How Cold Is Too Cold? How To Set a Proper Refrigerator Temperature

If you've ever dug through your crisper bins to find your carrots to be frozen little sticks, then you know the pains of having a refrigerator that's set to the wrong temperature. Likewise, one that's too warm can have adverse effects. Do you know the temperature your fridge should be set at? Here's a hint — it's not always the same thing!Refrigerators can be tricky things. Some are far more finicky than others and unless you have a new-fangled super fridge that regulates things for you with great accuracy, getting yours set to the right temperature can feel like a losing battle.

Your refrigerator's main goal is to slow the growth of bacteria without freezing your food so as to not alter taste or texture of the items inside of it.

The ideal temperature range for that to happen at is 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bacteria growth starts tripling around the 40 degree mark and things freeze at 32, so we're sticking with 35 to 38 as a goal. (This isn't new news; we've talked about it before in the past.)

So how can you actually achieve this goal? Well for starters, try keeping a full fridge. It means your refrigerator won't have such large swings back and forth each time the door is opened.

But Sarah, I don't need that many groceries! Filling it with food would be silly and wasteful. We wholeheartedly agree. Try using the same trick I use for my deep freeze. Simply fill empty bottles with water and keep them stocked on all the shelves you aren't using for food. Not only will it keep the bills down, it will also keep your temperature riding steady year round!

If you're not into that idea you will have to watch your temperature day in and day out and keep adjusting things to keep your food as bacteria-free as possible and save your lettuce from freezing once in awhile!

Related: 5 Tips to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient

It's Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by ATN654.

(Image: Flickr member Jacopast licensed for use by Creative Commons)