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Storage containers are an integral part of keeping your kitchen organized, streamlining meal prep, and storing leftovers. Many top-notch storage containers also do double duty, transporting lunch, reheating leftovers, or even cooking or baking. Rachel Abady, Founder and CMO of Manna Cooking, vouches for the usefulness of food storage containers, and she says that the most functional sets feature "durability, dishwasher safety, microwave safety, and multiple sizes for all your food storage needs."
There’s a variety of different sets on the market, with your first big decision being whether you want plastic or glass containers. Next, consider if you need stackable, space-saving sets for between-use storage. Also, think about whether you want to have round, square, or rectangular containers. In the end, the Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage 14-Piece Food Storage Set stood out among the rest for its 100 percent leakproof design.
Ditch the stained and smelly mismatched deli containers and tired-out Tupperware and upgrade your kitchen with one of these fantastic sets. Here are the best food storage container sets to have in your kitchen.
Best Overall: Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage 14-Piece Food Storage Set
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 14 | What's Included: (2) 0.5-cup rectangle, (2) 1.3-cup rectangle, (2) 3.2-cup rectangle, (1) 9.6-cup rectangle
These plastic, airtight food storage containers from Rubbermaid promise to keep food fresh and are 100 percent leakproof. Our very own Commerce Editor Siobhan Wallace concurs. "With the lid snapped down, it never leaks no matter what. The best part though is there's no post-wash stain or leftover smell, even if I've been eating red cabbage slaw," she says.
The set includes two small containers, four medium-sized ones, and a large 9.6-cup container, plus lids. They’re designed with clear, BPA-free plastic that allows you to see what’s inside and are constructed to resist stains and odors to keep containers looking like new.
The containers are durable but lightweight and easy to carry, making them ideal for tossing into lunch bags or toting salads to picnics and potlucks. The sleek design makes them easy to stack, so you can also use them for storing pantry staples. The lids have built-in vents underneath the latches that help reduce splatters during reheating in the microwave. The set is also safe in the dishwasher and freezer, making this set a workhorse go-to for storing leftovers and batch cooking projects alike.
Best Budget: Amazon Basics Glass Locking Lids 14-Piece Set Food Storage Container Set
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 16 | What's Included: (2) 1.29-cup round, (2) 1.6-cup rectangle, (1) 3-cup round, (2) 3.6-cup rectangle
These basic containers are designed primarily for storing food, just don’t expect them to handle going straight from the fridge to a hot oven. Still, this is a great starter set for light-to-moderate usage. This affordable glass storage container set comes with a good mix of round and rectangular glass containers with their accompanying lids.
Those locking lids come with silicone rings to help prevent spills, while the nonporous glass base is easy to clean and doesn't absorb stains and odors. The lids are made with BPA-free plastic and are microwave safe (be sure that lid placement allows for venting), freezer-safe, and top-rack dishwasher safe. The glass containers are also oven-safe; as with all glass containers, be sure not to subject the glass to extreme temperature changes (for example, don’t put the containers in the oven while it’s pre-heating).
Best Glass: OXO Good Grips 16-Piece Smart Seal Glass Container Set
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 16 | What's Included: (1) 1-cup circular, (1) 2-cup circular, (1) 4-cup circular, (1) 7-cup circular, (1) 4-ounce rectangle, (1) 1.6-cup rectangle, (1) 3.5-cup rectangle, (1) 8-cup rectangle
This versatile OXO container set comes in eight different sizes, split evenly between round and rectangular. The BPA-free lids are designed with removable silicone gaskets and four locking tabs that snap securely into place to ensure leakproof storage, though some reviewers noted that tabs were difficult to latch.
The durable containers are made from borosilicate glass which is thermal-shock resistant, allowing for seamless freezer-to-oven reheating (ideal for family meals like lasagna or eggplant parmesan). The quality of the clear glass makes it easy to see what’s stored inside. The 7-cup glass container (sans the lid) also works well for Instant Pot recipes requiring pot-in-pot cooking. The pieces in the set also nest and stack to save on storage space.
Best Plastic: Snapware Total Solution Rectangular Plastic 10-Piece Food Storage Set
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 10 | What's Included: (5) 3-cup rectangle
These BPA-free plastic containers are made in the U.S.A. and come with a limited lifetime warranty. The set features five 3-cup rectangular containers, making it an ideal set for meal prep, storing leftovers, or toting lunch. The quality of the plastic is said to resist stains and food odors.
The lids are designed with four locking tabs to ensure an airtight seal and leakproof performance. The lids are top-rack dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe, and microwave-safe (just be sure to vent the lid to allow steam to escape during reheating). The lids also have built-in write and erase labels, making it easy to organize and distinguish leftovers. Reviewers gave this set top marks for being durable, leakproof, and easy to clean.
Best Nested: Joseph Joseph Nest Lock Plastic 10-Piece Food Storage Container Set
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 10 | What's Included: (1) 1-cup rectangle, (1) 2.2-cup rectangle, (1) 4.6-cup rectangle, (1) 7.7-cup rectangle, (1) 12.5-cup rectangle
This multi-color, space-saving plastic set, comprised of five rectangular containers and five lids, is designed to nest together. There’s a variety of sizes from a small 1 cup to 12.5 cups. We especially like the largest size for storing batches of soup, stew, and stock. The lids are designed with locking tabs to ensure an airtight seal and leak-proof performance. Everything is safe in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher.
