The recommended freezer temperature to keep your food safe is at or below 0°F (-18°C), but your freezer may need to be set higher or lower depending on its environment and other factors.

The typical freezer factory setting on Whirlpool® refrigerators is a great starting point at the recommended 0°F (-18°C). Read on to get more answers to your freezer temperature questions.

What temperature should a freezer be to store food?
Is your freezer temperature set correctly?
Can your freezer be too cold?
When should you adjust the freezer temp?
Where are the freezer temperature controls?

A bottom freezer refrigerator with frozen food

What temperature should a freezer be to store food?

Freezing your food stops most bacteria from growing. In fact, your frozen food should be safe to eat indefinitely if your freezer stays at or below 0°F (-18°C). Keep in mind that if you store food for a long time, it may be susceptible to freezer burn or have a different look and taste.

Storage tip: Keep your freezer full, but not packed. Keeping your freezer around 75–80% full helps retain cold air. If the freezer is fully filled, food may block the internal air vents, making it harder to distribute cold air throughout the freezer.

Is your freezer temperature set correctly?

Always start with the temperature recommended in your freezer manual. Wait for about 24 hours after any changes, then check inside. The temperature is right when:

No moisture icon

Surfaces are mostly frost-free
If there’s lots of snowy frost, the temperature might be set too low for your freezer to remove moisture. An icy covering near the door gaskets (rubber seals around the door's edge) means they may be letting in air. If ice is all over the interior, your door may have been left open.

Ice cream icon

Your ice cream is solid
While ice cream’s ideal scooping temperature is 6° to 10°F (-14° to -12°C), that’s too high for long-term storage. It’s best to store it below 0°F (-18°C), then let it warm up a little before serving.

No freezer burn icon

Your food is free of freezer burn
Freezing hot food or a large amount at a time can cause swings in temperature, so let food cool first, then add one item at a time to the freezer. This should help you avoid dryness and flavor loss. Learn more about what freezer burn is and how to prevent it.

A standalone upright freezer with frozen foods inside

Can your freezer be too cold?

You can set your freezer temperature too low. A too-cold freezer shouldn’t negatively affect your food, but it could raise your electricity bill. Lower temps matter most when you’re adding new food, since fast freezing helps reduce texture and taste changes. Whirlpool® upright freezers with the Fast Freeze setting drop temperatures to their lowest point for 24 hours to help freeze food quickly without unnecessarily keeping temperatures extra low over time.

When should you adjust the freezer temp?

The environment around your freezer can affect how cold you should set it. If it’s in a garage or basement, you may need to adjust the temperature to account for humidity or outside temperatures. Only make small changes and wait at least 24 hours between changes to allow your freezer to adjust.

Power outage tip: If you lose power, don’t open your freezer door unless the outage is expected to last over 24 hours. A full freezer can usually stay cold enough for around a day. Keep in mind that a freezer filled with meat stays cold longer than one filled with baked goods.

An electronic refrigerator temperature control panel

Where are the freezer temperature controls?

On standalone freezers, the temperature controls are normally on the inner sides or at the top center. While some refrigerators have separate control panels for the refrigerator and freezer, most have a shared control panel. You may find it on the inner sides, on the door or at the top center of either compartment. Some freezers let you change temperature in degrees, while others have numbers for general temperature ranges. You might press the up and down arrow keys or turn a dial to adjust. Check your manual for the specifics.

More ways to care for your cold stuff

A Whirlpool® refrigerator loaded with a variety of foods

What’s the best refrigerator temperature?

Learn the ideal refrigerator temperature, why it’s important and how to adjust it.

How do you prevent freezer burn?

What is freezer burn?

The answer is fairly simple – when food is exposed to cold, dry air, the outer layers lose moisture.

A refrigerator's electronic temperature controls

Why food freezes in your refrigerator - and how to stop it

Have you ever put milk, fruit, meat or other items into your refrigerator, only to discover that your fridge is freezing your food?

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