Prepping next week’s meals or packing school lunches can be frustrating and challenging without the proper storage. After spending hours cooking, the last thing you want to deal with is leaking containers and lids that don’t fit. The best meal prep containers not only keep food fresh but are also easy to clean and come in a variety of sizes.
By using containers that have been explicitly designed for meal prepping, you can avoid the headache that comes with other container types. Often, the best meal prep containers are microwave safe, oven safe, and dishwasher safe, which makes heating and cleanup more manageable. The following list of selections features some of the best meal prep containers on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Rubbermaid Easy Find Vented Lids Food Storage
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sistema Klip It Multi-Use Food Storage Container Set
- UPGRADE PICK: FineDine 24-Piece Superior Glass Food Storage
- BEST FOR PACKED LUNCH: EasyLunchboxes Bento Snack Boxes Set of 4
- BEST FOR THE OVEN: C CREST 10-Pack Glass Meal Prep Containers
- BEST FOR FREEZER: Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
- BEST FOR KIDS: By Caleb Company Pink Bento Boxes For Kids Lunches
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Meal Prep Containers
There are several features to consider when purchasing the best meal prep containers, including the intended use for the containers, the size and weight, the material they’re made of, how they’re designed, and how easy they are to clean. Knowing what you’re looking for before browsing will give you the knowledge you need to purchase the best meal prep containers for your home.
There are many types, shapes, sizes, and uses for meal prep containers. While shopping around, there will be containers specifically for meal prepping, packed lunches, use in the oven, and so on. Identify how the container was meant to be used, and evaluate if that will work with your needs. For example, you might need a larger container for fajita fillings but a smaller container for the grated cheese you’ll want to put on top.
Additionally, understanding how you intend to use the containers will make shopping easier and allow you to eliminate items that won’t work for you. For example, if you need containers for the kids’ lunches, then containers made without compartments may not work for you.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of the meal prep containers will affect how the container can be stored and used. The average container size is around 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches. The size and weight will also determine the container’s portability and whether or not you’ll be able to carry it around in a backpack or in and out of the office. A large glass container will add a significant amount of weight to a kid’s bag and might make storing it difficult.
While refrigerators are spacious, they can quickly become full if the meal prep containers used are too large and aren’t suited for the items they need to hold. To ensure you’re selecting the best meal prep containers for your diet and lifestyle, purchase containers based on their intended use.
The best meal prep containers are generally made of plastic or glass. The quality of these two materials can fluctuate between products and will determine which is best for you. Plastic containers are lighter and are ideal for portability. However, they can rarely be used in the microwave, oven, freezer, or dishwasher. Make sure the plastic is BPA-free.
Glass is heavier but can make heating food up more manageable if it’s able to be microwaved or placed in the oven. While there’s a time and place for freezer bags, freezer-safe meal prep containers are also convenient. Buying dishwasher-safe containers also makes for a quick-and-easy cleanup.
Although it may seem obvious, be sure the material is food-grade, whether plastic or glass.
The design of the container will be determined by its intended use. Lunch box containers typically have leak-proof dividers to keep food separate. The best meal prep containers are deep and have lids that lock and seal in the freshness. There are also different shapes such as square, rectangle, or circle.
It’s easy to store half an onion in a smaller, circular container, while a slice of lasagna will fit nicely into a square or rectangle container. Some container sets are even designed to lock into place when stacked on top of each other. This helps keep the freezer or refrigerator neat and organized.
Ease of Cleaning
The worst part of meal prepping is all the cleanup. To reduce the amount of handwashing you’ll have to do, look for dishwasher-safe products: It’s helpful if both the container and the lid are dishwasher safe, as this will save time and energy.
If the containers are not safe to put in the dishwasher, ensure they’ll be easy to hand-wash. Avoid purchasing products with small crevices, awkward angles, or too many interlocking pieces. These can be hard to clean and can be a hassle to disassemble and then reassemble.
Our Top Picks
Nothing’s worse than opening your lunch box only to find a soggy sandwich. Whether it’s for meal prepping or packed lunches, the best meal prep containers keep ingredients organized, sealed, and fresh. Read on to explore the top picks. Maybe you’ll find the ideal solution for your lunchtime routine.
These containers by Rubbermaid come in a variety pack with 30 containers and lids. The sizes include six .5-cup, six 1.25-cup, six 2-cup, five 3-cup, four 5-cup, two 7-cup, and one 9-cup. They’re made with BPA-free plastic and are both microwave and dishwasher safe.
