A stainless steel KitchenAid® French door refrigerator in a modern kitchen.

Refrigerator Temperature Settings Guide

You’ve carefully shopped for great ingredients, and you want them to last and taste fresh when you’re ready for making. Setting your fridge to the right temperature is one of the keys to ensuring the longevity of crisp fruits and veggies, fresh meats and cheeses, frozen items and more. Get the most out of that thinly sliced prosciutto and those hand-picked strawberries with this refrigerator temperature settings guide.

A person placing red and green peppers in a crisper drawer.

What temperature should a refrigerator be? 

37°F is the factory setting on KitchenAid® refrigeratorsKeep in mind that different zones of your refrigerator yield different temperatures. For example, door compartments tend to be slightly warmer due to temperature fluctuations when opening and closing the door. They are ideal for preserving less perishable items, such as chutney or almond butter. Whereas, the bottom shelf and the back of the fridge tend to be the coldest, making these zones ideal for meats and dairy. 

Select refrigerators from KitchenAid brand also feature 2 Soft-Close Drawers for optimized storage for specific items. The left drawer features five preset temperatures—meat/fish, deli/cheese, greens/herbs, thaw/marinate and drinks. The right drawer is ideal for produce.

Digital temperature control panel set to 37°F.

HOW DO I SET OR ADJUST MY REFRIGERATOR TEMPERATURE CONTROL?

For refrigerators with a digital control panel, like this French door fridge from KitchenAid brand, press the (+) or (-) touch pads until the desired temperature is displayed. Refer to your owner’s manual for the precise location and specific instructions to raise or lower your refrigerator’s temperature. If you change the settings, be mindful to allow 24 hours for your fridge to adjust.

Select KitchenAid® refrigerators feature an ExtendFresh™ Temperature Management System that uses sensors to separately monitor the temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer to help ensure fruit juices don’t become frozen and prawns avoid freezer burn.

Freezer drawer slightly ajar with ice cream and sorbet inside.

WHAT IS THE BEST FREEZER TEMPERATURE RANGE FOR STORING FOOD?

The best temperature for storing frozen food is 0ºF (-17ºC). Storing frozen items at this temperature will help preserve the quality of your favorite frozen foods. Those fresh prawns, that homemade tortellini and espresso chip ice cream will be delicious and ready for guests to enjoy at your next dinner party. 

KitchenAid brand offers dual evaporator refrigerators that feature separate cooling systems in the fridge and freezer compartments. This helps create optimal cooling climates to keep both fresh and frozen items tasting their best. Select KitchenAid® refrigerators are also equipped with a Preserva® Food Care System that features two independent cooling systems to help keep food fresh longer—a dedicated refrigeration unit and a separate system for frozen food. 

Stocked refrigerator with fruits and vegetables stored in crisper drawers.

Does a refrigerator temperature range vary based on the food storage zone?

Each zone of your refrigerator aims to provide constant and even cooling for organizing all types of food throughout the fridge and freezer compartments. You’ll find the coolest temperatures in the lowest parts of the refrigerator. The bottom shelves are ideal for preserving the taste and texture of items, such as Chinook salmon or organic chicken. Deli drawers are also designed to store perishable items at lower temperatures, like soft and savory cheeses for your next charcuterie board.

Humidity-controlled crisper drawers help preserve the bold flavors and vibrant colors of your favorite fruits and vegetables. For optimal storage, leafy greens and ethylene-sensitive fruit should be stored in a high humidity drawer where moisture is higher. This environment is ideal for lettuce, oranges and strawberries. Low humidity drawers, on the other hand, are designed for ethylene-producing fruits in a drier environment, like honeydew melons, papayas and kiwi.

Place prepared meals on the upper shelves where you’ll find the most stable temperatures. Knowing where to store herbs in the refrigerator can also go a long way in preserving the freshness of tender cilantro and woody rosemary for flavorful infusions to your next chimichurri or pork tenderloin.

A built-in KitchenAid® refrigerator surrounded by white cabinetry.

How does the correct refrigerator temperature keep food safe?

As a rule of thumb, 37°F is the correct temperature to store most foods safely. Keep in mind that temperature settings may need to be adjusted depending on varying environments and humidity levels, such as refrigerators in basements or garages.

ADDITIONAL REFRIGERATOR TEMPERATURE TIPS

Proper food storage and these tips can help maintain consistent refrigerator temperatures and preserve your favorite ingredients. Consider using the following tips:

  • Avoid overcrowding the refrigerator shelves. This promotes optimal air flow necessary for freshness.

  • Minimize the instances of opening and closing the refrigerator doors.

  • Ensure an organized, clean refrigerator.

Shop for KITCHENAID® refrigerators

KitchenAid® refrigerators are designed to integrate seamlessly with your kitchen layout and flow. Flexible storage options allow you to easily store and preserve your favorite ingredients to keep them readily available. Browse the complete collection of built-in, freestanding and French door refrigerators from KitchenAid brand to find the one that complements the way you like to create.

Learn more about KitchenAid® refrigerators