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Do you store onions in your pantry for the winter? It’s good to know just how long do onions last in the pantry and more storage tips so you can keep them all winter!
How Long Do Onions Last in the Pantry?
Onions are healthy and have an intense taste that most people love. They are the base for many dishes, like Spanish paella and French onion soup.
So, if you’re a big fan of onions, learning how to store them properly can be very helpful, especially if you are planning to use them over long periods.
Just how long do onions last in the pantry? Whole raw onions can last for up to 2 to 3 months in a pantry if kept in temperatures between 45 and 55°F. They will lose their flavor and become rotten if they are not stored properly.
Keep reading to learn how long each type of onion lasts, the best way to store them, and how you can extend their shelf-life.
How Long Do Different Types of Onions Last in the Pantry?
There are different types of onions, each of which has a different lifespan. It’s important to know how long each type of onion lasts so that you can stock them up correctly and avoid wasting your money.
Let’s take a look at how long each type of onion lasts in the pantry:
|Onion||Shelf Life in Pantry|
|Yellow Onion||6 weeks|
|White Onion||6 weeks|
|Red Onion||4-6 weeks|
|Sweet Onion||10 days|
|Green Onion||3 days|
How Long Do Onions Last in the Fridge?
|Onion||Shelf Life in Fridge|
|Whole, Raw Onions||3+ months|
|Peeled, Whole Onions||10-14 days|
|Cut, Sliced, Chopped Onions||4-7 days|
|Cooked Onions||3 days|
What Is the Best Way to Store Onions?
Onions can be easily spoiled by heat, humidity, or even freezing temperatures. The best way to store them is in a cool environment with minimal humidity (between 40-55°F), so the moisture quickly evaporates when they do begin to sweat.
While whole onions can be stored in a fridge, it is not recommended. That is because whole raw onions absorb moisture quickly and can turn softer in the fridge.
Peeled and sliced onions, on the other hand, are better stored in a fridge. Peeled onions can last from 10 to 14 days in the fridge, while sliced or cut onions can last about 7 to 10 days.
Here’s how and where to store each type of onion:
In the Pantry
- Yellow Onions. It’s best to store yellow onions in a cool, dark, and dry place. Hot temperatures can lead yellow onions to sprout and dampen, which could lead them to rot or create mold.
- White Onions. Like yellow onions, White onions should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. This will ensure that the onions will not sprout, dampen, or rot.
- Red Onions. You can store red onions by tying their stalks together and hanging them or placing them in any type of mesh tube with both ends tied. This way, your red onions will get optimal airflow and prevent them from getting wet.
- Shallots. Shallots should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as an open basket, pantyhose, a mesh bag, or a bamboo steamer. This way, they will have proper ventilation for up to 4 weeks.
- Sweet Onions. Sweet onions tend to spoil faster than other types of onions due to their lower pyruvic acid content, which is why it’s important to store them away from moisture in a dry and cool area. They can also be stored in the fridge if a cool area isn’t available. The cool atmosphere will keep moisture from building up on a sweet onion’s skin. This method also helps prevent peeling that may occur when they are left exposed to air for too long.
In the Refrigerator
- Spring Onions. It’s okay to store your spring onions in your pantry for a couple of days, but they have more moisture than other types of onions, so if you want them to last longer, the best way to store them is to store them is in your fridge. However, if you intend on using your spring onions within a few days, you should hang them upside down in a cool, dry place with plenty of air circulation. This prevents moisture from building up on the roots and causing rot.
- Half an Onion. To store half-cut onions, I recommend placing the half-cut side down, wrapping it tightly in either plastic wrap or cling film, and storing it in an airtight container such as a plastic zipper bag. This will ensure that the onion does not dry out. It will also prevent any excess moisture from seeping through.
- Chopped Onions. Chopped onions should not be wrapped in cling film or plastic wrap because they will be difficult to wrap in an airtight container. I recommend using a plastic container or a plastic zipper bag instead.
- Cooked Onions. Cooked onions should also be sealed in an airtight container so that they don’t dry out. After sealing them in an airtight container, keeping the cooked onions away from other food in the fridge is recommended so they don’t pick up any smells.
- Whole Raw Onions. Whole raw onions can also be stored in the fridge if the temperature in your house is too warm; however, it is important to remember that the texture of your onions might get softer in the fridge because they absorb moisture easily.
You can also store onions inside the garage, root cellar, basement, or any other cool and dry place that is away from direct sunlight that you have in your home.
Onion Storage Tips to Make Onions Last Longer
Now that you know how to store each type of onion, I’m going to share some general tips that might help you further to extend your onions’ shelf life.
Keep Onions Away from Moisture
Store your onions in a dry pantry where moisture cannot seep through to keep them from spoiling or rotting. Avoid storing onions in areas such as under the sink or in the basement, where it is humid.
Store in the Right Temperature
Many people might not think that temperature matters when storing onions, but getting the temperature right can make your onions last so much longer. The right temperature for storing onions is somewhere between 40-55°F.
