Freezer vs Fridge

Which of these will give me the coldest bottle of soda:

  • I put it half an hour in the fridge, then half an hour in the freezer


  • I put it half an hour in the freezer, then half an hour in the fridge?

Going strictly be guessing, if you put it in the fridge first then the freezer it will definitely be colder, but you run a big risk of it getting too cold and bursting. I doubt it will do that from only a half hour in the freezer, and if you *then *put it in the fridge it can’t possibly go below freezing.

There are at least some cases where fridge then freezer will be colder, and I think it might actually be all cases. It’s possible that the time in the freezer might actually get it colder than the fridge temperature, in which case moving it back to the fridge after that would actually warm it slightly. For the general case, though, I’d need to run some numbers.

Of course, a full hour in the freezer would get it coldest of all.

Best method (that I’m aware of):

Wet a dish towel or washcloth. Wrap cloth around can or bottle and put in freezer. Doesn’t take long at all.

I know that doesn’t answer the question you pose, but it’s a cool idea.

Would someone describe the mechanism? Why/how does the order make a difference?

Putting it under running cold water will drop it to the temperature of the water p.d.q. The water doesn’t have to be running all that hard, either.

Generally, if you keep an object starting at temperature X in an environment maintained constantly at temperature Y, the object’s temperature will approach the ambient temperature in a geometric progression, halving the distance from temperature Y in every so many minutes - I’m not sure what that number of minutes would be for a soda, but let’s say it’s 30 minutes and split the difference.

Starting room temperature: 20c
Fridge: 2c
Freezer: -18c

If you use the fridge first, the soda will be at 11c at the end of a half-hour, and then after a half hour in the freezer, it will be at -3.5c

If you use the freezer first, the soda will be at 1c at the end of a half-hour, just slightly colder than fridge ambient temperature, and will warm to 1.5c over the half hour in the fridge.

Thanks. So it’s a matter of maximizing the difference between current and container temperatures for greatest period of time, correct?

The answer is surely going to depend very much on the size of the bottle (as well, of course, on the actual temperatures of fridge, freezer and uncooled bottle, and the specific heat of the soda).

However, in my experience, half an hour in the fridge does not cool a 2 liter bottle of soda very much at all, and I doubt whether even that time in the freezer is likely to cool it below fridge temperature. On the other hand, putting it in the freezer first is going to give yo the biggest temperature differential, and thus the most rapid rate of cooling possible in the given scenario, so I say freezer first, then put it in the fridge to knock off that final few degrees.

No, even if the fridge doesn’t cool very much, it’s still more effective to use it first, instead of after the freezer. For instance, taking my numbers from before, but assuming that with a 2 liter bottle, 30 minutes only takes you 10% of the way to ambient temperature:

After 30 minutes in the fridge, bottle is at 18.2C, then after 30 minutes in the freezer, we reach 14.58C
If we use the freezer first, we can get to 16.2C, but then only to 14.78C with the fridge.

Admittedly that’s not much of a difference, but it still comes out on the side of ‘fridge first’ as long as either are actually cooling the soda.

This is assuming that it always is a constant factor of the difference between temperatures per unit of time.

An hour in a bath of ice water will get it colder than any other normal method.