The 7 Best Food Storage Containers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Say goodbye to stale snacks and cluttered countertops.

Rachel covers all aspects of the home space and tests products to find the best for consumers. When she's not writing, you can find her streaming, hiking, and decorating. Sushi Tools

The 7 Best Food Storage Containers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Food storage containers are a lifeline for home cooks. Not only are they able to securely store leftovers, but they can also keep both wet and dry ingredients fresh. The best food storage containers are durable, spill-resistant, and sealed tightly enough to keep out pantry pests and survive a fall without breaking or causing a mess. 

“There are a lot of factors to consider other than just how pretty something is,” says professional organizer Ashley Coleman. “It's really about what works well versus what doesn't from a functionality standpoint.”

Professional organizer Alejandra Costello agrees: “When purchasing food storage containers, I look for material (glass, plastic, or metal), transparency (opaque vs. clear), weight (heavy vs. light), shape (square vs. round), quality of the lid (airtight vs. non-airtight), and ease of use.” 

We put 21 food storage containers to the test in our Lab, including plastic and glass options, and evaluated their design, capacity, ease of cleaning, and performance, including whether or not they stained and held on to smells after cleaning. We also tested for leakage and if they broke on impact.

The air-tight lid design is highly effective and easy to use.

They are very simply designed, so aren’t the most aesthetically-pleasing option.

This super popular Rubbermaid food storage set passed our tests with flying colors. Not only did the pieces have no stains or smell after washing (which wasn’t the case with most of the plastic food storage containers we tested), but they were also impressively leak-free.The Rubbermaid Brilliance Pantry Food Storage Container Set is able to achieve this lack of leakage due to the design of its lids, which feature a rubber gasket to keep things airtight and two snap-on latches for extra protection from spills. 

We were also pleased with the size variety available in this set. The taller options are great for storing spaghetti, cereal, or dry beans, while the shorter containers are ideal for dry snacks. The set is microwave-safe, including the lids, which have holes in the gaskets to allow airflow. It is also shatter-proof, stackable, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe.

Price at time of publish: $50 for 4-piece set

Included Sizes: 3.2, 7.8, 12, and 16 cups | Material: BPA-free plastic | Safe For: Freezer, microwave, dishwasher

Not only does it come with a variety of containers, but it also comes with labels, a marker, and a scoop set.

The pieces retained a slight odor after being run through the dishwasher.

Those who don’t want to fork over a lot of money on a big food storage set will appreciate this affordable option. This 14-pack is a great value buy, as it provides a handful of big and small food containers to use, whether you’re storing leftovers or dry ingredients. 

This set comes with two extra tall kitchen containers, four large tall pantry containers, four medium food containers, and four small containers. The containers are ideal for storing all kinds of dry goods, including flour, rice, pasta, cereal, and sugar. Plus, the Chef's Path Airtight Food Storage Container Set is stackable and safe to use in the microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. What’s more, it comes with its own chalkboard labels, chalkboard marker, and measuring spoon set.

 Although the price is certainly attractive for what you get, this set didn’t perform as well as we had hoped during our testing. While the containers did decently in our pre-wash test, as they came out with no stains and had just a faint onion smell, they dripped slightly during our splash test. We also had to force the tops back onto the containers after running them through the dishwasher, and one of the side clasps opened when we dropped the canister. Even so, the secure, four-sided locking system prevented the pieces from majorly leaking. As such, this set is great for dry goods that are stored in drawers or shelves, and not food that you want to transport. 

Price at time of publish: $60 for 14-piece set

Included Sizes: 3.3, 5.9, 8.4, and 11.8 cups | Material: BPA-free plastic | Safe For: Refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

The containers are stackable and have an airtight, leak-free design.

They aren’t microwave- or freezer-safe.

We were so impressed by these storage containers that we immediately wanted to start using them at home. The four-canister set excelled at a number of our tests, rating highly in terms of performance, capacity, and ease of cleaning. The containers have a tight seal that resulted in no leaks, and survived our pre-wash test quite well with no staining, though there was a slight onion smell.

