11 foods you should never put in the fridge

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We all need one of the best refrigerators to cool our fresh produce and make our food last longer. And even though we often think it’s the best place for all our perishables, did you know that there are certain foods that should never be put in the fridge?

In fact, storing these foods at a cold temperature will only spoil them, reduce their nutritional value, and quickly diminish their flavor, defeating their purpose! These foods actually keep best at room temperature, around 64-71 degrees F.

Keeping these foods out of the fridge will also save you from throwing away spoiled food, which is wasteful and a hassle, especially if you want Make your food last longer and save money. So if you’re not sure what foods need to be refrigerated, here are 11 foods you should never put in the fridge.

1. Bread

A selection of bread next to a loaf in a bread machine pan

A selection of bread next to a loaf in a bread machine pan (Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s often a subject of debate, but bread shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator. Bread starch molecules recrystallize very quickly at cool temperatures, which causes bread to go stale much faster in the refrigerator. Plus, it makes the bread tough, chewy, and stale.

Always store bread in a bread box like this extra large bread box ($29 (opens in a new tab), Amazon (opens in a new tab)), or freeze any excess for up to a month, tightly wrapped in freezer paper. Before storing, store-bought bread should be stored in an airtight plastic bag, while fresh bread should be tightly wrapped in cling film or beeswax wrap and stored at room temperature.

2. Raw potatoes

A sack of potatoes on a wooden surface

A sack of potatoes on a wooden surface (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Generally, potatoes and sweet potatoes should be kept in the pantry. If stored in the refrigerator, cold temperatures can quickly turn their starch into sugar, causing a tougher or sweeter potato. Instead, store your potatoes in a well-ventilated basket or cabinet out of direct sunlight. Store potatoes in a paper bag, not a plastic bag, as plastic bags prevent air circulation and accumulate moisture.

3. Tomatoes

Hold a homegrown tomato plant

Hold a homegrown tomato plant (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have mastered how to grow tomatoes, do not make the mistake of storing your harvest in the refrigerator. Generally, tomatoes continue to ripen at room temperature, so chilling will essentially stop the ripening process and dull the flavor. Additionally, refrigerator temperatures damage the skin of tomatoes, causing a watery texture. So if you want to preserve juicy, flavorful tomatoes, keep them on a counter, out of direct sunlight.

4. Honey

honey in jar

honey in jar (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Honey is a natural preservative, so it does not need to be stored in the refrigerator. Also, the cold temperature will cause it to crystallize, making it hard and difficult to spread. If you want runny honey, always store it in a cupboard at room temperature.

5. Lawyers

A few avocados on the table

A few avocados on the table (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’re craving mashed avocado or want to jazz up a salad, remember not to store avocados in the fridge. When you buy them at the grocery store, they are still hard and need a few days to ripen before eating. These can only ripen at room temperature, so it’s best to keep them out of the fridge. The only exception is when an avocado is fully ripe and you’re not ready to eat it. Just be sure to eat it within two or three days for maximum flavor.

6. Whole melons

Rinse a watermelon

Rinse a watermelon (Image credit: Shutterstock)

You may think uncut melons will last longer in the fridge, but they’re best kept in your fruit bowl. Refrigeration will change taste, texture and color. The whole melon should be left at room temperature until ripe. The only time you can store it in the fridge is after you cut it. Be sure to wrap it tightly in a cling film alternative, such as beeswax wraps, or store the slices in an airtight container before placing them in the fridge. The same rules apply for mangoes and peppers.

7. Garlic bulbs

Garlic in wooden bowls

Garlic in wooden bowls (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Garlic will instantly brighten up most meals, but it can quickly wear off if stored in the fridge. Not only will it have a rubbery texture, but the damp conditions will make it prone to mildew. Always store garlic in a dry, well-ventilated place for best results, and don’t store it in plastic bags. These will only retain moisture and cause the garlic to spoil quickly. Instead, you can use mesh bags, like these Hanging Mesh Storage Bags ($10 (opens in a new tab), Amazon (opens in a new tab)), to keep your cloves fresh.

8. Strawberries

Basket of strawberries from the vegetable garden

Basket of strawberries from the vegetable garden (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you like to eat juicy strawberries, it is better to take them out of the refrigerator. Strawberries will absorb water or moisture from cold temperatures, causing them to spoil or lose their sweetness. Strawberries are best stored on the counter, out of direct sunlight. That you know how to grow strawberries and eat yourself, or if you use store-bought foods, be sure to consume them within a day or two before they start to spoil.

9. Onions

Bowl of brown onions

Bowl of brown onions (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although you may think onions belong in the salad bin, never store them in the fridge. This will add moisture, leaving them with a mushy texture and making them prone to mold. Onions are best stored in a well-ventilated basket and in a cool, dark place in the pantry.

10. Coffee

Coffee beans in brown bags

Coffee beans in brown bags (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you enjoy an aromatic cup of joe in the morning, don’t store coffee beans in the fridge. An open package of beans is prone to condensation due to cold temperatures. This will only spoil the taste and flavor, making your coffee less good. Instead, store your coffee at room temperature in a dark place, ideally in a kitchen cupboard. You will want to store the coffee in an airtight container to preserve its flavor. However, it is also important that the carbon dioxide, which the coffee beans gradually release, can escape. This will prevent the container from swelling over time and bursting, which is why coffee bags usually have valves. You can use a coffee container with a one-way valve to let the gas out but not in, like this Coffee Gator 16oz Stainless Steel Canister ($25, Amazon (opens in a new tab)).

11. Fresh herbs

Hang bouquets of dried herbs

Hang bouquets of dried herbs (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similar to aromatic coffee, fresh herbs quickly lose their aroma when refrigerated. Additionally, cool temperatures will add moisture to less resilient herbs, causing them to wilt, dry out, or lose flavor. If you want to retain all their flavor, store them at room temperature. If necessary, place the herbs in a resealable plastic bag or plastic wrap and if you really need to keep them in the refrigerator only for a short time.


For more tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on 14 foods you should never put in the freezer15 things you should never put in a washing machine and 8 bread machine mistakes you didn’t know you were making.

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