To fridge, or not to fridge? You might be surprised at the array of unlikely ingredients that last longer when chilled, while some should never go near a refrigerator. For others, it may depend on how often you use them. Nobody wants to be wasting food unnecessarily – for the good of the planet as well as our purse strings.


Find out which foods are best kept in the fridge, then discover how to use up all of your leftovers, what to do with leftover bread and how to use up leftover yogurt. To further prevent your food from spoiling, try our bread bins and ways to store bread, best food storage containers and how to store fresh herbs so they last longer.

Can you put hot food in the fridge?

You should always wait for food to thoroughly cool before putting it in the fridge, otherwise it can raise the temperature of the fridge above a safe level, creating an environment for bacteria to grow.

How long can cooked food stay in the fridge?

You should use up your cooked food leftovers within two days. Make sure to reheat your leftovers to piping hot before eating.

How to store food in the fridge so it stays fresh

Store leftovers in leakproof containers with lids. If you have leftovers from a can, make sure to decant them into a lidded container, otherwise metal from the tin can leach into the food. For meat, fish and poultry, keep them in the coldest part of the fridge and make sure they are covered or wrapped so raw juices don't leak onto other foods in the fridge. Use the door of your fridge (the warmest part) for non-perishables such as condiments but not for milk. Keep fruit and vegetables in their original packaging and separate.

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Close up shot of woman taking container with frozen mixed vegetables from refrigerator while looking at camera.

Foods that should always be stored in the fridge

1. Fish sauce, sesame oil & maple syrup

All of these sauces and syrups are best kept in the fridge in an airtight container.

2. Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise will keep in the fridge once opened.

3. Mustard & natural nut butters

Store these upside down in the fridge to stop the oils separating.

4. Soft herbs

Soft herbs keep well in a glass of water in the fridge, covered.

5. Woody herbs

Wrap woody herbs in damp kitchen paper to help them keep well in the fridge.

6. Jams & marmalades

Jams and marmalades are best stored in the fridge once opened.

7. Vermouth

This tipple can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 months after being opened.

8. Most sherries

The majority of sherries should be stored in the fridge once opened and used within 1-2 weeks.

9. Soy sauce

Soy sauce should ideally be kept in the fridge, especially if you don’t plan on using it very often.

BBQ sauce in a bottle

Foods which can be kept in the fridge or at room temperature

1. Ketchup

Ketchup can be kept at room temperature or in the fridge if not used very often.

2. Hot sauce

This spicy sauce can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge.

3. Dried fruit

Dried fruit be chilled or kept in an airtight container in a cool place.

4. Citrus

Keep citrus fruits in your fruit bowl for 1 week, or preserve them in the fridge for a few months.


Foods which should never be stored in the fridge

1. Bread

Store bread in the freezer, but never in the fridge.

2. Coffee

Keep coffee grounds and beans in an airtight container.

3. Pastries

Pastries are best kept in an airtight container.

4. Wholemeal flours

This type of flour is best stored in the freezer and can be used from frozen.

5. Olive oil

Olive oil is best kept kept in a cool cupboard.

6. Honey

Keep this condiment in the cupboard.


Want more food waste prevention tips? Check out these guides...

Recipe ideas to use up jam
Top ways with leftover egg whites and yolks
What to do with leftover turkey
How to use up leftover pumpkin
Leftover pork recipes
Leftover Easter egg recipes
How to use up leftovers
How to use up Sunday lunch leftovers
What to do with leftover lamb

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