Hot food cannot be put directly into the fridge after cooking. Putting hot food into a fridge may cause the fridge temperature to increase above 5 °C. If the fridge temperature goes above 5 °C all other food stored in the fridge is at risk of growing bacteria.
Myth: You shouldn't put hot foods in the refrigerator.
Fact: Hot food can be placed in the refrigerator. Large amounts of food should be divided into small portions and put in shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.
Additionally, when you put something warm or hot inside your fridge, the clashing temperatures will create condensation. This might settle on the back wall of your fridge and become ice, which can, in turn, freeze any food items touching the wall.
Because your fridge is warmer, it needs to work harder to bring it down to the set temperature. This puts stress on your refrigerator's compressor. Over time your compressor can fail if you put hot food in the fridge repeatedly, leave the refrigerator door open for long periods, or overfill the fridge.
Food held between 5oC and 60oC for less than 2 hours can be used, sold or put back in the refrigerator to use later. Food held between 5oC and 60oC for 2-4 hours can still be used or sold, but can't be put back in the fridge. Food held between 5oC and 60oC for 4 hours or more must be thrown away.
It is important to cool food as quickly as possible in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. Ideally this should be cooled to less than 8 degrees Celcius within 90 minutes.
#4 DON'T Freeze Hot Food
Food should be completely cooled before freezing – actually, it is even better if you allow it to fully cool down in the fridge first and then freeze. If you store a bag or container with hot food along with an already frozen one, it might defrost slightly, creating a safety breach.
No, hot food doesn't need to cool down before going into the fridge.
Harmful bacteria can grow in food that is not chilled down as quickly as possible. SAFETY POINT WHY? If you have cooked food that you will not serve immediately, chill it down as quickly as possible and then put it in the fridge.
Do not leave rice to cool down in the rice cooker, steamer or pan. Once cooled to room temperature, cover the rice and store in the refrigerator at 8oC or below (preferably below 5oC). Only reheat rice if it has previously been cooled down safely and kept in the fridge until needed.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, leftover food (particularly meat) should be refrigerated immediately after serving, and certainly within two hours of cooking.
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.
If that's the case, then why are eggs not stored in fridges at the supermarket? Well, there's a simple explanation for that. It's apparently because store temperatures are kept below 20ºC, so refrigeration is unnecessary. 'This also prevents significant temperature fluctuations.
In fact, at room temperature, bacteria growth can double every 20 minutes. It is a myth that bacteria are killed at temperatures below 40 degrees. In fact, bacteria growth is slowed, but not stopped. The only way to kill bacteria by temperature is by cooking food at temperatures of 165 degrees or more.
If a perishable food (such as meat or poultry) has been left out at room temperature overnight (more than two hours) it may not be safe. Discard it, even though it may look and smell good. Never taste a food to see if it is spoiled. Use a food thermometer to verify temperatures.
How Long Can Food Sit Out? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food and safety basics states cooked food can be left at room temperature up to two hours. If the temperature outside (or inside your house) is 90°F or above, you should cut that time in half.
No, it is not safe to leave raw chicken out overnight. Raw chicken should always be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent bacterial growth and foodborne illness. Bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter can multiply rapidly at room temperature and make you sick if consumed.
How to store cooked chicken. To store cooked chicken, make sure that it does not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures above 90°F. Ensure it is cooled to room temperature within two hours before stowing it in the refrigerator or freezer.
The Bottom Line
It is OK to store hot foods in the fridge. You do not have to wait for the foods to cool before you put them away. In fact, it's better to store them right away, while they're still hot, than to forget them and leave them sitting at room temperature too long.
To prevent bacterial growth, it's important to cool food rapidly so it reaches as fast as possible the safe refrigerator-storage temperature of 40° F or below. To do this, divide large amounts of food into shallow containers.
NEVER use display refrigerators or freezers to cool foods. Hot foods can raise the temperature of the unit and endanger the other foods stored there. Keep Hot Foods Hot; Keep Cold Foods Cold! The temperature of potentially hazardous foods must be 41ºF or below or 135ºF or above at all times.
Myth: Hot food will spoil if refrigerated before cooling to room temperature. Facts: Just the opposite. Give your fridge some credit. It's designed to chill food and keep it cold.
Freezing your food
Leftovers and homemade goods should be frozen as soon as possible. Cool any warm dishes before putting them in your freezer. To stop the cold air in your freezer from drying out your food: place food in an air-tight container.
Putting foods that are still warm in the freezer can raise the temperature, causing surrounding frozen items to partially thaw and refreeze, which can alter the taste and texture of some foods. To prevent this, place food in a shallow, wide container and refrigerate, uncovered, until cool.
Leftovers can be kept for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. After that, the risk of food poisoning goes up. If you don't think you'll be able to eat leftovers within four days, freeze them right away. Frozen leftovers will stay safe for a long time.