I’m a big fan of meal prepping. By cooking meals in advance, it makes it much easier to eat healthy throughout the week, even when you’re pressed for time. It can also help save you money, especially if you get takeout frequently, and ensure less food goes to waste in your kitchen. Plus, with the right meal prep essentials — and my free weekly meal plans — it’s easy to cook a wide range of healthy recipes in advance.
I’ve been meal prepping for years, and there are several tools I always reach for to make the task faster and easier. I’ve listed 12 of my must-have meal prep essentials below, including my favorite meal prep containers, must-have freezer trays, the best food scale, and several other handy tools that make cooking a breeze.
My Top Picks
- Best Meal Prep Containers: Ello Glass Meal Prep Container Set – $31.22 at Walmart
- Best Food Scale: OXO Good Grips 11-Pound Food Scale – $55.95 at Amazon
- Best Freezer Trays: Souper Cubes – $34.99 at Amazon
- Best Salad Dressing Containers: Salad Dressing Containers – $12.99 at Amazon
- Best Vegetable Chopper: Cuisinart Core Custom 4-Cup Mini Chopper – $49.95 at Amazon
Reviews of Meal Prep Essentials
1. Best Meal Prep Containers: Ello Glass Meal Prep Container Set
If you’re going to cook meals in advance, the meal prep containers are essential. I’ve tried out several options over the years, and my current favorite are the Ello Glass Meal Prep Containers, which come in a set of five. They’re made from durable glass with colorful silicone sleeves to protect the material, and the lids are airtight and leak-proof, making it possible to take your meal on the go if needed. Plus, the whole thing can go right in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
However, if you prefer to keep the parts of your meal separate, you might like these 3-compartment containers from Bentgo. They’re inexpensive and come in a set of 10, and the BPA-free plastic can be put in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safely. The containers have one large compartment for your main dish, as well as two smaller sections where you can put sides, snacks, or dressings.
For general food storage, I also love this glass container set from Pyrex. It comes with 9 different class containers of different sizes that are great for saving leftovers and can be used to prep different components for your meals for the week. Plus, the colorful lids are freezer, microwave, and top-rack dishwasher safe.
Buy the Ello Glass Meal Prep Container Set:
Buy the Bentgo Prep 3-Compartment Meal-Prep Containers:
Buy the Pyrex Meal Prep Simply Store Glass Rectangular and Round Food Container Set:
2. Best Food Scale: OXO Good Grips 11-Pound Food Scale
It can be tricky to eyeball equal portions when you’re meal prepping, so I always like to have my kitchen scale nearby to make sure every container gets the same amount of food. I personally love the OXO Good Grips Food Scale, which has a large measuring plate and easy-to-read display. It can measure in ounces, pounds, grams, or kilograms, and the display actually pulls away from the base to make it easier to read if you’re measuring into a big bowl or container.
3. Best Freezer Trays: Souper Cubes
Whenever I make one of my soup recipes or a bunch of rice, I like to save the leftovers using my Souper Cubes. These silicone trays are incredibly useful—they have pre-portioned trays that hold a single cup of food, and you can put the whole tray right into the freezer. The lids are sturdy plastic, allowing them to be stacked on top of each other, and when you want to take a serving out, the flexible silicone makes it easy to pop out the frozen food and reheat it.
4. Best Salad Dressing Containers: VITEVER Salad Dressing Containers
Salads are a quick and easy meal to make in advance, but I don’t recommend putting on the dressing, as it can make the ingredients mushy. Instead, I like to keep the dressing separate, and these cute salad dressing containers are the perfect size. They’re made from dishwasher-safe stainless steel with silicone caps, and they each hold around 2.4 ounces. You can easily tuck the little cups into your meal prep containers, and they’re also great for condiments like mayonnaise or ketchup.
5. Best Vegetable Chopper: Cuisinart Core Custom 4-Cup Mini Chopper
Some meal prep recipes, such as my Rainbow Quinoa Salad, require quite a bit of chopping, and if you want to speed up the process, the Cuisinart Core Custom 4-Cup Mini Chopper is a handy tool to have in the kitchen. Instead of dicing the ingredients with your chef’s knife, you can simply place them inside this small food processor and whirl away for perfectly sized pieces. It’s a must-have tool to save time if you like making chopped salads, sauces, salsa, or any dishes with a lot of chopped vegetables.
