30 Foods You Shouldn’t Refrigerate - Healthy recipes and cooking tips for a healthier lifestyle

30 Foods You Shouldn’t Refrigerate

May 1, 2024
30 Foods You Shouldn’t Refrigerate

You probably know that you need to refrigerate your meat and dairy products to avoid getting sick, but did you know there are other foods you shouldn’t refrigerate because it can change the way they taste?

Join Our Newsletter

Get our best recipes and health tips delivered right to your inbox!

With food prices on the rise, it’s only natural to want to do everything you can to keep your food from spoiling before you have a chance to eat it. But while you may think that tossing all of your food in the fridge will increase its shelf life, there are many foods that last a long time without refrigeration, and can even taste better when left at room temperature.

Save some of that precious shelf space in your fridge by reviewing this list of 30 foods you shouldn’t refrigerate:

Apples – If you’re wondering how to store fruit properly, apples can be kept at room temperature up to two weeks. And if you end up leaving the apples out for too long, you can still use them in baking recipes like this one for apple crumb pie.

Avocados – If you find yourself pleading with your avocados to ripen, here’s some good news: this super fruit ripens faster when it’s left on the counter. And if all your avocados ripen at once, you can turn them into bowl of delicious and healthy guacamole.

Baked goods – The fastest way to ruin a baked good is to store it in the fridge. The colder temperatures make it dry and ruins the delicious flavor that you’re trying to preserve. If you want to save your baked goods for another day, wrap them up and store them in the freezer.

Bananas – Feel like you’re on a race to eat your bananas before they go brown? The fridge actually makes them go mushy even faster. If you’re bananas are turning faster than you can eat them, use them in this recipe for banana bread cookies.

Bell Peppers – Storing bell peppers in the refrigerator can cause them to lose their crispness. If you need a recipe to use up your peppers, make this recipe for vegetarian stuffed peppers.

Berries – Do you have to refrigerate berries? No, because berries will actually go soft and moldy when kept in the fridge. Instead, keep berries on the counter and wait to rinse until you’re ready to eat them. If you bring home a large haul of fresh berries from the local Farmer’s Market, make this delicious summer recipe for a red, white and blue berry tart.

Bread – There’s nothing like the taste of fresh bread, but storing it in the fridge can turn it dry and tough. Instead, pop the whole loaf in the freezer and thaw out slices gradually.

Canned fish – Canned fish is preserved during the canning process and can be kept at room temperature until the container is opened.

Chocolate – While you don’t want your chocolate to melt, the fridge can change its taste and texture. Instead, find a cool, dark place to store your chocolate outside of the fridge. Here’s a healthy and delicious chocolate recipe for drizzled apple snacks.

Coffee – You may have heard that coffee stays fresher if stored in the fridge, but doing so can diminish its flavor and aroma. Instead, store it in an airtight container where it’s cool and dark.

Cucumbers – Refrigerating cucumbers can make them watery and less crunchy. Instead, leave your cucumbers out or use them in this Asian cucumber salad.

Eggplant – Keeping your eggplant refrigerated can give it a bitter taste. If you need a recipe to use up your abundance of eggplant, make a hearty dish like this eggplant lasagna.

Garlic – When garlic is kept in the fridge it can begin to sprout. Instead store it in a cool, dark place and enjoy the fresh, aromatic flavor it gives these garlic fries.

Grapefruit – Storing grapefruit in the fridge can remove some of its delicious taste and texture.

Honey – When stored in the fridge, honey can turn hard. Instead, store it at room temperature. If you’re looking for a unique way to use your honey, make this honey dijon hummus.

Hot sauce – Your hot sauce will taste better when stored at room temperature. The vinegar in the sauce will keep it from spoiling, even after the bottle is opened (unless the label says otherwise).

Ketchup –Because of its preservatives and high acidity, ketchup can be stored at room temperature for shorter periods of time. If you don’t use your ketchup often though, consider keeping it in the fridge.

Melons – Just like grapefruit, watermelon and cantaloupe shouldn’t be refrigerated because it can change its flavor and texture.

Nuts – Although storing nuts in the fridge may extend their shelf life, it can also diminish their flavor because nuts absorb other odors from the fridge. You can use up your peanuts in this recipe for homemade snickers®.

Olive oil – If you store this oil in the fridge, it will solidify. Keep it in a cool, dark place like the pantry and enjoy a healthy helping in this recipe for olive oil banana cake.

Onions – These are best stored in a cool, dark and dry place. The moisture from the fridge causes onions to prematurely go soft and moldy.

Oranges – This juicy fruit tastes better when left out at room temperature.

Peaches – Refrigerating a peach slows down the ripening process, so it should be left on the counter if you plan to eat it soon. For a delicious way to enjoy fresh peaches, make this grilled peach salad.

Peanut Butter – When stored in the refrigerator peanut butter becomes hard, which makes it more difficult to spread. If you bought the jumbo jar of peanut butter at the store this week, you can use some of it up by making this recipe for peanut butter Rice Krispies® treats.

Pickles – The acidity and preservatives in a jar of pickles makes them able to be stored outside of the fridge on a short-term basis, just like ketchup.

Potatoes – When stored in the fridge, the starch in potatoes turns to sugar. This makes them taste sweet and gritty. If you have a bag of potatoes that is going to pass its peak freshness soon, make a big bowl of German potato salad.

Soy Sauce – The salt and preservatives in soy sauce make it safe to store in the pantry.

Tomatoes – Putting tomatoes in the fridge ruins their taste and changes their consistency. Instead, store them on the counter away from direct sunlight. If all the tomatoes in the garden ripened at once, make this refreshing tomato mango salad.

Vinegar – No need to store this condiment in the fridge. The acidity keeps it fresh when stored in the pantry.

Winter Squash – Squash like butternut squash and acorn squash are best stored outside the fridge. If you’re looking for a unique way to use up your squash, make this butternut squash chili.

Other foods you shouldn’t refrigerate include canned fruits and vegetables, as well as unopened salad dressings, sauces and condiment jars. There are always exceptions, so check the label to be sure.

Need more recipes for your fresh fruits and vegetables? Here are 12 healthy smoothie recipes.

Latest Blog Articles