Tips&TricksExpert's TikTok reveal: Storing warm leftovers in the fridge is safer than you think

Expert's TikTok reveal: Storing warm leftovers in the fridge is safer than you think

Warm food in the refrigerator was a rarity until now.
Warm food in the refrigerator was a rarity until now.
Images source: © Brilliant, TikTok | Madamesweat

1:38 PM EST, February 18, 2024

Mary Futher, a hygiene and cleanliness expert also known as @Madamesweat, shared her perspective and methods on this issue via the TikTok platform. This move elicited numerous responses from online audiences.

The debate over whether it's safe to store warm leftovers in the fridge has been ongoing for some time. Some people see no issue and take immediate action by putting their remaining dinner in a container and refrigerating it, regardless of the temperature. Others prefer to leave the container with the lid partially open on the countertop to allow for natural cooling. So, who's right?

Is it safe to put warm food in the fridge?

@Madamesweat explained her perspective on this topic on TikTok, outlining why she's a proponent of refrigerating food quickly, and the benefits of her approach. She stated in her video, "Don't leave food on the countertop. If it's been at room temperature for over two hours, it might as well be thrown in the trash." She emphasized that food should be moved to the fridge quickly. However, she suggested that it's best to store the food in a shallow dish for quicker cooling. reports that the Washington State Department of Health seconded the expert's opinion, confirming that it is safe to put hot food directly into the fridge. Yet, the department's specialists recommend dividing larger servings into smaller portions before refrigerating them for faster cooling.

What's your approach: refrigerate warm food immediately or wait until it cools down?

A browse of internet community opinions reveals a split. Many diverse views can be found in the comments below the expert's TikTok video. One person wrote, "I always allow hot or warm food to cool for around 30 minutes on the countertop before refrigerating so as not to impact the fridge's temperature." Another shared, "My mom used to tell me that putting hot food directly in the fridge will raise its temperature. It always seemed logical when I was a kid, but now, I'm questioning it."

Not everyone agrees with these views. "I've spent years persuading my wife to put food directly into the fridge, and I'm losing patience. She also leaves the lid partially opened to prevent condensation," said another commenter. One user lamented, "I shudder at the thought of all the pizzas I've eaten the following morning that were left out all night." Clearly, the topic of storing warm leftovers in the fridge is still a heated topic, triggering intense reactions.

Related content