 The lids here are a real standout. Unlike other food storage container lids, the Better Homes & Gardens canister lids each feature a small handle that allows you to carry them around with your fingers (Better Homes & Gardens is owned by Real Simple’s parent company, Dotdash Meredith). This is especially helpful if you store your dry goods in drawers instead of cabinets. The lids also boast an airtight seal so powerful that during our fall test, the lid stayed completely still, resulting in no cracks or breakage to the body of the canisters.

Two things to keep in mind is that these are designed for dry goods only—so ideal for storing things that shouldn't be refrigerated, like coffee beans—and as such, aren't microwave-safe or freezer-safe, which may be a dealbreaker for some buyers.

Price at time of publish: $30 for 4-piece set

 Included Sizes: 6.5, 10.1, 16, and 19.4 cups | Material: BPA-free plastic | Safe for: Dishwasher

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

The set is ideal for storing large quantities of dry staple ingredients.

There isn’t any size variety.

If you only need food storage containers to store your favorite bulk bin foods, this set from Vtopmart is a solid option. All of the four food storage containers in this set measure the same size (7.5 x 7.5 x 9.1 inches), with the ability to hold close to 22 cups of food. This is a great choice for families who cook a lot and need a large amount of staple ingredients and foods on hand, such as flour, sugar, pasta, oats, or rice.

Although this set is intended for dry goods, our testing revealed that it can handle liquids quite well too. The airtight lids yielded no leaks, nor did any liquid creep into the seal. However, when we dropped these food storage containers, they did leak a little bit since one side came open. Still, not bad for dry food containers—you can store uncooked rice for the long term. 

We also appreciated that this set comes with labels, markers for the labels, and a scoop set, the latter of which isn’t a common accessory with food storage containers. Keep in mind that while containers are dishwasher-safe, the brand recommends you clean the lids by hand.  

Price at time of publish: $31 for 4-piece set

Size: 5.5 cups | Material: BPA-free plastic | Safe For: Dishwasher (containers only)

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

The single large container takes up less space in the pantry than multiple canisters would.

It’s expensive for a single container.

Cereal lovers and those with kids know how important it is to keep cereal in bulk around the house. Instead of having multiple boxes take up space in your cabinets or pantry, pour it all into the PrepWorks Large Cereal Keeper, and store your cereals longer. This cereal keeper can store 4.5 quarts, or 18 cups, of cereal. We particularly liked the lid, which contains two openings: one to add cereal and another smaller opening located on the top of the lid that allows you to easily pour directly into a bowl. Another unique feature is that the container keeps measurement markings, so you know the exact amount you have left.

In addition to cereal, you can also store other dry foods including oats, beans, and pasta such as macaroni. This cereal keeper is dishwasher-safe, and after we washed it during our testing, it showed no stains or streaks, and sealed quite nicely. 

Price at time of publish: $30

 Size: 18 cups | Material: BPA-free plastic | Safe For: Dishwasher

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

The airtight lids keep food fresh and safe from pantry pests.

The lids do pop off when the containers are dropped.

OXO has a reputation for making useful and clever kitchen gadgets, and this container set is no different. The OXO Good Grips 8-Piece Baking Essentials POP Container Set is specifically designed with bakers in mind, and is made to store a variety of essentials like flour, sugar, baking soda, and toppings. These are all kept fresh thanks to the airtight lids, which, instead of having to use force to pull them off, you can easily pop off thanks to the button located on top of the lid. The convenience doesn't stop there—that button, when raised, also acts as a handle for the lid. Plus, underneath the lid there is a storage area that keeps the included half cup scoopers and brown sugar saver in place.

 The containers did leak during testing though, and when put through the fall test, the lid popped off, causing all of the contents to spill out and make a big mess. Despite these drawbacks, we still found these to be a quality set of containers, and would recommend people buy them. Just don’t store any liquids in them.  

Price at time of publish: $68 for 8-piece set

Included Sizes: 0.4, 1.1, and 4.4 quarts | Material: BPA-free plastic | Safe For: Dishwasher

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

They’re sleek and stylish enough to display on your kitchen countertop.

All the pieces are narrow, so it’s not a good set if you want larger canisters.

If you’re trying to reduce the use of plastic in your life, opt for glass food storage containers instead. Glass food storage containers are able to keep food fresh just as well as plastic, and are known to stain less and keep smells at bay. The Le’raze Kitchen Canisters lived up to the hype—after our pre-wash test, the canister smelled fresh as a daisy and exhibited no staining.

