How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly
Food,  Healthy LifeStyle

How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly

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Onions that have been spoiled may develop dark spots that will eventually start to grow mold. Furthermore, onions that have mushy or soft spots are beginning to spoil.

Having some onions on hand is always a good idea. No matter the season, they rank among the most practical culinary allies. This is why we stock up on those large mesh bags filled to the brim with onions of all varieties at the grocery store and purchase them in large quantities.

Your onions may be kept well past their prime without your knowledge, though, as their signs of deterioration are less obvious than those of some other vegetables.

Learn the best practices for onion storage and how long each type of storage will keep onions fresh.

Signs Your Onion Has Spoiled

How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly

It will be fairly obvious if your onion has gone bad. Without giving it a second thought, throw squishy onions in the garbage. Smelly onions or onions with too much moisture can be said to be the same.

The less obvious symptoms include minute wet spots, brown spots, or a softened texture. If these spots can be removed from a section of the onion, leaving the rest of the onion looking “normal,” it’s probably safe to cook with it. The same is true for an onion that has sprouted but otherwise shows no signs of deterioration. You can cut the onion in half to get rid of the sprout and any remaining pieces of the shoot if you don’t want to eat the sprouted portion. It’s best to throw away the onion if you notice any mold symptoms or if you are unsure whether it is still safe to eat.

How Long Do Whole Onions Last?

How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly

A temperature range of 45 to 55 degrees F is ideal for storing onions. Whole, raw onions will last two to three months when stored in a cool, dry place. Your garage, pantry, unheated basement, or cellar may be locations that meet these requirements.

Finding a cool spot like this in our homes can be difficult for many of us. If this is the case, it might be best to store onions in the refrigerator to ensure they have the longest possible shelf life. They will last at least two to three months in the refrigerator as well – just be mindful that their texture may get somewhat soft in the fridge as onions absorb moisture very easily.

That said, if you lack fridge space and storing onions at room temperature is your only option, whole, raw onions will last two to four weeks at room temperature.

To avoid mold when storing onions, whether at room temperature or in a cooler, make sure there is adequate ventilation. It will work with an open basket, mesh bag, or a paper bag with a flimsy cover. In order to ensure proper ventilation, avoid storing onions in plastic bags.

Potatoes should not be consumed near other foods that release moisture, it is important to remember this. If you still have an antique potato and onion bin and are debating whether to get rid of it, make sure the compartments are distinct and sufficiently vented to prevent gas interactions. You can feel good about keeping it within the family if that is the case. If not, think about updating your storage if you notice your potatoes or onions sprouting earlier than you would expect.

How to Store Peeled Or Cut Onions?

How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly

In order to prevent contamination, it is best to store an onion in the refrigerator after it has been peeled. Raw onions should also be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. When kept in this manner, they will remain fresh for seven to ten days.

Onions that have been cooked need to be kept in the refrigerator and in an airtight container. Like most leftovers, cooked onions will last up to four days in the fridge.

Another benefit of storing onions in the refrigerator is that the cold slows the enzymes that cause those annoying onion tears.

How Long Do Onions Last in the Freezer?

How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly

The good news is that raw onions can be frozen to increase their shelf life. The onions should first be peeled before being chopped or sliced as desired. Put them in a freezer bag, airtight container, or tightly wrap them in foil or plastic wrap. Raw onions will last up to eight months in the freezer.

Cooked onions can be frozen for up to 12 months when stored in an airtight container or freezer bag.

How to Tell If An Onion is Bad Or Spoiled

Your onions’ color, feel, and smell are the three primary indicators of spoilage. Onions that have been spoiled may get dark spots, which will eventually start to grow mold. Additionally, you should stay away from sprouting onions because this is a sign that they are starting to spoil.

Additionally, you can feel your onions to see how fresh they are. Onions that have soft or mushy patches are beginning to spoil.

How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly

Who could forget the sniff test, too? Naturally, onions will start to smell different as they deteriorate. Of course, some of us don’t find the scent of raw onion pleasant to begin with, so let’s just say that if your onions begin to smell like anything other than onion, it’s probably time to say out with the old and in with the new.


Although onions are one of the vegetables that are used the most frequently, improper storage can cause them to spoil very quickly. Use sight and smell as your best judges to determine whether or not your onions have gone bad.

Check each onion to see if it has firm flesh underneath and a dry, crisp exterior. Any onion with soft or squishy body tissue or outer layers should be thrown away. Spots or other discolorations, as well as a powdery silver-green mold, can also be indicators.

Your onions should ideally be kept frozen for even longer storage or in an open basket in a dark, cool, and dry location.

How Long Onions Last & How to Store Them Properly


How Long Does It Take for An Onion to Go Bad?

Onions should typically last between seven and ten days in your refrigerator and six to eight months in your freezer, but all of that can depend on how they are stored.

Can You Eat An Onion That Has Gone Bad?

You can safely peel away the afflicted layers and keep using the white portions of the onion as long as there is no strong rotting odor.

What Do Bad Onions Smell Like?

A fresh onion should have a pungent, garlic-like aroma with hints of grass and caramelization. Once it has spoiled, it will begin to smell like rotting compost or garbage.

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