The Ideal Refrigerator Freezer Temperature

A man works on a fridge/freezer unit.

Maintaining the ideal refrigerator freezer temperature is important to keep foods their freshest. The wrong temperature can produce bacterial growth and cause unpleasant changes in texture and taste.

Refrigerator Temperature

Ideally, the interior temperature for your home refrigerator should be set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). You can adjust the temperature lower than that, but you don’t want it so low that the contents of your refrigerator are in danger of freezing.

In some refrigerators, there are cold spots that will freeze foods. In this case, you may need to adjust the temperature slightly higher. Use a thermometer made especially for a refrigerator to check the temperature. Thermometers are typically inexpensive and can be purchased for as little as $5.

Since temperature adjustment dials on refrigerators and freezers use arbitrary markings such as "1, 2, 3" or "A, B, C", it can be difficult to know the actual temperature without purchasing a thermometer.

Freezer Temperature

The ideal freezer compartment temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -13 degrees Celsius. The temperature in most freezers fluctuates regularly as the refrigerator goes through a defrost cycle. If the temperature seems high, wait an hour or so and see if it moderates.