Can I put hot soup in the refrigerator or do I have to cool it first?

Big-Batch Chilienlarge

Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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Several students have asked recently if their food will be ruined if they put it in the fridge while it is still hot.  The answer is, generally not. The reason you are told to not put hot food in the refrigerator is that it can bring the overall temperature inside the fridge up above the safe zone.

If you have a big pot of soup or chili that you must put away before it has cooled, separate it into smaller containers, which will cool down faster and not bring the overall temp inside up as dramatically.

For more information on food safetyl, see Can Your Refrigerator Kill You?

Recipe: Big-Batch Chili


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