While food containers can sometimes be a pain – like when you need to find the correct lid or they get that lovely tomato stain that just doesn't shift – they can be extremely handy for dry goods. You can neatly organise them in the pantry and make staples like pasta, flour, sugar and even cat and dog food easily accessible so you’re not rooting through cans or boxes trying to find them.
But what are the features to look out for when purchasing dry food storage containers? In this article, we aim to provide you with a foolproof guide so that you’re prepared when it comes time to purchase. We’ll also share our favourites from brands such as Pyrex, OXO and IKEA, including extra large containers for bulk buying, airtight options and glass sets you'll be proud to display.
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Table of Contents
In this part of the article, we’ll be looking at everything from the material of the containers to the size, stacking ability and how well the lids fit. That way, hopefully, you will be able to identify what storage is going to work best for your living situation.
The first feature to consider is the material. Generally, you have the option of either glass or plastic, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages.
Glass is appealing as it is the more eco-friendly option, plus it's nice and strong and looks good displayed on a shelf. If you want a multi-functional container, it can usually be used in the oven, too. However, it’s heavier and more likely to break if dropped, meaning that it might not be the best option for families with kids.
Plastic, on the other hand, has less chance of smashing in the kitchen and is light and easy to refill and pour from. It is more likely to retain odours from pungent foods, though, so you might not fancy reusing the curry powder tub for your sugar! Also, plastic containers are prone to falling out of shape over time, especially if cleaned or dishwashed regularly.
The next part to consider is how much you want to store in your container. The range in size can vary wildly, from as small as 0.2 litres to over 4 litres if you wish. To find the right one for you, you need to consider how it's going to be used.
If you’re planning on storing the family’s cereal for the week, then a larger capacity (somewhere between 1 and 2 L) would be best. You can also cross-compare the volumes of your usual dry food packages. If you’re looking for something to store little treats, snacks or spices, then smaller sizes of a few hundred millilitres will be better.
Thankfully, you don’t always have to decide on one or the other as you can simply buy a set to give you plenty of different size containers for different situations. The only potential problem may be storing them, so make sure you've got at least one spare cupboard for them to live.
Food storage boxes aren’t only great because they keep your food fresh and hygienic. They’re also popular because they can help neaten up those bustling kitchen cupboards and overflowing fridges and bring a sense of order.
With that in mind, one of the best features to check for is whether the containers have the ability to stack. This will be made possible due to a coordinating design on the lids and bottoms that allows them to interlink and remain sturdy and stable. In terms of saving space, square or rectangular containers will be better for this.
Storage containers have several different lid fittings. The seal cover variety, which is pushed into place until it clicks, is probably the most popular and easy to use. But unfortunately, it's also one of the least stable.
A clasp or snap-on lid, like on Kilner jars or certain Tupperware, will be far more secure. However, bear in mind that the extra parts on the side take up more space, meaning they’re a bit chunkier and not as easy to store in small spaces.
Finally, you have the modern take, which has a push-pull vacuum lever on the top. When pushed in, the container will become completely airtight and keep your dry goods fresh and secure, and once popped, you’ll be able to access them. These are supremely easy to use and well worth keeping an eye out for, though they aren't as prevalent in the UK just yet.
Finally, you might want to check whether your containers are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and perhaps even freezer safe so that you can store your goods over long periods.
As a general rule of thumb, most containers are dishwasher safe. However, some plastic options will require you to wash them, or their lids, by hand. This is just to ensure that they don't warp out of shape from the heat and jet streams of the dishwasher.
When it comes to glass containers, they will withstand dishwashing much better than plastic, but it is advised to be careful when putting them in the freezer. If you do want to use some of a set as non-dry-food Tupperware, then it’s best to wait until the contents are at room temperature as glass can break if it goes from warm to cold too quickly.
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Airtight Food Storage Containers
Get Your Kitchen in Tip-Top Shape
Square Tall Kitchen Storage Container
Containers so Good They Made the Small Screen
Large Cereal & Dry Food Storage Containers
Airtight With Handy Flip-Top Pouring Lids
Cook & Go Set of Glass Food Storage Containers
Another Quality Glass Set From a Reliable Company
Stackable Storage Jar Set
Display-Worthy Glass Jars From a Classic Brand
Airtight Dry Food Storage Containers
Ideal for Bulk Buys and Pet Food
Set of 17 Pruta Food Containers
Plenty of Storage Offering Outstanding Value
Medium Cookie Jar
The Modern Day Cookie Jar
Glass Storage Jar With Measuring Cup
Ensure Precise Measurements of Your Favourites
4 Pieces Cereal Storage Set
A Bargain Buy for the Cereal Lovers
This bundle of BPA-free plastic containers is ideal for those looking to get their kitchen pantry, shelves or cupboards in tip-top shape. Chef's Path provides 14 different boxes, with 2 x extra-large, 4 x large, 4 x medium and 4 x small, giving you plenty of versatility when it comes to packing things away.
