If I can't finish stew in the inner pot beneath, can I place the pot (with the lid on) into the refrigerator. After 2 hours in the thermal cooker, it usually will have cooled enough. Being lazy, I'm aiming to shirk transferring the stew to a container (e.g. Glasstock). Can this refrigeration damage the pot, or spoil the stew?

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Another picture:

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    I'd be less concerned about the refrigeration than the leaving no it on the counter for 2 hours. Why don't you put it in the refrigerator right away? – mroll Aug 16 at 13:28
  • I have heard from multiple TV cooking show chefs that leftovers should be put in the fridge immediately after dinner to combat spoilage and for other food safety reasons. As long as what you are putting in the fridge won't significantly raise the temperature of the fridge (or freezer) it is safer to refrigerate leftovers (or cooked food) immediately. – Steve Chambers Aug 16 at 14:03
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    @SteveChambers the themral mass of a big pot of stew is quite likely to raise the temperature of the fridge, and would be even worse in the freezer (could defrost anything it came it contact with). 10-20 minutes and a couple of stirs of the stew, with the pot in a large bath of cold water would soon sort that out, and is what I do when batch-cooking for the freezer (specifically, I stand the pot in the a sink of cold water while I eat the first portion, then portion out the rest and cool the containers after dinner). – Chris H Aug 16 at 14:41
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    You technique can spoil the stew if it doesn't get chilled down in a reasonable amount of time, and just throwing it in the fridge might not be enough – Joe Aug 16 at 15:29
  • Good point @Joe, the middle of the stew could be sitting warm in the fridge for several hours. – Chris H Aug 17 at 8:42
up vote 16 down vote accepted

No, refrigeration will not damage your inner pot. Some materials (such as ceramic) can be damaged by rapid temperature changes but the one you picture appears to be stainless steel or similar alloy and will handle temperature changes very well. Note: refrigeration is not bad for ceramic but rather going from one extreme to the other.

Please Don't leave it to sit on your counter to cool. You need to bring the temperature down for safe storage. See this answer on more about safe cooling and storage practices.

I will add a note based on the comment thread. You should not put the pot directly into the fridge immediately after removing it from the heat. This is bad for all the items in the fridge (not the pot) as pointed out by @Chris H in the comments. The solution to this is NOT to let it sit but rather to cool it off. Traditional methods are either an ice-bath or an ice wand.

  • Sorry for the confusion. I meant "on the counter" but in the thermal cooker. I edited this now. Does my edit change your answer? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 16 at 20:41
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    @Greek-Area51Proposal No change. Youre pot will be fine. Cooling it on the counter is still not a good idea. In the thermal put or not. – bruglesco Aug 16 at 20:49

You are going to need to transfer to another container to microwave so why not just do it up front. I split food up into meal sized microwavable containers. You only need to let it cool for like 10 minutes in a small container. Ideally you put it in the fridge when it gets to 140 F. The pot is easier to clean when it is warm. I don't think it is damaging to the pot. I just don't think it saves time.

  • "You are going to need to transfer to another container to microwave" Not necessarily. I'd remove the Inner Pot from the refrigerator and reheat it (with stew inside) on the stove. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 16 at 20:37
  • Sorry for the confusion. I meant "on the counter" but in the thermal cooker. I edited this now. Does my edit change your answer? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 16 at 20:41
  • Question is confusing to me. Refrigeration should not damage the pot. – paparazzo Aug 16 at 21:05
  • "Refrigeration should not damage the pot." I wasn't sure of this before, but thought to check. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Aug 17 at 1:42
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    The question seems quite clear to me. I don't know exactly why the OP thought that refrigeration might cause damage, but it's quite clear that's what they're asking about. I'd suggest focusing on just directly answering the question, and only bring up confusion if you can find something to clarify. – Cascabel Aug 17 at 3:44

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