Weekend poll for you since I'll be gone until Monday: Do you prefer one tier, two tier or more-tiered bento boxes and why?

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one tier, because i like to

one tier, because i like to see all my food in one place. i’m odd that way.

Single Tier all the way!

I have purchased many a double tier bento boxes, that would contain my dreams of beautiful intricate lunches, but I never end up using them. My brain can only work with the single tiered concept in the morning while my coffee is brewing. Perhaps I should wake up earlier. Nah. I found theultimate single-tiered bento box last week. Fancy, neh?

I think multi-tiered boxes

I think multi-tiered boxes are cute. In reality, I don’t eat much for lunch, so usually one tier would suffice for me.

I like one tier for things

I like one tier for things that can go together — like stir-fry and rice — or for self-contained things, like a sandwich. I like two tiers for when I have to keep flavors separate, like my fruit from my stir fry.

But any more than two tiers and I don’t think I’d be able to deal; there just would not be enough space for the things I really like!

two-tier bento

I love my two-tier bento box because it’s tall and narrow rather than flat and fits perfectly into the bag I take to work.

Two Tiers <3

I can never find a one tier that’s bigger than 320ml which despite being a tiny person just isn’t enough food for me! My two tier is 500ml. I also love two tiers because I really dislike my food touching and two tiers means I can use the dividers to pack four distinct things without any of them touching or using any extra junk in my kitchen.

Picnic bentos

Hi maki!

Its spring time now and with the weather warming up, its almost the season for outdoor picnics! In japanese dramas and animes, the characters always seem to prepare beautifull and varied bento sets which always seem to be mouth watering and impressive at the same time! If it’s not too much could you pls write a post on typical and/or practical bento sets for a picnic group outing? It would be a great help as my bf loooves all these lovely bentos I’ve been making for him from your website (so much so he’s even started preparing some for me now ^_^) and making a picnic bento will (hopefully) blow him (and perhaps others as well) away. Thank you!

just one for me, please. for now...

I only use a one tier right now. The insulated bag that was given to me at work holds some single tier boxes that I have have perfectly in the bottom section and I have some small round boxes (from Ikea) that I can put in the top section for small things like grapes or mini carrots. I can get by with my single tier for now. I like your idea of using carrot strip and such as a divider in a single tier, and I use that trick often. Thank you so much for that tip!

I might like a two tier if I had one, but that would also mean fiding a new bag. Maybe after some future fruitful shopping trip, I might be able to convert to multiple tiers.

2+ Tiers

It might be a guy thing, but I like boxes that are multi-tiered, look cool, and have lots of doodads.

One Tier

I personally like one tier because one layer of super cute is usually all I can pull off. My youngest likes two tier since he says the savory tastes mingles with the sweet when I combine them all in a one tier. Once he pointed that out to me I am also aware of it, but it doesn’t put me off like it does him. So…I use two tier for him and keep the fruits and sweets in a separate space.

Another thing I don’t like about two tier, one tier I can secure flat in backpacks easier than two tier. Sometimes the two tier shifts when the boys take their books out and what I worked to keep cute is less than cute when it smears or shifts.


Two tier is my vote, but...

I like two-tier boxes the best, mostly because they fit in my bag better, whilst still containing enough food to fill me. I have a white Muji two-tier and a Urara Dragonfly box. I also have a one-tier 350ml box, a one-tier onigiri box and a 3-tier box which I just don’t seem to use as often.

I love multi-tiered bento

I love multi-tiered bento boxes. I have a Mr. Zojirushi that is big enough to carry my lunch and a few extra snacks; and I just ordered a two-tier one so that I can carry bigger servings of a few things.

One tier for me

I like the concept of two tiers, especially since I hate my food to touch, but in the end I’m a one-tier girl. I think it’s because two tiers are just so hard for me to fill up. I like the smaller one-tier containers because they optimize space and everything looks so lush and appealing due to the cramped quarters. Also, since the bulk of my meal is rice with small portions of tasty banchan, I find the proportions of a two-tier just don’t cut it for my meals. I end up wishing I had more rice and taking home uneaten side dishes.

right now my favorite box is a red usagi one-tier with divided containers in one corner that’s perfect for small but tasty sides and a rather roomy section for my rice.

When I first started, I used

When I first started, I used two tier boxes. I picked up a selection of single tier boxes on a trip, after which, I lost my interest in using the two tier boxes. I pack side containers (I got some good side contianers at daiso). I prefer the single tier because I like the simplicty. I also found the bottom tier of my more tradtional two tier boxes (without a lid on the bottom tier) difficult to pack — and there was always food stuck to the bottom of the top tier, which I felt a bit self concious and awkward when eating with my work colegues.

