How Long Does It Take To Chill Drinks In a Cooler?

Let’s say you’ve just purchased some room temperature beers or cans of soda and you want to make them cold as fast as possible. How long does it take to chill drinks in a cooler to a good cold drinking temperature?

It takes 10-12 minutes to chill drinks in a cooler if they are covered in ice. If they are submerged in ice water it takes just 4-6 minutes to cooler them down. Aluminium cans cool down faster than glass bottles because they transfer heat better.

Larger bottles of wine or soft drink will take slightly longer than this because there is more liquid to cool down when compared to smaller bottles.

It will take about 15-20 minutes to cool a bottle of wine in a cooler if it is just covered in ice and about 8-12 minutes to cooler a bottle of wine if it is completely submerged in ice water.

Compare this to a freezer which takes 30-60 minutes to cool down a beverage or to a fridge which can take anywhere from 3-9 hours to chill a beverage completely.

How To Chill Drinks Quickly In a Cooler

If you want to chill drinks quickly in your cooler you want to make sure that they are covered with as much ice as possible.

To do this place a small amount of ice on the bottom of the cooler and lay your drinks down on the ice. Make sure to leave space between each can or bottle as the goal is to have as much ice touching the beverage as possible.

The pour ice on top of your beverages and repeat with multiple layers if you have a lot of beverages.

This method will cool your drinks in approximately 10-12 minutes in your cooler. But there is an even faster way and that’s to submerge your drinks in iced water.

Yeti 6 Days Ice Retention
Drinks submerged in ice during my Yeti cooler ice test

By submerging your drinks in iced water there is more cold water/ice touching the beverage. This is because when you’re just using ice without water there are lots of space for air meaning the beverage isn’t being touched everywhere by ice.

By submerging your drink in water the heat transfer happens faster and your drink cools faster as a result.

Mixing the beverages around so the liquid inside the beverages mixes will speed up the cooling process.

By submerging your drinks in iced water it should only take 4-6 minutes to chill your drinks in your cooler.

How Long Does It Take To Chill Drinks in Your Fridge/Freezer?

This experiment showed that canned drinks will cool to freezing temperature in a freezer in 1 hour and will be well below freezing temperature within 2 hours.

This means it takes a freezer approximately 30-60 minutes to cool down a drink depending on how cold you want it.

The fridge takes a lot longer as it’s not as cold so the heat transfer doesn’t happen as quickly.

It takes a fridge 3-9 hours to completely cooler a room temperature beverage.

Chill Drinks Faster Using a Wet Paper Towel

By wetting a paper towel and wrapping it around your drink you can actually speed up how quickly it takes your drink to cool down.

While a regular drink may take 30-60 minutes to cool down in a freezer, but wrapping it in a paper towel you can speed up this process and have a ready to drink beverage in 20-30 minutes.

This works because the water both rapidly evaporates and cools at the same time, faster than a metal can or glass bottle would cool.

This water is touching the beverage and thus draws heat out of the beverage at a faster rate than if the drink was just exposed to the air in the freezer.

What Is The Quickest Way To Chill Drinks/Beer? Chill Drinks in 1-2 minutes

If you want your drink to be extremely cold extremely quickly then the best way to do it is to place your drink in salted iced water and have it totally submerged and spin it constantly. This will cool a can in 60-90 seconds and will cool a drink in glass bottle in 1-3 minutes.

If you don’t have salt that’s not a big issue, just do the same process but used regular iced water instead of iced water with salt in it. It’ll work nearly as well and you can always just leave your beverage in there for a little bit longer to compensate.

Why Does This Work?

This works for a few reasons.

Total exposure to cold – By putting the beverage in iced water instead of just in ice you’re ensuring that the entire surface area of the can or bottle is touching the freezing cold water. If it is just ice then only parts of the beverage will be touching, thus the transfer of heat won’t be as effective.

Colder than freezing – By adding salt to the water it forced the ice to melt faster. Ice actually needs energy to melt so it will draw this energy from surrounding ice making that ice colder. So you’ll end up with water below freezing level, which helps your beverage cool faster.

Liquid moves around exposing warmer liquid to the ice cold – By spinning the can or bottle you’re insuring that the liquid inside is moving around also. This means the cold parts are constantly mixing with the warmer parts giving you an even distribution of cold.

The below video does a good job showing you how to do this:

How Will You Choose To Chill Your Drinks?

As you can see there are a few different ways to chill your beverages fast.

Often throwing your drinks in a cooler and waiting 15 minutes is going to be the easiest solution, but if you’re desperate for a beer or a cold soda right away it’s good to know spinning it in icy water will cool it ultra fast.

You could do this so your first beverage is ready to go almost instantly and while you’re drinking that your next beer can be cooling down inside the cooler.

I hope this article helps you the next time you need to cool your drinks fast.

Click here to learn how to keep ice longer in a cooler

Times It Takes To Cool Drinks Using Different Methods

MethodTime To Cooler Beverage
Spinning in icy salt water1-2 minutes
Spinning in icy water1-3 minutes
Left in icy water4-6 minutes
Covered in ice10-12 minutes
In freezer with a paper towel15-20 minutes
In the freezer30-60 minutes
In the fridge3-9 hours

Click here to see whether ice packs are better than regular ice