In a world where convenience meets caution, the realm of food storage becomes a battleground of choices. Are plastic containers safe in the microwave? (Hint: This is up for debate). Can glass containers go in the microwave? (Hint: Yes, all).
Especially when it comes to microwaving, not all food storage containers are created equal. You might have experienced the frustration of a melted, distorted plastic container or have lingering doubts about safety.
But fear not, there’s a way to avoid the dreaded mishaps. There are plenty of options for microwave-safe food containers – a practical solution that ensures your food stays intact and your health is protected. In this guide, we provide our picks for the best microwave-safe food storage containers that will have you heating your leftovers with confidence.
Here’s a summary of our top picks just below. Later, you can find more information on these containers in our recommendations section.
Top Picks – Summary:
- If you’re looking for the best overall microwave-safe food storage containers, consider the Pyrex Simply Store Glass Food Storage Containers – a set of 9 containers that prioritizes durability and practicality.
- If plastic is your preference, the Snapware Total Solution Plastic Food Storage Containers Set provides 10 durable microwave-safe options.
- For the environmentally conscious, the EcoPreps Glass Food Storage Containers with Bamboo Lids, a set of 4, combine sustainability and functionality seamlessly.
- If easy storage is your goal, the Stasher Standup Bags deliver a compact and flexible solution.
Key Factors to Consider When Shopping for Microwave-Safe Food Containers
When it comes to selecting the ideal microwave-safe food storage containers, several key factors demand your attention.
Each aspect plays a crucial role in ensuring that your meals are heated effectively, stored securely, and free from any potential risks.
Safety First: Which Food Containers Are Safe for the Microwave?
The cardinal rule of microwave usage revolves around materials.
What can you microwave safely? It’s a yes for:
These materials won’t warp, leach chemicals, or emit harmful substances when exposed to heat.
But some food container materials should never go in the microwave. An emphatic no goes to:
- Any form of metal, including stainless steel and aluminum
- Paper or styrofoam-based takeout containers
- Cold-storage plastics like yogurt containers or butter tubs and single-use plastic dishes
- Any plastic container without a microwave-safe label
Are Plastic Food Containers Microwave-Safe?
It’s a maybe for plastics with a microwave-safe label (image below on mobile). A microwave-safe label simply means the container won’t melt in the microwave – it has no bearing on whether the plastic is safe for you, and whether it will expose you to harmful chemicals.
The safety of these containers is somewhat up for debate. Some experts say never to microwave plastic containers, as this increases the chance of chemical leaching. On the other hand, the US FDA says it is safe to microwave containers with a microwave-safe label.
Read more: How to Avoid Phthalates in Food Containers
To stay on the cautious side, we recommend avoiding microwaving plastic containers altogether, but if you must, make sure it is BPA and phthalate-free.
Glass vs. Plastic: The Microwave-Safe Food Container Showdown
The two main types of food containers on the market are glass and plastic. Here’s how they compare:
Very durable and won’t warp
Non-reactive, so it won’t leach chemicals into your food
Microwave-safe and oven-safe
More fragile, so more difficult to transport
May contain harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates
More prone to degradation like warping over time or in the dishwasher
Made from fossil fuels
Shape: Nesting and Straight Edges
The shape of your food storage containers holds more significance than you might realize. Nesting containers – those that stack within one another – can save you valuable cupboard space.
Additionally, containers with straight edges maximize their capacity and make portioning easier. Opt for what aligns with your storage needs and spatial constraints.
Lids that Lock: Tight Seals for Freshness & Avoiding Spills
A tight seal ensures that your food stays secure, whether you’re storing, transporting, or microwaving it. Look for containers with well-designed lids that prevent leaks and spills while locking in flavors and aromas.
Convenience All Around: Freezer and Dishwasher Safe
The convenience factor extends beyond the microwave. Containers that are freezer and dishwasher-safe grant you the freedom to prep, store, and clean up without a hitch.
Freezer-safe containers preserve your leftovers for future indulgence, while dishwasher-safe options save you time and effort when it comes to cleaning up the aftermath of a delicious meal.
How We Chose the Best Microwave-Safe Food Containers
Our picks were determined through a meticulous approach, encompassing various essential considerations. Our evaluation centered around key factors crucial for your convenience. All our picks are:
- Leak-proof: Ensuring leak-proof containers safeguards your meals, preventing messy spills and preserving their quality during transit and storage.
- Freezer-burn Free: Containers that ward off freezer burn maintain your food’s taste and texture, enabling you to enjoy frozen dishes without compromise.
- Stain and Odor Resistant: Resisting stains and odors preserves the integrity of your containers, ensuring that each use is fresh and devoid of unwanted aromas. No faintly pink, tomatoey containers here!
- Durable: Durability guarantees that your containers endure accidental impacts and daily wear, extending their lifespan and value.
