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Putting pots through stress, they're not meant to withstand speeds up the process, forcing you to replace your kitchen utensils more often than you should. This may leave you wondering if you can put your pots in the oven or the freezer without causing them more harm. We have researched to find out what temperatures and conditions, such as those found in the oven or freezer, to which you can subject your pots.
So, is it safe to put pots in the oven or the freezer? The short answer is yes, but:
- It depends in part on their material
- On what's inside
- And at what point in the meal prep and clean-up process you find yourself.
Since your ability to freeze or bake pots varies, it's essential to pay special attention to the guidelines offered by the manufacturer. We'll explain the general rules to follow below but always listen first and foremost to what it says on the pot itself.
Pots in the Oven
Pots are meant for stovetop use. The manufacturer designs pots to withstand high temperatures. Therefore, it's easy to take the step in logic and say that they can be placed into the oven. That's not automatically the case, though.
Why Material Matters
While it's safe to assume the base material of your pot will be fine in an oven, often the containers have handles. If said handles are plastic or wood, it's a hazard to place these pots in the oven. If you're unsure about what the handles on your pot are made of, exercise caution and avoid exposing them to the oven.
It's also worth noting that some materials heat up differently. Placing a roast in a cast iron pot inside the oven, for example, should be safe and result in well-cooked meat. However, if you were to do the same thing with a stainless steel pot, the food might not be adequately heated.
Pots in the Freezer
While there's nothing technically wrong with putting your pots into the freezer, it is a little less permissible than sticking them in the oven.
Dangers of Freezing Pots
If you're placing a pot in the freezer with the intent to store food long term, it's important to note that some foods keep better than others in a pot. For example, salty or acidic foods can cause damage to the metal over time. The resulting pitted effect makes pots less safe to use.
It's also worth noting that most pots don't come with air-tight lids. Therefore, storing food in pots leads to spoiled leftovers.
Furthermore, there's debate about whether the chemical elements in your pots will leech into the food.
The bottom line is, pots are much better suited to food prep than they are to food storage.
Can You Put a Hot Pot in the Freezer
We've established that long-term storage is a poor choice, but what about placing recently prepared food into the freezer to cool it down?
In short, this is a bad idea. It won't necessarily damage the pot, but it will raise the temperature in your freezer considerably, putting all the food in there at risk of growing bacteria. Be sure to let food cool to room temperature, transfer it to a different container, and then freeze it.
Is it Bad to Put Metal In the Fridge?
Since it's inadvisable to use pots to store food in the freezer, you might be wondering if it's OK to put metal containers in the fridge, too. You may be unsurprised to learn that the same general principles apply. Certain foods will damage the metal and leaving food without an air-tight seal lid to the growth of bacteria.
However, if you find a metal container that does seal and you're looking to store, say, a salad or chicken, it's perfectly alright to put the metal in the fridge.
The Best Freezer to Oven Containers
So, pots aren't the best bet when it comes to moving food from one extreme temperature to another. The good news is, there are containers better suited to the task.
Pyrex, for example, is specifically designed to be moved from cold to hot temperatures. You can transfer it directly from a freezer to an oven.
This set comes with lids, making it ideal for storing leftovers.
These oblong containers of various widths and depths are perfect for baking casseroles or desserts.
You just have to remember to remove the plastic lids before you place them in hot temperatures.
Glass, too, is built to withstand extreme temperatures without affecting the food or breaking down in quality.
Need to cook something covered? This set includes oven-safe lids, as well as air-tight ones perfect for storage.
Still not sure if your specific pot is oven or refrigerator safe? We cover the dos and don'ts of some of the most common types of cookware.
If you're looking for tips on how to store food in general, take a look at our article, breaking down the best use of plastic, glass, and stainless steel storage containers.
Is It OK to Put Stainless Steel in the Refrigerator?
Stainless steel is safe to put in the refrigerator. The only thing that should stop you from storing food in a stainless steel container is if you don't have a way to seal the pot before leaving it for an extended time.
Can You Put Cast Iron in the Freezer?
While your cast iron pots will perform well in an oven, you should never move them directly from the oven to the freezer. The extreme temperature change can crack the enamel. Cast iron's ability to retain temperatures means that if you want something icy, storing it in cast iron is extremely helpful. Just be mindful of when you move it from the heat to the chill.
Can You Put Visions Cookware in the Oven?
Yes, you can put Visions cookware in the oven! The material is designed to withstand both conventional and convection ovens, as well as gas and electric stovetops.
Can Emile Henry Go From the Freezer to the Oven?
While you should never take Emile Henry products from the oven and put them directly into the freezer, the containers are conducive to the reverse transfer. You don't even need to thaw it first.
Can You Put a Dutch Oven in the Freezer?
You're welcome to put a Dutch oven in the freezer. The material retains cold temperatures just as well as hot. Simply be sure to cover it tightly if you plan to keep it in the freezer long-term.