Are you thinking it may be time to ditch the plastic and upgrade to glass storage containers? While plastic containers may be convenient, they aren’t always the best choice. Unlike plastic, certain glass containers can go from freezer to microwave or oven to table. They’re made of a nonporous surface, so they don’t absorb smells or stains like plastic containers.
There are plenty of options to choose from, and you should factor in your intended purpose for the reusable containers as well as size, lid design, and what’s included in a set. To help you decide, we tested several top-rated glass storage containers in our home kitchens, where we used them to store leftovers, tote lunches, and heat up food. The products were all rated on design, performance, durability, and ease of cleaning.
What We Like
- Oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe
- Made with durable, BPA-free glass
- Visually appealing
What We Don’t Like
- Lids are tough to secure at first
The Glasslock 18-piece set covers a lot of bases when it comes to food storage and performed exceptionally well in our tests, earning it our best overall award. This BPA-free set includes both round and rectangular containers in a variety of sizes with matching lids. Plus, they are all microwave, oven-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe, making it an especially versatile purchase.
In terms of performance, the lids are easy to use, and they seal the containers securely, so there are no leaks or drips when you’re storing food. They’ll keep your food fresh, whether you’re stashing leftovers or prepping herbs and spices for a recipe. We were pleased to discover that these containers distribute heat evenly in the oven and the microwave (we reheated a casserole and found no hot or cool spots).
Cleaning is easy in the dishwasher or by hand, but food can get stuck in the crevices of the lids, so it’s best not to overfill the containers in the first place. We liked how there were no residual scents after washing, even following storing garlicky sauces and leftover Thai food. We’d also recommend hand drying if you want to avoid water spots.
Best for Meal Prep: Prep Naturals 5-Pack Glass Meal Prep Container Set
What We Like
- Durable borosilicate glass
- Divided interior
- Vented lids for easy cooling
What We Don’t Like
- Compartments aren’t individually sealed
- Lids aren’t dishwasher-, microwave-, or freezer-safe
Great for meal prep, as the name implies, each of these containers has two compartments so you can portion ingredients for meals and keep them separate without having as many containers. The containers hold 29 ounces each, with one section larger than the other. These dividers make the containers great for storing a sandwich on one side and some veggies or fruit on the smaller side.
The containers are microwave-, oven-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe, but the lids are not. A vent on the lid allows you to vent steam if you’ve put hot food in the container or to release pressure if food has cooled and the lid has suctioned on. Reheating shepherd’s pie and mashed potatoes and then chicken alfredo and broccoli went successfully.
Made from borosilicate, these meal prep containers are more heavy-duty than your average glass containers. In fact, according to the manufacturer, they are oven safe up to 840 degrees. We found it easy enough to wash the lids by hand and throw the containers in the dishwasher.
Best Set: Amazon Basics 20-Piece Glass Food Storage Container Set
What We Like
- Microwave-, oven-, and freezer-safe
- Lids are tight and leak proof
- Dishwasher safe
- Wide range of sizes and shapes
What We Don’t Like
- Lids are not oven safe
- Lids feel flimsier than some others
- Don’t fully nest
This set of ten containers with lids includes a variety of sizes and shapes that will come in handy for storing everything from leftover cooked pasta to gummy candies. The rectangular containers include two 1.6-cup, two 3.6-cup, and one 7.6-cup. The round containers include two 1.28-cup and one 3-cup. The square containers include one 1.8-cup and one 4-cup. In tests, the lids locked on with relative ease, and their silicone rings prevent spilling if the containers are accidentally tipped, but the lids did feel like they could be more susceptible to premature wear.
