What Size Food Storage Container Do I Need? | Build a Stash

Food storage containers help you properly store food to improve your kitchen efficiency. This guide will discuss the different sizes available for you.

It is necessary to know the container size(s) you need for storing food. In this article, we would show you the different sizes of food storage containers available and the particular size(s) you need. We also explain the other critical factors like materials and stackability.

Food storage containers come in different sizes. You need containers of various sizes to increase your storage versatility. Some containers can handle the freezer better, while others can be placed directly in the oven for preparation. You want to make sure you are using safe containers for your family with no dangerous chemicals that could hurt you in the long run.

We have tested many different containers and gathered data about the best ones. They all have multiple factors in common, and in this guide, we explain these factors to you. Keep reading to learn more about food storage container sizes and how they can help you with your food storage needs.

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What Are The Available Sizes of Food Storage Containers?

There are so many sizes of storage containers available in the market. These storage containers may be so small that they may only be suited for food items like spices and condiments, which are always available in small quantities.

They may also be so large that they can hold food that will feed dozens of people multiple times. Here’s a list of the standard sizes of food storage containers available in stores and marketplaces:

1. Small Containers

Small food storage containers can be used to keep small leftover foods. They can also be used to store food items in the kitchen that are available in small quantities, such as spice powders and food condiments. Containers with a size of 16 Oz (1/2 quart) or less are considered small containers.

2. Medium Containers

Food storage containers within the sizes of 24 and 75 Oz may be considered as medium-sized containers. These containers may carry up to 4 portions of soups. They are the very common types used for packing food items to be refrigerated.

3. Large Containers

A large container is used for storing a large number of food items. A typical container is the water gallon we use in our homes for dispensing drinking water. Typically, large containers have a volume within the range of 1 and 3 gallons.

4. Extra-Large Containers

This category of storage containers is mainly used for storing dry food items. They can be as large as 500 Oz or more. These container sizes may hold food items of up to 20 quarts or more. Household refrigerators may not contain these container sizes.

What Size of Container Do You Need?

You may not need all the container sizes listed above for storing your food. The size of containers you would need to keep your food would be significantly influenced by several factors; the most crucial factor to consider is the quantity of food to be stored in the container.

Suppose you have many storage containers of sizes not carefully selected. In that case, there is every likelihood that some food items may not be stored appropriately or of your fridge, cupboard, and sink being overfilled and also of foods getting spoilt often.

No rule states the exact sizes of food storage containers you need, but the following should guide your decision-making on the sizes of containers you should purchase, as they are the ones you need.

1. Container sizes that can accommodate what will be stored in them

What you wish to store in your containers should greatly influence your choice of particular container sizes.

For instance, small containers are best suited for food items like condiments, seasonings, and spices. Dry grains and legumes like uncooked rice grains may be stored in larger containers, while leftover foods may be stored in medium or small containers, depending on their quantities.

2. Container sizes that would enter your storage facilities

You should consider the size of your cupboard, fridge, and other storage facilities before getting a food storage container. The sizes of the containers you should get must not take up all the space available in your cupboard, refrigerator, or wherever you’ll be keeping them.

3. The number of people in your home should also be considered

Homes with more people may need larger container sizes. This is because the amount of food that needs to be stored is more than homes with fewer people. The reverse applies to homes with a few people; smaller container sizes should be opted for as larger ones would only end up taking up space.

4. The type of food you would be storing.

Food types should also be considered before choosing particular storage types. You do not want to store some leftover vegetables in a 2 or 3-gallon container that would be so absurd. Beans, flour, lentils, and rice may be stored in larger containers.

Practically, you need a few big food storage containers and more small ones.

Other Things To Consider

Asides from sizes, there are several other factors to consider before deciding on the particular kind of container you need. These other factors account for the various reasons why foods are to be stored in the first place (for preservation, containment, presentation, and communication).

Below is a detailed outline of things you should consider:

1. The lid

Food storage containers must have thick, airtight, and sturdy lids. This is because spoilage may occur as a result of the interaction of your food item with air and spoilage microorganisms present in the air. Screw lids are very efficient, but only a few containers come with them. The lids should also be leak-proof.

Another kind of lid that is very efficient is the clam lid, but these are quite difficult to clean. Containers with lids that can be clipped are also good.

2. Safety

Your containers used for storing foods must be dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. The containers must also be BPA-free. By focusing on using higher quality materials sourced from the USA, you know you are getting safer products.

There are more rules and regulations imposed on made in the USA companies so you know exactly what you are getting from them. Overseas products do not impose the same rules and your products can be of lower quality or contain more dangerous chemicals in the plastics.

3. Shape

The shape of the storage container should also be put into consideration when considering food storage containers. For what it’s worth, rectangular containers are among the best shapes as they do not consume excess space in your refrigerators and cabinets. Round-shaped containers are ideal for liquid foods.

4. Stackability

Food storage containers must be stackable, this way space would be saved. One way of ensuring stackability is by purchasing packaging materials with similar shapes, and if possible, similar brands.

5. Graduation

For some food items, calibrated containers are to be opted for. These calibrations/graduations are often seen printed or etched on the bodies of the containers. A calibrated container will not only store your food item but also tell the amount of it left. Graduation of storage containers is a way of communicating the quantity of food left in the container.

6. Transparency

For some food items e.g. vegetables and liquid food, transparent, white, or translucent storage containers are most preferred. Containers made from polycarbonate, polycarbonate, and polyethylene have the above quality.

7. Materials

Most food storage containers are made from glass and plastic. Other food-grade storage containers include stainless steel, canister, ceramics. All these containers must be able to withstand harsh storage conditions.


Food storage containers come in various unique sizes. You do not need containers of all the different sizes, but sizes that can be used for what you need them for without using up extra space. We have detailed several other factors to consider before you get the containers with the right size above.

With all considerations made, we recommend creating broader artillery of containers to accommodate the different needs you have in the kitchen. Mixing reliable small containers and larger containers gives you the right tools for all types of storage types that you may face in the future.


Mark Walker

Mark Walker

I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.

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