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Best food storage containers for keeping leftovers fresh

You need a food storage container to be multi-purpose, durable, airtight, easy to clean and leakproof. From saving leftovers after batch cooking to packing up tasty lunches for work, we’ve selected the very best food storage containers to invest in.

By Gemma Lumley | Last updated Mar 17, 2022

Selection of food storage containers

Cooking is one of the simplest ways to show love, so the kitchen is often the heart of the home. When children are small it is a joy to see them discovering new tastes, and small storage containers with lids are a great way to freeze and store the recipes they love. 

Once they are teenagers and seem to never be at home for dinner, saving them a portion in an airtight tub will make sure your newly independent child is eating a balanced diet and healthily fuelling their social life. 

And batch cooking, the simplest way to feed a family when you’re busy, needs a great many storage containers to work well, so value is essential too. 

Food storage systems should make your life easier, so they should also be dishwasher safe, microwave friendly and resilient to time in the freezer. To help you to choose, we’ve sought out recommendations on our forums, because if anyone knows how to organise a kitchen for efficient cooking, it’s our reliable army of Mumsnet users.

Here are the best food storage containers for 2022.

1. Best overall food storage containers: Lock & Lock Food Storage Containers

Lock and Lock containers

Price: £21.38 for six | Buy now from Amazon

“Lock & Lock are the most reliable ones I’ve had - they don’t leak ever. I’ve had some of mine for a good five years and it’s still going strong.” -  PigeonofDoom

Lock & Lock make the best food storage containers for leftovers as they are 100% airtight, so your food will stay fresh until you want to eat it. They are also fantastic for portable lunches as the robust four-lock closing system makes them genuinely leakproof. 

The food storage brand is loved and recommended by Mumsnet users thanks to their stackability too; they will tuck into each other neatly when not in use, so they are great for space-saving. They are also sturdy enough to be placed on top of each other when full. 

We were also particularly impressed by how easy they are to clean. The corners are slightly rounded, so food doesn’t get stuck, and the BPA-free plastic is resistant to most marking although, as with the majority plastic containers, some reviewers did find orange stains after using them for tomato-based sauces. 

Pros

  • Freezer safe 
  • Microwave safe
  • Range of sizes included

Cons

  • Only safe in the top rack of a dishwasher

Key specs

  • Material: BPA-free plastic
  • Capacity: 1 x 5500 ml; 2 x 350 ml; 3 x 800 ml
  • Weight: 0.2 kg
  • Number of containers in set: Six

2. Best budget food storage containers: IKEA Pruta Food Storage Containers

Pruta food storage

Price: £3.50 for 17 | Buy now from IKEA

IKEA’s Pruta food container set is fantastic value and will cover most of your storage needs. 

Stackable when full and easily stored inside each other when not in use, this set includes a range of sizes so there will be a tub to suit all your leftover needs. 

They can be used in both the fridge and freezer and are also microwave safe. They are also easy to clean, with rounded corners and won’t warp when washed in the dishwasher. 

We loved the transparent plastic that made it easy to see the contents of each tub, even when stacked. This set would work best as a solution for storing food in the house as some reviewers found the lids popped off easily when transported, so we’d recommend another set if you’re wanting something that doubles up as a lunchbox.  

Pros

  • Great value
  • Lots of sizes of tub included
  • Stacks well for easy storage

Cons

  • Not as high-quality as some other options
  • A few reviewers reported the lids popping off

Key specs

  • Material: Polypropylene plastic
  • Capacity: 7 x 150 ml; 2 x 300 ml; 2 x 100 ml; 2 x 600 ml; 2 x 1600 ml; 2 x 1800 ml
  • Weight: 0.81 kg
  • Number of containers in set: 17

3. Best bulk food storage container: Sistema Klip-It Large Food Storage Container

Sistema food storage

Price: £5.99 for one | Buy now from Amazon

This large tub from the Sistema KLIP IT range is fantastic for batch cooking and bulk food storage. Unlike other large-capacity storage for baking, which can be too big for standard kitchen appliances, three litres is the perfect size for freezing a family-size chilli or pasta bake. 

The KLIP IT closing system is easy to use and robust, plus the satisfying click will give you confidence that the contents will stay in place with no leaks. The airtight seal will also keep your food fresh for longer. 