This set is made of borosilicate glass, which is highly resistant to thermal shock. Despite this, and the fact that the canisters barely leaked during our tests, we would not recommend using them for storing or reheating leftovers. You should use this set to hold frequently used dry goods, including pasta, lentils, rice, and, thanks to the airtight seal, even coffee. And unlike other food storage containers, which tend to be lacking in the style department, these canisters are pretty enough to double as kitchen countertop decor.

Price at time of publish: $50 for 5-piece set

Included Sizes: 2, 2.8, 3.7, 5, and 6.75 cups | Material: Borosilicate glass, silicone, and bamboo | Safe For: Dishwasher and microwave

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

Real Simple / Meredith Food Studios

Overall, we recommend the Rubbermaid Brilliance Pantry Food Storage Container Set for the lack of leakage, smells, and staining during our testing. We also liked the variety of sizes available in this set and that it is safe to use in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. 

We tested 21 different food storage containers and sets, including 15 made of plastic and six made of glass. We assessed their quality based on a number of factors, including performance, ease of cleaning, overall design, and capacity. We did three tests to measure the above categories. First, we filled each container with a cup of tomato sauce and chopped yellow onion. We let that sit in the refrigerator for three nights, emptied the contents, ran it through the dishwasher, and then noted if any stains developed or if there were any lingering smells after.

We then tested the containers that claimed to have a tight seal, or boasted that they were "spill-resistant," to see if any leakage occurred. We filled the containers up with water mixed with food coloring, wrapped them in a towel, and shook vigorously to see if any of the dyed liquid appeared on our towel. For the plastic containers, we tested durability by dropping them onto the floor, filled with liquid, to see if they broke or if the lid popped off. We took all these insights and used them to come up with the best food storage containers.

Most food storage containers are either made of glass or plastic, both of which come with pros and cons. Finding the material that works best for you is all dependent on your lifestyle. “Plastic is lighter weight and ideal for frequent use, such as dry goods in the pantry,” says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. “Likewise, plastic is the safer choice when children are present and handling containers.”

Plastic containers also often have more tight-fitting lids than glass containers, and are less likely to break on impact and are much lighter to carry around than glass ones. However, plastic containers are more likely to stain and scratch, and aren’t as good as glass at hiding odor.  If you’re using plastic, Costello says to make sure it’s BPA-free.  

Glass, on the other hand, is durable, less likely to stain from stored food, and better able to keep smells at bay. Costello says its durability makes it better suited for microwaving and freezing than plastic containers, as it is less likely to crack. For pantries with critter challenges, Costello recommends opting for glass or metal containers. The downside is that, if they’re not made with a strong type of glass, these containers may break easily on impact. Some glass containers also don’t have as tight-fitting lids as plastic, making them more susceptible to leakage.

Food storage containers come in all kinds of sizes, each suitable for different purposes and quantities. “In terms of size, it just depends on the volume of the item itself,” explains professional organizer Ashley Coleman. “If somebody wants to decant little chocolate chips, it’s obviously very different than if you’re decanting a huge bag of flour or spaghetti.”

Large bins are good for storing large amounts of dry food, such as cereal, pasta, and flour. The partially open boxes or bags that typically contain these kinds of foods leave them susceptible to invasion by pantry bugs, so more secure bins are particularly great at keeping pests away. Not only that, but these kinds of bins will also make your kitchen cabinets look a lot more organized. 

Canisters are another excellent storage option, especially for dry foods you use often and want readily accessible on the kitchen countertop. Since many canisters come in stylish designs, they can also double as counter decor.

If you eat leftovers often, consider looking into food container storage sets. Sets feature many of the same size food storage containers or multiple sizes to accommodate different amounts of leftovers. If your leftovers tend to be of the same size, get a set that has multiples of the same-sized food storage container. If you make large batches of food, such as stews, or your own salad dressings alongside portioned meals, get a set that includes big, medium, and small-sized options.

When it comes to food storage containers, durability is the ability to handle all kinds of different environments, including those found in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher. When buying food storage containers, make sure that they fit your storage lifestyle. If you frequently freeze your food and don’t want to wait for it to thaw before eating, make sure you buy containers that are freezer-safe and microwave-friendly. That distinction will usually be made by the manufacturer.

