You Can Put Your Dutch Oven Inside the Fridge – But You Shouldn’t!

We’ve all been there. You’ve already spent hours on prepping ingredients and slow cooking a pot of stew, and after a brief reprieve in the form of eating and socializing, it is now time to head back to the drudgery of cleaning up and washing the dishes.

So you cleaned the table, loaded the dishwasher, and diligently kept leftovers inside Tupperwares. But as you lift your heavy, food-laden Dutch oven, you finally think to yourself: I don’t have the energy for this!

Yes, it would only take about a minute to put everything inside a container…but that’s another minute from this hectic day, damnit! So you decided to choose the easy way out and close the Dutch oven’s lid, and placed the whole damn thing inside the fridge.

As all that’s said and done, you now head on to bed to get some much-needed rest. But there are a lot of questions bugging your mind: will this damage the Dutch oven? Heck, will this damage the fridge? All of these questions and more are answered in the article below!

Can You Put Your Dutch Oven Inside the Fridge?

Yes, you can put your Dutch oven inside the fridge. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

I’ll concede that cast iron is a resilient material. It can withstand extreme temperatures of up to 500°C (932°F) without developing deformities, and it can also shake off freezing temperatures, too. But cast iron itself is not the problem, nor is it the enamel coating – it’s the way these two materials are bonded.

Vitreous enamel, also called porcelain enamel, is the type of coating used for cast iron cookware like Dutch ovens. Porcelain enamels and cast iron have different thermal conductivity values, which basically means that they conduct or transfer heat at different rates.

As indicated in the table below, cast iron is more thermally conductive than porcelain.

MaterialThermal Conductivity (W/mK)
Cast Iron55
Carbon Steel45
Stainless Steel25

Since materials expand when heated and contract when cooled, sudden temperature changes will result in thermal stress, which may adversely affect the object.

Basically, if you place a fresh-from-the-fridge Dutch oven on top of a stove, the cast iron core may expand more quickly than its enamel coating. This may cause the enamel coating to crack. The worst case scenario here is that the cast iron itself may crack.

Granted, this example is only likely to happen in extreme temperatures. And while both fridges and stoves are not on the extreme ends of their respective side of the temperature spectrum, I won’t try to tempt fate, especially when the alternative is easy enough to do.

Also read: Cast Iron vs. Enameled Cast Iron: Which One Should Home Cooks Get?

How to Prevent Thermal Shock From Damaging Your Dutch Oven

Besides having to avoid placing your Dutch oven inside the fridge, here are other things you can do to avoid incurring thermal damage.

1. Don’t cook straight from the fridge

Cooking directly from the fridge can lead to uneven heating and potential thermal shock. Allowing your Dutch oven to come back down to room temperature before storing it in the fridge prevents thermal shock and maintains its structural integrity.

2. Don’t put a hot Dutch oven inside a cold fridge

Conversely, don’t out a hot Dutch oven inside a cold fridge for the same reason above. Apart from that, a hot Dutch oven can damage the fridge’s rack, and negatively affect the refrigerator’s cooling performance.

3. Don’t add frozen ingredients to a hot Dutch oven

The sudden temperature change of adding frozen ingredients to a hot Dutch oven can stress the material and induce thermal shock. Always thaw frozen ingredients first to ensure even cooking and to protect your Dutch oven.

4. Preheat gently

Gently preheating your Dutch oven helps maintain its structural integrity and prevents damage. Start with a low temperature and gradually increase it, allowing the materials to expand evenly and ensuring even cooking without risking your cookware.

5. Buy High-quality Dutch Ovens in the first place

Investing in high-quality Dutch ovens ensures better durability and performance. Superior materials and craftsmanship can withstand temperature changes more effectively and last longer. Not all brands manufacture Dutch ovens to the highest quality, so choose reputable brands known for their durability and reliability.

Also read: A Complete Guide to Dutch Ovens: Size Chart, FAQs, and More!


I hope I dissuaded you from putting your Dutch oven inside your fridge.

While the chances of thermal shock are low, Dutch ovens are expensive enough to warrant an extra level of care. So when the going gets tough, buck up! Grab that Tupperware, and transfer all of the leftovers in your Dutch oven.

If you’re eager to level up your Dutch Oven and cast iron cooking game, look no further than the Cult of Cast Iron! We’ve got all the tricks, handy tips, and practical advice to turn you into a cast iron master. Need a review, a guide, or the hottest recommendations? We’ve got your back! Explore our blog and join the Cult of Cast Iron today!

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