The 9 Best Hot Food Thermos For Warm Meals On The Go

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    Key Features

      Thermos’s vacuum insulation technology

      Keeps food hot up to 14 hours

      Perfect for adults or kids

      Hard-wearing steel interior and exterior

     Wide mouth for easy filling and eating

     Has insulated stainless steel serving bowl

    Vegetable soupSometimes, you just want a hot meal at lunch, but don’t have a way to warm a cup of soup. Or maybe you want to be able to carry a hot beverage with you while you travel. Hot food thermoses are a great way to bring your favorite warm meals on the go.

    Many of us, when we think of thermoses, have visions of the tiny ones that used to go with our lunchbox as a kid. For others it’s a flashback to picnics with parents and grandparents, and those strange, plaid printed thermoses that held iced tea, soup or coffee, but never kept them at the right temperature. 

    The thermos of days gone by, was a great invention, and they did well at keeping foods warm, longer than plain containers. They weren’t that great however, and really left something to be desired, especially if you were on the road, or needed a hot lunch after a long day working in the cold.

    Today, the technology behind the hot food thermos has improved substantially. Go shopping for a hot food thermos or flask, and you’ll see things like “Keeps Food Hot for 12 Hours” on labels. For the most part, this is a fair estimation of how well hot food thermoses work today, and if you’re willing to spend some extra cash, you can find hot food thermoses that keep your food hot (or cold) for much longer than just 12 hours.

    The hot food thermoses today come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Sure, you can still buy the funky green thermos or the plaid thermos, but there are so many different options, that you really can match your thermos to your picnic gear or just find one that is in your favorite color.

    The big problem with hot food thermoses is that there are a ton of options on the market today, and how do you pick the one that best fits your needs? To answer that question, we did our own research on the hot food thermoses on the market today. From our research, we’ve come up with this list of nine great options that will fit a variety of hot food needs. We also compiled a handy buying guide that should help you find the right hot food thermos for your particular purposes.

    Our pick for the best hot food thermos is the Thermos Vacuum Insulated Food Jar. It is a durable option that keeps hot foods hot for quite a long time. It can also be used for cold foods and beverages, and will keep them at a safe and enjoyable temperature as well.

    For the complete product list, please continue reading…

    Top 9 Best Hot Food Thermos (2020 Reviews)

    1. Best Overall – Thermos Vacuum Insulated Food Jar


    Good large capacity
    Durable steel interior and exterior
    Good choice of colors
    Top rack dishwasher safe


    The plastic inner lid retains food odors


      • Capacity: 24 ounces
      • Material: Stainless Steel
      • Dimensions: 7.25” H x 3.6” W x 3.6” D
      • Weight: 14.4 ounces

    Our pick for the best hot food thermos is from the brand that has long been known for their food storage products. Thermos has been making great storage and containers that keep foods hot and cold for years. It’s no surprise that our top pick would be from this great company.

    This thermos is made from double-walled stainless steel for outstanding heat and cold retention. Even when filled with hot soup or coffee, this thermos is cool to the touch and when filled with cold foods, it won’t sweat, even on the hottest days. The Thermos vacuum insulation technology tightly seals the container which allows it to maintain heat (or cold) for a really long time. 

    We found that this thermos was pretty durable, and didn’t dent as easily as some other products, when dropped. We liked that this thermos comes in basic black or red, so there were a ton of colors to pick from. Twenty-four ounces was more than enough room for a good cup of soup, or soup to share. We also really like that this thermos also has an insulated bowl that fits on top, so you don’t have to figure out how to eat directly from the thermos.

    Wrapping up

    You really can’t go wrong when you buy a food storage container from Thermos. This 24-ounce hot food thermos is a great way to take a hot meal on the go, or just enjoy a hot cup of coffee on the road. It’s a great combination of function and convenience.