As a single large tub, the three litre KLIP IT makes a perfect nest for smaller containers in the same range. Cleaning is easy; it is dishwasher safe and suitable for hot hand washing.

We enjoyed the versatility of this range and how much easier meal planning is when you have them. Each tub is entirely freezer safe and then when you’re ready you can defrost and pop the tub in the microwave (without the lid) to heat a delicious family meal. 

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Microwave safe 
  • Reviewers say they don’t stain as easily as other tubs

Cons

  • Can't go on on the top rack of the dishwasher
  • Lid not safe for use in the microwave

Key specs

  • Material: BPA and phthalate-free plastic
  • Capacity: 3000 ml 
  • Weight: 0.255 kg
  • Number of containers in set: One

4. Best airtight food storage containers: EMSA Clip & Close Food Storage Containers

EMSA Food Storage

Price: £15.96 for three  | Buy now from Amazon

It’s not a cheap option, but EMSA has developed a premium quality food storage system that is certainly worth the extra money for the freshness they deliver, and delighted reviewers agree. Their fantastic qualities have even been scientifically proven, with their containers keeping strawberries fresh for two weeks. 

The four blue seals on the sides of each box make them 100% leakproof, so they make great lunch boxes too. They also have grooves on the lid, allowing the tubs to be stacked up without fear of them wobbling over. 

These food containers are dishwasher-proof, stain resistant and easy to clean. Stashing them in the freezer for extended periods won't harm them, and you can microwave them without them becoming warped. 

Pros

  • Exceptional sealing system
  • Stackable
  • Suitable for storing baby food
  • 30-year guarantee according to their website so it's a high-quality set

Cons

  • Expensive

Key specs

  • Material: BPA-free plastic 
  • Capacity: 1000 ml 
  • Weight: 0.6 kg
  • Number of containers in set: Three

5. Best plastic food storage containers: Addis Clip and Close Food Storage Containers

Addis food storage

Price: £8.99 for five | Buy now from Amazon

“I ‘did’ my pantry a couple of years ago and bought lots of lidded airtight Lock & Lock and Addis containers then for foodstuffs. Cost a fortune but they’re all going strong and that system has worked for me.”  - WellTidy 

Addis has created a range of food storage containers that continues to delight customers. You can trust the 100% leakproof guarantee and happily transport lunches in them as the airtight seal will keep your food fresh for days in the fridge and much longer in the freezer. 

We liked the helpful range of sizes in this set as they are perfect for leftovers and cooking ingredients you don’t want to waste. They are also a fantastic choice for all kitchen needs as they are dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. 

The transparent base, lids and clips make the contents easy to identify so that you don’t grab chilli instead of curry from the freezer when you’re in a hurry. 

Pros

  • 10-year guarantee 
  • Useful range of sizes 

Cons

  • Colour of lids not consistent across their whole range - varies between blue or turquoise

Key specs

  • Material: BPA and phthalate free plastic
  • Capacity: 1 x 3600 ml; 1 x 450 ml; 1 x 900 ml; 1 x 180 ml; 1 x 300 ml
  • Weight: 0.740 kg
  • Number of containers in set: Five

6. Best baby food storage containers: Babybol Airtight Baby Food Storage Containers

Babymoov food storage

Price £11.09 for six | Buy now from Amazon

“Buy these now and freeze any bits of leftovers from your dinners - means you’ve always got a quick meal for a toddler if needed.”  - TopCatLuther

These little pots are ideal for baby meals, but they can also be used for other foods such as homemade dips and leftovers. They are easy to nest inside each other when not in use and can be neatly stacked in the fridge or freezer.

Made from BPA-free, food-safe plastic, Babymol pots can also be heated in the microwave and are dishwasher safe. The lids screw on and off in moments and create a leakproof seal, great for carrying snacks and meals around in a changing bag. 

We loved that the lids are different colours so you can keep a list of what food is in which pot. There is also space for labelling with a washable marker, but some users have found the writing hard to remove. 

