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