- Able to Withstand Hot and Cold Temperatures: Withstanding extreme temperatures means your containers remain versatile, accommodating both hot and cold dishes without warping or damage.
Top 4 Best Microwave-Safe Food Containers: Our Picks
Here are our picks for the four best microwave-safe food containers:
Why We Like It
|Best Overall||Pyrex Simply Store Glass Food Storage Containers – 9 Containers|
|Best Plastic||Snapware Total Solution Plastic Food Storage Containers Set – 10 Containers|
|Most Eco-Friendly||EcoPreps Glass Food Storage Containers with Bamboo Lids – 4 Containers|
|Easiest Storage||Stasher Standup Bags – 4 Containers||$65.99|
1. Best Overall: Pyrex Simply Store Glass Food Storage Containers – 9 Containers
- Material: Tempered glass, with plastic lids
- Microwave-Safe? Yes
- Dishwasher-Safe? Yes, but lids are top rack only
- Freezer-Safe? Yes
- Oven-Safe? Yes, but not the lids
- Current Price: $37.99 ($4.2/container)
- Pieces in Set: Nine. (1) 1-cup round dish, (2) 2-cup round dish, (2) 4-cup round dish, (1) 7-cup round dish, (2) 3-cup rectangle dish, (1) 6-cup rectangle dish, with 9
The Pyrex Simply Store Glass Food Storage Containers stand as our top pick for the best overall microwave-safe food storage. With 9 containers designed for durability and freshness, these containers combine convenience with a multicolored design aesthetic. Pyrex is a household name for a reason – these glass containers will last you a lifetime.
- Easy to clean: We love that the lids lack any little corners or crevices that could trap debris.
- Versatile sizing: The set includes both round and rectangular containers to suit various food shapes and sizes.
- Multicolored design: Infuse your kitchen with vibrancy using the containers’ diverse color palette.
- Gradual snugness reduction: Over time, we noticed that the lids may fit less snugly, potentially impacting leak-proof capabilities.
- Potential staining: We also noticed that the plastic lids might develop staining with extended contact with tomato sauce, particularly the lighter colors like orange.
- Mild warping possibility: The plastic lids could experience slight warping in the dishwasher or microwave, although this is typically reversible.
- Material: Microwave-safe BPA- and phthalate-free plastic
- Microwave-Safe? Yes
- Dishwasher-Safe? Yes, top rack only
- Freezer-Safe? Yes
- Oven-Safe? No
- Current Price: $23.99 ($2.3/container)
- Pieces in Set: Ten. (2) 8.5-cup, (2) 5.5-cup, (2) 4-cup, (2) 3-cup, and (2) 1.2-cup plastic containers with lids.
The Snapware Total Solution Plastic Food Storage Containers Set, a standout among plastic options, comprises 10 containers tailored for your microwave-safe food storage needs. With a commitment to safety, this set is crafted free from BPA and phthalates, ensuring your meals remain untainted by harmful chemicals.
Notably, the robust snaps offer superior durability compared to other snap-on lids which often succumb to breakage or warping.
- BPA and phthalates-free: Your food is kept free from harmful chemicals.
- Innovative labeling: Directly label containers with dry-erase markers for added convenience.
- Durable snaps: These containers boast sturdy snaps that are resistant to breakage and warping in the dishwasher, particularly when compared to other plastic containers with similar snap designs.
- Reliable leak-proof design: Your meals remain secure and spill-free.
- Affordable: At only $2.30/container, this set provides the most bang for your buck.
- Difficult to store compactly: While lids stack efficiently, they don’t nest within the containers, potentially occupying more space. Additionally, the containers themselves do not fully nest inside each other.
- Less durable over time: Because these containers are made from plastic, not glass, they are more prone to breakage and warping over time.
- Some staining: We did notice that these containers stain if you leave tomato sauce in them for too long. However, the stains can be removed with multiple cleanings.
Looking for the same thing but in glass? Snapware also sells a set of 12 containers with Pyrex glass and plastic locking lids. You’ll get all the same features but with added durability (although the glass is much heavier and more fragile).
3. Most Eco-Friendly: EcoPreps Glass Food Storage Containers with Bamboo Lids – 4 Containers
- Material: Borosilicate glass with bamboo lid
- Microwave-Safe? Yes, but not the lids
- Dishwasher-Safe? Yes, but not the lids
- Freezer-Safe? Yes
- Oven-Safe? Yes, up to 500℉, but not the lids
- Current Price: $43.95 ($10.98/container)
- Pieces in Set: Four. (1) Large (52 oz): ~8.7×6.5×2.6 in, (1) Medium (36 oz): ~7.7×5.7×2.4 in, (1) Small (22 oz): ~6.7x5x2 in, (1) X-Small (13oz): ~5.7×4.1×1.8 in with lids
The EcoPreps Glass Food Storage Containers with Bamboo Lids – a remarkable choice in the realm of eco-friendliness – comprises a set of 4 containers designed to harmonize sustainability and functionality.
