Onions are a staple in almost every kitchen because they’re such a versatile ingredient. They can be used in almost any type of cuisine and they’re incredibly affordable, especially when bought in bulk. But buying pounds of onions at once may leave you wondering, “How long do onions last in the fridge?”
Good news— onions do last a long time in the fridge when stored properly. And we’ve done the work to find the best tips, tricks, and storage solutions to help keep them fresh for as long as possible.
Read on to learn more about how to make onions last in the fridge!
Does the Type of Onion Matter?
It may be tempting to assume that an onion is an onion and they all store the same amount of time, but you may be surprised to learn that the type of onion absolutely matters when it comes to how long onions last in the fridge.
There are a few different factors that play a part in how long onions last in the fridge.
- Water content— The water content of onions ranges anywhere from 80-95%! The more water inside an onion, the quicker it rots or sprouts. Remember, sprouted onions are edible, but rotted ones should be tossed.
- Outer skin thickness— The thicker the outer layer of skin on the onion, the less it is influenced by external factors and the longer it will last when stored, especially in a fridge.
- Pungency— Believe it or not, the stinkier the onion is, the longer it will last in your fridge. Their odor comes from their sulfur content, and sulfur acts as a natural preservative. This keeps microbial growth lower, keeping them fresher longer.
Other factors like length of curing and drying or how they’re processed after picking can play a role, but those play a much smaller role, especially in store-bought onions.
Because of a combination of all those factors, yellow and white onions last the longest in the fridge. Sweet and red onions last about half the time of other varieties.
Ideal Storage for Long-Lasting Onions In the Fridge
Before we answer the question of how long onions last in the fridge, we want to highlight a few storage basics that will stretch your onion’s longevity as long as they can go.
It’s not enough to just pop an onion in the fridge and expect them to last months. There are a few, very simple steps you can take that will make a big difference in the long run!
Good Air Circulation
Air circulation is always important when it comes to storing onions, but it becomes even more important when storing onions in the fridge.
There are a couple of reasons this is important to the quality of your stored onions
The cool temperatures inside the fridge cause condensation. When the air gets cooler, it can’t hold onto moisture as easily and the moisture has to go somewhere, which ends up being most surfaces inside the fridge.
The extra condensation staying on the onions may turn them into a breeding ground for mold and other microorganisms.
Onions stored in the fridge without proper air circulation may not be useable, even before they get moldy or spoil. They may begin to turn soft and their texture can change to chewier.
Good air circulation keeps the onions firm and crunchy in texture, which is the ideal way to eat an onion, especially when consuming them raw.
How To Do It
Providing good air circulation when storing onions in the fridge is simple and doesn’t even require any special equipment.
Most produce comes home from the grocery store in plastic bags if you’re not buying in bulk. If that’s the case for your onions, increasing their airflow is as simple as removing them from the plastic bag and putting them into another type of container.
Away From Other Produce
Onions should be stored away from other produce because of the gases they emit and their pungent smell.
This will not only keep onions fresh in the fridge longer, but it will also lengthen the shelf-life of your other fruits and vegetables and prevent them from taking on the onions’ smell and flavor.
Nobody wants berries that have a hint of onion going in their morning smoothie!
Darkness Is Your Friend
Choosing to store onions in the fridge instead of someplace like your counter is a good idea because they do best in dark spaces.
When onions are in light, it starts the sprouting process on the inside, which can leave onions soft and bitter.
How Long Do Onions Last In the Fridge?
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty details. How long do onions really last in the fridge?
There are different ways you can store onions in the fridge, so we’ll break down the pros and cons of each of them and tell you exactly how long you should expect the onions to stay fresh and tasty.
And with any of these methods, it’s important to check on the stored onions regularly! If you notice them starting to soften or developing the start of a sprout, it may be time to cook them up or freeze them. And if you notice one starting to spoil, go ahead and take it out so the bacteria doesn’t move to other onions and spoil the whole bunch.
If you’ve just bought or harvested a ton of onions and really want them to last in the fridge, your best bet is to put them in there whole. Don’t peel off any layers. Don’t wash off any residual dirt. Just put the onions in the fridge as you got them.
Leaving the outer layers will prolong their shelf lives significantly.
If you store your whole onions in the fridge, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
- White Onions: 2-3 months
- Yellow Onions: 2-3 months
- Red Onions: 1-2 months
- Sweet Onions: 1-2 months
Removing the outer peel of the onion will shorten the length you can keep it in the fridge, but sometimes it’s necessary if you’ve started preparing a dish and realized you peeled too many onions.
Peeled onions will absorb the excess moisture in the fridge quickly, which will lead to them spoiling quicker.
Peeled onions in the fridge can be expected to last:
- White Onions: 10-14 days
- Yellow Onions: 10-14 days
- Red Onions: 7-10 days
- Sweet Onions: 7-10 days
If you’re meal-prepping for the week and need to keep raw onions in the fridge after they’re cut, you’ve got plenty of time to use them.
- White Onions: 7-10 days
- Yellow Onions: 7-10 days
- Red Onions: 5-7 days
- Sweet Onions: 5-7 days
While a week may not seem that long, it allows you time to plan and prepare dinners for the whole week ahead over the weekend with the confidence that your onions will still be fresh and delicious.
Keep in mind that once onions are cut, they actually need to be stored in an airtight container. They’ll dry out if they’re kept in the open.
Onions can be stored in the fridge after they’re cooked, too! In fact, cooking onions puts them on an even playing field.
No matter the onion variety, cooked onions can be stored safely in the fridge for 3-5 days. That means if you caramelize onions for burgers, you can pop the leftovers in the fridge to use for an omelet in the next few mornings. Yum!
Great Products for Storing Onions In Your Fridge
Before we share a few products you could use to store onions in your fridge, we want to make it clear that none of these are absolutely necessary. You can pop your onions in a mesh bag in the fridge and as long as they’ve got the right conditions, they’ll do just fine!
However, if you’re looking for some handy onion storage for your fridge, you’re in the right spot.
An onion keeper isn’t only handy for storing peeled onions, it’s also cute. It actually looks like a red onion!
The stretch onion pod is great to have if you’re regularly making dishes that only require one-half of an onion. Simply place the leftover half, with the cut side down, and stretch the top over it to keep it fresh.
A set of reusable mesh bags is also handy to have around for storing your onions in the fridge.
This set of airtight containers is excellent for onion storage in the fridge because it’s got an extra inner piece that will keep the onions away from condensation on the glass of the outer container.
Wrapping Up the Question, “How Long Do Onions Last in the Fridge?”
Knowing how long onions last in the fridge can change the culinary game in your home. There will be no more guessing, smelling, or squeezing to determine freshness.
You can buy and store your onions in the fridge with confidence when you give them adequate airflow and keep them by themselves in the dark.
What onion dish will you try first after this? Onion rings? Maybe French onion soup? Check out our onion page to learn more about this all-star veggie and find some inspiration!