Can You Put Hot Coffee in the Fridge? For Cold Brew

To Fridge or Not to Fridge

Can you put hot coffee in the fridge? This question might seem simple, but it sparks a “heated debate” (pun intended!) among coffee drinkers. I know I’ve been there. I brewed way too much coffee and it breaks my heart to let it go to waste. But, what to do?

Some argue it’s the best way to save a fresh cup of coffee for later, while others believe it ruins the coffee entirely.

Let’s break it down. On one hand, refrigerating hot coffee seems like a good idea to preserve its freshness, but on the other hand, it might lead to changes in flavor and aroma due to the cooling process.

The flavor of your coffee is really important, and how refrigeration affects it is a concern. When hot brewed coffee is rapidly cooled, the taste can become more acidic or bitter due to the oxidation process. This chemical reaction changes the chemical compounds in your coffee, potentially turning your delightful hot cup of coffee into a less appealing cold version. 

However, for some, the convenience of having coffee ready to be reheated outweighs these changes.

Safety is another aspect to consider. Placing hot foods or liquids like coffee in the fridge can raise the appliance’s internal temperature, risking the safety of other food items. It’s generally recommended to let your hot cup of coffee reach room temperature before refrigerating.

From Hot to Cold

There really is a “science” behind coffee and its flavor! Chemically speaking, can you put hot coffee in the fridge without altering its essence?

Photo Credit: Arina Krasnikova

When hot coffee cools, the brewing process continues in a way. Compounds that give coffee its flavor and aroma continue to change, often leading to a less pleasant taste. Have you experienced this? It all has to do with the oxidation process, which speeds up at room temperature and continues even in the fridge, altering the coffee’s natural taste.

So, how is there even cold brew coffee then??

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for a long time, resulting in a different flavor profile – usually smoother and less acidic.

Iced coffee, typically made from hot brewed coffee and then cooled down, retains the flavor profile of hot coffee but can become diluted when ice melts.

Refrigerating hot coffee doesn’t create either cold brew or iced coffee.

Most people agree that while refrigerating hot coffee is not the best option for maintaining the peak flavor of a fresh cup of coffee, it is a practical choice for those who hate to waste. 

Finding the Right Chill

So, you’ve decided to give refrigerating hot coffee a try. Finding the right temperature to store your brewed coffee is important.

The best bet is to store your coffee at a consistent, cold temperature, but not too cold. Extreme cold temperatures, like those in a freezer, can cause condensation and freezer burn, affecting the coffee’s flavor greatly. The fridge snack drawer, set at a lower temperature than room temperature but not as cold as a freezer, can be a good option for short-term storage.

The container you choose is as important as the temperature. An air-tight container, such as a mason jar or a sealed plastic container, can protect your coffee from absorbing flavors and odors from the fridge. I always choose glass or ceramic containers over plastic or metallic ones because they can impart unwanted flavors into your coffee, further ruining its taste.

So, how long can you keep coffee in the fridge? Typically, a day or two. After that, the taste of the coffee may start to deteriorate due to the ongoing oxidation process.

PRO-TIP: If you find yourself with too much coffee, consider pouring it into an ice cube tray. Coffee ice cubes can be a great way to add an extra kick to your iced coffee without diluting it.

Coffee’s Consistency Concerns

In addition to affecting its taste, refrigerating coffee can affect its texture and mouthfeel. Can you put hot coffee in the fridge and expect it to taste the same? Not really. The mouthfeel of coffee changes as it cools – it might lose some of its body, becoming thinner or more watery. This change is more noticeable in black coffee compared to coffee with added cream or sugar.

Speaking of additives, cream and sugar can behave differently in refrigerated coffee. Sugar may not dissolve as effectively in cold coffee, leading to a gritty texture. Cream or milk might separate or curdle, especially if added to hot coffee before refrigerating. For best results, add these ingredients after reheating your coffee or to your coffee ice cubes.

Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao

Reviving refrigerated coffee can be tricky. Have you ever zapped your cold coffee in the microwave and thought, yuck!? Reheating coffee can further alter its taste and aroma, sometimes leading to a burnt or stale flavor. The best way to enjoy refrigerated coffee is to drink it cold or at room temperature.

Or, better yet, use the coffee as a base for a delicious coffee-flavored dessert, smoothie or shake, giving it a new lease on life!

Here is a list of ten coffee-based foods and drinks that can use your leftover coffee in delicious ways!

  1. Iced Coffee: Transform your refrigerated brewed coffee into a refreshing iced coffee. Just pour over ice, add milk or a sweetener if desired, and enjoy. It’s a simple, yet delicious way to repurpose your leftover coffee.
  2. Coffee Ice Cubes: Freeze the brewed coffee in an ice cube tray. These coffee ice cubes are perfect for chilling your iced coffee without diluting it as regular ice cubes would. Plus, they add an extra kick of coffee flavor!
  3. Coffee Smoothie: Blend your cold coffee with a banana, a scoop of peanut butter, and a splash of milk for a delicious coffee smoothie. It’s a great way to combine your caffeine fix with a nutritious snack.
  4. Coffee-Flavored Baked Goods: Use the brewed coffee to add a rich coffee flavor to baked goods. It works wonderfully in recipes for brownies, cakes, or muffins, giving them a delightful coffee twist.
  5. Coffee Marinade: Coffee can be a great addition to a marinade for meats like steak or pork. Its acidity helps tenderize the meat, and it adds a unique depth of flavor.
  6. Tiramisu: Use your chilled coffee for making the espresso component in tiramisu, an Italian dessert. The coffee’s robust flavor is perfect for soaking the ladyfingers, giving the dessert its signature taste.
  7. Coffee-Infused Oatmeal: Cook your morning oatmeal with leftover brewed coffee instead of water or milk for a caffeinated start to your day. It adds an interesting flavor twist to your breakfast.
  8. Homemade Coffee Syrup: Simmer the brewed coffee with sugar to reduce it into a thick syrup. This coffee syrup can be used to sweeten and flavor beverages, desserts, or even as a drizzle on pancakes or waffles.
  9. Coffee-Based Cocktails: Use the cold coffee as a base for coffee-infused cocktails. Mix it with spirits like vodka, rum, or whiskey to create delicious drinks like White Russians or coffee martinis.
  10. Coffee Ice Cream Topping: Warm up the brewed coffee and mix in some sugar and a bit of cream to create a simple coffee sauce. Drizzle it over vanilla or chocolate ice cream for an indulgent dessert.

