How Cold Should a Home Freezer Be?

Keeping the correct temperature in your freezer will help extend the shelf life of your food. Be sure to package and date your food before placing it in the freezer.


Assorted popsicles.
Ice cream in home freezer.

Frozen foods should be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature should be no higher than 5 degrees Fahrenheit. A higher temperature will shorten the shelf life of your food.

Wrapping Food

Vacuum sealed steak.

Use freezer wrap and bags to wrap meats before placing them in the freezer to prevent freezer burn. Write the date and contents on all packages.

Before You Store

Cooked meat ready to be frozen.

Make sure foods are cooled before placing in the freezer. Otherwise, you could alter the internal temperature.

Loading the Freezer

Packed vegetables in a freezer.

Do not overload with unfrozen food all at once as this will slow down the freezing rate and decrease the quality of your food. Be sure the air can circulate freely, otherwise, warm spots can develop.

Maintaining the Temperature


To keep track of the temperature in your freezer, you can place a thermometer in the freezer.

About the Author

Based in Baltimore, Md., Karen Dietzius has been a professional writer and editor since 2005. She has been published on various websites and edited scripts for "A Work In Progress," an inspirational radio drama.