Zojirushi Stainless Steel Lunch Jars

Gadgeteers aren’t going to be satisfied with a plain brown lunch bag – where’s the fun in that?  We want a lunch box that does something special.  The Stainless Steel Lunch Jars from Zojirushi should please any gadget lover.  They will keep your lunch hot (or cold) for hours, and they look cool doing it.  Zojirushi has a variety of styles so you can find the one that fits your needs.  The Mr. Bento (shown) and the Bento Classic are both big enough to carry food for more than one meal;  the Ms. Bento and the Mini Bento are for smaller appetites or for a single meal.  All styles come with either a spork or chopsticks in a protective case;  most models also come with carrying bags.  The steel lunch jar needs to be preheated with boiling water while you prepare your food, or stored in the freezer overnight if you are packing a cold lunch.  We have several of the Zojirushi lunch jars, and I can testify that they keep my husband’s lunch hot from when it’s prepared at 7:30 am until lunch time at 12:00 or 1:00 pm.  You can buy the Zojirushi lunch jars at Amazon (search on Zojirushi lunch).  Prices range from about $31 to $55, depending on the model.

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Julie July 22, 2011, 12:19 pm

    These look neat. I remember back in grade school when I would take chicken noodle soup in a plastic thermos. Ah the good old days ;)

    What are the Zojirushi bowls made of? Plastic? And since they are stacked, how do you get them out of the tube?

  • Danny July 22, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Just wondering if each bowl has its own cap or not? If they don’t, it looks like each bowl bottom would have food on it from the bowl below?

  • Dmitriy July 22, 2011, 2:31 pm

    i’m constantly seeking for perfect lunch box. i want a flat model (2-2.5″ thick) to fit my messenger bag. could anybody recommend me such box?

  • Keith July 22, 2011, 2:42 pm

    I had an earlier version of these – mine had a large bowl this an o-ring-sealed screwcap and pressure vent (think hot soup bowl or maybe an order of kung-pow chicken) that went in first, and another bowl with a tupperware-style lid that went on top. The bottom bowl had a molded-in ring on its top (not a finger loop, more of a circular ridge) so you could pull it out. The upper bowl had an insulated bottom, so you could (kinda-sorta) have 2 temperature zones. I usually ended up with warm soup and tepid salad…
    It also had a steel spork in a clam-shell container that fit into holes molded into the outside of the flask.
    My major complaint was that the plastic containers picked up flavors and smells, and no amount of handwashing/dishwashing/bleaching could get them out. That and the fact that I’m not wild about putting hot foods into plastic (even if it is BPA free, I don’t know what could leach into the fat part of the meal.)

    If they made them with steel inner containers, I’d be all over them.

  • Keith July 22, 2011, 2:46 pm
  • Janet Cloninger July 22, 2011, 5:10 pm

    @Julie and @Danny Yes, they’re plastic, and they have plastic snap-on or screw-on lids. The top two, smallest bowls stick up above the top of the insulated steel bottle enough that you can just lift them out. Those have the snap-on lids, and they will stay closer to room temperature. The next bowls will be used for rice (or other, non-liquid foods) and soup (a flat bowl stored in the bottom of the jar), and they have screw on lids with a handle molded in the lids so you can lift them out. Those two bowls keep food hottest.

    @Keith The Zojirushi is designed to keep food either hot or cold, but it does have two zones. The bottom bowls are hottest, and the top two for for stuff safe at room temperature, like crackers or some raisins, or something.

    @Dmitriy Keith had some fabulous suggestions. You might also want to look at this stainless covered plate
    or these plastic bento boxes from Laptop Lunches I’ve written about before.

  • Keith Anderson July 22, 2011, 5:57 pm

    Janet- you are right, it’s not really two temperature zones, its more a matter of degree- hot soup, warm bread, or cold gazpacho and cool salad. Remember, I had an early model, and the lid was not insulated. The bottom bowl sank way in, and the top one was flush with the top of the steel flask part. The lid to hold everything in was just a piece of molded plastic.

    Oh, and Dmitriy, one other I just remembered. Check out LunchBots.com- they have a bunch of low-profile stainless stuff.

  • Janet Cloninger July 22, 2011, 8:31 pm

    @Keith Anderson The ones we have also have a non-insulated top on the steel jar. I just make sure that the stuff on top is safe at room temperature but will be okay if it gets heated up a bit by the hot food underneath.

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