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The Best Plastic Food Storage Containers for Every Need

We bought several sizes of our favorite plastic container to see which are most useful for your leftovers, bulk prepping, and weekday lunches.
More on the Best Plastic Food Storage Containers
This review looks at all the different sizes of our favorite plastic food storage container, the Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container, Large, 9.6 Cup. You can read our original review with detailed brand comparisons here.

How We Tested

Do you know that one person who is superorganized and consistently preps lunches, dinners, snacks, and salad dressings on the weekend to set themselves up for an easier week? That person is not me. Instead, I tend to throw dinner leftovers into a container and call it the next day’s lunch. However, I wish I was that person—and I’ve always thought that if I had the right containers (instead of the beat-up ones I’ve had since college), meal prep would seem like less of a chore and more of a great way to start the week on the right foot.

When we tested plastic food storage containers, a clear winner emerged: the Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container, Large, 9.6 Cup, priced at about $13. It holds a generous amount of food, keeps liquids in, is airtight, and has a flat top that makes for secure, compact stacking in the refrigerator and freezer. 

We wondered if the other sizes of this container would perform just as well and whether they would be useful for meal preppers, in-the-moment lunch packers, or those trying to make the transition from the latter to the former, like me. While the 9.6-cup container is fantastic for storage, it’s a bit too large for packing into a lunch box or storing smaller amounts of grains, dressings, or cooked chicken. So we put the 4.7-cup, 3.2-cup, and 1.3-cup Rubbermaid Brilliance food storage containers to the test, opening and closing their latches 25 times each, submerging them in water to see if they were airtight, and vigorously shaking the full containers to see if anything spilled out. We also put the 6-piece set (which has one 3.2-cup container, two 1.3-cup containers, and lids for all) and the 10-piece set (which has two 3.2-cup containers, two 1.3-cup containers, 1 9.6-cup container, and lids for all) through the same tests. 

Good News for Meal Preppers

All the containers we tested performed identically to our favorite container: They kept liquids contained and had strong, sturdy latches that withstood repeated use. We can recommend all the Rubbermaid Brilliance containers we tested. 

So which size is right for you? That depends on your food storage needs.If you want multiple containers in different sizes we suggest buying a set, it's cheaper than buying individual containers. Keep in mind that some of these containers are too small for lunch portions of food or a baking sheet’s worth of roasted veggies, while the largest size doesn’t fit in a lunchbox. If you’re looking for a set of identical containers for meal prep, we suggest buying multiples in one of two sizes: either the 3.2 cup or the 4.7 cup—both are roomy enough to hold a sandwich and a side, a grain bowl, a hearty amount of soup, or generous green salad. We’ve outlined some suggested uses for all the containers below.


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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

$33.31*

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.