Moreover, the pack is stackable, as you can see in the picture, with airtight snap-on lid fittings, a measuring spoon set and reusable chalkboard labels. Add to that the fact that these have a whopping 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon after 16,000+ reviews, and you'll find that you're onto a winner.
OXO have an excellent range of products, all of which provide airtight storage with a modern aesthetic ideal for the contemporary kitchens of today. They're the company most synonymous with the push and pull vacuum lever, so their boxes are easy to use when you're in the heat of the moment in the kitchen.
This tall 2.1 L tub is perfect for pasta, cereal and pulses, but there are plenty more in various shapes and sizes so we're confident there'll be a few to suit your space and your needs. Fun fact for those organisation obsessives – these are the containers seen on the hit Netflix show Get Organized with The Home Edit.
Here we have a great large set from Umiten. There are four containers of the same huge size, making them ideal for those that have a lot of dry goods they'd like to store – think cereals, cat food, baking supplies and so on. Plus, they all have snap-on lids, which ensure airtight security for up to days at a time.
The containers are also known to be relatively sturdy, should you accidentally drop them, and they're great value for money. A final bonus over other, similar sets is that they have flip-top pouring lids and an ergonomic design, so you don't need to unclip every time you want to portion out your dry goods.
Pyrex is a company that needs no introduction. They've been producing containers and cooking goods for years, and here we've got their Cook & Go set of seven. Each dish is made from ultra-resilient glass and features sturdy and airtight snap-on lids.
While the name suggests these are crafted for taking prepped food on the go, they are still a good option for storing smaller quantities of dry food in the cupboards at home. Better still, they'd be an excellent buy if you don't have much space and want your containers to work as both as and when.
Kilner is an iconic company that has been producing well-loved jars for the best part of 200 years. Although they still make their classic single-story jars, we recommend this stackable three-story option. It includes one 0.9 L and two 0.8 L containers, all of which bundle neatly and look great whether they're on the worktop or in the pantry.
Each of the jars is dishwasher-friendly, meaning that cleaning them couldn't be easier. Plus, the workmanship and build quality are second to none. One more top tip? They could even look good in bathrooms, storing soaps, toothbrushes and other accessories too.
These versatile containers are ideal for people who are looking to save space as the set is completely stackable, meaning you'll have more space in the cupboards for even more treats. With six different containers, ranging from 2.2 to 3.7 L there's also plenty of room for any ingredients or bigger buys like pet food.
All of the set are dishwasher-, freezer- and microwave-friendly too, making them a little more versatile as they can store cooked goods too. The only downside is that the lids are a little finicky, with many people claiming that they're easily put out of shape.
The great thing about this set (of a whopping 17!) is that they all neatly fit inside one another, meaning that you won't be required to donate too much space in your kitchen to them when not in use. There are plenty of different sizes, from those smaller ones that are great for spices to others that will hold grains or baking supplies.
Though these will only really suit those who need mostly smaller containers, we do like the fact the lids are bright green to make finding them in busy cupboards much easier. Also, the outstanding value for money does see you pick up litres and litres worth of storage for less than £20.
What home doesn't need a good biscuit tin? Things have moved on over the past decade, so you might not want to use that Roses tin from a Christmas 5 years ago. If that's the case, you can't go wrong with this OXO cookie jar. This is the medium 2.8 L container, though there is a smaller 1.9 L or a larger 4.7 L if you'd prefer.
The design has a unique shape – we imagine it's made for easy access so that you can dive right in – and you could even arrange a few on a shelf as they look good too. That said, it does sadly mean that it's one of the only OXO containers that doesn't stack with others too well.
If you want precision when doling out your portions, you'll love this offering from Brabantia. It comes with a measuring cup with recommendations for different dried foods such as pasta, rice and couscous. They also show how much you'll need for up to and including four people.
Moreover, the container is made of glass, so it's sturdy and comes with a reliable seal-on lid known for its adhesive qualities. It's worth mentioning that the top is silicone, which could see some of your dried goods become stuck to it.
While it's true that these containers are more than capable of holding whatever dry food you require, we can't help but look at them and see cereal inside. They're even colour coded, so you don't have to worry about getting the cornflakes and the Special K mixed up.
Furthermore, they're almost 2 litres in size, meaning you'll have plenty of storage in there for whatever you do decide to fill them with. Plus, they come with a cup for pouring out the goods. The downside is that the lids aren't known for being the most airtight, which might leave your cereal a little soft if you don't get through it quickly.
Setting aside that Sunday to rehaul your kitchen storage might seem like a big task, but once you get it done you'll be ever so satisfied and reaping the rewards every day. Check out more ways to organise your cupboards and streamline your worktop clutter below.
No. 1: Chef's Path ｜Airtight Food Storage Containers
No. 2: OXO ｜Square Tall Kitchen Storage Container
No. 3: Umiten｜Large Cereal & Dry Food Storage Containers
No. 4: Pyrex｜Cook & Go Set of Glass Food Storage Containers
No. 5: Kilner｜Stackable Storage Jar Set
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