Finding the Perfect Flour Container

Finding the right size of flour container can seem impossible! There are a lot of boxes to tick: it needs to fit the pounds we need, be airtight, and quality made. Of course, it would also be nice if it looked good on the kitchen countertop.

I’ve found containers to fit the bill. They’re designed to be airtight to keep bugs out, and provide a big opening to easily remove scoops of flour. No more unrolling paper bags! Included are a few tips for evaluating flour containers. This will save you time by not having to return an online order that didn’t work out.

If you want to learn more about flour expiration, if it’s safe to eat expired flour, and the right flour environment, and proper disposal of old flour, head over to “Let’s Talk Flour Storage!”

Airtight containers begin with quality seals

How do you know if a container is airtight? Many airtight containers depend on rubber or silicone seals to make them airtight and moisture-proof. Turn the lid over and look for a rubber or silicone gasket. 

The easiest way to tell if a container is airtight, is to just throw a small scoop of flour in, put the lid on, and then submerge it underwater. Any water getting in will reach the flour. Cook’s Illustrated did a creative test where they filled the container with tinted water, covered with the lid, and then shook the heck out of it over a white paper towel (yes, there were some losers).

Assorted airtight food storage containers.

Assorted airtight food storage containers.

If you are really serious about checking for an airtight seal, buy some moisture-detecting crystals (silica gel) and put them inside the container instead of flour. Submerge the container under water for 2 minutes. These crystals change from blue to pink if the slightest moisture reaches them. Depending on the degree of moisture penetration, there could only be partial change among the crystals – but any change means moisture has gotten in. The container would have failed the airtight test.

When shopping for containers, give special attention to how the air seal is achieved. There are some clamp models without a rubber or silicon seal that claim airtightness, but that is questionable. Those little seals can have quality issues, too. If they come out of the track or get folded over, the seal will no longer be perfect.

If you have ever done pressure canning/cooking (and these days most people only know about Instapot), you know that the seal needs to be inspected every time before use or pressure canning/cooking will fail.

I made a special effort to research each product featured, taking great care to make sure I only listed airtight canisters. In the rare circumstance that the canister falls short of a perfect air seal, I added a comment for clarity.

A reader suggested that the flour bags could still be slid down into the containers. Of course, these canisters are not just for flour, use them for sugar, protein powder, or other types of ground flour. I imagine that some of these products are very finely ground and create quite a mess! Handling a paper bag can make your counter messier.

plastic airtight-flour containers.

Plastic airtight-flour containers.

Some of the cannisters may be a tight fit for a full bag of flour, but remember, once you start using the flour it won’t be so full. Know that there is a difference in volume between sifted and unsifted flour. For this article, we will consider flour directly from the manufacturer (unsifted, with less volume).

All of the products I recommend on this page have an approval rating of 80% or higher. I have gone through each product to make sure it holds a 2, 5 and 10 pound bags of flour, otherwise I won’t recommend them.

Remember, all products are not immune to low ratings; some are due to user error in handling the product and others are rare circumstances in defects. Always review product reviews to become aware of any issues.

Regarding porcelain and ceramic canisters. I will not be recommending any porcelain or ceramic flour canisters – venture at your own risk! Although many come with airtight lids, they often have small openings that make them impractical for scooping flour. In addition, many users experienced quality issues with chipping, and finish, etc. Consider porcelain and ceramic canisters more decorative in nature that add a design touch to your kitchen.

Bonus buyer tips: 

  • the square containers take up less space on your counter and pantry shelf
  • most are designed to be easy to open, especially for those with arthritis
  • avoid narrow openings, wide necks allow space to scoop flour out of easily
  • hinged lids are difficult to keep clean and awkward to handle
  • make sure you wipe any flour off the rim of the container and lid to ensure a good seal 
  • some capacities may be a tight fit for a full bag of flour, but remember that containers are never full for long
  • pay attention to height dimensions to make sure they can fit in your kitchen cabinet or on a pantry shelf
  • the larger the container, the heavier it will be to handle, consider breaking up flour storage into smaller containers

Personal comments: I use the Rubbermaid Brilliance line for my lunch. The plastic doesn’t stain, is highly durable, and is airtight, so no surprise spills in my lunch bag. My husband and I are big fans of public television’s Cook’s Country where kitchen gear is evaluated. Almost every time, the OXO line of products wins. When evaluating products for this page, I was surprised how passionate buyers were for the Progressive container storage line of products. One user proclaimed that the 5 pound flour storage container “gets the job done with joy!”.

