set of stainless steel mixing bowls

Can You Store Food In Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is a popular material for cookware and food storage containers due to its durability, non-reactivity, and resistance to corrosion and staining.

But is it suitable to use for storing food? In this article, I will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using stainless steel for food storage and provide tips on how to properly store your food in stainless steel containers.

Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, this article will provide valuable information on properly using stainless steel containers for food storage in your kitchen.

Can you store food in stainless steel?

Yes, you can store food in stainless steel. Stainless steel is an ideal material for food storage because of its pros – being non-reactive and non-porous, meaning it won’t leach chemicals or bacteria into your food.

Additionally, stainless steel is incredibly durable and easy to clean, making it an ideal material for food storage. Stainless steel containers are perfect for storing leftovers, lunch, and snacks.

Related reading: Stainless Steel Cookware Pros and Cons

Stainless steel cookware

Yes, you can store food in stainless steel pots and pans. People often want to put the pot with prepared food straight in the fridge to avoid portioning it in smaller containers.

There are a few things I have touched on in my article about storing soup in the pot in the fridge. You should not use pots larger than 10 inches in diameter if you want to put warm food in the fridge. If you let the food cool down to room temperature, the large pot is good to go in the fridge.

Stainless steel mixing bowls

Yes, you can store food in stainless steel mixing bowls. Stainless steel mixing bowls are a great versatile option for storing food. They are durable, non-reactive, and easy to clean, making them a great choice for both food preparation and storage.

I often store wet or dry ingredients in them and use them for marinating meats and other proteins. Just be sure to properly clean and dry the bowls before storing food in them to ensure that they are hygienic.

Stainless steel container

Yes, you can store food in stainless steel food storage containers. It is a safe and effective option for storing food for both short-term use in a form of stainless steel lunchboxes.

When using stainless steel containers for food storage, it is important to make sure they are kept clean and dry to prevent contamination. Food containers should be washed with hot soapy water before and after each use, and any food residue should be thoroughly wiped off and rinsed before storing in the container.

Additionally, it is important to avoid using metal utensils or scrubbing the container with steel wool or metal scrubbers to prevent scratching and pitting.

Can you keep hot food in stainless steel container?

Yes, stainless steel utensils and hot food go hand in hand. You probably already know this if you own a stainless steel cookware set.

Stainless steel utensils are ideal for hot foods due to their heat-resistant properties. They can withstand temperatures up to about 870°C (1600°F) before they start to soften and become malleable. This makes them ideal for cooking with high heat, such as boiling, frying, and sautéing.

Storing your hot stew? An easy task, but make sure the stew is below 1600°F to be safe.

Can you refrigerate stainless steel?

Yes, you can refrigerate stainless steel pots, bowls, and containers. The nickel and chromium content in stainless steel gives it a high resistance to oxidation, meaning that it won’t rust or corrode in a moist environment like a refrigerator.

Additionally, stainless steel is non-porous and non-absorbent, so it won’t absorb food odors or flavors, and its smooth surface also makes it easy to clean. Its high thermal conductivity also helps evenly distribute cold temperatures throughout the refrigerator, while its heat-resistant properties mean that it won’t warp or bend in extreme temperatures.

Can you freeze food in stainless steel?

Yes, stainless steel can be put in the freezer. The properties that make stainless steel suitable for refrigerating also make it a great option for food storage in freezer. We are probably talking about containers and maybe bowls because you will not probably want to put your stainless steel pan or pot in the freezer.

Covering stainless steel containers in the freezer is important because it helps to protect the food inside from freezer burn. It also helps to keep the food fresh and prevent it from absorbing odors or flavors from other foods stored in the freezer. When storing food in the freezer, it’s important to properly seal and label the containers to ensure that the food remains fresh and safe to eat.

What types of stainless steel containers are considered safe?

When purchasing a stainless steel container, it is important to check if the container is marked with “food grade” and if it is BPA-free, free of phthalates and other harmful chemicals that could leach into your food.

All types of stainless steel containers that are properly made and have not been damaged are considered safe for food storage. However, two types of stainless steel are considered of higher quality than others.

Type 304 stainless steel, also known as 18/8 stainless steel, is considered to be the highest quality type of stainless steel for food storage. It is a non-magnetic austenitic steel alloy that contains at least 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This type of stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion and staining, making it a great choice for food storage containers.

Another type of stainless steel that is considered safe for food storage is type 316 stainless steel. This higher grade of 18/10 stainless steel contains a larger amount of nickel (10%) and molybdenum, making it even more resistant to corrosion and staining.

What type of stainless steel is food-grade?

Food grade stainless steel is a type of stainless steel that is safe for use in food and beverage applications. It meets certain standards set by regulatory agencies to ensure that it is free of harmful chemicals and contaminants.

Food grade stainless steel typically refers to type 304 or 316 stainless steel I discussed in chapter above. These types of stainless steel are non-reactive and have a high resistance to corrosion and staining. They also have a low carbon content, which helps to prevent a metallic taste from leaching into food and beverages.

Some characteristics that food grade stainless steel should have are:

  • High resistance to corrosion and staining
  • Non-reactive to food and beverages
  • Non-toxic and safe for food contact
  • Free of harmful chemicals and contaminants
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Can you store acidic food in stainless steel?

Yes, you can store acidic foods containing tomato sauce, vinegar or citrus juice in stainless steel containers or bowls for a short time. For long time storage of such foods stainless steel is not the best option. Over time prolonged contact with the acidic foods can damage the stainless steel.

I suggest you use either a plastic or glass container for storing this type of food. Another option to consider is using a food grade stainless steel container with a coating that is resistant to acidic foods. These containers are specifically designed for acidic food storage and can prevent corrosion.

What foods should not be stored in stainless steel?

I have already mentioned certain foods like tomatoes and citrus fruit that should not be stored in stainless steel containers due to the potential for corrosion or reaction with the steel.

Here is a list of products that can damage stainless steel cookware and containers:

  • Strong acids: Foods high in acidity, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, vinegar, and other acidic liquids, can cause corrosion of the stainless steel over time.
  • Salt: Foods that are high in salt can cause corrosion of the stainless steel over time.
  • Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can cause corrosion and discoloration of stainless steel with prolonged cintact. They can also leave a metallic taste in the stored food.
  • Foods with high sugar content: Foods with high sugar content can also cause corrosion and discoloration of the stainless steel over time.

I suggest to use glass or plastic containers for storing these types of foods.


Stainless steel is a great material for food storage. Its durability, non-reactivity and resistance to corrosion and staining make it an ideal option for storing food.

However, it is important to be mindful of the types of food that should be avoided when using stainless steel containers and to properly care for and maintain the containers to ensure they remain safe and hygienic.

It is also important to use the appropriate container size for storing food in the refrigerator or freezer. With a little care and attention, stainless steel containers can be a convenient and effective option for storing food.

Stainless steel containers can be a great choice if you’re looking to store leftovers, pack a lunch, or marinate meats and proteins.

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