Featuring bamboo lids that aren’t just eco-friendly but also adjustable and air-tight, these containers stand as a testament to their commitment to the environment. With glass containers and bamboo lids 100% sourced from well-managed forests (Forest Stewardship Council Certified), this set exudes eco-consciousness.
- Adjustable ventilation: The lid design includes an adjustable ventilation knob, offering flexibility between air-tight sealing and fresh ventilation.
- Eco-friendly: The combination of glass and bamboo showcases an eco-friendly approach, with glass being fully recyclable and bamboo being a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-dependent lid materials like silicone or plastic. EcoPrep’s Forest Stewardship Council Certification ensures responsible sourcing.
- Stellar customer service: Multiple customer reviews highlight the company’s excellent customer service, with prompt resolution of issues and no-cost replacements of parts like vents.
- Space-efficient storage: The containers can stack inside each other for efficient storage.
- Made in the US: These containers are proudly made in Michigan.
- Lid microwave restrictions: The lids are not microwave-safe.
- Bamboo lid care: Bamboo lids need to be kept dry to prevent warping or mold over time.
- Suction seal can be difficult: We noticed that the suction seal on the lid can sometimes be overly tight, making lid lifting a bit challenging. A technique of pushing down and sliding before lifting can make it easier. At least these containers won’t leak!
- Handwashing required: Bamboo lids require hand washing for maintenance.
- Higher cost per container: The eco-friendliness and unique design do come at a slightly higher cost per container.
4. Easiest Storage: Stasher Standup Bags – 4 Containers
- Material: Food-grade Silicone
- Microwave-Safe? Yes
- Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
- Freezer-Safe? Yes
- Oven-Safe? Yes, up to 425℉
- Current Price: $65.99 ($16.4/container)
- Pieces in Set: Four. (1) Half Gallon Bag (64 Fl Oz), (1) Stand-Up Mid (56 Fl Oz), (1) Sandwich Bag (18 Fl Oz), (1) Snack Bag (12 Fl Oz).
The Stasher Standup Bags, a game-changer in easy storage, presents a set of 4 containers designed with flexibility and convenience in mind.
These flexible silicone bags are easily compacted when not in use, much like plastic bags, while offering microwave-safe qualities. Their on-the-go practicality is akin to ziplock bags, providing versatile storage options.
With the added benefit of being dishwasher-safe and boasting leak-proof seals, these containers stand out for their ease of use and efficiency.
- Efficient storage: Made of flexible silicone, we love that these containers can be compressed when not in use, optimizing storage space much like plastic bags, but with microwave-safe capabilities.
- On-the-go convenience: Acting like Ziplock bags, these containers are perfect for ‘on-the-go’ scenarios.
- Dishwasher-safe: The entire container can be placed in the dishwasher, simplifying the cleaning process.
- No lids necessary The absence of separate lids eliminates the chance of losing or mismatching lids.
- Reliable leak-proof seals: These containers feature seals that ensure leak-proof performance.
- Soft food limitation: The flexible nature of the containers might not be ideal for soft foods that can get easily squished.
- Higher cost: The innovative design and material result in a higher price point.
- Drying consideration: We noticed that thorough drying is necessary after cleaning, often involving hanging them upside down, which might not be the most practical.
- Potential staining: We noticed that these containers (particularly the clear ones) may develop stains over time.
How to Care for Your Microwave-Safe Food Storage Containers
If you’ve spent money on microwave-safe food containers, you want them to last. Here are some tips on extending the shelf life of your containers through proper care.
- Hand Wash Lids to Extend Lifespan: While some containers may be dishwasher safe, handwashing the lids can help prevent potential warping or damage over time, ensuring they remain in optimal condition for a longer period.
- Don’t Microwave Sealed Containers: Avoid microwaving containers with their lids tightly sealed. This can create pressure and potentially compromise the integrity of the container’s seal or lid.
- Let Glass Cool Before Stacking: If you’re using glass containers, allow them to cool down before stacking them. Rapid temperature changes, such as placing hot glass containers directly in cold water or a refrigerator, can cause the glass to crack or shatter.
By following these simple care instructions, you’ll not only prolong the lifespan of your microwave-safe food storage containers but also ensure that they continue to function effectively in preserving your meals and keeping your kitchen organized.
In the realm of microwave-safe food storage, the right choice of containers can make all the difference, both for your budget and the quality of your meals. Opting for trusted brands that offer durability and versatility ensures that your investment pays off over time.
We think you can’t go wrong with any of our picks above. While our best overall choice, the Pyrex Simply Store glass containers, offers the most versatility and avoids safety concerns associated with plastic, it’s best to decide which containers most closely match your needs when it comes to microwave-safe containers. Here are some other considerations: