How long does onion last?

Last Updated on September 30, 2023

How long does onion last? It depends on if you’re cutting it, peeling it, or leaving it completely intact in the pantry. 

how long does onion last and how to store it

Onions are very common ingredients in cooking. They are used in almost every dish to create more flavor. When buying onions it’s important to know how long onions last in order to get an adequate supply, so the onions don’t spoil in the fridge or in your pantry. 

This article will answer all your onion storage questions. We’ll discuss the following topics:

  • how long do onions last in various styles: whole, peeled, diced, sliced
  • explain the best way to store onions 
  • provide you with a shelf life for yellow, red, and white onion bulbs as well as green onions 
  • suggest some products for the best onion storage.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products I have recommended, I may receive a commission at no cost to you.

How Long Do Whole Onions Last?

Whole onions last in the pantry for about 2-3 months. 

The onions will last for a shorter or longer period of time depending on how the onions are stored (we’ll get to it later). If you don’t use onions often it’s important to check on them once in a while to make sure the onions aren’t getting soft and mushy or growing mold. If there is any sign of decay, off-color, or off-odor, you should throw out those onions right away.

How Long Does An Onion Last On The Counter?

Onions can last up to six weeks on the counter (the same goes for onions stored in baskets, whether wall hanging, floor standing, or countertop – places that are not dark).

How Do You Store Onions?

The best idea is to store your onions in a place that is

  • cool
  • dry
  • dark
  • with good air circulation

1. When storing onions, you want to make sure to place the onions in a cool area of the house like a pantry or dark cabinet. You can store them also in the cellar or in the garage if it’s cool 

The onions should not be stored close to the stove where they could get too warm and start to rot. 

2. The onions also need to be in an area that’s dry and without moisture because excess moisture will cause them to decay rather quickly. 

3. Onions also need good air circulation to reduce the chances of growing mold so don’t keep them in a plastic bag or in a very tight area. 

4. A dark space is preferable for a longer onion shelf life

A pull-out wire basket installed in your kitchen cabinet will provide good storing conditions for onions.

Alternatively,  you can store onions on the countertop, or any other cool dry place that is not dark. In this case, onions will not last as long as in a dark space and might become bitter and start to sprout.

Watch a short 1-minute video with Rachel Ray’s tips on how to store onions (and potatoes) on the counter:

Onion storage ideas

Here are some good onion storage solutions for your kitchen:

1. Countertop vegetable basket

countertop wire basket

2. Floor standing vegetable basket

floor standing vegetable wire basket

3. Wall hanging vegetable basket

wall hanging vegetable basket

Should onions be refrigerated?

So, should you refrigerate onions or not?

The answer is that you should avoid storing whole onions that haven’t been peeled yet in the fridge.

Red, white, and yellow whole fresh onions have dry and paper like outer skin. When you place onions in the fridge, moist air in the fridge will make the skin wet and onions will rot quickly.

But after the onion is peeled – to the fridge it goes!

Remember: peeled, sliced, cut, chopped onion must be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, or at least a BPA free freezer bag. 

How long do onions stay good in the fridge

According to

  • Peeled onions must have a shelf life typically of 10 to 14 days refrigerated. 
  • Diced and sliced onions must have a shelf life typically of 7 to 10 days refrigerated.

A glass container is better than a plastic one because the glass won’t absorb the onion smell. I use this type of container to store peeled and cut onions in the fridge. The tightly sealed lid prevents onions from absorbing any moisture or drying out. And your fridge will not smell like onions either! 😊

glass containers: perfect for storing onions i the fridge

Bayco Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids (24 pieces). Offered by Amazon

Preventing Fridge Odor Caused by Onion Smell

Chopped raw onion can stink up your fridge pretty quickly.

If you do not have a container with a tightly sealed lid, you can wrap the top of the bowl or a container, where you placed your sliced or chopped onion, with aluminum foil. This will totally block the pungent odor of raw onions.

How Long Does a Whole Onion Last in the Fridge?

A whole onion will last in the fridge for up to two weeks.

How Long Does An Onion Last Once Cut?

An onion that has been cut will last for about 7-10 days in the fridge.

onion and garlic bulbs
Onion bulb storage rules apply to garlic too.

Why Are My Onions Rotting In Storage?

Onions can rot in storage due to many factors. 

If there’s one onion that’s starting to mold or is already rotten, this can cause the rest of the onions in storage to spoil. It’s important to check on your onions once in a while for any mold or any onions that you need to throw away. If you leave a moldy onion next to normal onions, this will accelerate the process of all your onions rotting.

Also onions can rot in storage quickly if you brought a bag of onions from the grocery store with a moldy one already inside. So get in the habit of emptying the onions from their bag into a wire basket after you bring them home from the supermarket. Simultaneously check if any of them are on the soft side and need to be thrown out.

Onions will start to rot if they’re not stored in the right conditions. If your onions start to randomly rot shortly after purchasing them, check if the storage area is too hot or humid. Sometimes the storage area was safe for the onions when you placed them there, but a water leak or spill can be enough to cause the onions to rot. That is why storing onions in an under-the-sink cabinet is a bad idea.

How to Tell If An Onion Is Bad

Healthy and fresh onions should feel firm and heavy. The skin of the onion should be dry and look like paper. Onions should not have any brown, green, white or bruised spots on it. 

When the onion is peeled it must have a crisp and fairly firm uniform texture, which shouldn’t be tough, fibrous, or mushy. 

Onions emit a foul and awful odor when rotten and can have moldy patches or green sprouts growing from the onion.

Onions can be affected by salmonella contamination. Remember the huge onion recall in the USA in August 2020? The main thing to know here is that cooking onions contaminated with Salmonella will not make them safe to eat. They should be thrown away.

how long do green onions last

How Long Do Green Onions Last?

Green onions can last for two to three weeks with the proper storage methods. They can even last up to four weeks if you put more effort into storing them. Green onions are growing plants and need water to stay fresh.

How to Store Green Onions

Green onions are best stored on a window sill with the bulbs and roots in a glass of water. 

After you brought a bunch of green onions home from the grocery:

  1. Remove the bottom rubber bands but leave the top rubber bands to hold the green onions in place. 
  2. Rinse the green onions with water to remove any dirt from the roots of the plants. 
  3. Fill a glass with water but only enough for the roots to be in the water. When the water level gets low in a few days, wash the green onions again and refill the glass with water to cover the roots.

Green onions are plants so it helps to trim the top of the green onions so more can grow.

Should You Store Green Onions in the Fridge?

You can store green onions in the fridge but it’s best to think of green onions as living growing plants and keep them outside of the fridge in the way described above.

How Do You Keep Green Onions Fresh in the Fridge?

You can keep green onions fresh in the fridge by placing them in a glass of water similar to storing the green onions on a window sill. 

For doing this you need to fill the glass with enough water to cover the roots, then cover the tops of the onions with a plastic bag or a zip lock bag. The bag helps keep some of the humidity inside and protects your onions from drying out. It’s best to put the glass where you can see it and won’t forget about it or knock it over.

But the easier solution will be to get a glass herb storage container  to keep your green onions fresh and crisp for a longer time.

glass herb storage container

Honey-Can-Do glass herb preserver offered by Amazon

Related reading:

Looking for ideas on what to make with onions? How about a tasty Spring Salad (with green onions) and a quick and easy Summer Salad  (with raw white onion)?

Want to make use of onion skins? Then discover how to dye Easter eggs naturally with them.

Wonder if the onion is a herb? A spice? A vegetable? You can figure it out after reading this article.

How about growing your own onions?

It’s pretty easy to do if you start them from onion sets. And the best part – you can harvest green onions for your salads in under 1 month!

Read this article to get started. And if you need more advice on growing onions, then Ultimate Herbs Guide will help.

Learn more about preserving harvest

How to freeze dill

how long do onions last

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Final thoughts on How Long Can Onions Last?

I hope you got all of your onion storage-related questions answered. You learned about how long onions last and the best ways to store them to prolong their shelf life.

The key takeaway is to keep your onions cool and dry, and after you peel the onion, it must go in the fridge. 

Any onion that is off-looking or off-smelling needs to be thrown out, simple as that!

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How long does onion last?

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