5 Best Glass Jars for Food Storage in a Home Kitchen

Sneak Preview: These are the 5 Best Glass Jars for Food Storage in a home kitchen based on my Mason jar collection and a few I don’t like. I talk about lids, too.

-- a collection of Mason jars that include the best glass jars for food storage.Pin

Are glass canning jars still relevant, especially with so many exciting glass and plastic containers on the market? For many, these classic quart-size jars evoke memories of preserved fruits and vegetables, neatly lined up in kitchens or restaurants.

My love affair with Mason jars started fourteen years ago when I started blogging about vacuum-packed chopped romaine salad. So, I bought a carton of quart-sized, wide-mouth Mason glass jars to hold the lettuce.

I initially owned regular-mouth jars but found them difficult to fill and clean. Through experience, I’ve identified my top five favorite Mason glass jars, along with a few I dislike and the reasons why.

Happy Cooks Speak Up

“I have to agree with you re: mason jars. (I’ve never liked the ‘candle’ jars) I will agree that the cute little jars are tough to clean, they are tough to can in as well. P. S. No Betty, you cannot have too many jars. You husband is wrong. : )”–TAMMY B.

Five of the Best Glass Jars for Food Storage Needs: My Personal Favorites

1. A wide-mouth quart-size (32 oz.) Mason jar

5 Mason Jars Stars For Your Kitchen - showing lettuce vacuum-packed in a glass Mason quart jar.Pin

Quart jars are probably the most common Mason jar out there. They’re available in most large grocery stores, Walmart, hardware stores, and online(pain link).  Stick with the wide-mouth jar for ease of use and care.

The quart-size jar is my favorite for vacuum-sealing salads. But, again, stick with the wide-mouth variety for easy filling and cleaning. Not only are they easier to seal, but they are also easier to clean.

2. A pint-and-a-half (24 oz.) straight-sided wide-mouth jar

-- various sizes of Mason glass jarsPin

In addition to storage, the pint-and-a-half jar makes a decent drinking glass, especially for my healthy iced coffee. Unfortunately, the straight sides don’t catch ice as you drink, so I use a straw. I buy mine at Walmart, but they are also available online (paid link).

3. A 2-quart (64 oz.) wide-mouth jar

1/2 gallon Mason glass jar filled with cold-brewed coffeePin

I use these large jars for iced coffee concentrate and pantry staples like rice, flour, and granola. They’re available in hardware stores and online (paid link).

4. A half-pint (8 oz.) wide-mouth jar with straight sides

 Empty half-pint Mason jarPin

These small jars are my favorite way to store homemade yogurt or anything else I carry in my lunch.

I adore Kerr’s short, wide-mouthed jar. It’s easy to eat from without making a mess, and its straight sides make cleaning a breeze. You can purchase them here (paid link), but I got mine at a local hardware store.

  5. A pint-size (16 oz.) straight-sided wide-mouth jar

pint size Mason jarsPin

These pint jars get tons of use. I especially like to store homemade mayo, low-calorie dressing, and creamy strawberry dressing. Every other day, I store the avocado half I didn’t use in my huge lettuce salad for the next day.

On a different but related subject…

Consider the Lids

lids for Mason jarsPin
Left: flat lid and ring; Right: plastic lid

The flat lids combined with the collar will seal tight and prevent liquid from escaping when tipped over.  They are reusable indefinitely if you don’t use them for heat canning.

Plastic lids are not leak-proof, so I don’t use them in my lunch bag to hold liquids.

However, I prefer using plastic lids when storing something that doesn’t need to be vacuum-packed. They also don’t rust like metal lids. Plastic lids are usually available for purchase wherever Mason jars are sold or get them online(paid link).

ADDENDUM 10/16/21: Ball now makes leak-proof jar lids. (paid link) I love them.

Glass Jars That Aren’t My Favorites, and Why

Small glass jar with a rusty lidPin

These jars are from The Container Store. I loved the engraved designs on the side. But since they have a regular mouth, they are hard to eat from and hard to clean.

Worse than that, the lids rust quickly. Fortunately, a regular-mouth plastic lid can replace the metal lid that comes with it.

weck canning jarPin

These Weck jars are expensive, but I initially thought they were worth the price. The lids look cool. However, it turns out all those parts are hard to corral.

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The glass lids cannot be vacuum-packed, and the plastic screw-on lids don’t fit either. Maybe they are suitable for heat canning, but that is not my shtick, so they are not very useful in my kitchen. I do like them for sourdough starter, using only the glass lid without the rubber seal or clamps.

small squatty Mason jarPin

I used to carry my homemade yogurt to work in these jars I purchased at Target. People accused me of eating a candle. The rounded area inside and just beneath the rim is difficult to clean and makes it a challenge to get every last drop of delicious yogurt out of the jar.

vintage Mason jar with a vintage glass lined lidPin

Many of you probably have a similar jar at home. I love the color but dislike the aged glass-lined lid for sanitary reasons. Consider using a regular-mouth plastic or two-part metal lid instead. Personally, I use mine as a flower vase and a prop in food photos for homemade Greek yogurt.

