Gear Up for Meal Prep Sundays

Meal prepping is a convenient way to prepare multiple dishes in advance. So we're not surprised it's a favorite technique of busy students, parents, and professionals.

To meal prep successfully, you need the right gear. First, you need air-tight, leak-proof containers in an array of sizes. Our favorite glass models are sturdy and microwaveable and our favorite plastic models won’t warp or stain. For meals on the go, our favorite bento-style lunch box is as versatile as it is adorable, thanks to two 4-ounce containers that can be used together or separately. Now let’s talk about what recipes you should make. For access to recipes such as Southwestern Chopped Salad and Skillet-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Ginger Broccoli (see photo) and all of our other product reviews and how-to videos, check out our All-Access Membership. You’ll have access to content across all three of our brands— America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, and Cook’s Country. You’ll be prepping like a pro in no time!

Our winner had the largest capacity in the lineup, with two 4-ounce containers that could be used together or separately—the latter option allowing us to pack different foods or prep two meals at once. Both containers were more than 2 inches deep, so it was easy to stir in and eat from them without spilling. The airtight lids sometimes required a bit of strength to remove, but we didn't mind because it was the only container that never leaked. This plastic model retained a barely noticeable sardine smell after one wash, but that faded after a second wash. This model is available in a variety of colors.  More on this test

With one 7-cup, one 4-cup, one 2-cup, and one 1-cup round glass containers and one 8-cup, one 3.5-cup, one 1.6-cup, and one 4-ounce rectangular glass container (and their lids), this set has as an array of sizes that accommodates most of your meal prep needs, whether that’s enough grilled chicken or roasted tofu for lunches all week long or the small amount of vinaigrette you need for tomorrow’s salad. The empty containers can be nested, making for easy storage.  More on this test

With two 1.3-cup containers, two 3.2-cup containers, and one 9.6-cup container, this set offers a bit more size variety, making it great for those who pack lunches for two people or those looking to make a good amount of food for the week ahead. The 9.6-cup container is about the size of a textbook, meaning it’s too big for lunch, but it is a good choice for storing leftovers or large batches of grains or meat.   More on this test

Coming in a variety of useful sizes that nest for compact storage, our winning set performed ably on almost every test. Its wide, shallow bowls were easy to hold, fill, empty, and clean. They can be used in the microwave and the oven. While the bowls in this set were the only ones to break when dropped, the heaviness of the glass with which they’re made makes it unlikely that they’ll easily fly off the counter.  More on this test

The cooking surface was slick, both when new and after extensive use, and food never stuck. It’s one of the lightest models we tested, so it was easy to lift and maneuver, but it was also sturdy and resisted denting. All of our testers liked its wide, comfortable handle. Like every other model, its surface became scratched when we used a knife as if to cut a frittata, but it otherwise held up well.  More on this test

This product looks like the classic blue sponge we've all used, but its plastic-based scrubbing side has ripples. These ripples added texture, which helped nudge off cooked-on food. This sponge was absorbent and durable, and it looked surprisingly clean at the end of testing. It was also our preferred size: thick enough to hold comfortably but small enough to maneuver in tight spaces.  More on this test

Our favorite potholders are fashioned as pockets with a sheet of silicone on one side, a panel of cotton fabric on the back, and soft cotton lining in between. The silicone layer offered excellent protection from the heat. Our hands never became too hot during kitchen tests and we were able to hold a 350-degree cast-iron skillet comfortably for 23 seconds. They were also flexible, which allowed testers to feel like they had control when maneuvering hot pans. Although both the silicone and cotton fabric remained stained after our durability tests, it didn't shrink or warp. We liked that it is machine-washable.  More on this test

Our favorite santoku wowed testers of all abilities, who raved that it felt “agile, sharp, and really good in hand.” “Solid but light,” it made “fine, level cuts” with “great precision and control.” This knife features an asymmetrical blade with a 70/30 bevel that the company hand-sharpens specifically for either right- or left-handers.   More on this test