Refrigerators are designed to keep food cold without freezing anything, and they usually do their jobs well when set to the correct temperatures. However, there could be several reasons your food is freezing in the back of your refrigerator.

Your food could be freezing because the temperature is too low, so make sure it’s set to around 40°F (4°C) or slightly lower. Other problems include food being close to a vent or a defective gasket. Fixes include adjusting the temperature and moving food.

Want to learn more about why food is constantly freezing in the back of your fridge? Keep reading to find out!

1. The Fridge Temperature Is Too Low

One of the most apparent causes of food freezing at the back of a refrigerator is a temperature that’s too low, so check the thermostat to ensure it’s not broken or set to the incorrect temperature.

Although a refrigerator should be set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) or lower, you don’t want it to be too low.

Another thing to consider is the temperature of the room where the refrigerator is. If it’s in the kitchen, you don’t need to worry about the room’s temperature. However, if you have it in the garage, for example, the temperature could be too cold or warm, which can affect the overall functionality of the appliance.

Most fridge manufacturers will have information about the recommended room temperatures in the manual, so check that out if you haven’t already and think it might be causing a performance issue.

How to Fix

Generally, you can fix temperature issues by checking the thermostat and readjusting the temperature if needed. It may take a while to notice the effects of the changes. Don’t expect your food to defrost within a few minutes or hours.

However, if the thermostat is already set to a high temperature, another issue could be at play. For example, the thermostat could be broken and need to be replaced.

If the refrigerator is in a room that’s too hot or too cold and the performance is affected, consider moving it to a different room or adjusting the temperature of the entire room. If it’s a garage, this may include adding insulation.

2. The Food Is Too Close to a Cool Air Vent

Refrigerators contain cool air vents, and wherever these vents are placed are the coldest parts of the fridge. Therefore, the food you leave next to a cool air vent in a fridge is more likely to freeze than other foods in that same fridge.

If it’s a case where the food at the back is constantly freezing, there’s a good chance an air vent is located back there. To find out if that could be the issue, open your refrigerator door and examine the back to see if you can find an air vent in that area.

Another issue with food being too close to an air vent is that it could block the vent, which can then cause frost and other problems. Examples of things likely to block an air vent in a refrigerator include large boxed foods or a big Christmas turkey.

How to Fix

If the food in the back of your fridge is blocking a cool air vent, move that food to a different part to allow even airflow. After a while, you should notice the freezing subsides. If you use the fridge to frequently store large items that block the vents, there isn’t much you can do other than use a bigger appliance.

3. The Door Gasket/Seal Is Defective

While the refrigerator door helps keep cool air in the fridge and regulate the temperature, the gasket or seal around the door is also imperative. Without a properly functioning gasket, your refrigerator is more likely to freeze food, which can become an annoyance over time.

The air from outside the refrigerator seeps in when a gasket is damaged. Eventually, the air that gets in condenses, causing frost to form. The fridge must work harder when this occurs, meaning your electricity bill will likely be costly.

The gasket is generally a rubber material along the edge of the door. Examine yours to look for any signs of damage.

How to Fix

To fix a defective gasket, you may need to install a replacement one, but you must contact the manufacturer to see if they have any available. The particular gasket might no longer be sold if it’s an old appliance.

If you can’t find a replacement gasket, the next best thing is to get a new refrigerator door from the manufacturer. Again, this might not always be an option because the door you’re looking for might be outdated and no longer in production.

Worst case scenario, you’ll need to buy an entirely new appliance, but always check if the manufacturer has the part you need beforehand.

4. There Might Be an Interior Light Defect

The light inside should come on automatically when you open a fridge door. Once you close the door, it should then go off automatically. However, the light might be faulty, causing it to remain on even if the door is fully closed.

As a result, the thermostat might get an incorrect reading, and the fridge’s components will need to work harder to keep the fridge cooler. Therefore, you could notice food at the back of the appliance freezes, which is less than ideal!

To see if the light is switching off as it should each time you close the door, consider placing a camera or phone in the fridge after hitting the record button. Wait a minute or two, then remove the phone to check the footage.

How to Fix

Although this issue isn’t as likely a cause as the others mentioned in this article, it could be a problem for you. In that instance, the best thing to do is fix the sensor or switch that controls the light.

You can replace the switch yourself if you know how to do it, but if not, consider hiring a professional to look at it and replace it.

5. The Fridge Is Too Empty

Although it’s not necessarily always a problem, an almost empty fridge can sometimes cause food to freeze or develop frost more easily. It’s better to have more food in the refrigerator to absorb the cold air produced in the appliance, making everything less likely to develop frost and ice.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to fill the refrigerator to the brim with food but aim to have at least one or two items on each shelf to improve the temperature balance.

How to Fix

As I mentioned briefly, ensuring enough food is in the fridge to prevent anything from freezing is best. Any time you notice it becomes too empty, consider buying more food and placing it inside.

Once you place enough food in the fridge, it should absorb the cold air, and the food at the back that tends to freeze should defrost within a day or so.

6. A Component Is Broken

Another possibility is a broken refrigerator component. Different parts of a fridge can become damaged or broken over time, which could subsequently lead to food freezing at the back.

Components that may break include:

  • The light switch
  • Compressors
  • Vents
  • Refrigerants
  • Drains

If you’ve gone through each possibility in this article and still haven’t gotten to the root of the problem, your refrigerator may have a broken component that’s hard to find.

How to Fix

Call a professional to examine the appliance if you suspect there’s a broken component in your refrigerator but aren’t sure exactly what it is. They can offer an easy solution, like getting a replacement part. On the other hand, they could fix the component.

Depending on how many components are broken and how bad the problem is, you may or may not need a new fridge.

You may also like to read: Can You Turn Off a Refrigerator for Long Periods of Time?


Food freezes at the back of the fridge for different reasons. After reading this article, you should have a better idea of what might be causing the issue, allowing you to take the next step to fix it.

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