The lids snap onto the containers for a secure fit; however, they’re not sealed or locked and could potentially open within a lunch box or if dropped. The large, open compartment and lightweight material make them ideal for meal prepping or taking snacks on the go. Toss them in the dishwasher after use for a no-stress clean.
Achieve those organized refrigerator goals with these affordable stackable meal prep containers. Sistema designed these containers with BPA-free and phthalate-free plastic that’s also microwave safe (without the lids) and dishwasher safe (on the top rack).
This set of three containers measures 6.9 inches by 4.6 inches by 4.8 inches and comes with dividers to keep ingredients separate. The partitions and lightweight plastic make these containers ideal for snacks on the go or packed lunches. They also come in three size options, including an 8-cup, a 4.2-cup, and a 1.3-cup.
This 24-piece set by FineDine comes with nine container sizes to suit almost any storing need. There are two 12-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, one 35-ounce, two 11-ounce, one 17.5-ounce, one 27-ounce, two 13.5-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, and one 32-ounce. The included lids are 100 percent leak-proof so nothing will get spilled or ruined.
The containers are made with borosilicate glass and can handle rapid temperature changes without cracking or warping. They’re also oven, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe (except the lids), making use and cleaning a breeze. However, since they’re glass, it could make it hard to carry them around in lunch boxes or during travel.
These rectangular-shaped meal prep containers by EasyLunchboxes are ideal for packed lunches. They have four compartments that are separated from each other but not leak-proof. The lids are easy-open, so even toddlers can get to snacks with ease. At 6.6 inches by 6 inches by 2 inches and made with lightweight plastic, they’ll fit into a lunch box or backpack nicely.
The BPA-free plastic is microwave safe, freezer safe, and dishwasher safe, so using and cleaning these containers isn’t a hassle. Each compartment is .5 cups and ideal for portion control for both kids and adults. They also come in two color pack options.
Store food in style with these meal prep containers by C Crest. They come in six color options, including blue, orange, pink, green, light green, and a variety pack. The high-quality borosilicate glass is lead-free and can withstand temperatures in the oven up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
They’re freezer safe, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe, and although the lids are also safe for the dishwasher, it’s recommended that they’re hand-washed as much as possible. The lids are made with BPA-free plastic and have a snap locking system that is 100 percent leak-proof.
This pack of 10 comes with five 34-ounce and five 12-ounce containers, including their lids. The 34-ounce containers are 7.67 inches by 5.7 inches by 2.36 inches, and the 12-ounce containers are 5.66 inches by 4.09 inches by 1.69 inches. The high-quality glass might make these hard to pack in lunches due to how heavy they are.
Sometimes the best way to preserve food and reduce waste is to place it in the freezer. This five-pack of 30-ounce containers by Prep Naturals is freezer safe and will keep food fresh. Made with borosilicate glass, they’re durable and even safe for the oven, microwave, and dishwasher (top rack). The locking lids are leak-proof but easy to open and BPA-free.
The containers measure 6.5 inches by 4.75 inches by 2 inches and are suited for almost any food prepping or storing needs. However, because they’re made of glass, they could be quite heavy for traveling.
Save money on school lunches and use these convenient meal prep containers by Caleb Company. They come in four colors and are rectangular. Three different-sized removable compartments, one large and two small, keep snacks or lunches separated.
Made with food-grade, BPA-free plastic, these containers are freezer safe, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe. The lids are made of silicone and seal the containers with an airtight lock that’s easy for kids to open. These meal prep containers are 7 inches by 4.5 inches by 2.5 inches, making them the ideal size for most lunches.
FAQs About Meal Prep Containers
There is an extensive list of options, types, and features to consider while shopping for the best meal prep containers. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers to help you while shopping.
Q. What is the best size for a meal prep container?
Individual preferences and intended use will determine the ideal size of a meal prep container. For example, for small snacks to take to work, a smaller container will work best. However, for a family picnic, a larger container will fit more for the whole family.
Q. What is the safest prep meal container?
While plastic containers aren’t going to shatter if dropped, they can sometimes contain BPA, which isn’t always safe. Glass containers are a healthier option, and many are shatter resistant. So even if they are dropped, they won’t create too dangerous a situation.
Q. Are meal prep containers microwave safe?
This will depend on the individual product. Some containers are safe to heat up in the microwave; however, not all containers are microwave safe. Check the specifications for each product to be sure.
Q. Are meal prep containers dishwasher safe?
This depends on the product. Some containers can be washed in a dishwasher, but not all. Check the specifications of the product to be sure.