More of a safety question, but im a beginner cook and I made Chicken and Potatoes n Such in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven.....Let it sit for about 30 minutes and then put it in the fridge.

Is this unsafe? How long should I let it cool?

For reference I was able to pick it up with my bare hands no prob before putting it in the fridge.


1 Answer 1


It is not inherently unsafe, but it may not be something you want to do for other reasons.

The main reasons not to store food in cast iron are:

  • Foods, especially acidic foods, may continue to react with the iron, developing off flavors
  • Moisture encourages cast iron to rust
  • It is not good for maintenance of your pans seasoning, which is part of what makes cast iron pans so desirable for cooking
  • Many cast iron skillets don't have a lid, which may be desirable to protect the food from drying out, getting odors and off flavors from other items in the refrigerator, or contributing odors to the other items in the refrigerator. This one, of course, applies to any pan.

Note: we have had extensive discussions elsewhere (see for example, this question, and the many links within). Putting the food hot into your refrigerator may not be the best practice (it is more ideal to cool it quickly, in a shallow dish in an ice water bath), but putting it into the refrigerator still somewhat hot is certainly better than simply leaving it out on the counter until it is cooler then putting it into the refrigerator.

Per the USDA (thanks to Athanasius for the link to the source material):

Hot food can be placed directly in the refrigerator or it can be rapidly chilled in an ice or cold water bath before refrigerating. Cover foods to retain moisture and prevent them from picking up odors from other foods.

A large pot of food like soup or stew should be divided into small portions and put in shallow containers before being refrigerated. A large cut of meat or whole poultry should be divided into smaller pieces or placed in shallow containers before refrigerating.

  • Ok so basically not the best idea....but probably not going to make me sick. I'll probably store stuff in tupperware next time.
    – user17188
    Mar 19, 2013 at 0:24
  • 1
    Yes, that is a pretty good summary. Remember, Tupperware is designed for just this purpose :-)
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Mar 19, 2013 at 0:25
  • Thanks, I was mainly worried about myself getting sick. But I think i'll be ok I hope. But it's prolly best to protect my heirloom cast iron pot.
    – user17188
    Mar 19, 2013 at 0:26
  • 1
    Worst case, you will have to scrub off any rust, and then re-season your dutch oven. Search this site for many questions about seasoning and cast iron. But you will not have irretrievably damaged your heirloom treasure.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Mar 19, 2013 at 0:27
  • Thanks for all the info! Guess learning comes with mistakes
    – user17188
    Mar 19, 2013 at 0:28

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