How Long Does an Onion Last in the Fridge?

Do you ever find yourself wondering the shelf-life of everyday ingredients? It can be hard to know just how long various food items last in your refrigerator and pantry. Onions, for example, are widely used as a culinary base for many dishes, but do you know how long they can safely stay stored when kept cold? In this blog post we will answer the popular question: How long does an onion last in the fridge? Read on to understand everything there is to know about storing onions properly so that their flavor and texture remain intact for days or even weeks.

Should You Refrigerate Onions?

Before delving into how long does an onion last in the fridge, let’s first answer a few common questions about storing them. When it comes to refrigerating onions, it’s important to note that whole onions and shallots are best stored in a cool, dry, dark, and well-ventilated room such as the pantry, cellar, basement, or garage. However, peeled onions can be refrigerated for 10-14 days, while sliced or cut onions can be refrigerated for 7-10 days.

How Long Does An Onion Last In The Fridge?

How long does an onion last in the fridge? The recommended storage method for maximizing the shelf life of onions is refrigeration. When stored in the refrigerator, onions can last for at least two to three months. However, it is important to note that the texture of the onions may become slightly soft in the fridge, as they readily absorb moisture.

How Long Does An Onion Last In The Fridge?
How Long Does An Onion Last In The Fridge?

How To Store Onions At Different Processing Stages?

Onions can stay fresh longer when stored correctly. Separate storage techniques are recommended based on the onion’s processing stage:

Peeled

Peeled onions should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, set at 40°F (4°C) or below. The USDA suggests that peeled onions can last up to 10-14 days when properly stored.

Sliced, Cut or Diced

Sliced, cut, or diced onions can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days when tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or kept in a resealable bag. Pre-sliced onions are also available at many supermarkets and should be refrigerated and used before expiration. For long-term use, sliced, cut, or diced onions can be stored in the freezer for three to six months and are best used in cooked dishes.

Cooked

Cooked onions can be stored in the fridge for three to five days in an airtight container or resealable bag. For longer periods, cooked onions should be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Uncooked onions should be stored in a cool, dry place with good ventilation and away from direct sunlight. Cut onions should be placed in an airtight container and kept refrigerated until consumed.

Pickled

Onions can stay fresh longer when stored correctly, based on their processing stage. Pickling is a low-cost way of preserving onions for up to six months. To pickle onions, place them into a jar filled with vinegar and spices. Once opened, pickled onions should be kept in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.

Tips For Making Your Onion Last Longer In The Fridge

The refrigerator is a convenient place to store onions because it can prolong their freshness and prevent spoilage. Here are some tips for maximizing the shelf life of your onions:

  • Store Them Whole: Onions should be kept in whole form until they are ready to be used. Once cut, onions release an enzyme that makes them more susceptible to bacteria growth and spoiling.
  • Keep Them Dry: Onions should be kept dry and free from moisture. If they start to develop any soft spots or feel slimy, it’s time to toss them out.
  • Refrigerate Immediately: Once you have cut an onion, refrigerate it immediately in an airtight container.
  • Avoid Storing With Other Produce: Onions release ethylene gas, which can speed up the ripening process of other fruits and vegetables. Keep them separate from other produce to prevent premature spoilage.
  • Store In The Fridge’s Vegetable Drawer: Most refrigerators come equipped with a designated vegetable drawer that helps maintain proper humidity levels for produce. This is the ideal location to store your onions as it will keep them fresh for longer periods.
  • Keep Away From Potatoes: Do not store onions and potatoes together. Both items release moisture and gases that can cause each other to spoil faster. Keeping them in separate areas of your fridge or pantry is best.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Onions In The Fridge 

Storing onions in the fridge should be done in a breathable option, such as mesh bags or paper sacks, as opposed to airtight containers or plastic bags. Breathable options allow for proper air circulation and can help keep onions fresh and crisp for an extended period. Remember — onions need to breathe too.

How To Tell If An Onion Is Bad Or Spoiled?

Spoiled onions may exhibit dark spots that can lead to mold growth. Additionally, avoid onions that have sprouted, as this indicates the onset of spoilage. Assess the freshness of onions by gently feeling them. Onions with soft or mushy spots are likely to be spoiled.

What To Do With Old Onions? – Recipes And Ideas

If you have old onions that are past their prime, don’t throw them away just yet! Here are some recipe ideas to help you use up those aging onions and reduce food waste:

  • French onion soup: This classic dish is a great way to use up lots of onions and create a delicious meal. Caramelizing older onions will bring out their natural sweetness and add depth to the flavor of the soup.
  • Onion jam: Transform old onions into a sweet and savory condiment that pairs well with cheese, and meats, or is added to sandwiches and burgers.
  • Onion dip: Make a homemade onion dip using sour cream, mayonnaise, and your choice of seasonings. Serve with chips or raw vegetables for a delicious snack.
What To Do With Old Onions? - Recipes And Ideas
What To Do With Old Onions? – Recipes And Ideas

FAQ: Onion In The Fridge 

How long does an unpeeled onion last in the fridge?

An unpeeled onion can generally last between seven and ten days in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer. The storage duration can also vary based on how the onions are stored.

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