Cleaning out your fridge a few times a year is always required, especially when you have so many leftovers you need to use up! One problem a lot of people have is that their fridge is really crowded. This is an easy problem to solve, because a lot of the foods that you think go in your fridge, actually are more flavorful and delicious when they are kept in a pantry or on your shelf. So take a read through our list of foods you don’t need to keep in your fridge and then go clean yours out!

1. Berries

Once berries are harvested from a farm field, they are on the countdown to be eaten. You don’t want to avoid eating them for too long as they start going bad fairly quickly.

Keeping them in the fridge only speeds up the time it takes for them to go bad and increases your chances of finding berries with mold on them. Gross!

2. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of those fruits that get tossed in the veggie drawer in your fridge after a grocery shop without much thought. Next time you go grocery shopping, separate the tomatoes from the vegetables.

Tomatoes belong outside of the fridge. If some of them aren’t ripe, place them on a windowsill where they can ripen to your liking.

3. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is often found in the fridges of many North American families. It’s a staple in almost every home, yet no one seems to know exactly how to store it.

The correct way to store peanut butter is actually not in the fridge. It should be stored in a cool, dark place like a pantry for optimal lasting power and flavor.

4. Nuts

Much like peanut butter, nuts are not meant to be stored in the fridge! No matter what type of nut is your favorite to munch on, do not put them in the fridge.

Another similarity to peanut butter is that nuts are best stored in a cool, dark place. Whether that’s your cupboards or pantry, it really doesn’t matter.

5. Salad Dressings

If your favorite dressing for your salads is a vinaigrette, stay clear of the fridge. These dressings are best stored in your cupboards and also taste and mix better when they are at room temperature.

If you love a good creamy Ranch dressing, the fridge is your best friend. Any cream or mayo-based dressings should definitely be stored in the fridge so they don’t go bad.

6. Honey

Have you ever tried storing honey in the fridge? It never ends well. Why? Well, basically what happens is the honey ends up crystalizing and turning into a super thick semi-liquid that you can barely squeeze out of the bottle.

Instead, keep this honey at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about spending ten minutes trying to squeeze honey into your tea.

7. Coffee

Popping some coffee beans in the fridge sounds like a logical way to keep them fresh for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

When you store coffee in the fridge, humidity can cause condensation to form around the coffee beans which negatively impacts the flavor. Instead, make sure your coffee is stored in an airtight package of some sort in your pantry or cupboard.

8. Apples

Apples are most enjoyed when they are picked straight from the tree, but picking them up fresh from the grocery store will have to do. When you bring them home, let them chill out in a bowl as a pretty centerpiece on your table, but avoid the fridge.

Once the apples are getting starting to reach the end of their ripe period, you can pop them in the fridge to keep them for a little longer.

9. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Mmmmm, chocolate hazelnut spread is a crowd favorite and it’s usually stored in the fridge, but you can probably guess what’s coming next. It’s not supposed to be there!

Did you know when you refrigerate this beloved spread, it actually loses its chocolatey flavor? Store it in your pantry for optimal spreading power and flavor.

10. Jam

Jam, whether it’s homemade or store-bought, should not be found in the fridge. While it is packed with fruit, it’s usually also packed with lots of preservatives and sugar.

This makes it completely safe to store outside of the fridge, so the best place is to store it on your counter or in your pantry.

11. Avocados

Avocados are one of those fruits (yes, fruits) that are not ripe enough when you buy them but then are rotten by the time you get around to eating it. As a result, it can be easy to just pop them in the fridge and hope the cool temperature slows down their ripening.

Refrigerating avocados can result in losing the well-loved flavor and texture of your favorite sandwich topping which is never worth the trade-off! Skip the fridge and add them to a nice fruit bowl on your counter.

12. Ketchup

Ketchup is always, always, always found in the fridge, but it really shouldn’t be there! If you’re looking for ways to free up space in your fridge, removing that family sized ketchup bottle is a good first step.

There are so many preservatives in ketchup, there’s no need to worry about this sauce going bad at room temperature! Just another item to add to your pantry. While storing in the fridge may extend your ketchup’s lifetime, many families use ketchup so regularly, it’s not a concern to keep it at room temperature at all.

13. Garlic

Refrigerators are often thought of the lifesaver of food – extending it’s ripe season and preventing your yet to be used foods from going bad too early.

With garlic, the fridge actually speeds up this process and makes the garlic go bad faster while reducing its flavor. Who wants garlic that has that gross fridge taste anyway?

14. Potatoes

Potatoes are grown in the ground where it’s grubby and temperatures can range from high to low on any given day. As such, keep your potatoes away from the fridge, they really don’t need to be chilled!

Store them in paper bags to reduce the chances of moisture building up and causing the potatoes to rot. Keep them in a drawer or pantry where they can wait to be incorporated into your cooking.

15. Melon

Have you ever cut into a melon and the insides just kind of collapse as you cut it? You were probably storing it in the fridge! Storing melons in the fridge can make them a little grainy and encourages them to disintegrate.

The only time you should store melon in the fridge is after you’ve cut it up. With the exposed fruit, it will start to go bad faster if it’s not in the fridge. With the fruit, it really is a balancing act when it comes to the fridge.

16. Soy Sauce

Much like Ketchup, soy sauce is found in many fridges in many homes around the world. Also like Ketchup, it is packed with preservatives so it really doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge.

Add this sauce to your packed pantry to make sure it is stored at air temperature, ready to be served at any time.

