How Long Does It Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold? A Complete Guide

How Long Does It Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold?

How Long Does It Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold?

When you get a new refrigerator, or if your current refrigerator has been unplugged, you may be wondering how long it will take for it to get cold enough to safely store food. The answer depends on a few factors, including the size and type of refrigerator, the ambient temperature, and how much food is already in the refrigerator.

How Long Does It Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold?

On average, it takes a full-size refrigerator about 12 hours to cool down to the FDA-recommended food-safe temperature of 40°F. However, cooling time can vary depending on the factors mentioned above.

  • Size and type of refrigerator: Larger refrigerators take longer to cool than smaller refrigerators. French-door and side-by-side refrigerators also tend to take longer to cool than top-freezer refrigerators.
  • Ambient temperature: If the ambient temperature is high, the refrigerator will take longer to cool.
  • Amount of food in the refrigerator: If the refrigerator is already full of food, it will take longer to cool.

Tips for Speeding Up the Cooling Process

There are a few things you can do to speed up the cooling process:

  • Set the temperature to the coldest setting: This will help the refrigerator to cool down more quickly.
  • Place the refrigerator in a cool location: Avoid placing the refrigerator in a direct sunlight or near a heat source.
  • Keep the door closed: Opening the door allows warm air to enter the refrigerator, which slows down the cooling process.
  • Place bowls of ice water in the refrigerator: This will help to cool down the refrigerator more quickly.
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How to Tell When Your Refrigerator is Cold Enough

The best way to tell when your refrigerator is cold enough is to use a food thermometer. Insert the thermometer into a glass of water and place it in the refrigerator. The refrigerator is cold enough when the temperature reaches 40°F.


It is important to allow your refrigerator enough time to cool down before putting food in it. This will help to ensure that your food is stored safely and that it will last longer.



Amritanshu Roy is an expert in the field of outdoor gear and accessories with over 5 years of experience in the industry. As the founder of Outdoor Kitchen Picks, he is dedicated to helping outdoor enthusiasts find the perfect equipment for their adventures. With a strong passion for charcoal grills and smokers, outdoor accessories, outdoor cooking, and outdoor kitchens, Amritanshu is widely recognized as an authoritative voice in the outdoor community. He is committed to providing high-quality, trustworthy recommendations based on his extensive experience and expertise. Through his website, he shares his knowledge and experience to help others find the best gear for their outdoor activities. You can reach him at for any queries or questions regarding outdoor gear and accessories.

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