Pros

  • Great for dips too
  • Colour coding lids
  • Stackable 

Cons

  • Not easy to remove handwritten labels 

Key specs

  • Material: BPA-free polypropylene plastic 
  • Capacity: 180 ml
  • Weight: 0.227 kg
  • Number of containers in set: Six

7. Best BPA-free food storage containers: OXO Good Grips Food Storage Set

Oxo food storage

Price: £56.50 for five | Buy now from Amazon

“Converted part of our cellar into a pantry last year and I went with the Oxo Pop containers - so much more space, I love them!” - Slothkin

This OXO Good Grips Storage Set is excellent quality; the plastic is thick and durable to work well with heavy, dry items such as pasta or pulses. They also look stylish so they can be displayed on the countertop as an easy-access design feature. 

The Good Grips technology is a button on the top of the lid that seals and unseals when you press it - no more fiddling with lining up the edges of a tub to seal it. The lid, when closed, also makes a sturdy handle, just don’t carry them by the lid when not locked!

OXO food storage is dishwasher safe on the top shelf of a dishwasher, and they are also easy to clean in hot soapy water. We were also very impressed with the stain resistance of the BPA-free plastic. It may be a pricey set, but it ticks all the boxes when it comes to sleek kitchen storage.  

 Pros

  • Has handles 
  • Matching solution based accessories available
  • Stylish
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Shapes included make it better for cupboard storage, rather than for lunches
  • Doesn’t specify whether it’s freezer safe

Key specs

  • Material: BPA-free plastic 
  • Capacity: 1 x 2100 ml; 1 x 1500 ml;  2 x 900 ml; 1 x 300 ml 
  • Weight: 1.95 kg
  • Number of containers in set: Five 

8. Best collapsible food storage containers: Beeptrum Collapsible Food Storage Containers

Collapsible food storage

Price: £17.99 for four | Buy now from Amazon

Beeptrum has developed one of the best food storage containers for camping and general day-to-day life with their space-saving containers. They are collapsible when empty and reduce to 50% of their size, which dramatically reduces the space they take up in your kitchen cabinets.

The lightweight BPA-free silicone also makes them perfect for transporting work lunches and children’s snacks, though you need to be careful to keep them away from sharp objects as they are soft.  

These incredibly useful tubs are dishwasher safe, their rounded corners make them easy to hand wash, and they are safe in both the freezer and the microwave, though you need to open the air vents when heating. 

The lids are robust, and the seals remain airtight, so the food kept in them will remain fresh for days. 

Pros

  • Space-saving 
  • Alternative to plastic
  • 100% money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Not stain resistant

Key specs

  • Material: BPA-free silicone
  • Capacity: 1 x 350 ml; 1 x 500 ml; 1 x 800 ml; 1 x 1200 ml
  • Weight: 0.743 kg
  • Number of containers in set: Four

9. Best glass food storage containers: Home Planet Glass Food Storage Containers

Home Planet food storage

Price: £29.99 for nine | Buy now from Amazon

Like this fantastic set from Home Planet, glass food storage is an excellent option for people trying to avoid plastic. It’s food safe, taint-free and stain resistant. They are also convenient for batch cooking as you can take your meals straight from the freezer to the oven in the same container. 

We loved the airtight lids and their hinge mechanism, which prevents the accidental dropping of the lids. These tubs are fully leakproof and suitable for transporting lunches, but remember they will be heavier than plastic and may break if dropped. 

It was also lovely to see a set that included circular containers as well as the standard square and rectangular shape. 

Pros

  • Stain resistant
  • Alternative to plastic  
  • Can be used in the oven 

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Fragile

Key specs

  • Material: Toughened glass
  • Capacity: 1 x 320 ml; 1 x 370 ml; 1 x 400 ml; 1 x 520 ml; 1 x 620 ml; 640 ml; 1 x 800 ml; 1 x 950 ml; 1 x 1040 ml
  • Weight: 4.8kg
  • Number of containers in set: Nine 

10. Best stackable food storage containers: Lakeland Stack-A-Box Food Storage Containers

Lakeland food storage

Price: £11.99 for 10 | Buy now from Amazon

“I use these boxes from Lakeland. They stack nicely in the freezer and are just right for one adult portion or two kiddie ones of most things.” - karmakameleon

Stackable storage that will keep your kitchen cupboards, fridge, freezer and pantry neat is the dream that Lakeland’s colourful Stack-A-Boxes make a reality. Even better, they have airtight lids to keep your food fresh and the containers are so durable they will last for many years. 