If onions are stored in a hot area, they will start drying out and sprouting, which can lead them to rot and spoil quickly. If they get too cold, onions will become moist, lose their hardness, discolor, and even moldy.
Refrigerate if Necessary
Sliced, chopped, and cooked onions should always be stored in the fridge. These types of onions are not suitable for pantries and will rot quickly outside your fridge.
Use the Right Type of Packaging
Using the correct type of packaging to store your onions is also essential to extend their shelf-life. When you buy onions at the grocery store, they often come in mesh bags. These bags ensure that the onions will have adequate airflow and can keep moisture away.
If you store whole raw onions in your pantry, I recommend keeping them in mesh bags. You could also put your onions in a brown bag with a few holes in it.
You should avoid putting fresh whole onions in plastic bags if you plan to store them in a pantry. Plastic bags will invite a great deal of moisture and make the onions rot faster than you want them to.
On the other hand, if you plan to store your onions in the fridge, you want to make sure you store them away from other food, especially potatoes, so they do not absorb any smells.
Half-cut onions should be wrapped tightly in cling film or plastic wrap and then put into an airtight container, while chopped onions should be put in a plastic zipper bag.
Can You Freeze Onions?
The good news is you can extend the shelf-life of your onions even longer by freezing them. This comes in handy, especially if you have too many onions that you don’t need to use immediately.
Here are some tips to help you freeze your onions:
- Peel and chop or slice your onions into thick slices before freezing. Whole onions can’t handle freezing temperatures and will become soft, mushy, or squishy when defrosting them.
- Store your onions in smaller portions. This will help you defrost an adequate amount of onions every time without losing much freshness.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible from your freezer bag when storing onions in the freezer. Or store them in a freezer container.
- For maximum flavor, use frozen onions within three months of freezing.
How Long Do Onions Last in the Freezer?
If stored properly, raw onions will last up to 8 months in the freezer, while cooked onions will last up to 12 months.
The lifespan of an onion can vary depending on the type and how it was prepared before freezing. Onions cut and stored in a proper freezer container will last much longer than whole onions or onions not stored in a freezer-safe bag. I like these Reditainer Freezer Containers for my freezer foods.
You can also saute chopped onions and freeze them in individual meal sizes.
How to Tell That Your Onions Have Gone Bad
If you’re not sure whether your onions have gone bad or not, don’t worry; there are a few telltale signs that your onion might have gone bad.
Here are a few things to look out for:
One of the most apparent signs of any food spoiling is mold, and onions are no exception. If you see mold on the surface of your onions, that means that they have been exposed to too much moisture.
You can save a molding onion if it only contains a small piece of mold and there are no other signs of spoilage. You can do that by wiping away the molding part of the onion with a dry cloth and storing it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
I personally recommend throwing it away, though, because it is better to be safe than sorry.
Another sign to look out for is discoloration. If your onion has gone bad, you will see black or brown spots on the outer layer. This usually happens when an onion sits out for too long.
If you need to use a discolored onion, I recommend peeling and cutting out the discolored spots and using the onion as soon as possible.
However, if the brown or black spots have reached the inner layer of your onion, then it’s time to throw it out.
Onions have a unique smell, so you can tell if your whole or cut onion smells off. This is usually one of the biggest signs that your onion has gone bad. If your onion starts to smell off, it will also have other signs of spoilage, such as leaking, discoloration, or feeling mushy.
Cooked onions will often smell fishy and have an odd, slimy texture. I recommend throwing away cooked onions that are 3 days old.
Mushy or Soft
When an onion goes mushy, slimy, or soft, it indicates that it has lost all moisture and is no longer good to use. If only a part of your onion has gone soft or mushy, peel a layer or two and use the rest of the onion as soon as possible.
Is it Okay to Eat Onions That Have Sprouted?
It’s okay to eat onions that have sprouted; however, they might taste more bitter than usual. It’s recommended to eat sprouted onions as soon as possible and remove the green parts from the middle of the onion.
Should I Wash Onions Before Storing Them in a Pantry?
You shouldn’t wash onions before storing them in a pantry because the moisture can make them rot quickly. You want to make sure that your onions are kept in a dry, dark place away from moisture.
Which Onions Keep the Longest?
If you are planting your own onions to grow and to store later, you can pay attention to the storage length of each kind to decide what’s right for you. We order our onion starts from Dixondale, and they include a storage length on each kind. Because of this, we’ve chose to grow and store shallots which will last 7-8 months in our root cellar.
More How-to-Store Posts
- How Long Do Dried Beans Last? (Storage Tips)
- How Long Does Ground Beef Last in the Fridge
- DIY Cold Storage and Frugal Root Cellar Ideas
- Long Term Gluten Free Food Storage
- How to Keep Your Food Storage Protected From Pests
- Small Space Storage
- Pantyhose Onion Storage
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How do you store onions so they last the longest?
Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm and ministry on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.
This blog post on How Long Do Onions Last in the Pantry was originally posted on Little House Living in February 2023.