Pyrex Containers Review – A Tale of Different Lids
Whether you’re new to clean living or not, I’m sure you have a Pyrex dish or two in the house.
Even before I made the conscious decision to live cleaner, I was phasing out most of my plastic storage containers for glass ones. Between the BPA, smells, warping, and stainling, plastic containers are just annoying to use.
Pyrex Glass can be Two Different Materials
Pyrex has been a common household name for years and they make so many different products – many more than I’ll touch on in this post. For this review I’m focusing mainly on meal prep / leftovers storage containers.
Depending on if you’ve had a pyrex dish handed down to you or have just purchased a new one will most likely determine what material your Pyrex is made of.
In the early 1900’s when borosilicate glass was invented, it originally had lead in it. The lead was thankfully removed from manufacturing before it was marketed for cooking purposes. While borosilicate glass is very resistant to sudden temperature changes it can shatter somewhat easily when dropped.
In the 1980’s production in America switched to tempered soda-lime glass which was less breakable when dropped but more prone to temperature shock breakage. According to Pyrex, the most common reason people’s Pyrex broke was from dropping them. Pyrex then decided to make the material switch. The company also claims it’s more environmentally friendly. But it’s also cheaper to produce, go figure. Production elsewhere in the world still uses the original borosilicate glass.
In my opinion, I’d rather have the borosilicate glass models so I can go from fridge to preheated oven without thinking too much about it. However, in all fairness, I’ve never had a Pyrex dish break on me in the oven. Pyrex claims you can go right to the preheated oven with any of their products. However, if I do go from the fridge to the oven, I simply don’t preheat the oven so it warms up gradually and I don’t have to worry about it either way. And the one time I did drop and shatter a Pyrex dish was when I dropped it on the concrete floor in my garage – I don’t think any glass is going to resist breaking there.
The glass parts of all the dishes are great. Easy to clean. Safe to use. What’s not to love?
Now onto the lids – where there is the most variation and issues.
Pyrexware Covered Casserole Dishes and Loaf Pan
My first set of Pyrex was a gift of two rectangle casserole dishes, a square casserole and a loaf pan, all with corresponding lids. I haven’t been able to find the actual set online, but only individual dishes.
The description of these lids just say they’re plastic, BPA free, dishwasher safe and not much else. Generally when I use Pyrex it’s to avoid plastic, so I do kind of wish the lids were at least silicone.
I love these because I can make a lasagna, throw the lid on and throw it in the fridge. Easy.
WELL, also over those years the lids have stretched. I’m not sure if it’s due to the slight stretching they need to do to go on the dish or if it’s the effect of the dishwasher. But all of these specific lids no longer create an airtight seal. What I usually have to do is use some BPA free plastic wrap on the top of the casserole dish and then put the cover over that to keep it airtight. Sometimes I just skip the lid all together if I have the space in the fridge and don’t need to stack anything.
Pyrex Storage Bowls
I also have a set of bowls with these navy blue lids. The largest and smallest lid have stretched a bit too. The medium lid is still pretty air tight. But seeing as most of the others have stretched, it’s only a matter of time.
Truth be told, I actually have two sets of these bowls. This second set has multi colored lids and an extra large gallon size bowl.. These lids don’t seem to have stretched as much as the navy ones. I also haven’t had them as long. While I don’t even see the navy top ones on Amazon anymore (let me know if you find them!), it doesn’t seem like the color change makes much difference anyway.
At some point, these plastic lids won’t have a fully airtight seal. The smallest green one is already getting there.
Real quick on the gallon size bowl – while it is nice to have the option of having a huge bowl “just in case”. This bowl really is huge. It doesn’t fit in my upper cabinet with the rest of the set. And unless I’m entertaining, I just don’t have the need for a bowl this large. It’s a little shallow for its size and mixing contents spills over a little more easily than I’d like . I wish the extra width was applied to making it a deeper bowl. Then I’d probably use it more.
Moving on to the rectangle and round storage dishes. These lids are very similar to both the casserole and bowl lids. However they have not stretched nearly as much. They still create an airtight seal I’m comfortable enough using without plastic wrap.
I’ve personally found this line to be the most useful for my meal prep and leftovers. Since it’s just my husband and me (for now) these 7 cup round containers are perfect for saving double portions. But a lot of the time I’ll portion out individually in these 3 cup ones for meal prep.
We eat a lot of bacon in this house. I like to make the entire package ahead of time on my Stainless Steel Baking Rack by Checkered Chef and save a few slices for eggs or whatever later. These rectangle containers are perfect. The full bacon slices fit in diagonally to be used as needed – and I need bacon a lot.
Pyrex “No Leak” Lids
The under part of the lid has a separate rubber ring that supposedly makes an airtight seal. The rubber ring comes out for cleaning. But putting it back on the lid can become an annoying task especially if you’re in a hurry. I find myself just mushing it into place as best I can. That’s all you really can do. It always seems to be put together correctly but don’t trust turning it upside down with liquids in it.
As you can see from the drop of water hanging off the side and the water on my cutting board, it isn’t perfect. Could be a design flaw. Could be that it warped in the dishwasher over the years. Who knows.
The little vent is a nice feature though. It’s great if you just want to microwave something real quick you can just open the vent and throw it in. Word to the wise whenever you put the lid on: make sure the vent is open or else the lid won’t go on correctly from the air pressure.
The multi part construction of this lid just makes it clunky and a bit more trouble than it’s worth. I’d rather just have a lid that consists of one piece and pop it off to the side to vent if needed.
The handiest part of this lid is being able to push a button to vent before popping it in the microwave. Leak proof though? Not so much.
And finally the snap on lids. While I’m not thrilled that Pyrex uses plastic for all of their lids, I do have to say these are my favorite of all the lid types touched upon here.
There is a rubber lining around the inside of the lid the lid to ensure an airtight seal and then all four sides satisfyingly click into place.
However, for these lids to work, the glass part of the container has a lip around the edge. Not really a huge deal but I tend to prefer the other containers without the lip. They’re just simpler – I can’t quite put my finger on it. So I wouldn’t deem this a negative per se.
The type of plastic they use for the lids, though, is a bit of a negative. One day I’m putting away the dishes, minding my own business when WHOOPS! I dropped one of the Pyrex snapware containers. The lid was fully on the container and it hit the floor on its side.
The weight of the glass shattered one of the snapware tabs. Oh well. The lid still mostly closes with the three tabs in tact. But I’m most likely going to just repurpose the glass part as a bowl (a bowl with that annoying lip around the top!).
While this was a bummer, these are still really fun to snap into place. And the small one cup container is perfect for dips.
So which Pyrex Storage option is best?
Obviously, there’s little difference between the glass parts of each of these containers. But as for the lids that come with the containers…the Pyrex Storage set are the most resilient and easiest to use. The others have their pros, but some of the cons are just unforgivable as they render them useless for their intended purpose.
I’ve been meaning to get my hands on some of these silicone stretch lids. Considering so many of my lids are either warped or broken, it might be a good time. They have great reviews on Amazon, but I’ll let you know how they hold up with me!