Can I Put Hot Food In the Fridge?

Can I put hot food in the fridge?

For those who do not cook or are not worried about food preservation, this may seem a rather odd question.

However, this is a valid question as a situation may arise where you would want to put hot food in the fridge.

Leaving freshly cooked food exposed to air can cause it to contaminate and eventually decay.

The need to store hot food in a fridge also arises when there is an excess amount cooked or leftovers.

Weather also plays a role. If the temperature outside is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it is advised to preserve food in a refrigerator.

How hot is the food?

The first factor to consider here is how hot the food is? If the food is warm and has been left to cool down for sometime before putting it inside a fridge, it won’t cause any damage to the refrigerator. 

Modern refrigerators can withstand hot items.

Putting piping hot food into refrigerators won’t damage the appliance or cause the food placed inside it to spoil.

Most modern refrigerators can withstand the unusual temperature and bring it down to the temperature inside the fridge. 

With that being said, It’s better to let your food cool down to a reasonable level before moving it into the fridge.

Energy safety concerns

Putting hot food inside a refrigerator once in a while is unlikely to cause your refrigerator to develop snags or stop functioning.

However, if done regularly, it could have energy efficiency implications. It could cause a strain on the refrigerator’s compressor, the main component that works to bring the temperature down.

A refrigerator is ideally meant to preserve food by keeping it cold. A sudden spike in temperature regularly inside a refrigerator can impact the efficiency of the compressor.

If you are regularly cooking more than required, you might have to think of reducing leftovers.  

Other options before putting hot food inside a refrigerator

To avoid pressure on your refrigerator’s compressor, it is best advised to wait for your food to cool down before putting it into the fridge.

Two hours is generally an ideal time for cooked food to reach room temperature. Make sure your handle the vessel with clean hands or clean cooking gloves. 

Also, do not place any hot food in the freezer as this can cause the ice in the tray to melt and cause water to spill onto other compartments.

In case you want to cool your food faster, you can place it inside a larger vessel and pour cold water around it. This will lower the temperature to the room’s temperature in much lesser time. 

Putting hot liquid in a refrigerator

If you want to put hot liquid food like soups and stews in a fridge, there is a method to make it cool faster. Place the hot liquid food in vessels with a broader base.

The vessel’s depth should be shallow, and the depth of the liquid food in the vessel should also be not more than 2 inches.

A wider surface and lesser depth of the liquid food will ensure that it cools much faster. 

The bottom line is you can put hot food in your fridge.

But if you do so regularly, it will affect the energy efficiency of the refrigerator. 


Using common sense, it’s best to let your food cool to an acceptable level before putting it into the fridge. However, doing so should be ok following the guidelines above.

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