Is It Bad to Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge?

The ideal way to make a cold coffee would be to add some ice cubes. However, if you don’t like ice or don’t have it, you might be tempted to put your coffee in the fridge. So, is it bad to put hot coffee in the fridge?

Is It Bad to Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge?

No, it is not bad to put hot coffee in the fridge. However, you should divide the coffee into small quantities and put it in airtight containers, so it doesn’t absorb smells from the fridge. This will also help prevent oxidation, which can make coffee taste stale.

If you are using a glass container, it is best to put a piece of wax paper between the coffee and the lid to prevent the coffee from coming into contact with the lid and absorbing smells.

Hot coffee in a black mug

What Happens When You Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge?

If you put coffee that is hot in the fridge, it will cool down and become cold faster. The coffee might also change in taste, smell, and appearance. Coffee that has been stored in the fridge may taste more acidic and have a stronger flavor. The color of the coffee may also change, appearing browner than fresh coffee.

Generally, coffee that has been in the fridge will not taste the same as freshly brewed coffee even if you reheat it. However, if you are storing your coffee and want to consume it at a later date, putting it in the refrigerator is not a bad idea.

How to Properly Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge

While putting high-temperature coffee in the fridge is not the best idea, you can still do it. However, to ensure that it does not spoil, you should do it the right way by:

  • Dividing it into small batches
  • Putting it in airtight containers
  • Placing it at the back of the refrigerator
  • Putting it away from other items
  • Precooling it before putting it in the fridge

Divide Into Small Batches

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends dividing hot food and drinks into smaller portions before putting them into the fridge. This will prevent temperature from building up in the refrigerator and spoiling other items.

Use Airtight Containers

To prevent your coffee from going bad, make sure to store it in an airtight container. This will also help keep it fresh and tasting great. When you put the coffee in the open air inside the fridge, it might absorb odors and flavors from other foods.

Using airtight containers like mason jars will also help prevent oxidation. This is a process in which oxygen interacts with coffee and makes it go bad.

Put It at the Back of the Fridge

The back of the fridge is usually colder than other parts and is a good place to store hot food. Put your coffee at least 3 inches away from the fridge coils, which are located at the back.

You can also put it on a high shelf to prevent any heat from rising and spoiling other items.

Put It Far From Other Items

Coffee poured in the transparent cups

When storing coffee in the refrigerator, make sure it is far from other items. This will prevent it from coming into contact with them and spoiling them due to the high temperature.

Also, putting your coffee close to food like fish will encourage the absorption of bad odor that will make your coffee taste terrible.

Read here about how to store instant coffee.

Cool Your Coffee Before Putting It in the Fridge

You can also cool your coffee before putting it in the fridge. This will help prevent temperature build-up and will also help the coffee cool down faster.

To pre-cool your coffee, you can:

  • Pour it over ice.
  • Put it in a larger container.
  • Put about three stainless steel spoons in your coffee. This will help to transfer heat away from the coffee faster since the spoons are good convectors.
  • Divide the coffee into two or three containers.

Do Not Put Milk in Your Coffee

When storing coffee that is hot in the refrigerator, do not put milk in it. This is because milk will spoil quickly when exposed to high temperatures, ruining your coffee.

If you want to add milk to your coffee, do it when you are ready to drink it. You can also put cold milk in your coffee.

Related Questions

How Long Should Coffee Stay in the Fridge?

You can store coffee in the fridge for up to four days. However, it is best to consume it as soon as possible. This is because coffee loses its original taste the longer it stays in the fridge.

Is Refrigerated Coffee Good for Your Health?

No, refrigerated coffee may not be bad for your health. However, it may not taste as good as freshly brewed coffee. It may also have lower levels of antioxidants, which are good for your health.

Hot coffee placed on top og the table


I do not confidently recommend storing hot coffee in the fridge as it can lead to spoilage of other food items. However, if you must store your coffee in the fridge, make sure to divide it into small batches, put it in airtight containers, and place it at the back of the fridge.