As lame as this may sound: I also was a little concerned that my coworkers might think I’m trying to be pretentious when using a two tier boxe : ( … because they much more obviously Japanese.

In addition to the one tier boxes, I also frequently use a thermal Mrs. Bento that comes with two side containers.

I love them all! but I’ll

I love them all! but I’ll have to sitck to one tier cause over here (chile) it has been truly hard to find multi-tiered boxes buh u_u

All of the above!

I love both! I find that different kidns of bentos (large on tiered, two tiered, small two tiered with a side-car) are great for a variety of different foods. Different box (combos) make for more versatility for foods. My current favorite is my one-tiered ChiChaiMonChan bento, usually with a small side dish. I would never want to give up my two tiered! It is a darn good, and a darn useful box! (no to mention my very first).

I like my 2 tiered bento

I like my 2 tiered bento boxes more than our IKEA 365+ food savers box. The 2 tiered boxes that I have fit in my bag upright and I feel a bit more secure about leakage. I have to put the IKEA box in my bag sideways and I’m constantly worried that food juices will be covering all my books while I’m on my way to school. The 2 tier also allows for a separation of the sweet and salty without having to use a bunch of boxes. I usually use the IKEA boxes for my sambo’s lunches.

Why two?

I don’t like it when some of my food is touching. Prevents undesirable mixing.

Bento Tier's

Two tiers is my favorite because there’s room to put a variety, and I usually like to seperate my warmer or saltier foods from my sweeter or cooler ones. Like putting rice or pasta in the bottom with strawberries and cinnamon grahams in the top! My one tier bento’s I use a lot for breakfasts where I tend to be not as hungry and in more of a rush.

I like all bento boxes, but

I like all bento boxes, but two-tiered work best for me because they’ll fit in my purse and hold the right amount of food, usually.

Two Tier

I’m rather new to packing bento but I seem to be able to pack and organize things better in a two tier… the kind that fit together and have a belly-band. The ones I have (URARA) have a black divider that tops the bottom tier so food doesn’t get stuck under the top tier (and end up all over your hands). But I’d guess you could fake that with some parchment paper… maybe.


All of my bento boxes are two tier. I have some single containers, but I never even consider using them for my bentos. I like keeping things separate- particularly rice. I hate when it gets overly sauced or wet. And I’ve found the two tier is the perfect size for a filling lunch.

Also, there is something pleasing about revealing the treats in each compartment! I don’t think it would be nearly as much fun to see it all in one place.

One tier

I began with two tiers bentos. The top would be salty the bottom tier would be sweet. In fact, the sweet part was too big for me. Finally a on tier bento is littler (so more appropriate to my appetite) and somehow it’s more easier for me to plan a one tier bento. I find it prettier.

other :3

To be frank, cause I’m PO’.

I can barely afford the food, let alone a lunchbox for it… So I have no containers that are conveniently shaped (or sized, for that matter) for what I would consider a satisfying lunch… Yet, the concept of the bento facinates me so.

What I have are small plastic containers and little glass preserving jars leftover from store-bought products like spreads and jams. Conveniently, most of them are about the right size for one element of a bento, holding about a cup or less. When I have leftover food, I pack it into these small containers and snatch a couple of them in the morning to take with me (talk about saving on prep. time!). Since many of them are not strategically designed for easy eating access, I pack my mini-many-bento-boxes into a larger, microwave-safe bowl and tie it all up with a scarf. Chop sticks slide neatly into the knot, and the loose ends make a great handle. It looks cute from the outside and didn’t cost me a penny!

When leftovers aren’t available, I try to pack foods in my bowl that don’t need to be specially packaged in any way. Fruits, instant oatmeal packs, and dry snacks work well. I also have a stash on hand of frozen rice balls and miso soup balls, both taken from your brilliant techniques.

While I think any-teired bento boxes are like the cutest thing ever, they just aren’t practical for everybody (me).


I use two tiers for my son and one tier for my daughter- though i normally end up giving them the same amount of food- with one tier well designed and packed for my son and the other just with a few little bits in, and the whole of my one tiered box well packed. ive found its harder to find ‘boyish’ boxes in one tier and that two tiers are more uni-sex. with the one tiered boxes however i can buy lots of cute hello kitty etc boxes for my daughter

Two tier

…because then it keeps my “main dish” away from the “dessert” and “salad” parts PLUS it keeps the surprises coming (well, it would if I didn’t make it myself).


I voted other. I have a single tier box and a couple double tier boxes that I alternate between. Lately, I think I’ve been more into the aesthetic of single tier boxes, but as for actual usage, I think it’s about even. I try to stay in the 550 ml to 600 ml range with my bento boxes. I don’t usually pack side boxes, unless I am making a sandwich-based bento. I do have a triple tier box that I hardly even use, because it’s a little too big for me and packing three tiers takes too much thinking!