The Flavor Factor

Who’s ready for a taste test?! I compared a freshly brewed pot of coffee to the same coffee after it had been refrigerated and reheated.

The result??

The fresh coffee had a vibrant, full-bodied flavor, with subtle notes that unfortunately got lost in the refrigerated version. The refrigerated and reheated coffee had a flatter taste, missing the nuances of the fresh brew. Try it for yourself and see! Let us know your results in the comments!

Any Nutritional Implications?

So, can you put hot coffee in the fridge and still retain its health benefits? Let’s check it out!

When you chill coffee, the basic nutritional profile remains largely unchanged. Coffee is a low-calorie drink (if you’re not adding lots of cream and sugar!), and this aspect doesn’t chnage whether it’s hot or cold.

However, the antioxidant properties in coffee may degrade over time, so freshly brewed coffee could offer more health benefits in this sense.

What about caffeine content? Is it altered in the refrigeration process? After all, most coffee drinkers turn to their daily cup for that much-needed caffeine kick.

The good news is, refrigerating your hot cup of coffee won’t significantly alter its caffeine levels! Yay! So, if you’re looking for that caffeine boost from your leftover coffee, you’re still in luck.

Wrapping Up the Debate

So, the answer to can you put hot coffee in the fridge is yes… if you don’t mind losing some flavor. While it’s a practical way to save leftover coffee, it may not always provide the best taste or aroma.

For those who love convenience and hate to waste a good cup of coffee, refrigerating it is a viable option, especially when stored properly in an air-tight container.

From a personal standpoint, I find that while refrigerating coffee is a good option for those busy days, nothing quite compares to a fresh brew. The sensory experience of a hot cup of coffee, freshly made, is part of the joy of coffee drinking.

But, for practicality, refrigerating coffee is a decent solution, especially for those who don’t mind a slight change in flavor.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make Hot Coffee Then Put It in the Fridge?

Absolutely! Brewing your coffee hot and then chilling it in the fridge is a common practice for iced coffee lovers. Just ensure your container is fridge-safe.

Can I Put a Hot Drink in the Fridge?

Yes, you can. Hot drinks like tea or coffee can go into the fridge. But remember, sudden temperature changes can affect the flavor.

Is It OK to Drink Refrigerated Coffee?

Sure thing! Refrigerated coffee is perfectly fine to drink. It might lose some of its fresh flavor, but it’s a quick fix for your caffeine needs.

Can You Put Hot Leftovers in the Fridge?

Technically, yes. But it’s best to let them cool a bit first. Putting hot food directly in the fridge can raise its internal temperature, affecting other stored food.

Can You Refrigerate Hot Coffee Overnight to Make Iced Coffee?

Definitely! This is a great way to prep your iced coffee. Just brew, cool a bit, and refrigerate overnight for a refreshing morning drink. Below are the ingredients necessary for a great iced coffee!

Coffee beans50gFreshly ground
SugarTo tasteOptional
Ice cubesAs neededFor iced coffee

Next time you find yourself with a pot of extra coffee, try refrigerating it and see how it compares to a fresh brew. Share your experiences, thoughts, and even your favorite ways to use refrigerated coffee – whether it’s reheating it, making coffee ice cubes, or whipping up a delicious coffee-flavored treat. Let’s keep the conversation “brewing!”

You HAVE TO try our classic tiramisu recipe that will wonderfully incorporate your refrigerated coffee! Let us know what you think in the comments!

best Tiramisu Recipe with Refrigerated Coffee

Recipe by kitcheneasylifeCourse: DessertCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



This dessert is both elegant and surprisingly easy to make, perfect for impressing at a dinner party or enjoying as a special treat.


  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 2 cups brewed coffee, refrigerated

  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (optional)

  • 1 package (about 7 oz or 200g) ladyfingers (savoiardi biscuits)

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

  • Dark chocolate shavings (optional, for garnish)


  • Prepare the Coffee Mixture:
  • In a shallow dish, mix the refrigerated brewed coffee with the coffee liqueur (if using). Set aside. This mixture will be used for dipping the ladyfingers.
  • Make the Mascarpone Mixture:
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and creamy. This should take about 5 minutes with an electric mixer.
  • Add the mascarpone cheese to the yolk mixture and beat until smooth and well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until just combined, being careful not to deflate the cream.
  • Assemble the Tiramisu:
  • Quickly dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture. Do not soak them – just a quick dip so they are moistened but not soggy.
  • Arrange a layer of dipped ladyfingers at the bottom of a 9×13 inch dish or a similar sized serving dish.
  • Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.
  • Add another layer of dipped ladyfingers on top of the mascarpone layer.
  • Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the second layer of ladyfingers.
  • Smooth the top with a spatula or spoon.
  • Chill and Serve:
  • Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible. This allows the flavors to meld and the dessert to set properly.
  • Before serving, dust the top generously with unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Garnish with dark chocolate shavings for an extra touch of elegance, if desired.


  • The tiramisu can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, making it a great make-ahead dessert.

Craving more delicious recipes? Try our delicious Choco Pies