    2. Runner up – Zojirushi Specialty Food Storage


    Lid disassembles for easy cleaning
    Dishwasher safe
    Easy fill extra wide mouth
    5 year warranty


    Lid can be challenging to reassemble
    Only 2 color choices


      • Capacity: 19 Ounces
      • Material: 18/8 Stainless Steel
      • Dimensions: 6.5’’ H x 3.625’’ W x 3.625’’ D
      • Weight: 11 ounces

    Our runner up is the 19 ounce hot food thermos from Zojirushi. Another name that has been associated with quality food storage products, this thermos also does a great job at keeping your favorite soups, stews and other hot foods at the perfect temperature.

    The stainless steel construction of this thermos makes it durable and easy to clean. The wide mouth allows you to easily eat from this thermos, which is good, because it doesn’t come with a bowl. The lid is tight fitting and the rubber gasket keeps the thermos from leaking while also improving heat retention. 

    The one feature of this thermos that we really liked was the vent on the lid. This vent reduces the pressure in the thermos created by the hot food, so you can open the lid easily without spilling. It’s a great added safety feature.

    3. Best Budget – MIRA Food Jar Vacuum Insulated Thermos


    Triple walled vacuum insulated
    Durable inside and out
    Sweat-proof and leak-proof
    Good value to cost ratio


    Lid can be problematic with really hot food


      • Capacity: 25 ounces
      • Material: 18/8 food-grade Stainless Steel
      • Dimensions: 7 x 4.4 x 4.3 inches
      • Weight: 1.17 pounds

    MIRA is another great company for food storage containers. Our pick for the best budget hot food thermos is the 25 ounce thermos from MIRA. This line of thermoses comes in a range of colors and sizes, but for less than $25 you can get a 25-ounce hot food thermos that works really well. 

    Designed with vacuum seal technology, this thermos didn’t leak, and lived up to its claim that it could keep hot food, hot for around 5 hours. After that, foods did cool down pretty quick, but for a lunch container, this one worked great.

    We did find that the larger capacity of this thermos allowed us to fill it with different food options. It was easy to clean, and the outer lid can be used as a bowl. The stainless steel construction was durable, and this is an all around good product for the price.

    4. Best for Kids – Thermos Foogoo Food Jar


    Easy fill wide mouth
    Durable steel and rubber design
    Ergonomically-designed lid with rubber grip
    Dishwasher safe


    Only keeps hot for up to 5 hours
    Poorly designed under lid


      • Capacity: 10 ounces
      • Material: Stainless Steel and Rubber
      • Dimensions: 7.5’’ H x 5.5’’ W x 5.5’’ D
      • Weight: 7 ounces

    A perfect option for sending delicious homemade foods to school with your child is the FooGo thermos from Thermos. This 10-ounce storage container is the perfect size for a lunch serving of your child’s favorite food. 

    This food storage container from Thermos is made with the same high quality stainless steel that other Thermos products are made from. It has a vacuum seal, to help keep foods warm for a good 5 hours.

    This container doesn’t come with an added bowl. However, the lid of this container is larger, has nice grips and is easier for small hands to open. The wide mouth and shallow interior make it easy to eat directly from the thermos. The FooGo line comes in a variety of colors, so you can find the perfect one for your child.

    5. Best Value – DaCool Hot Food Jar


    BPA & PVC free, food grade material
    Double leak-proof lids
    Multiple colors to choose from
    Easy fill extra wide mouth


    Spoon is not great
    Hand wash only


      • Capacity: 16 oz.
      • Material: 304 Stainless Steel
      • Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.2 x 4.2 inches
      • Weight: 16 ounces

    An awesome product that gives you everything you need for lunch on the go. Our pick for the best value hot food thermos is the DaCool 16-ounce hot food jar. Made from durable stainless steel, this durable hot food thermos is designed to keep foods hot or cold for 12 hours, though we found that this wasn’t always the case. The DaCool is leak-proof and fairly easy to open.