If you prefer reheating leftovers in the oven, go with a glass food storage container. Glass and plastic food storage containers are usually dishwasher-safe, but the manufacturer will specifically indicate the container’s durability. “When you buy a container, [safety instructions] are either on the packaging or the actual container itself” says Coleman.   

When putting them in the dishwasher, make sure to remove the gasket around the lid, if there is one. The area between the gasket and the part of the lid where the gasket slides into is difficult to get completely dry due to the lack of airflow. Not adequately drying that area makes it ripe for the production of mold.

The Container Store 5-Piece Modular Canister Set: This stackable canister set is space-saving, easy to clean, and didn’t stain after dishwashing. The set did crack and slightly leak during our testing, so we wouldn’t recommend it for storing liquids, but the affordable price might make up for it.

Mepal Modula Stackable Storage Containers: We were impressed by these containers’ sleek design and their window lids, which let you see what’s inside from overhead. Even so, we were disappointed by the excessive leakage during testing.

When choosing between plastic and glass storage containers, Coleman says a lot depends on personal preference. Though glass may be ideal for those who are more eco-conscious, she notes that plastic containers are more likely to have airtight lids, which can be beneficial if you’re looking for maximum preservation.

Coleman also advises considering where you are planning to keep the canisters and containers. “If you’re storing them in a pantry or a really low shelf, and the family has little kids, you don't want glass to be potentially broken,” says Coleman.

Costello agrees that plastic is a safer choice when children are present. She also mentions that while plastic is ideal for storing dry goods, glass is a more durable option for heating and freezing. “For leftovers in the fridge that will be reheated in the container, opt for glass containers (which are naturally BPA-free) to avoid heating potentially harmful chemicals” she says. “Even if your plastic container is BPA-free, plastic still has other chemicals that can leach out.”

Coleman says storing food in storage containers will definitely make it stay fresh longer, particularly if the container has an airtight lid. “If you decant chips or crackers in a container with an airtight lid, it's going to stay better,” says Coleman. Costello notes that airtight containers do tend to cost more, so if budget is a concern, consider saving the airtight containers for longer-lasting foods and use non-airtight ones for foods with quicker turnarounds. 

Costello says it’s important to consider the opportunity cost of purchasing storage containers and the maintenance involved, namely transferring contents, updating labels, cleaning pesky lids and removing odors. If you are planning to finish the bag of food quickly, it may not be worth decanting it. 

“For example, for the avid cereal eater, it doesn't make sense to transfer a box of cereal to a food storage container with a 'hard-to-open' lid if it's only going to last a couple days,” she says. “On the other hand, for the occasional baker, it makes sense to invest in a quality airtight container for storing a five-pound bag of flour that will be slowly used over the course of a year.” 

In terms of expiration dates, Coleman recommends denoting them on the storage container. She says she often advises clients to either write the expiration date on the bottom with a dry erase marker or use a label maker to print the date in small font.

“The benefits of putting dried goods inside storage containers are to preserve shelf life, keep critters out, and to improve the overall organizing system,” explains Costello. She adds that clear containers allow you to more easily identify what food is inside and how much is left rather than opening up the package. 

 Coleman emphasizes that the main benefit of using storage containers is to keep the contents fresh longer. She says by choosing containers with airtight lids in particular, you may be less inclined to be lazy as there is no choice but to put the lid on it. 

Along with making food last, Coleman feels that another benefit of using storage containers is their sleek appearance. “Because it looks nice, you might be more inclined to maintain it that way,’” says Coleman. “So it's kind of like a domino effect.” 

Costello agrees, noting that opting for uniform containers and labels can particularly improve one’s kitchen aesthetic.

This article was written by Rachel Center, a home cook and product reviews home writer for Real Simple, and updated by Jamie Fischer, a commerce writer for Real Simple. To compile this list, we tested 21 food storage containers in our Lab and evaluated each on design, capacity, ease of cleaning, and performance. We also tapped two professional organizers: Ashley Coleman, professional organizer and founder of Done Neatly, and Alejandra Costello, an organization expert and certified life coach.

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

The 7 Best Food Storage Containers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Peeler Vegetable By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.