The manufacturer offers a variety of different sets so that you can easily build your own collection according to your needs. It also provides a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Best for the Freezer: Pyrex Simply Store 18-piece Glass Food Storage Container Set
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 18 | What's Included: (1) 1-cup round, (2) 2-cup round, (2) 4-cup round, (2) 3-cup rectangle, (1) 6-cup rectangle, (1) 7-cup round
“I am personally obsessed with all things Pyrex. For me, food storage containers also need to be durable, dishwasher and microwave safe, and act as bowls for eating and bowls for prepping food while I cook," Abady says. "Plus, these do not absorb any food odor and they don't turn orange after storing pasta sauce in them!" This Pyrex set is mostly comprised of its round containers but does include two 3-cup and a 7-cup rectangular one. The nonporous glass prevents it from absorbing food odors, flavors, or stains, keeping the containers cleaner for longer.
Pyrex glass containers are known for going seamlessly from freezer to oven, making these an excellent bet for meal prep recipes like beef Bourguignon or enchiladas. The airtight lids are made from BPA-free plastic and are safe in the freezer, microwave, and on the top rack in your dishwasher. The set comes with a two-year limited warranty on glass containers and plastic lids. Some users note that the lids easily cracked after repeated use, but the lids are also replaceable.
Related: The Best Upright Freezers
Best Airtight: Anchor Hocking TrueSeal 10-Piece Round Glass Food Storage Set
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 10 | What's Included: (1) 1-cup round, (2) 2-cup round, (1) 4-cup round, (1) 7-cup round
The round containers included in the set are from 1-cup to a 7-cup one, all with lids. Those lids are made from BPA-free plastic and the TrueSeal technology promises a 100 percent airtight seal to prevent spills and leaks. The flexible lids and extended tabs make it easy to remove lids without exerting effort. We also appreciate that the lids feature a transparent window on top for easy viewing.
The tempered glass is designed to withstand staining and odor absorption and is built for durability, all backed by a 5-year warranty. The containers are designed to nest together, helping to save on storage space when they’re not in use. The glass containers are freezer-safe, microwave-safe, and oven-safe to 425 degrees, so you can prep, bake, store, and reheat all in one container. Containers and lids are also top-rack dishwasher-safe.
Related: The Best Measuring Cups
Best Variety: Prep Naturals 13-Pack Glass Storage Containers with Lids
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 26 | What's Included: (1) 5.7-ounce square, (1) 6.3-ounce rectangle,(1) 7.3-ounce round, (1) 10.5-ounce square, (1) 12.5-ounce rectangle, (1) 13-ounce round, (1) 18-ounce square, (1) 21.3-ounce rectangle, (1) 22-ounce round, (1) 27-ounce square, (1) 33-ounce round, (1) 35.2-ounce rectangle, (1) 51-ounce rectangle
This set wins points for variety with three different shapes—round, rectangular, and square—in 13 sizes, making it perfect for meal prep, storing leftovers, and toting salads and dressings separately. The range of sizes starts with the 5.7-ounce square, essentially 0.75-cup, to the large 51-ounce rectangle, which equates to 6.3 cups. Users note that the size of the containers is on the smaller side, but that they are great for storing odds and ends dinner leftovers or salad dressing.
The glass containers are safe in the microwave, oven, and freezer, and the thermo-resistant glass is built to withstand temperatures of up to 840 degrees. The lids are designed with a two-set edge to facilitate easy closure and a “smartest-lock” locking lids to ensure an airtight seal. The set is also designed for nesting, so you can stack and store the pieces without taking up too much room. Containers are dishwasher safe on the top rack.
Related: The Best Meal Prep Containers
If you're looking for a BPA-free plastic set with airtight lids that's resistant to stains and odors, look no further than Rubbermaid's Brilliance Storage 14-Piece Food Storage Set (view at Amazon). Those in need of glass food storage containers with locking lids and a variety of sizes, pick up the OXO Smart Seal 16-Piece Glass Container Set (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in Food Storage Containers
The food storage sets in our roundup consist of glass versions and plastic versions. The benefits of glass containers include aesthetic value (they can easily be used as serving vessels as well as storage containers), easy cleanup (glass containers are dishwasher-safe), and temperature regulation (hot and cold items retain their temperature well when kept in glass vessels). The biggest negative comes from the fact that glass containers can chip and crack when dropped or roughly handled.
Plastic storage containers are durable, easy to clean, and affordable. However, plastic also tends to absorb odors and colors from some foods, which may require users to rewash them multiple times after putting dishes like tomato sauce or a fragrant stew in these containers.
Variety in Sets
Food storage sets can be found in infinite quantities and configurations, with containers sized to hold specific foods and portions. The sets on our list range from a 10-piece set with rectangular containers that nest inside each other for easy storage to an 18-piece set with both round and rectangular containers. The shapes and sizes that work best for you will depend on how you plan to use your set and what your storage needs are. If you’re meal planning for a small household, look for sets that include many smaller containers. Large households should benefit from sets that focus on 4-cup containers and up.
By far the most crucial features for a storage container set are sturdy lids that stay in place and effectively protect the food from freezer burn or the risk of spillage. Some sets feature airtight designs that keep food fully insulated, along with tabs to make lid removal easy when the time comes.
Do different foods have different storage needs?
As we mentioned previously, certain foods can stain plastic containers, which makes cleanup more difficult and can also affect the flavor of foods kept in those containers afterward. For the safest storage, reserve flavorful sauces and brightly colored soups, like curries, tomato sauces, chilis, and borscht, for glass containers only.
Why shouldn’t frozen food go directly in the oven?
Removing most foods from the freezer and placing them right in the oven will result in uneven cooking, with the insides of the dishes taking far longer to warm than the outsides. To prevent this result, allow your food to thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to cooking. This will elevate its temperature enough to allow the cooking process to equally affect the entire dish.
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