We all know it’s best to refrigerate food to slow bacteria growth, but many people don’t know where to store different foods in the refrigerator to keep them at their best. 

The temperature varies in your refrigerator, with the coldest temperature at the bottom.

To ensure refrigerated food stays fresh as long as possible, follow these guidelines.

What Goes Where in the Refrigerator

  • Place condiments like salad dressing and mustard in the door shelves, the warmest area of the refrigerator. These items generally keep a long time—either because they’re acidic or contain preservatives— and don’t require the coldest temperature.
  • Beverages, leftovers and ready-to-eat products like yogurt should go on the upper shelves.  
  • Place raw food and meats in the lowest—and coldest—part of the refrigerator, preferably in a meat drawer or bin. Storing them at the bottom also prevents contamination because fluids from raw food won’t leak onto ready-to-eat food.
  • Most refrigerators have crisper drawers designed specifically for fruit and vegetables. Vegetables store best in higher humidity, while fruits last longer at lower humidity.