Why You Should Never Refrigerate Cereal

Cereal is one of those timeless and nostalgic foods that transport us back to our youth when we ate a bowl of Fruit Loops in front of the television while watching Saturday morning cartoons. Then as adults, we may (or may not) ditch the sugary cereals for slightly healthier options with bran, fiber, fruit, or some combination thereof.

No matter your age, it's a convenient breakfast option, whether you need to speed feed your kids a meal before ushering them out to the bus stop or spoon down a quick bite yourself pre-work day. Typically, people eat cereal that has been stored at room temperature, but a social media trend emerged a few years ago during which individuals touted the taste and texture benefits of putting cereal in the freezer. There are even websites advising how long to freeze a bowl for optimum results (per Foods Guy). Others swear that cereal is best consumed after being stored in the refrigerator, especially in the case of sweeter cereals. The idea is that it brings out the best of its more dessert-like qualities and that the cooler temps will seem mighty nice on a hot summer day (via Lifehacker).

But you also want to ensure that your cereal maintains peak freshness and quality as long as possible, especially if you're buying in bulk. You may prefer yours served colder, but it's important to know why you should generally avoid refrigerating cereal.

Keeping the crunch in your Cap'n Crunch

If you want to maintain the crunch in your Cap'n Crunch for longer, the site Oregon State Extension recommends storing cereal in a cool, dry, dark space such as a cupboard or the pantry. Placing cereal in tightly-sealed containers can help protect against issues such as moisture and insects. Storing in airtight containers becomes crucial when the humidity surpasses 60% because of the absorption of moisture that can cause cereal to go bad.

Although not recommended, there are certain circumstances in which people may want to store cereal in the refrigerator. Those living in humid climates who are worried about pests getting into their food or the moisture making it stale might also want to refrigerate the cereal. It's important to remember, though, that the decision to refrigerate could negatively impact cereal's taste and texture. Once more, the major factor here is humidity, which can cause the cereal to become stale faster (per the Supermarket Guru). And all the moisture makes for a soggier, less palatable experience. The Bob Vila website notes that stacking boxes of cereal could even block a refrigerator's ventilation. If you don't live in an area where humidity and insects pose problems, a pantry or cabinet makes for the ideal cereal storage method.