Last Updated on June 4, 2021 by CHANDRAMANI
A freezer is a very useful appliance to prevent food from getting spoilt. But we all often are confused about what ideal temperature should a freezer be set at to store different food items.
For most of most items, the ideal freezer temperature is 0° F (-18° C). An easy way to set your freezer at this temperature is by using a freezer thermometer. At this temperature food can be stored for an indefinite period to stop bacteria growth, therefore saving the food from getting spoilt.
According to the food safety and inspection service of the U.S. Department of agriculture, freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing bacteria to enter a dormant stage.
According to the food standards agency, most harmful bacteria will grow at temperatures above 8°C and below 63°C – this is known as the ‘Danger Zone’ for microbial growth.
Ideal Freezing Temperature and Duration Chart
|Item||Duration in Months||Temperature|
|Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, etc.)||2 to 3||0 °F|
|Lean fish (flounder,|
haddock, halibut, etc.)
|6 to 8||0 °F|
|Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal,|
pork, lamb, & mixtures of them
|3 to 4||0 °F|
|Bacon and Sausage||1 to 2||0 °F|
|Casseroles||2 to 3||0 °F|
|Egg whites or egg substitutes||12||0 °F|
|Frozen Dinners and Entrees||3 to 4||0 °F|
|Gravy, meat or poultry||2 to 3||0 °F|
|Ham, Hotdogs and Lunchmeats||1 to 2||0 °F|
|Meat, uncooked roasts||4 to 12||0 °F|
|Meat, uncooked steaks or chops||4 to 12||0 °F|
|Meat, uncooked ground||3 to 4||0 °F|
|Meat, cooked||2 to 3||0 °F|
|Poultry, uncooked whole||12||0 °F|
|Poultry, uncooked parts||9||0 °F|
|Poultry, uncooked giblets||3 to 4||0 °F|
|Poultry, cooked||4||0 °F|
|Soups and Stews||2 to 3||0 °F|
|Wild game, uncooked||8 to 12||0 °F|
|Leftover Cooked meat or poultry||2 to 6||0 °F|
|Leftover Chicken nuggets or patties||1 to 3||0 °F|
|Leftover Pizza||1 to 2||0 °F|
For distribution to the market and consumers, Food Freezing and Storage is
practiced in various food sectors e.g.
a) Processed Fruits and Vegetables
b) Milk Products & Breast milk
c) Meat Products
d) Marine and Sweet water fish
e) Poultry Products
f) Ready to eat products
The processing methods followed in each of the products’ lives are different. However,
the freezing and storage methods are adaptable to most of the products.
Freezer Temperature for Storing Ice Cream
Ice cream is at its best when stored between -5°F and 0°F. However, while serving the ice cream the temperature can be 5–10 degrees Fahrenheit as it is easy to scoop at this temperature. The lower the temperature, the better will be the texture. Ice cream texture gets damaged after microwaving it and is affected also by a little change in temperature. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, ice cream will be thoroughly frozen and will feel hard to the touch if stored at the proper temperature.
Tips for increasing the shelf life of ice cream
- You should always keep this dessert in a deep freezer between -5°F and 0°F to preserve its texture, flavor, and shelf life.
- Prevent frequent temperature changes to your stored ice cream as if small ice crystals melt and re-freeze, they can eventually turn into large, unpalatable lumps.
- Buy a separate mini freezer for your desserts so you don’t need to often open it like your regular freezer which is opened several times a day for accessing other foods.
- You can also insulate your ice cream inside the freezer bags, this prevents ice crystals from forming on top of it.
- Avoid microwaving it or using a wet or warm spoon before serving it instead serve at room temperature.
- Don’t store ice cream in the freezer door as it is most worst affected place of temperature changes.
- Don’t store ice cream along with uncovered foods as the flavor of your dessert may get affected by it.
Freezer temperature for meat
Meat should be stored in the freezer at 0°F or below. According to the national horticulture board, the extreme cold simply retards the growth of microorganisms and slows down the chemical changes that affect the quality or cause food to spoil.
Fresh beef, veal, lamb, and pork can be stored for 4 to 12 months in the freezer at 0°F while Chicken or turkey for 1 year. The leftover Cooked meat or poultry if stored at 0°F can stay safe to consume for 2 to 6 months.
The left overs must be quickly kept in freezer within 2 hours.
Tips for storing meat
- Store in airtight containers
- Wrap it in freezer bags
- Avoid the temperature of Danger Zone because the bacteria may grow and make you ill