6. Best Overnight Oats Containers: Ball Regular Mouth Mason Jars
I love making Cinnamon-Raisin Overnight Oats or Apple Pie Overnight Oats for an easy, high-fiber breakfast on busy mornings, and Ball Mason Jars are perfect for portioning out single servings. These inexpensive jars, which come in a pack of two, hold 8 ounces each—just right for one breakfast—and come with screw-on lids that create a leak-proof seal. They also can be used for other meal prep recipes, like my Watermelon Feta Arugula Salad.
I also like using these thicker plastic lids for my mason jars instead of the lids they come with. Not only do I feel that they’re more sturdy, but they also look super pretty!
7. Best Storage Bags: Stasher Reusable Silicone Storage Bag
If you like to chop up veggies in advance or portion out snacks to grab and go, Stasher’s silicone storage bags are a great alternative to single-use plastic bags. They’re made from a thick layer of silicone that comes in a rainbow of colors, and they form a tight, leak-free seal to keep the contents from dripping into your lunch box. The best part is the bags are dishwasher-safe, so you can just wash them and reuse them every week.
8. Best Muffin Pan: Wilton Recipe Right Muffin Pan
Muffin pans might not seem like a meal prep essential, but they’re actually quite versatile. I use them to make convenient single servings of recipes like Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Cups, Loaded Egg Muffins, and Mini Quiche, all of which are simple, healthy breakfast options for busy mornings. If you don’t already have a muffin pan, I like this set from Wilton, which includes two pans and has a nonstick finish that ensures your food comes out easily. Each of the trays holds six muffins, which is great when you don’t need to make a full dozen.
9. Best Salad Spinner: OXO Good Grips Large Salad Spinner
I like to wash my lettuce after chopping it up, and the OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner can handle large quantities — ideal if you’re prepping salad for the whole week. The bowl can hold more than 6 quarts (roughly 24 cups), and it’s easy to operate thanks to its non-slip bottom and large pump button. It has a brake that will stop the inner bowl from spinning instantly, and the lid comes apart so you can clean it easily. The outer bowl can also double as a salad bowl!
10. Best Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
Some of my favorite meal prep recipes, such as Baked Oatmeal Bars and Chicken Noodle Soup, can be made in an Instant Pot. These versatile pressure cookers are able to cook recipes super fast compared to other cooking methods. It’s also functional and has other cooking functions, including a slow cooker, rice maker, steamer, and more. The Instant Pot Duo has a 6-quart capacity that can prepare up to six servings at once, and I still use mine on a weekly basis, which makes it totally worth it..
11. Best Egg Cooker: Dash Rapid Egg Cooker
Hard-boiled eggs are a good source of protein when you’re meal prepping, and I like to eat them for breakfast, add them to my salads, or use them to make Egg Salad. There are several ways that you can make boiled eggs, but the Dash Egg Cooker is one of the faster and easiest options. This cute little appliance holds up to six eggs at a time, and it will cook them to soft, medium, or hard boiled firmness in just a few minutes. It can also make other types of eggs, including scrambled, poached, and even omelets.
12. Best Mixing Bowls: Pyrex Smart Essentials Mixing Bowl Set
If you want to prepare big batches of food to store in the fridge, these mixing bowls have tight-fitting lids. The goass come in a set of 4 that nest together, and they range in size from 1-quart to 4-quart. The lids and bowls are color coordinated, so you can always find the right one, and I like that the containers are see-through, so you know what’s inside. Plus, both the bowls and lids can be put in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher.
13. Best Sheet Pans: Nordic Ware 3 Piece Baker’s Delight Set
Bulk roasting vegetables at the beginning of the week is super helpful for meal prepping. Afterward, you can store them in containers and add them to grain bowls or salads for quick healthy meals. I like this set from Nordic Ware, which comes with a quarter sheet, jelly roll, and half sheet pan, and the variety of sizes can be helpful for different portions.
Why You Can Trust Me
I’m Gina, the author and recipe developer behind Skinnytaste, which is dedicated to sharing healthy, family-friendly recipes made with seasonal, clean, whole foods. In addition to posting my latest recipes, I also publish free weekly 7-day meal plans that will help you plan ahead and make delicious recipes for your family, including options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While you can make the meals as you go, the plans are also perfect for meal prepping — especially if you have a busy week coming up.
I put together this list of meal prep essentials using my own experiences. Many of the products are ones that I use in my own kitchen, and I love that they make meal prepping faster, easier, and more convenient. The items I haven’t personally tested are highly-rated options that come recommended by other cooking pros and thousands of reviews.
Prices were accurate at time of publication.