
Seek a Variety of Sizes and Shapes
Depending on the type and amount of foods you typically store, choose storage containers that come in a range of sizes and shapes, including round, square, and rectangular. Round containers are great for soups, salads, and cookies. Square and rectangular shapes work well for brownies, casseroles, and lasagna. More importantly, rectangular options are the best food storage containers for saving space in a crowded fridge or freezer.
Smaller, snack-sized containers typically hold about a cup to 1½ cups. Medium-sized containers store between three to six cups. Large containers for cereal and bulk goods can hold up to 15 cups.
Look for stackable containers designed for stability that won’t fall over in the fridge. If your kitchen is short on storage, look for nesting containers that won’t take up extra space in your cupboards.
Top Picks for Food Storage
Here are our choices for BPA-free plastic and glass food storage solutions—all of them safe, well-designed, and touted by Amazon customers.
1. BEST OVERALL (AND MOST ECO-FRIENDLY): Food Storage Containers by Greener Chef
Greener Chef’s glass containers are made entirely without plastic. That means they are non-toxic, BPA-free, and phthalate-free. The containers’ unique bamboo lids are “tip tested” and designed to stay sealed even when turned upside down. Plus, thanks to their heavy-duty borosilicate glass construction, the Food Storage Containers are safe to use in the microwave, freezer, oven and dishwasher. Four different sizes (from 1-1/2 cups to 6-2/5 cups) offer maximum versatility, and the nesting design saves space and makes storage easy. Not 100 percent happy? Contact the company for a full refund.
2. BEST ON-THE-GO: Food Storage Containers by Fullstar
At 35 ounces each (about four cups), Fullstar’s meal prep containers are just the right size for packing workweek lunches. Made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), a type of BPA-free plastic with a low melting point, Fullstar containers don’t break down as easily when subjected to high temperatures, and so meet FDA food safety standards as well as the approval of the European certifying agency LFGB. The locking lids ensure freshness and leak-proof peace of mind when toted in a purse, briefcase, or backpack.
3. BEST VALUE: Glass Storage Containers by Prep Naturals
Each of these affordable and durable glass storage containers boasts two separate compartments—the perfect design for apportioning leftovers. (Note that the lids, made of BPA-free plastic, are dishwasher safe but not, according to the brand, microwave-, oven-, or freezer-safe.) Approved by the FDA and compliant with European food safety standards, the Prep Naturals set gives you ten 24-ounce (three-cup) borosilicate glass containers and ten SmartestLock lids. Not satisfied? The company offers a full, money-back guarantee.
4. BEST FOR DRY STORAGE: Good Grips POP Containers by OXO
The height of storage for dry foods, OXO’s POP Containers are airtight, stackable units that come in a variety of sizes and shapes, suited to storing beans, coffee, pasta, cereal, and nuts. The lid seals release at the press of a button, and the square and rectangular shapes of the containers fit together snugly to maximize cabinet and countertop space. Odds are you’ll find them handy for a broad range of organizational needs even beyond the kitchen, including in the playroom or garage.
5. BEST FOR BULK GOODS: Airtight Food Storage Containers by Wildone
With Wildone’s air- and water-tight containers, bulk goods like cereal and pet kibble stay fresh and organized, thanks to 20 chalkboard labels, a measuring cup, and a marker pen. The containers are made of BPA-free, FDA-approved, food-grade plastic, and the lids lock on four sides, ensuring no spills. Wildone’s containers—lauded by reviewers for their sturdiness and practicality—are microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe. Included are four medium (54.1 fluid ounce) and two large (121.8 fluid ounce) containers that stack together.