    We like that this hot food thermos is middle of the road, when it comes to size. The 16 ounce size is perfect for lunch for one person. The thermos comes with an outer lid that doubles as a bowl, and the feature that we found most handy was the included spoon. This was a feature we didn’t find with many other thermoses. This thermos comes in five colors, so pick your favorite, and you’re ready for lunch on the go.

    6. Best Versatility – Stanley Adventure Vacuum Food Jar


    Keeps food hot for up to 12 hours
    Durable and double-wall vacuum insulated
    Good Insulated lid doubles as a cup
    Integrated spork


    Fill with HOT water first for best results
    Hand wash only


      • Capacity: 18 ounces
      • Material: 18/8 Stainless Steel
      • Dimensions: 3.93L x 3.93W x 7.90H in
      • Weight: 1.10 pounds

    Stanley is another name that is known for it’s great hot food and beverage storage. It’s most recognizable by it’s green steel exteriors. This hot food thermos however is a simple, silver stainless steel. 

    This 18-ounce thermos from Stanley is the perfect size for lunch. The wide mouth makes it easy to eat from this hot food thermos, and it’s not so deep that it’s challenging to get to the bottom of or clean. Stanley products are known to be leak-proof and super durable when cared for properly.

    We like the outer lid that can double as a bowl, and the inner lid that fits tight, but isn’t a chore to open. The included spork is also nice. We found that this utensil that clips on to the outside of the thermos was more useful than a spoon.

    7. Best Small – Thermos FUNtainer Vacuum Insulated Food Jar


    Nice wide mouth is easy to fill
    Durable double wall stainless steel
    Keeps food hot for 5 hours
    Several great colors to choose from


    Hand washing recommended
    5 hours isn’t enough for hot school lunch


      • Capacity: 10 ounces
      • Material: Stainless Steel
      • Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 4.5 inches
      • Weight: 16 ounces

    Our pick for the best small hot food thermos comes once again from the Thermos brand. These handy 10-ounce hot food containers are perfect for lunch boxes and for lunchtime sides. 

    Like other Thermos products, this durable stainless steel thermos is made to retain heat for up to five hours. It is sweat proof, and cool to the touch. We like the bright colors of this hot food thermos which are fun for kids. The lid is also easy to open.

    This is a really basic hot food thermos, and it is a bit pricey for the size. However, the Thermos brand is made to last, so this is a good investment that will last a long time if well cared for.

    8. Best Camping – Hydro Flask Food Flask Thermos Jar


    Double wall vacuum insulated
    Durable exterior and leak proof
    Lifetime warranty
    BPA-free and phthalate-free and dishwasher safe


    Doesn’t keep food hot as long


      • Capacity: 18 ounces
      • Material: 18/8 food-grade stainless steel
      • Dimensions: 7.10 x 7.10 x 7.10 inches
      • Weight: 14.4 ounces

    We found that if you wanted a hot food thermos to retain heat for a longer time, you had to spend a little extra cash. Our pick for the best hot food thermos to take camping, the Hydro Flask food thermos does just that. This thermos is made to retain heat for a longer time than other food thermoses. It’s also super durable, while also being lightweight, so you won’t feel like you’re carrying too much extra weight in your pack.

    We like the textured exterior of this thermos, it makes it easy to hold. The lid fits well, didn’t leak, and was easy to open. The Hydro Flask hot food thermos comes in two sizes, so pick the one that’s best for you. Our one complaint – the price. This one is a bit more expensive than most other products we reviewed.

    9. Best Stackable – MONKA Stackable Stainless Steel Thermal Lunch Containers


    Very leak-proof
    Good seals and buckles for stacking
    Nice insulated carry bag
    Both BPA and Toxic Free


    Only keeps food hot up to 2 hours
    A little too much for some


      • Capacity: 43 ounces total 
      • Material: 304 Stainless Steel
      • Dimensions: 11.38 x 7.28 x 5.87 inches
      • Weight: 2.35 pounds

    Great for bringing along a complete meal, our pick for the best stackable hot food thermos is the bento style stackable thermos from MONKA. We really liked this thermos, and it did a decent job of keeping our foods at the right temperature. 