17. Pickles

Pickles are found in the canned food aisle at the grocery store, and for good reason! Pickled foods were created as a way to store foods in the winter when fridges and freezers didn’t exist (or grocery stores for that matter).

Clearly, these preserved foods can be stored in your pantry or on your shelves until their expiry date, just like when they’re at the grocery store.

18. Dried Fruit

Why refrigerate something that is already dried out? If you want to keep your jaw intact, maybe skip the fridge when it comes to dried fruit!

Dried Fruit can be really quite difficult to eat when they are chilled which makes the pantry a better place to store this sweet snack.

19. Peaches

Peaches are amazing on a hot day when the sun is shining, so think about that before you put these beauties in the fridge. This fruit definitely thrives at room temperature, if not warmer!

Another way you can enjoy peaches is if you freeze them in slices on a hot day and add them to your sparkling water. While you won’t get the fresh peach flavor, you’ll be able to infuse your drink and chill it at the same time!

20. Spices

Spices are just one of those things that clearly should not be stored in the fridge. If you are doing this, there is time to recover from this grave mistake, but recover quickly.

If you want your spices to have optimal flavor, store them at room temperature. You will be thankful the next time you cook!

21. Basil & Mint

You may be used to storing your fresh herbs in the refrigerator but not all herbs do well in a cool storage place. If you’re storing basil or mint, keep them at room temperature.

Not only do basil and mint do well at room temperature, they are best kept by trimming the stems and placing in a vase or jar of cool water and placed on a sunny windowsill.

22. Oils

When it comes to oils, we often think of salad dressings and other oily items that we do keep in the fridge. However, with regular oils such as coconut, olive, canola or avocado – you’re safe to keep them in your cupboards.

The reason oil based items such as dressings need refrigeration after opening is simply because the added in items like garlic or onion can turn rancid.

23. Hot Sauce

As it turns out, you don’t need to store opened or unopened hot sauces in the fridge! Not sure why we thought you had to. Most folks have a whole designated section in the door of their fridge for the varieties of hot sauces from srirachas to chipotles…but maybe it’s time to make a place for them in the pantry!

Of course there are always exceptions to the rules as some hot sauces may have dairy or additives in them that require refrigeration, but for the most part – you’re safe to keep them out.

24. Citrus Fruits

To fridge or not to fridge? That is the question. With citrus fruits, they can take up a lot of prime real estate in your refrigerator drawers and shelves, and perhaps unnecessarily so.

While refrigerating citrus fruits like limes, lemons, grapefruits, and oranges will help keep them longer, it’s not necessary – especially if you plan on using them soon. Stored at room temperature, your citrus fruits will keep for about a week. In the fridge, it may extend that time by another 1-2 weeks.

25. Bread

Back in the day, everyone had countertop bread boxes because it was more well known that you can keep bread well in a bread box better than in the fridge for optimal texture and flavor.

If you’re looking to extend the life of your bread, skip the fridge and go right to the freezer. Bread will last for months this way and save you from having to toss another unused loaf.

26. Vinegar

Vinegar can be stored in the fridge, but it isn’t necessary. In a cool dark space like a cupboard or pantry, your bottles of vinegar will last for months.

Most kinds of vinegar lose their flavor in about a year, and you can slow or stall that loss of flavor by storing in the fridge or a cold dark place. So where that is, is up to you.

27. Butter

If you’re planning on using butter anytime soon, skip the fridge and find a covered place on your countertop. It’s what butter dishes are for!

In room temperature, butter can last about 2 weeks especially if it’s in an airtight container. In the fridge, of course, it will last longer – about 6-9 months! However, it’s going to be a nasty pain when you try and spread it on anything. Best advice? Slice off what you need for the week and keep it stored at room temperature. Let the remainder stay in your refrigerator if needed.

28. Peppers

Like a lot of our store-bought veggies, we are quick to toss them into the crisper drawer of our fridge and call it a day. But if you’re cooking with peppers a lot (an essential ingredient to many recipes) you can keep them on hand, on the counter.

The only time you should be really concerned with keeping peppers in a colder space, like your refrigerator, is when they’re already cut. Otherwise, you can save the fridge space for something else that needs it.

29. Tropical Fruit

I mean, they grow in a tropical, hot, humid environment…so they’re gonna be just fine in a countertop fruit basket.

Fruits like figs, starfruit, coconuts, mangos, papayas and more will last until ripeness without losing their flavor when stored at room temperature. Once sliced and diced thought, time to put in an airtight container and get it in the fridge.

30. Onions

Along with its friend garlic, onions should be kept in a cool dark place, and they can last this way for quite a while! Months even. Once they go brown or squishy – it’s time to toss.

However once chopped in meal prep, throw it in an airtight container or bag, and put it in the refrigerator to try and extend its life for a little longer.

31. Maple Syrup

Not to be confused with the corn syrup-type table syrup varieties of maple syrup, which can be stored in the cupboard, maple syrup shouldn’t be kept in the fridge. In fact, it should be kept in the freezer!

You can keep maple syrup in the fridge, but if you have some of that liquid gold, you can keep it almost indefinitely in the freezer and it will not freeze!

32. Mustard

The question with mustard and storage comes down to how often you use it, and if how important it’s flavor profile is to you.

Mustard, when stored in the fridge after opening, can last for months with optimal flavor. However, if you store it in the pantry, it’ll still be good to eat, but lose flavor after about a month at room temperature.



Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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