Have you ever put milk, fruit, meat or other items into your refrigerator, only to discover that your fridge is freezing your food? While this problem is somewhat rare, it can happen – and when it does, you’re left with food that needs to be thawed. If you need help preventing this issue, our guide provides solutions.

Why is my refrigerator freezing food? 

A refrigerator is designed to keep food cool for safe storage and should not  freeze anything. If you notice that your refrigerator is freezing food, it may be caused by the following issues:

A refrigerator temperature setting gauge with food in the background.

Temperature Settings

The optimum temperature range for storing fresh food is between 38 - 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If your food is freezing, then it is possible that your fridge’s temperature setting was accidentally set too low. This is a common problem that can lead to your refrigerator freezing food.

Refrigerator shelves stocked with various foods and beverages.

Food Storage

Refrigerators use air vents to circulate cold air and ensure a consistent temperature throughout the storage area. In order to ensure the proper temperature, you need to allow room for proper air flow between the freezer and refrigerator compartments. If food is blocking these air vents, it will be exposed to more cold air and may freeze over time. You may also need to put more food in your refrigerator: A fully stocked fridge does a better job at absorbing cold air. If you don’t have enough items inside, that cold air will settle on the bottom shelf and may freeze the food stored there.

Leaky Door Seals

The seals around your refrigerator and freezer doors help keep cold air in. If one or both of these seals are leaking, your refrigerator will work harder to maintain a constant temperature. Unfortunately, this can lead to a refrigerator that’s too cold – and frozen food.

How to keep your refrigerator from freezing food

If food is freezing in your refrigerator, there are steps you can take to try to solve the problem. 

Reset your refrigerator’s temperature

If your refrigerator is too cold, locate the temperature gage and adjust it accordingly. Not sure which temperature is correct? Consult your user guide or owner’s manual.

Rearrange your food

Make sure that the food in your refrigerator isn’t touching any of the air vents. You can also try to distribute food more evenly throughout the refrigerator or add more foods to your fridge. To learn more about how to store food in your refrigerator, check out our guide

Check your refrigerator’s door seals

If you suspect that your refrigerator’s doors may be leaking, take some time to clean and inspect the door seals. If they are torn, warped or worn, replace them immediately. You’ll not only keep your refrigerator from freezing food, but you’ll save energy as well.


My fridge is still freezing. What should I do?

If you haven’t had success using the steps above, it may be time to schedule service for your refrigerator so a professional can take a look. If your refrigerator needs to be replaced, we can help—our guide can help you discover the right refrigerator for your kitchen.

Looking to improve your kitchen in other ways? Check out our upright freezers and chest freezers today.

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