7 “Pantry Staples” You Should Actually Store In The Fridge

pantry staples you should store in the fridge

I doubt anyone enjoys throwing out food that went bad before you could get around to eating it. That’s just one of many reasons why properly storing food is so important!

And while it might seem obvious which foods you should store in the fridge and which can go in the pantry, that’s not always the case! In fact, there are several things I used to keep in the pantry that I’ve learned actually last longer in the fridge!

I wanted to share those items with you in today’s post, because we could all stand to cut down on food waste where we can! And moving these 7 items from your pantry to your fridge is a great place to start. :-)

7 Pantry Staples You Should Actually Store In The Fridge

what to keep in the fridge

1. Nuts & Seeds

While nuts and seeds fare reasonably well on pantry shelves, they’ll last much longer if you move them to the fridge! That’s because nuts and seeds are naturally oily, and cold storage can help prevent those oils from going rancid.

It’s also a good idea to transfer nuts and seeds into airtight containers when you bring them home from the store. If you combine both approaches by keeping nuts in an airtight container you store in the fridge, they can stay fresh for months!

what to keep in the fridge

2. Nut Butters

If nuts last longer in the fridge, it should come as no surprise that nut butters do too! You can effectively double the shelf life of a jar of peanut butter if you store in the fridge rather than in the pantry.

If you prefer natural nut butters, storing them in the fridge is especially important. Natural nut butters typically have fewer preservatives (or none at all), so keeping them cold will help preserve freshness.

Natural nut butters do tend to separate a bit in the fridge, but it doesn’t affect how they taste. Just give it a quick stir before using it!

what to keep in the fridge

3. Bread

If you buy the run of mill bread at the store, it’ll last for quite a while on your countertop or your pantry shelves. But if you spring for the healthier or organic varieties, you may be better off storing your loaf in the fridge!

The lack of preservatives in natural breads can cause them to get moldy or stale quicker than conventional loaves. The dark, cool environment of your fridge will allow you to enjoy your wholesome bread a bit longer.

what to keep in the fridge

4. Flour

When it comes to keeping flours of any kind fresh, humidity is the enemy. If you live in a humid area (and even if you don’t), storing your flours in the fridge can help keep them fresh for longer. (But your freezer will keep them fresh even longer!)

what to keep in the fridge

5. Maple Syrup

Most maple syrup bottles bear the warning “refrigerate after opening” for a reason! Once that bottle is opened, maple syrup becomes susceptible to mold, but storing it in the fridge will help keep it fresh.

It will also prevent opportunistic bugs from feasting on any syrup that drips on the outside of the bottle!

what to keep in the fridge

6. Bananas & Avocados

Bananas and avocados are two of the most finicky produce items when it comes to ripening. It feels like you’re waiting forever for them to ripen, only for them to shoot right past into overripe territory!

That’s where your fridge can really come in handy. If your bananas or avocados reach peak ripeness before you’re ready to eat them, stick them in the fridge to stop the ripening process.

what to keep in the fridge

7. Unrefined Cooking Oils

Unrefined nut oils (like sesame oil) definitely qualify as something you should store in the fridge. This will prevent rancidity and loss of flavor, both of which can happen in room temperature storage situations.

Refined oils, on the other hand, will last nearly indefinitely at room temperature, so no need to worry about those.

Bonus Tip: Check The Temperature!

  • While you’re moving these items into your fridge, take an extra moment to check the temperature.
  • Ideally, the temperature inside your fridge should be between 34-40°F.
  • If you don’t have one already, you can get a fridge thermometer on Amazon for just a few dollars!

What’s your best tip for keeping food fresh?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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34 Comments

  1. Question: occasionally I will get the Crisco sticks-particularly the butter flavor. I was always torn as to whether they should be stored in the fridge or not. They’re certainly not like the old containers of Crisco that we know from back in the day!

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  2. I love keeping my bananas in the refrigerator! I separate them and lay them in the bottom bin. It keeps them from ripening and I much prefer the taste and texture of fresh bananas.

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  3. If you would like to keep your bread in the refrigerator instead of the freezer, but don’t want it to dry out, put it in in its original plastic bag in a plastic shopping bag and loosely tie the top closed with its handles just tight enough to close the shopping bag. We almost never end up with moldy or dried up bread that way

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  4. Maple syrup should be stored in the freezer. Putting maple syrup in the freezer also stops it from crystallizing. Just remove the syrup from the freezer a few minutes before using and it will pour easily. Maple syrup is made from tree sap and if it froze all the trees would be dead.

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  5. Hi Jillee and friends. I have found that keeping bread, rolls, and bagels in the freezer is the best way to keep them tasting fresh. Just thaw or toast when needed.

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  6. Yeast should also be kept in the fridge (or freezer)

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  7. I would disagree about the bread – refrigerators suck moisture out of things (hence the covered crisper drawers to keep your produce crisp), and refrigerated bread gets dried out and stale quickly. Okay for French toast, not so much for sandwiches. So you trade that for mold. A better solution? When I buy bread products – including bagels and English muffins – I divide them up into small batches that will be used in a few days and leave them out in ziplocks. The rest goes into the freezer in portion size ziplocks.

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  8. Hi, its better to store Maple syrup in the freezer. It never freezes solid and once removed from the freezer it quickly is pourable. If stored in the fridge the sugar in it crystallizes.

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  9. Been freezing bread and milk for years. Will definitely look at refrigerating other items.