La la la....

I voted “I love them all!”, but I usually use 2-tier bento boxes. I don’t eat that much to fit into 3+ tiers, so it’s all good :D


Well, really, all of them, but it depends on exactly what I’m packing and for what purpose. I carry 1-tiers frequently for snacks and emergency food (I have blood sugar issues), and larger 1-tiers are good for stews and curries and other things that are going to be one big messy thing. Two tiers are better for things with one larger component and several smaller ones, main-course-and-salad, or 2-tier soup bentos with the bowl and inset tier. I used to have a couple of 2-tiers, which I loved for when I’d only have time to eat in small bursts throughout the day but needed a full meal’s worth of food, or for larger meals of small components, but I gave those away to my mom and a friend of hers after they flew cross-country to help me unpack after a move; I sent them each home with the bento box of their choice, filled for the plane trip back.

I’ve never used more than

I’ve never used more than two tiers, as most of my boxes are the basic lube sheep 2 tier model. These seem to be the perfect size for me most days, and I love the fact that they collapse nicely when empty.

Lately, I’ve tried using single tier boxes, but I haven’t been using a big enough one (generally around 450ml) cause I’ve been hungry too soon after finishing lunch.

2 tiers

2 tiers, cos one tier is too small and 3 tier too large

I like the IDEA of 2 tier...

but even if I start out packing a 2 tier, my creativity only extends to 1 tier, sadly. I like the variety a 2 tier would give for lunch, but as others have mentioned, it’s difficult to fill 2 levels (and it’s kind of gross to fill 2 tiers with only 1 or 2 kinds of food, e.g., one level rice, one level okazu—feels too oinky.)

how to?

ogenki maki? one of my jappy fren’s mother had sent me a traditional 2 tier bento as a gift all the way from japan.The top tier comes with a lid with a small compartment. I was confused about which tier to put the rice and side dishes.From all the bento photos i’d seen,most of the veg,meat will be on the top and rice at bottom.But won’t the lid damage the vegs/meat due to compression?

usually the okazu is put

usually the okazu is put into the small compartment with lid. But really, you can arrange it any way you like! There really are no rules. I often put the rice in the smaller compartment to restrict my rice intake and put in more veg or something.

2 (with reservations)

I mostly use my Happy Balloon orange two-tier, which is about right for lunch for me (even too much sometimes), plus lots of dividers and containers. I like having small amounts of several things. However, on my last trip to Daiso I found a matching flap-lock single-tier container of about 480 ml (I think) that I’ve started using to carry a lot of raw veg and a bit of dressing so I can snack more to even out my blood sugar, which means that I’m less likely to finish my lunch. Still, I vote two tiers. I like to keep things separated. (I also like to having matching gear, obviously.)

Thank you for this page. I find it inspirational, entertaining, and useful!

I have both one, two, and

I have both one, two, and multi-tiered boxes, but I actually prefer using just one tier boxes. I suppose my reason is that I like having all of my food in one place, and this way I don’t have to spend as much time washing dishes for the multi-tiered boxes. I usually use 2+ tiers (or more than one box, even) if I’m packing for my boyfriend, as he always microwaves his food and it isn’t good to microwave things like fruit. Since I’m not as picky about the temperature of my food, though, I prefer to have everything in one box, both for less dishes and for aesthetic appeal, I suppose.

The more tiers and compartments, the better

I love to have as many matching tiers and compartments as possible, as long as I can fit at least a snack-sized serving in each one. First there’s the “birthday gift factor” - even if I’ve packed it myself, I feel like I’m unwrapping a little gift. Second, I like how it slows me down. One of my favorite things about bentos is that the small, separate portions encourage me to really appreciate and taste what I’m biting into - instead of inhaling my food - which is what I do when I’m not paying attention. Compartments lend themselves well to slowing down, smelling and tasting - and they frame portions so even ordinary foods look a bit special.

i whole-heartedly agree...

multiple tiers are amazing—-both in terms of form and function! in terms of the aesthetics of bento, i like your decription of “framing portions.” a multitude of tiers/compartments provides a visually appealing presentation of each food element, AND allow for a collection individual tasty treats that can have their own identity but complement the tastes of the other small boxes’ contents. overall, the complexity of many tiers adds an experiential componant and art to the bento that isn’t caputured in a singular tier.

I prefer 2 or more tiers

I like food with gravy, thou i know japanese eat rice and dishes separately. I’ll definitely have one side dish with gravy or at least cream for my bento. As so, I can’t put a fried chicken with the saucy dish together..

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