The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar is our top pick for a food thermos because its wide neck makes it easy to fill without making a mess, and much easier to spoon out food when you’re ready to eat. It’s spill-proof so you won’t have to worry about spills while it bounces in your child’s backpack. And it holds 25 ounces of food or drink, which is more than two cans of soup, so even big kids can get enough to eat in one meal.
This insulated food jar retained heat better than the other food jars we tested. It kept 91 percent of its heat after two hours of sitting, nearly 10 percent hotter than the other food jars. After six hours of sitting, the food inside cooled down 38 degrees F. The Zojirushi did well in cold tests, too, warming up only 36 degrees F after six hours.
This food thermos is made from BPA-free materials, including stainless steel walls and a skid-proof material on the base, so it doesn’t slip while it’s set on a table during meal time. It’s insulated enough that after filling it with hot foods and liquids we couldn’t feel the outside of the thermos warming up.
When we filled the Zojirushi food jar, the mouth was wide enough we could ladle soups, pasta and chowder in without the help of a funnel and it didn’t make a mess. And as we spooned out the food later, our spoon didn’t get caught on the way out because the Zojirushi’s design gives you plenty of inside room. And while it is a food jar, this thermos can be used for drinks, too. The wide mouth fits comfortably over your whole nose, and its base is only 4 inches in diameter, so it fits in standard car cup holders. There is also a second cap on top of this thermos that allows you to drink from a smaller spout.
Most thermoses, including the Zojirushi, aren’t dishwasher safe. We did test another food jar, the Reduce, that does have a dishwasher safe lid that helps a little with cleanup.
One drawback, according to the manufacturer, is this food jar isn’t designed to hold cold or raw dairy products. The manufacturer also suggests lining this thermos with a plastic bag if you use it for foods with strong smells so the odors don’t linger inside after you’re done. However, during our tests we didn’t find the Zojirushi retained any smells, even with garlic and onion infused foods.
The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar has a wide neck so it’s easier to fill with your favorite foods and spoon out foods while eating. We found this thermos to be the best for food because it is the best at retaining heat over six hours, and it is leak-proof based on our own shaking, tipping and bouncing tests. There are some precautions from the manufacturer, such as not using this food jar for raw or cold dairy products, and it isn’t dishwasher safe. But overall the Zojirushi is a top thermos for food.