Understanding the time it takes for boiled water to cool down can make a ton of difference in everyday cooking and may also help you estimate the cooking time of certain recipes as well.
While cooling starts as soon as the water stops boiling, it can take several minutes for the water to reach room temperature.
How long does boiling water take to cool? Water boils at 212°F and then starts to cool as soon as it is taken off the heat. A cup of water can take up to 40 minutes to cool down but there are a lot of factors that determine how quickly water reaches room temperature.
Read below to learn more about how long various quantities of water take to cool down and a few things that can help speed up the process.
The Science of Boiling and Cooling
Before we explain how you can cool water, it is important that you understand what is going on inside the liquid – this will also allow you to come up with clever ways of cooling it down faster or manipulating the temperature as per your liking!
Water, like everything else in the universe, stays at rest until a force is applied to it. But when heat is applied, the molecules within the liquid start to vibrate.
This vibration causes friction which generates heat. So, when external heat is applied to water, the molecules get “excited” and then a chain reaction starts where every molecule in the liquid passes on its energy to the next until all of the liquid starts to vibrate in harmony, which results in boiling.
Furthermore, water has a unique property where it will only reach a maximum temperature of 212°F, which also happens to be the temperature at which a rolling boil is achieved.
For now, we will ignore the concept of superheating and supercooling since we are only discussing this topic in the context of cooking.
So, to cool down boiling water you will need to somehow slow down or halt the vibrating molecules – there are several ways you can do this.
Cold temperatures and the process of evaporation all work in tandem to cool down hot water.
For example, when you place one cup of water in the fridge, it will take about half the time to cool down as it would if you were to place it over the counter at room temperature.
The colder the temperature, the more still or at rest the molecules will become – which is also how ice cubes are formed. Keep in mind that we are omitting a lot of variables for the sake of simplicity.
If you just want to know the ballpark figure for how long water will take to cool down, then here’s a useful chart:
|Cooling Down Method (1 cup)||Time in Minutes|
|Room temperature||40-45 minutes.|
* ”cool” temperature is measured around 70°F-90°F.
Also, it is important to note that water cools down at the same rate, so you can use the same time for 2-3 cups of water as well.
Here are a few ways that you can cool down water quickly:
Turn on the Fan
Keeping the lid off and turning on the fan will help cool down water quickly. There is a reason why we blow over hot tea before sipping it so that it isn’t scalding hot.
The same concept applies here too! If you want to cool down the water quickly, just turn on the fan!
Use an Ice Bath
Using an ice bath will help you bring down the cooling time by several minutes. This method works just like the fridge method.
Pour the hot water into a glass and set the glass in a deep bowl full of ice water to quickly bring down the temperature of the liquid.
Spread the Water
Pouring the water into a horizontal container will spread it out, thereby thinning the layer of liquid. You can also choose to add cold boiled water by discarding and replacing the same amount.
This will allow the water to cool down quickly, especially if you also keep it under the fan!
Knowing the right methods and timing to cool down water can save you a lot of time! Now that you know exactly how to do it, here are some related questions:
Will Water Cool at the Same Rate in a Closed Container?
No, water will take longer to cool down if it is kept in a closed container due to increased insulation. The heat will slowly leak out of the container, thereby increasing the time it takes to cool down the liquid.
Can You Keep Boiling Water in the Freezer Right Off the Stove?
Yes, you can keep boiling water directly into the freezer but you will have to make sure that you place the pot or container over a strong ceramic plate to keep it from melting any plastic or cracking the freezer tray.
Please note that you may also risk increasing the ambient temperature in the freezer by several degrees using this method.
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