The containers are oven-safe to 752 degrees Fahrenheit, so they can handle the heat of kitchen ovens, or they can be used to reheat food in the microwave. For storage, they can handle the refrigerator or freezer. We loved the convenience of the various sizes and found they fit well in both the refrigerator and freezer. The lids are not oven-safe, but they can handle the microwave if they’re vented and can be used in the refrigerator and freezer. They’re also top-rack dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Best for Leftovers: Pyrex Circular Glass Storage Container Set
- Stain- and odor-resistant
- Durable, high-quality tempered glass
- Dishwasher-, freezer-, and microwave-safe
- Containers get very hot in the microwave
This set of six glass storage containers, plus lids, is perfect for stashing leftovers, whether it’s meat and vegetables from dinner or leftover chopped vegetables from salad prep. The set includes three different sizes: 2 cups, 4 cups, and 7 cups, so you can choose just the right size no matter what needs to be stored. The containers are made from tempered glass that can be used in the freezer, microwave, and preheated oven so you can stash the food for later or reheat it without having to transfer it to another bowl. We gave high marks to the set’s tempered glass, which can withstand any oven temperature.
Our testing found that the 4-cup container traveled well and didn’t leak at all in a backpack during the commute. One caveat we discovered was that the containers got too hot to touch after a round in the microwave. However, this is to be expected out of glass construction, and it was an easy enough fix to use a pot holder. When the containers are empty, they’re dishwasher safe. The lids are plastic and can be used in the freezer, though we found that they’re not quite microwave safe, despite being advertised as such. They’re top-rack dishwasher safe and made in the U.S.A.
Best for Lunch: W&P Porter Seal Tight Glass Bowl
- Microwave and dishwasher safe
- Convenient sizes
- Stylish design
- Protective silicone sleeve
- Not insulated
Add style and convenience to your lunch box with these silicone-lined glass bowls from W&P. They come in several cute colors and are completely leakproof and microwave-safe. We loved them for side salads and chopped veggies for snacking. The bowl design is easy to eat from, too, making them perfect for toting lunch to work or school.
The shape and size of these containers—they come in both 16 and 24 ounces—are great for traveling. We found we could screw on the lids and throw them in our lunch bag or backpack for later without worrying about spills. They are simple to clean in the dishwasher or by hand thanks to their rounded edges, and the soft silicone gives the containers a better grip. Although they are a little pricey, the thick borosilicate glass and thoughtful construction mean they’ll last for years with proper use.
Types of Glass Storage Containers
The cheapest glass to produce is likely all around you: Untreated soda-lime glass is used to make jars, bottles, and cups. If your glass container doesn’t say it’s tempered or strengthened, it’s probably untreated or just regular old glass. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing; for storing food in the fridge or at room temperature, soda-lime glass is fine. It’s when you freeze or heat the glass that you want another option.
Soda-lime glass can be tempered or heated in such a way that it can withstand a wider range of temperatures.1 This tempering process also means that the glass is less likely to shatter. And, when tempered glass breaks, it tends to fracture into small, harmless pieces, not the big, jagged pieces of untreated glass. Tempered glass is not just used in food; car windows, shower doors, and microwave oven doors are made from this material.
Borosilicate contains boric oxide, which makes it even more resistant to thermal shock than tempered glass, but it’s also more expensive to produce. If you’re not ready to shell out for borosilicate, don’t worry: It usually takes an extreme temperature change, like putting a frozen casserole directly in the oven, for tempered glass to shatter.
Can glass food storage containers go in the oven and freezer?
This all depends on the type of glass and the time allowed for temperature change. High-quality borosilicate glass is the gold standard in heating and cooling stability but is hard to find except in vintage pieces and a few of our picks on this list. That type of glass can withstand extreme changes in temperature.
The more common tempered glass can also handle cold freezers and hot ovens, but some care must be taken. You want to avoid temperature shock to prevent shattering. When tempered glass is heated or cooled rapidly, the glass expands and contracts, which causes stress on the container. The best approach is to make sure your container is room temperature before hitting the freezer or oven. This will cause less stress on the glass and keep your container intact.
Generally, glass food storage containers can withstand ovens up to 425 degrees, but always check the product’s safety manual or with the manufacturer before proceeding. Those wonderful lids that help keep everything fresh, though, are not oven safe.
Are glass food storage containers better than plastic?
This really comes down to a personal decision. Glass is oven safe and heavy-duty but susceptible to breaking. Plastic is light and easy to store but stains and can degrade over time with microwave use. Plastics eventually reach the end of their shelf life and must be replaced, but they are lighter and easier to transport. With care, glass can be used for years without replacement, which means less garbage in our landfills.