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Do you have to wait for food to cool before refrigerating?

By: Ari HaranUpdated: January 03, 2021

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Myth: Hot food will spoil if refrigerated before cooling to room temperature. In other words, leaving food out at room temperature encourages bacteria to thrive. “We have what's called the two-hour rule: Food should only be out for two hours before it's put in the refrigerator,” says Feist.

So, can I put hot food directly into the refrigerator or freezer?

Use a food thermometer to measure the temperature during the cooling period. A large pot or container of food that is hot should not be placed in the refrigerator or freezer. The hot food can raise the temperature inside the refrigerator/freezer which can be a risk for food already in the appliance.

Secondly, can I put hot food in the freezer?

Probably the most important step of freezing food is to cool it down before freezing it. Under no circumstances should you ever put something that's still hot, or even warm, in your freezer. For one, it will heat up your freezer and possibly thaw out items around it which is very unsafe.

Why shouldn't you put hot food directly into a fridge?

Meher Rajput, Nutritionist at FITPASS explains, "Hot food should be brought down to room temperature-because if placed in the fridge(boiling hot) the salmonella bacteria can spoil the food very easily in the fridge.

When should you refrigerate hot food?

FACT: Hot food can be placed in the refrigerator. Bacteria can grow rapidly on food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If food is left out in a room our outdoors where the temperature is 90 degrees F or hotter, food should be refrigerated or discarded within just 1 hour.

Related

How long should soup cool before refrigerating?

Let the containers chill about 30 minutes before refrigerating them.

Can I put hot coffee in the fridge?

While putting the hot pot in the fridge won't break it if you do it once, repeating the process may weaken the glass until eventually, YES, the structually compromised glass will eventually shatter and leak coffee all over your fridge. Does a spoon help cool a cup of coffee?

What is the fastest way to cool food safely?

Approved and efficient ways to cool food include:
  1. Ice-water bath and frequently stirring the food.
  2. Ice paddles (plastic container filled with water and frozen) used to stir food in an ice-water bath.
  3. Adding ice as an ingredient (if water is an ingredient).
  4. Blast or tumble chiller.

What is the recommended temperature for cooling food before refrigeration?

To use the two-stage cooling method, food must be cooled from 140 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours and to 41 F or lower within four hours. Using the cooling method ensures that food is cooled quickly and safely.

Can I leave stew out overnight to cool?

The USDA says food that has been left out of the fridge for more than two hours should be thrown away. At room temperature, bacteria grows incredibly fast and can make you sick. Reheating something that has been sitting at room temperature for longer than two hours won't be safe from bacteria.

Does reheating food kill bacteria?

Cooking and reheating are the most effective ways to eliminate bacterial hazards in food. Most foodborne bacteria and viruses can be killed when food is cooked or reheated long enough at sufficient high temperature.

Can I leave soup out overnight?

Soup Left Out Overnight: Is It Still Safe to Eat? According the expert McGee consulted, soup or stock left to cool overnight, then reboiled for 10 minutes and properly refrigerated in the morning is still safe to eat because it isn't cool long enough for the bacteria to germinate and reproduce up to dangerous levels.

Is it bad to cover hot food?

If it is a small quantity of food, then it does not matter much. With a quart or more of food, let it cool uncovered before covering and putting it into the refrigerator. Remember, if the food is hot and covered, the heat will be trapped inside the container. Air is not an efficient conductor of cold air.