Great storage options for pantry staples?
April 19, 2016 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend your favorite pantry storage containers.

I'm looking for good containers for pantry staples - flour, sugar, powdered sugar, raisins, (unground) coffee beans, loose tea, pasta, legumes, and so forth.

* easy to use (put stuff in, get stuff out)
* seal well enough to keep out pests
* compact (I have a tiny kitchen)

Bonus points for:
* attractive
* affordable
* easy to buy
* non-plastic might be nice

Please recommend specific items and brands that you have used and like.

posted by kristi to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
For coffee beans, I like to use these. I buy different kinds of beans at different times, and I can write the type of beans and date on the outside.
posted by primethyme at 9:57 AM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Got a couple of these OXO ones for storing ground coffee. So far, happy with them.
posted by kindall at 9:57 AM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

These are not ornamental or non-plastic, but they are well-sealed, super-compact, modular, stackable, and all-around awesome. Rubbermaid Modular Canisters. They're rectangular, shelf-depth, one footprint in 4 different heights (so stackable, only one lid size). I use them in drawer-based storage with labels on the lids, and in shelf-based storage with labels on the short end. At least they're easy to buy - can be found as a set or individually, on Amazon and my local supermarket.
posted by aimedwander at 10:07 AM on April 19, 2016

For smaller quantities, I like quart sized Mason jars with plastic lids, and they're easy to pick up at the hardware store. (Plastic one-piece lids are sold separately.)
posted by metasarah at 10:19 AM on April 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

Mason Jars. Cheap, charming and meet your criteria.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:37 AM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

There are many types out there, but I'm a sucker for a good bale jar. They're usually stackable.

They even come in stupid big sizes.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:42 AM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love the OXO pop tops that kindall linked to. They aren't super cheap but they are great quality. I am slowly replacing all my storage containers for dry goods etc with these. They are plastic, but it's a very thick strong plastic. I have bad wrist so find a lot of containers too heavy or hard to open but these work great for me.

I use the rubbermaid containers that aimedwander linked to to store prepped produce in the fridge & really like them too.
posted by wwax at 10:43 AM on April 19, 2016

I have the OXO ones mentioned above, but I am intrigued by the shelf depth ones. The ONE thing I don't like about the OXO pop canisters is that I can't put two of the large ones from to back in my cupboard, but just one 'layer' seems like a horrible waste of space.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:44 AM on April 19, 2016

When I was younger, and using a vast, mismatched variety of containers, we got a pantry moth infestation; nearly everything had the damn bugs. The only foods to survive were the ones kept in the oxo pop canisters. I use a lot of them, now.
posted by you could feel the sky at 11:04 AM on April 19, 2016

Especially if fit was a concern, I think you have to go bricks and mortar. IKEA would be my first choice, many of their containers are quite nice, but I found them oddly tall (which is space efficient if your shelves are tall enough). They just didn't fit our cupboards. We ended up with some decent ones from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, that have lasted 15 years in good condition. Shiny is easier to keep clean than matte.
posted by wnissen at 11:08 AM on April 19, 2016

Enthusiastically seconding the Rubbermaid Modular Canisters. The shelf-depth is key. And the stackability is nice too.
posted by telepanda at 11:22 AM on April 19, 2016

Cambro makes the standard restaurant containers. Definitely good for keeping out pests, and while one or two may not look all that nice, shelves full of them have a very nice, orderly air. (Although this may not be relevant if you're keeping everything out in the open). Stackable, very difficult to break, dishwasher safe.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:39 AM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

For a small kitchen, I definitely recommend cube/rectangle containers instead of round/cylinder containers. With square edges, you'll be better able to use every single inch of space you have. I have the Tellfresh brand containers from The Container Store and they have served me well. My mother has the OXO pop ones, and she loves them.
posted by OrangeDisk at 11:44 AM on April 19, 2016

Whatever you go with I strongly recommend a) square as noted above, and b) clear so you can see immediately how much you have left of X.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:05 PM on April 19, 2016

If you're looking for affordable glass storage, Anchor Hocking cracker and penny jars and their stackable square sets have wide enough mouths to use scoops and spoons. I use Oxo plastic in my pantry but all of my "visible" storage is this Anchor Hocking stuff. You can buy it (or very similar knockoffs) pretty much anywhere you can buy kitchen stuff--Target, Pier One, Bed Bath & Beyond, online shops, Kohl's, etc. I've even found it in Hobby Lobby.
posted by xyzzy at 1:49 PM on April 19, 2016

Nthing the OXO pop containers, if you've got the storage space for them. They show up all the time at Marshalls/TJ Maxx, and while I don't think they're especially attractive, they work incredibly well. We have several different sizes, including some with stainless steel tops, and those are a little nicer looking, but it's still mostly plastic.
posted by Diagonalize at 1:54 PM on April 19, 2016

I like the DROPPAR line of jars at IKEA. Attractive, glass (with a plastic seal on the lid), right price, range of different sizes, stacks very well. Just redid my pantry storage with them, along with some Mason jars (wide-mouth, quart and pint size) for a bit of variety. Downside is that they are not square, so you aren't going to get every square inch out of your space the way you would with OXO pop containers.
posted by Jaclyn at 3:39 PM on April 19, 2016

Seconding the DROPPAR. I bought some last year, and am finally happy with my storage containers for the first time ever. Just be sure to go in person and pick them out, so you can check the seal on individual containers.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:07 PM on April 19, 2016

Thanks for all these great answers - and special thanks to the folks who seconded and nth'ed previous answers, especially all the votes for Oxo.

Sounds like the Oxo Pop Containers are the winner, but I'll definitely check out the Rubbermaid and the great glass options suggested as well.

Thank you!
posted by kristi at 10:41 AM on April 22, 2016

« Older You got me there, now help me decide what to do!   |   What tool does my team need that's part project... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.