Best Containers for Storing Flour

Finding the best storage containers for flour 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 flour 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, OR click here to do estimate flour amount to cannister.

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!”

Get the right size container every time for flour. Use our formula to figure out how much flour will fit in a cannister.

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.

Testing flour container for air-tightness

If you are really serious about checking for an airtight seal on a flour cannister, 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.

Flour, sugar containers and everything else

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.

Flour bins: moving on to the big boys

I’m pretty excited about all of the cannisters I’ve identified that fit – even knowing if your 5 lb bag of flour will actually fit in a cannister set.

But… there are the quantity cooks and those with commercial kitchens in their homes (lucky!) that need more that the average flour container. When you start talking bigger sizes, you need flour bins, and flour bins with wheels. Jump to our rolling flour bin section if you need something to store 10-50 lbs of flour or more.

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 flour containers take up less space on your counter and pantry shelf
  • most flour containers are designed to be easy to open, especially for those with arthritis
  • avoid flour cannisters with narrow openings, wide necks allow space to scoop flour out of easily
  • flour containers with 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 flour cannister height dimensions to make sure they can fit in your kitchen cabinet or on a pantry shelf
  • the larger the flour 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 lb flour storage container “gets the job done with joy!”.

Flour container size

What size of container for 5 lb flour? It can be super frustrating to identify the right flour container size to fit the pounds of flour you have to store. The blue highlighted section below tells you how to match pounds of flour to the container size.

Guess what! I’ve made it even easier than that! I’ve crunched the math in my recommendations for 2lb, 5 lb, 10 lb and more flour container sizes. I’ve even identified which cannister in a set will fit your bag of flour! Look for those comments in my flour container recommendations in the rest of the article.

Estimating Best 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.

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