Estimating Flour Container Size

A general-purpose conversion for flour in recipes is about a quart per pound. It will differ slightly for different types of flour. Five pounds of flour will be about 5 quarts (160 ounces) – a 5 qt jar will allow for headspace, especially for sifted flour. The jar that holds a 2-lb bag of flour will also hold a 4-lb bag of sugar (these two bags are approximately the same size, as sugar is denser). Choose a bigger jar to allow room for a scoop and space to dip flour.

NOTE: This is not an extensive list of airtight flour containers on the market. However, these brands are highly reputable, and customers are happy.

PLASTIC/ACRYLIC container size for 2 pound bag of flour

Paincco brand 3.9 qt holds 2 lb bag of flour with room to spare.

OXO 2.7 qt holds 2 lb flour nicely.

This popular Progressive container says its for sugar, but it will hold a 2 lb bag of flour.

Rubbermaid Brilliance line 12-cup will contain a 2 lb bag of flour.

GLASS container size for 2 pound bag of flour

Users happy with 78 oz size and quality, but narrow opening makes it difficult to scoop flour out.

100 fl oz jar has generous space for 2-lb bag of flour, but impossible to fit 5-lb.

2 liter jar will hold 2 lbs of flour.

These 1/2 gal jars with plastic lids should easily fit a 2  lb bag of sugar, no confirmation on a 5 lb bag.

METAL container size for 2 pound bag of flour

This surprise find is a “kimchi” container, but it would double as flour storage for a 2 lb bag

A 2-lb bag of flour would fit into the 3 qt canister of this Deppon set (and may fit into the 2 qt cannister)

The 2.5 or 3.5 qt in this set will easily fit a 2 lb of flour

The 2-qt in this copper set will hold a 2-lb bag of flour

PLASTIC/ACRYLIC container size for 5 pound bag of flour

4.4 qt size ideal for 5 lb of flour

The popular Progressive 4 qt flour storage will hold a 5 lb bag of flour

The popular 16 cup Rubbermaid Brilliance product will hold 5 lbs of flour

Grab the 150 oz -FYI, buyers are thrilled that it fits a 5-lb bag really well, but some report it is not as airtight as they would like.

Paincco brand 4.7 qt holds 5 lb bag of flour. 5.9 qt size holds 5-9 lbs.

GLASS container size for 5 pound bag of flour

Holds 7-8 lbs of flour

Urban Green brand 1 gal jar fits a 5-lb bag of flour.

Perfect for 5-lb bag of flour, comes with smallish scoop.

Anchor Hocking 1 gal holds 5-lb of flour. No silicon seal but claims to be airtight. This “cracker jar” works for flour storage.

A 5-lb bag of flour will fit in this Anchor Hocking 1.5 gal jar with excess space. Watch out for lid and check for holes around screws to keep insects out.

METAL container size for 5 pound bag of flour

Metal tin holds 5 lb bag of flour. “Unlike air-tight lids that promote moisture and increase humidity levels, The top of the bin allows air to move freely further preventing food from becoming moldy and moist.”

Metal tin holds 5 lb bag of flour

Grab the 150 oz to fit a 5 lb flour bag of flour

The largest 5 qt canister in the set will hold a 5 lb bag of flour

The largest 4 qt canister in the set will hold a 5 lb bag of flour

Mixed containers types for 10 pound bags of flour

Anchor Hocking’s 1.5 gal jar holds 10 lbs of flour (holds 5 lbs with extra space) Go for the 2.5 gal if you want extra space for 10 lbs of flour

7 qt holds 10 lbs of flour

Container size to fit 10-50 pound bags of flour

Accessories for bulk storage food grade buckets

Flour scoops and sifters

In conclusion

I wish you well finding the perfect airtight flour container. If you have an excellent experience with a particular brand, please let me know in the comments below. Keep your eye on the prize – remember that you are trying to stop a weevil/pantry moth infestation before it happens! 

About the author 

Renee Matt

Renee is a former kitchen designer, home remodeling enthusiast (having lived through several DIY projects), and an Iowa farmwife. Renee is passionate about preparedness, garden skills, and knowing where her food comes from. Years of being a stay-at-home mom and supporting the family farm with hearty meals has been key to Renee's pantry readiness. She uses her professional IT background and expertise to bring the Everything Pantry website to life.

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