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  10. Never, never, never store bread in the refrigerator. The cold temps cause changes in the starches and dry out your bread and make it go stale extremely quickly. If you cannot use all the bread before it goes stale or molds, freeze half of it. The freezing temps do not have the same drying effect as refrigerator temps as long as you don’t leave the bread in the freezer for months on end.

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  11. How do you know what oils are refined? I have toasted sesame oil, that does not say to be refrigerated. Is that different because it’s toasted? Or are all sesame oils unrefined?

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    • I’m no expert on what oils are refined or not, but unless you go through your oil pretty quickly you should keep it in the fridge. I’ve paid serious bucks for specialty oils and after a couple of months if I open up that bottle and get knocked down by the smell, I’m gonna be cussing a blue streak. And regardless of what the label says, I’d rather err on the side of caution and keep it in the fridge.

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  12. I have one beef, never, ever put bread in the refrigerator, it turns to sugar instead you should freeze it.

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    • How do you freeze them and defrost a slice or two?

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  13. I think some food items don’t need to be refrigerated if used quickly. Since it is only my husband and I, someof our foods need to be refrigerated to prolong freshness. But my daughter with her family will use up the same food quicker than we do. For example, hot sauce doesn’t have to be refrigerated but will lose its flavor after awhile. I refrigerate ours but our daughter doesn’t since they use it quickly.

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  14. I remember the Chiquita Banana lady sang that “bananas come from the very tropical equator, so you should never put bananas in the re-frig-e-rator. Ay ay ay ay!”

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  15. The only item I don’t keep in the refrigerator is the peanut butter, and that’s because I only buy it once in a while and it is used quickly

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  16. Putting bread in the refrigerator might make it last longer, but it will taste dried out. If no one wants to eat it, then it’ll really last a long time! :-)

    Also, note that when bananas are put in the refrigerator, the skins turn black almost immediately, which doesn’t affect the taste, but certainly makes them look less appealing.

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    • I’d also read that storing bread in the fridge is a no-no, especially homemade as it actually sweats on itself. Better to leave a cut loaf sitting on its end on the counter so it can breathe, and only store it in a sealed bag when there are just a few slices left.

      I also had the same thought about bananas, except that I was under the impression that they also ripen more quickly. We just keep bananas out (our fridge space is limited anyway) and if they get too ripe for sandwiches I use them in other ways.

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      • I always store my bread (and muffins, buns, etc.) in their packaging on a plate in my microwave. The microwave provides an airtight environment, and when I need to use the appliance, I just pull the plate of breads out, and return it when I’m done. Keeps breads fresher longer without tasting dry and gross!

      • I have been putting them in the fridge for years. The only thing is the peeling turns almost black but the banana is still firm on the inside. I am the only one who eats them and not every day. so in the fridge, they go. If I keep them in the fridge too long (weeks) then they get mushy. But You can slice them and put them on a tray with wax paper and stick them in the freezer. Then just put them in a freezer bag. Great for smoothies!

  17. Many refined oils are already rancid. They have just been bleached and deodorizer so they don’t smell. Better to stick to Olive, coconut, and avocado.

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    • That is interesting to learn, after a bit of research for verification. My understanding is that refined oils are for high-heat cooking and frying as they have a higher smoke-point than unrefined. I don’t use canola or vegetable oil but I would have thought the refining process for peanut, olive, sunflower and other “natural” oils to be simply the removal of impurities, much like the melting of butter to produce ghee. Apparently there’s more to it than that but even any “bleaching” involves a type of clay for simple color removal, not the organo-chlorine we put in our laundry. In any case I use high-oleic safflower oil (from Whole Foods, so it must be healthy! :)) which has a naturally high smoke point, can be stored at room temperature, has a mild flavor and from what I’ve read has a MUFA content comparable to (or better than) extra-virgin olive oil.

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  18. nut butters are ok sitting out as long as they are sealed from air. the same with butter.
    you can leave it out on the counter as long as it is sealed well from the air.

    both bananas and avocados can be left out on the counter and they won’t go bad, they just
    get ripper each day till they go bad. putting them in the frig slows this down somewhat but
    not much.

    coffee and tea are two items that do last longer in the frig. (fresh tea and coffee)
    keeping it frozen in vac sealed bags is the best.

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    • I find that storing perfectly ripe avocados and bananas in the fridge majorly slows down ripening. I put them in a crisper drawer. They can last for a week or so after that, and are perfectly ready to grab and eat. Yes, the bananas’ skins turn brown, then black, but the insides are just fine.

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  19. Thank you this post will help a lot, a lot of the mentioned things I had no idea they belonged in the Fridge.

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  20. Many of these items were posted on yesterday’s blog as items to never put in the refrigerator. Now I’m totally confused. Flour, oil, nuts, bread and a few others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Please, if I read it all wrong correct me or I would love a revised list. Thanks so much.

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    • Yesterday’s post was things you can store in the freezer. I think you are confused.

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    • I’m not sure which post you are referring to?? Yesterday’s post was on water flossers.

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  21. I keep bread and bread products in the freezer. Fridge dries it out too much.

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    • I was told a long time ago that putting bread in the fridge would make it get stale more quickly and to put it in the freezer instead.

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      • I too was told by a Bakery owner that the worst thing you can do with your bread products is put them in the refrigerator. You’re throwing $$$ out the window :-(

  22. Another great post! I keep all my nuts in the freezer. If I over chop for a recipe, I put the left overs in a smaller container in the freezer, waiting to be used.

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    • I do the same. Also, when I take them out of the freezer, I toast them for a few minutes in a fry pan to bring out some of their oils before I throw them into my recipe.

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