Crafted from food safe and BPA-free plastic, these compact tubs are in a size that is ideal for batch cooking toddler meals or storing soups and sauces.

Dishwasher safe, they are also suitable for use in the microwave and the perfect size for stacking in a freezer. We were also delighted by how easy the different coloured lids made keeping track of what is inside of them. 

Pros

  • Three-year guarantee
  • Colour coded lids 
  • Great value

Cons

  • Not leakproof

Key specs

  • Material: BPA-free plastic 
  • Capacity: 750 ml 
  • Weight: 0.520 kg
  • Number of containers in set: 10

11. Best nesting food storage containers: Joseph Joseph Nest Lock Plastic Food Storage Containers

Joseph Jospeh food storage

Price: £28 for five | Buy now from Amazon

The Joseph Joseph brand always injects colour and fun into their kitchenware range. This clever set of nesting food storage containers is a fantastic example of practicality and style and would make us smile every time we opened the cupboard. 

The brightly coloured lids make organising your storage and remembering what is in each tub much more manageable. We loved the way each box sits snugly inside each other, with the lids stacked securely on top. 

Made from BPA-free, sturdy plastic and dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe, this set of containers is guaranteed to last for many years as an intrinsic part of your kitchen routine. 

Each lid snaps onto the base quickly, and the durable seals around the lids make the tubs airtight so that your food stays fresh, and there will be no leaks to make a mess of your fridge or bag. 

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Colour coded lids 
  • Space saving

Cons

  • Pricey

Key specs

  • Material: BPA-free plastic 
  • Capacity: 1 x 230 ml; 1 x 540 ml; 1 x 1100 ml; 1 x 1850 ml; 1 x 3000 ml
  • Weight: 0.910 kg
  • Number of containers in set: Five

How to choose the best food storage container 

If you’re planning on clearing the ‘cupboard of doom’ of all the old takeaway tubs, here are a few tips on what to look for when searching for useful food storage.

  • Material: Most food storage containers are made of food safe BPA-free plastic as it is durable and practical, but glass, bamboo and silicone are all excellent alternative options. 
  • Ease of use: Food containers that are easy to open and seal, are air-tight, so keep food fresh and don’t leak, will make your domestic life much simpler.
  • Practicality: Are they suitable for use in the freezer? Can they be heated in the microwave or even the oven? Can you transport food to work or play without making a mess? These are essential questions to ask of what should be a time-saving device.
  • Ease of cleaning: Can they be popped in the dishwasher, or do they need hand washing separately? Look for tubs with rounded corners that won’t trap leftover food, and try to avoid those easily stained by highly pigmented sauces such as bolognese and chilli. 
  • Storage: We all know the nightmare of kitchen cupboards overflowing with mismatched Tupperware and hunting for missing lids. Choose containers that can nest within each other or are sturdy when stacked on top of each other. Collapsible tubs are the ultimate space saver. 
  • Durability: Long-lasting materials that withstand lots of use, changes of temperature and carrying to and from places of work are worth spending extra money on. 

What is the best food storage container? 

Members of the Mumsnet forum have often recommended Lock & Lock Food Storage Containers to other users who are asking the best way to organise their kitchens or for advice on batch cooking, and it’s easy to understand why. 

Lock & Lock food storage tubs can be bought individually or in sets of different, practical sizes so you can choose the collection of tubs that works the best for your family. 

Air-tight for maximum food freshness, leakproof for fuss-free storage and transportation and remarkably easy to clean, these food containers are excellent value too. 

How we chose our recommendations 

We focused on the practicality, value and effectiveness of each of the food storage containers we have recommended to ensure that they will reduce food waste in your home while keeping your kitchen neat. 

We consulted kitchen best buy lists for trusted product opinions and checked out the suggestions made by our Mumsnetters to ensure we are bringing you a helpful summary of the most useful, reliable and easy to maintain food storage containers of 2021.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in that time, we've seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.

We strive to provide honest and independent advice you can trust, and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find amazing products that real parents love.

Transparency is vital to us, and that's why we're always honest about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their friends and family.