The handy fridge vs pantry cheat sheet


Arguing about whether an item goes in the pantry or the fridge is one of those “doomed from the start” affairs. People staunchly believe in their theory and will not listen to reason, even when their long-suffering flatmate or partner is clearly in the right. If you think peanut butter belongs in the fridge and you’re arguing with a pantry fan, this list may not ever change their mind but it will at least let you prove that you’re right – unless you are wrong, of course. Be warned, though, some of these things are really going to come down to whoever wins the fight.

Except for the butter. We have tried so hard but we cannot help you with the butter. Whether anecdotal or scientific, every argument we could find about butter in or out of the fridge seemed valid. There seems to be an equal argument for both points and most people will defend their butter logic to the bitter end. But we have managed to come up with a solution: simply buy two packets of butter and keep one in the fridge and one in an airtight container in the pantry!

So, what really goes where?

Only in the fridge

Meat is really a “duh” entry to this list. Unless you are hanging salami to dry in a cave, keep your meat in the fridge or it will spoil.

Milk is another item that no one argues about. Unless you favour powdered milk, this one always goes in the refrigerator.

Mayonnaise can stay in the pantry until you open it but then it is fridge all the way.

Soy sauce can last nearly three years in the pantry when unopened but then it’s the fridge only.

Salad dressings often get put away in the pantry but once they have been opened, they belong in the fridge to keep them from spoiling.


What really needs to go in the fridge IMAGE

Get thee to the pantry

Cooking oil will easily last for up to two years in the pantry, so no need to burden the fridge with this one.

Potatoes really don’t thrive in the fridge. Keep them in a cool, dark place like a cellar, under the sink or in a pantry that doesn’t get too heated.

Onions may make everything taste great but they are loners in their raw state. Don’t put them in the fridge or they will soften and make all your food taste like onion. Keep them at room temperature and away from your potatoes because they make them go spoil faster.

Coffee beans often end up in the freezer or fridge but they don’t actually like moisture and will be much happier sealed in an airtight container in the pantry.

Honey likes to live in the pantry, storing it in the fridge only makes it really hard to spread and it speeds up the crystallisation process.

Tomatoes also prefer life outside the fridge. Let them ripen at room temperature and keep them out of direct sunlight and you’ll have the tastiest tomatoes in town.

Looks like you are both right

Tomato sauce is one of the most debated condiment storage issues in Australia but the fact is tomato sauce is equally at home in the pantry or the fridge – even after it has been opened. However, it will last longer in the fridge after cracking the seal (six months as apposed to one month in the pantry).

Peanut butter is another versatile item that is happy in the pantry or dwelling in the fridge. Once again, it will last longer in the fridge but if you like your peanut butter warm then you are in luck.

Eggs can go either way. You can make your choice based on how rapidly you consume them. Eggs left out on the counter don’t last very long (a couple of weeks if kept cool), but they maintain a fairly high level of quality until they “go off”. Eggs stored in the refrigerator remain edible for a long time, but the quality deteriorates quite quickly.

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