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Can You Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge? The Surprising Answer!

woman opened the fridge

As a coffee lover, you hate to waste even a drop of the fragrant beverage, but what can you do when you have half a pot left in the morning and have to get to work on time? Many coffee lovers ask if they can put their hot coffee in the fridge. The answer is technically yes, but placing hot coffee directly in the fridge isn’t the best idea.

Luckily, we’re here to answer your questions. In this blog, we’ll tell you all about putting hot coffee in the fridge, the best way to do it, and a few tips for cooling your coffee down quickly.

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Can You Put Hot Coffee in Your Fridge?

Yes, you can put your hot coffee in the fridge, but there are a few rules you should know about first. First, putting a steaming mug of hot coffee in the fridge uncovered could damage it and the food around the cup of coffee.

man putting a bottle to the fridge
Image Credit: Leon Seibert, Unsplash

Top 5 Tips for Putting Hot Coffee in Your Fridge:

Now that you know it’s okay to put hot coffee in your fridge, let’s examine a few rules and tips.

1. Avoid Placing Close to Food

The last thing you want is to spoil the food in your refrigerator so that you can keep hot coffee. Luckily, there are ways to avoid the hot coffee spoiling the rest of the food in the fridge. Heat transfers easily from a hot container to surrounding containers, such as leftover food, and you should keep the hot coffee away from these items by ensuring there’s plenty of space between them.

It’s especially important to keep the hot coffee away from items such as milk, butter, and cheese.


2. Always Use a Proper Container

putting coffee to a stainless tumbler
Image Credit: Taylor Beach, Unsplash

Your coffee won’t be any good if you can’t preserve the flavor while it’s in the fridge. The best way to do that is by using the proper container. Your best bet is a stainless-steel container since they tend to hold onto flavors, and you don’t have to worry that last night’s chicken odors will make their way into your coffee.

Don’t forget to put a tight lid on the stainless-steel container, or it won’t preserve the flavor. If you need to place your hot coffee in the fridge and don’t have a stainless-steel container, then other containers will do in a pinch. A mason jar or any other glass container should do the trick.

However, it’s best to refrain from using plastic containers to store hot coffee in the fridge since they have a way of absorbing odors and flavors.


3. Place Your Coffee in the Back of the Fridge

fridge filled with food
Image Credit: Jordan, Unsplash

Sometimes when you’re in a hurry, it’s tempting to toss the hot coffee in your container and place it in the fridge. However, putting hot coffee in the front of the refrigerator isn’t the best idea. Since you want the coffee to cool quickly, putting it in the back is the best way. Placing the coffee in the back of the fridge accelerates the cooling process.


4. Use Multiple Containers for More Coffee

tumblers and a coffee maker
Image Credit: Bluewater Sweden, Unsplash

To refrigerate vast amounts of coffee, it’s best to use more than one container. This is because the more hot coffee you put in a single container, the higher the chance you’ll increase the temperature in the fridge and ruin your other food.

Instead, separate the hot coffee into several containers, reducing the risk of a temperature increase and spoilage.


5. Cool Before Refrigerating

a hot cup of coffee
Image Credit: René Porter, Unsplash

If you have the time, it’s better to cool your coffee before putting it in the fridge. When you take the time to cool the coffee, you don’t have to worry about it ruining anything or heating your fridge.

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Reasons People Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge

Although you may not be fond of putting coffee in your refrigerator, here are a few reasons why some people do.

  • Some people don’t like ice in their cold brew coffee, so they put it in the fridge to get cold instead. They brew the coffee, put it in the fridge hot, then wait on it to cool. That way, they get cold coffee but don’t have to dilute it by adding ice to the mix.
  • Sometimes, you run out of time and have to leave with half a pot of coffee still sitting. You don’t want more coffee, and putting it in the fridge is a good way not to waste an expensive beverage.
  • You like the taste of cold coffee and often place cups in the fridge.
fridge door open
Image Credit: nrd, Unsplash

FAQs

Below we’ll answer some of your biggest questions about coffee and putting it in the fridge.

Will the Glass Break When Putting it in the Fridge?

While a stainless-steel container is recommended, some people use glass containers to store their hot coffee in the fridge. Generally, most glasses will not break. Containers and glass jars are designed not to shatter when hot liquid is added.

An exception is if the glass container or mug has prior damage or has been repeatably put in the fridge. Enamel mugs will be your best choice if you’re putting hot coffee in the refrigerator.

Can You Microwave Coffee Straight Out of the Fridge?

It’s not a good idea to microwave coffee after it’s been in the fridge, and you can’t microwave it directly because it could break the container. Microwaved coffee can taste bitter and is not a substitute for freshly brewed grounds.

How Long Does Coffee Last in the Fridge?

Like other food or drinks, you can only keep coffee in the fridge for a brief time before it’s not good any longer. At the most, if you keep the coffee in a tightly sealed container, it’ll last for maybe 3 to 5 days. However, you’re still running the risk of the coffee tasting horrible.

Twenty-four hours is about as long as we recommend before tossing the coffee and starting fresh.

Is it Safe to Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge?

Putting your hot coffee in your fridge is safe if you follow the rules and tips above. You should be careful to store it away from other food and put it in an airtight, spill-proof container. If you can’t drink your coffee hot, this method will work. However, you can’t expect the coffee to be as fresh as it was when you put it in the fridge.

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Conclusion

While you can technically put hot coffee in the fridge, there are a few rules and tips you should follow to protect your coffee and the other food. Make sure you use an airtight container, preferably stainless steel, store the coffee at the back of the fridge, and keep it away from other foods, especially dairy.

If you can’t take your coffee with you, storing it is the next best thing so that you don’t waste the expensive, delicious beverage. Store your hot coffee in the fridge carefully for the best-tasting coffee.


Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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