Parting thoughts: What’s your preferred glass jar for food storage? Any brands I haven’t mentioned? Please comment with the brand and where you found it. Don’t want to miss out on great glass jars!

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

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  1. Classico spaghetti sauce comes in Atlas jars. When your done with the spaghetti sauce the jar can be re-used with a standard lid. The smaller version cannot. If you ask the FDA or whoever they will say it is not approved of course. If you do a search you will find Atlas is owned by Ball. Although Classico is not my favorite sauce the jar is worth it. There is also a company called Bernardin and don’t forget Kerr and Golden Harvest (budget jars found at Dollar General Stores).These used to be Ball competitors but now owned by Ball. Ball pretty much has a monopoly on canning jars. New on the scene is PUR made in China. They are sold in Ace Hardware and Menards. There have been issues with the lids not sealing but the jars are kind of square which is different. Also Anchor Hocking has very nice unadorned jars with a very slight tint reasonably priced only standard though but have had good results. Sorry this is so wordy. Hope this is helpful.

    1. Ooooh Becky,

      Your comment is an absolute treasure trove of information. I have used the Classico jar to store vacuum-sealed lettuce and using the jar that comes with it. It would be much better to use a regular two-part Ball lid that I can vacuum-seal. Can’t wait to try it. I didn’t know about the jars at Dollar General. Must check those out, too. I have purchased the PUR lids at Ace Hardware in the past. Didn’t even look at their jars, but squar-ish sounds wonderful. The lids worked great–no issues. The Anchor Hocking jars sound interesting with a tint. Will look for those.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write this out. I’m sure it will be helpful to others.

  2. I understand the value of the widemouth jars. However, the standard size fits my blender and I can make things right in the jar without needing to clean the carafe. Do you know if they make blenders that fit the widemouth jar?

    1. Tim,
      I have never seen one, myself. Maybe if any other readers have, they will chime in.

  3. To chime in on the Cuppow/Bnto insert, I loved the idea of it but the price was a little ridiculous. It got me thinking tho, and I found that the Del Monte brand fruit cups fit perfectly in a wide mouth jar, the rim rests on top so it doesn’t fall in. (I tried Walmart applesauce cups first but their rims are a teeny bit smaller) I use them inside a pint jar with yogurt in the bottom & granola/seeds in the insert, or celery in pint & a half with hummus in the insert.
    I use the white plastic lids on my jars in my lunchbox successfully, but I don’t carry anything liquidy, and my lunchbox stands upright (the jars are always upright). I have tried shaking smoothies in the pint & a halfs with a plastic lid and that does leak a bit :/

    1. Hi Rachel,
      Your are very resourceful. Thanks for sharing.

      1. not sure if anyone has mentioned the leak proof plastic lids… they are dark grey. try those instead of the white. the small weck lids fit the oui yogurt jars nicely and make cute presentation. i make a weeks worth of steel cut oats for me and my husband and the old oui jars are a perfect single serving with the weck lids

        1. Hi Peggy,
          I’m so glad you wrote. Those dark grey lids are the best! I used one today on a jar of teriyaki sauce that I wanted to shake to mix up before microwaving it. No leaking. Thanks for reminding me of them.

          On the other hand, I have Weck lids and several Oui jars and never thought to put them together. (just went and tried it) My Weck lids are too big for the Oui jars. I guess you have smaller Weck jars. Great idea.

  4. I have to agree with you re: mason jars. (I’ve never liked the ‘candle’ jars) I will agree that the cute little jars are tough to clean, they are tough to can in as well. I have a smaller funnel for that and you can get replacement lids at the container store. On the weck jars, you can buy plastic lids for those. I love the ones I have, straight sided are great for toting my home made yogurt to work. P. S. No Betty, you cannot have too many jars. You husband is wrong. : )

  5. Thank you for this post. I have been looking into canning jars for my yogurt and I was wondering if I was able to reuse the lids & rings if I wasn’t actually canning with them.

    The half pint will be a perfect size. So you do not recommend those plastic white caps for commuting? They leak?
    I have seen metal single lids, they are not in two pieces. Would those be more leakproof?

    1. Kathy,
      I’m not sure about the metal single lids. The metal singles I had rusted way too quickly so I tossed them. And yes the plastic white caps leaked for me–when they turned over. I use them a lot at home but just not in my lunch box.

  6. Sandy Coughlin says:

    I love the anniversary blue mason jars that came out this year! So festive and pretty to use at dinner parties.

  7. I like the little tiny jars (can’t remember the size) that fit regular mouth lids, but they have straight sides. Great for storing small amounts of things like salad dressing. And when I dry spices or citrus peel in the dehydrator they are stored in these tiny jars.

    I knit tubes to cover my jars when I use them to carry lunch to work–it keeps them from clinking together.

    Another reason for regular mouth quart jars is that they fit on my blender! I can grind spices and nuts and make smoothies that I drink right out of the jar.

    1. Hi Jan,
      You make a good case for regular-mouth jars which is nice because that’s what a lot of people already have in their kitchen.

      Love the idea of knitting tubes for your jars. Wish I could knit. Hear that some people sell them on Etsy.