    MONKA does indicate that their products will keep foods warm for around 2 to 3 hours. We found that this was a fair estimation. However, temperature retention did improve when you stacked a few warm dishes together. We did notice that the containers when used on their own did leak a bit. When stacked and locked together, this wasn’t a problem.

    This thermos comes with an insulated carrying bag, which was nice. The MONKA line comes in a variety of sizes, so you can pick and choose the one that is right for your needs.

    Final Verdict

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    If you are looking for a good thermos to take hot meals on the go, then we recommend the Thermos Vacuum Insulated Food Jar. It is easy to care for, keeps hot foods hot, and can also be used for cold foods. It fit nicely in our lunch box and was an all around great option.

    You don’t have to settle for a cold sandwich when you’re having lunch on the go. Especially on cold days, a hot food thermos, filled with chili or your favorite soup, is a great way to warm up and enjoy a hot homemade meal.

    How to Choose the Best Hot Food Thermos

    Once you’ve decided that you need a hot food thermos, you’ll want to find the right one for your needs. There are tons of options out there, so it can feel like an overwhelming task. To help you narrow your decision, we’ve put together this handy buying guide.  We’ll share with you the features that we think are the most important when it comes to buying a hot food thermos. We used this list to create our list of the nine best, so we think these features do the best at narrowing down the options.


    There are two parts to the size/capacity question. First, how “big” do you need or want your hot food thermos to be? And second, how much do you want your hot food thermos to hold? These seem like one and the same, but size and capacity don’t always go hand in hand.

    When it comes to size, do consider where you are going to be taking your hot food thermos. If you’re putting it in a lunch box so you have a hot beverage or cup of soup at work, you’ll probably want a smaller sized thermos. However, if you aren’t going to be carrying around your thermos, or if you’re putting it in your car, you’ll have no problem with a larger sized thermos.

    When it comes to capacity, you’ll want to understand what the inside of the thermos will actually hold. Some larger thermoses will use a thicker insulation to ensure that foods stay hot, which can limit the capacity. On the other hand, some more advanced hot food thermoses and flasks use a different technology for insulation, and can have a greater capacity in a smaller package.

    Do know how much you want to put in your hot food thermos and how much your pick will hold, before you make a selection.


    When you’re considering the materials of your hot food thermos, you’ll want to consider durability. If the thermos you pick is made from softer aluminum or plastic, you may find that it will dent or crack if dropped.  Obviously, neither of these is a great thing. While dents will just alter the appearance of your hot food thermos, plastic that cracks will impact the ability for the thermos to retain the proper temperature.

    We do prefer a hot food thermos that is stainless steel throughout. This increases the durability of the hot food thermos, and it also makes for easier cleaning. Stainless steel tends to hold up well under rough conditions, and in some cases, will be dishwasher safe. 


    Yes, you can have a fashionable hot food thermos. Today, hot food thermoses come in a variety of designs, colors and shapes. You’ll find thermoses with textured exteriors, bright colors or even your kid’s favorite TV characters or superheroes. 


    When it comes to features there are a few things that you might want to look for, for added convenience. First, does the thermos have a dual purpose lid? By this we mean, can the lid be used as a small bowl. This is handy, if you want to be a little more dignified eating from your hot food thermos. Thermoses with this feature will generally have a second “lid” for closing the container that is leak-proof.

    Second, it’s really nice if your hot food thermos comes with it’s own spoon. These spoons attach to the outside of your thermos and adds some extra convenience. You don’t have to find a plastic spoon which is bad for the environment, or take a spoon from your kitchen. 

    Last, we do think that the maintenance factor of your hot food thermos is an important “feature” to consider. Can you take apart your thermos? Do the rubber gaskets come out for easy cleaning? Is your thermos dishwasher safe? These are all important features that make using a hot food thermos more enjoyable and convenient.