      1. I use those super stretchy fuzzy slipper socks. I have a shiny blue pair that makes my jars look like cooky monster or smurf jars 🙂

  8. The inserts are new – I just recently got Cuppow’s advertising.

    I’d use the Cuppow more if I wasn’t afraid of breaking my jars. I’ve heard of some people who have knited ‘socks’ for their jars which protect against burnt fingers and might add some protection in case of dropping.

    1. Deb,
      I have broken a couple jars–what a mess! I’ve heard there is a lot of stuff on Etsy to help protect the jars like the socks you mentioned. I’ll have to check it out.

  9. I do can and preserve lots of fruits, veggies, and meats so I have and use a lot of jars. ;>

    I’ve been using mason jars for storage for years. I use the antiques for dry goods, and leftovers are stored in the new style ones. I have yet to find a lid I can repurpose to fit the wide mouth jars. ; Their newest item is a 6 oz. insert so you can carry salad dressing with your lettuce (or many other combinations) and keep them separate until you want to mix them. http://www.cuppow.com

    1. Deb, I’ve just become aware of the inserts. Not sure how I would use them personally but I’m considering the possibilities. Do you use them yourself?

  10. Great post! I like the 8oz and 16oz jars. I make my own natural cream for dry skin using bees wax, coconut oil, etc. The recipe is cooked on the stove top, is liquid but dries solid. These jars are perfect for this and for gift-giving too 🙂

    1. Maybe I could use those candle jars for natural cream. Great idea. Are the recipes on your blog?

  11. Love the opening picture.

  12. The wide mouth jars are my favorite too, all except for the “candle jar.” I never have understood those. Hubby thinks I have too many jars, but is that possible? I’ve seen the new blue ones, but haven’t caved- I don’t think they have the character of the original ones. I do love my Weck jars though, especially the smaller ones that I use for jams and jellies. 🙂

    1. Betty, I agree the Weck jars are the best looking of all. Just as I suspected, nice for people who can or do the jam/jellie thing.

  13. Oh, and I love my vintage zinc lids with the milk glass inserts. I tend to use them for dry goods, and thouroghly sterilized them before using them. I also love my bail lid antique mason jars.

  14. Parmesan container lids fit regular mouth canning jars. Once the cheese is gone, the lid gets washed and put on the top of a canning jar for a sprinkle and spoon out lid for my homemade mixes (like ranch dip) I just got some vintage glass inserts. (They would replace the metal disk of modern 2 piece lids and use a rubber gasket) They are only for regular sized jars, but I like that it is glass touching my food rather than BPA coated metal. They should not be used for canning anymore, but work great for food storage. I can post pics of them if you dn’t know what I am talking about.

    1. Katie,
      Thanks for these great tips. I have seen some substitutes for the BPA coated metal online but have not used them. Interesting.

  15. Paula, we both have the same favorites! I do love the 2 quart size for storing things in the pantry, but I sure wish they weren’t quite as pricey. I did buy some at a tag sale with the regular mouth, but boy I sure love the wide mouth for just about everything.

    You know those nifty lids that fit mason jars and you can put a straw in them? I loved the idea, but I thought I’d try a substitute first. I had some foil cupcake liners (from Wal-Mart). I snugly fit a liner over a regular mouth jar and screwed on a canning ring. Then I made a small “X” in the middle with a knife through the foil. You can then put a straw through the X and take it outside without the bugs going for a swim in your drink. They worked great!

    1. As usual Vicki, you are quite ingeneous. Using a foil cupcake liner is a great idea whenever you want to take your drink outside. Love it!

      1. I just took a second look at the parmesan lid I keep on a jar filled with baking soda beside the sink. These also would work great as a drink cover. On one side there are 3 holes, one of which you could put a straw. It wouldn’t keep all insects out, but I think would deter the flies which normally flock to sweet beverages. If you regularly use parmesan cheese, you could get a few saved in no time.

        1. Vickie,
          I don’t buy that kind of Parmesan cheese but thinking I might buy one just to get a lid. :-). Another good idea!

  16. Donna Muench says:

    I heartily agree with you about the virtues of the wide mouth and straight sides in any jars! I just wanted to add that I have found that mayo and peanut butter jar LIDS fit the regular jars! I am hoping to find a common product with the correct size lid for the wide mouths! Love to recycle!

    1. Hi Donna,
      I very rarely use the regular-mouth jars but it’s good to know about the interchangeable lids. Let me know if you ever do find commercial lids that fit the wide-mouth jars.

  17. You mentioned something about an iced coffee concentrate – do you make that yourself? And if so, would you mind sharing. I’m really into iced coffee now but am having a hard time finding the right combo of ingredients to make it “right” at home. Thanks! Love your blog! I’ve turned numerous friends onto the mason jar salads!

    1. Andrea,
      I make iced coffee the way Pioneer Woman does, at least as far as making the coffee concentrate with cold water. It’s so easy and I make enough to last for about 3 weeks.

  18. Did you know that for just a short time Ball is coming out with new blue canning jars? You can get the vintage look but in all new jars.

    1. I wonder if they will have a wide-mouth opening. That would be fabulous and fun!