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How To Tell If An Onion Is Bad?

Onions are a popular and adaptable vegetable; consider how many different recipes call for them. Because onions are one of the most popular products on our weekly shopping list, knowing how to detect whether an onion is rotten is critical.

The last thing we want to bring home from the grocery store is an onion that is already decaying or on the edge of deteriorating. Because onions, like other fresh food, have no sell-by or expiry date, utilize the purchase dates to determine how old they are.

Onion shelf life varies depending on the kind of onion, how it is kept, and whether it is chopped or whole. Onions may keep for up to six weeks on the counter, but they can last up to two months in the refrigerator.

No matter how you keep it, once you cut into an onion, its shelf life is severely reduced. Sliced onions are only good for a week and must be refrigerated. Before you utilize the onion from your cupboard, you should find out how long onions last.

The Lifespan Of An Onion:

Many onions on the market now do not have a best before-date label. It is much simpler if there is a label. As a result, you should use the date you purchased the onions to evaluate their present condition.

Every time We go to our local market, We follow this method. We made a point of remembering when We bought the onion. Our local market’s onion suppliers usually supply fresh items. As a result, We are sure that the onions and ingredients We get are fresh.

For newly pickled onions, their natural lifetime is roughly one month. However, some may be kept for up to six weeks to two months if stored in the refrigerator. To determine the shelf life of onions, use the points below.

Fresh Onions (Whole Bulb): keep for 4 to 6 weeks on the kitchen counter and 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator.

Chopped Onions (Fresh): Keep in the refrigerator for one week.

Whole Scallion: Keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks or on the kitchen counter for 1 to 2 days.

Frozen Onions: Keep in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 months.

As you can see, an onion’s typical lifetime is not so lengthy. Therefore, they do not survive as long as other spices and vegetables, specifically if not properly preserved. As a result, we always force you to practice appropriate food preparation and storage to keep your food fresh and safe.

How To Tell An Onion Is Bad?

Here are several warning indications that your onion is bad:

Presence Of Mold:

Mold development is one of the first signs of a rotten onion. It appears initially as brown patches. Afterward, the onion’s body may develop white, grey, or green growth. The mold is initially seen on the paper-like outer skin.

If you cut the onion and notice mold development on the interior, throw it away right away. If there are no molds on the inside, peel off the mold and wash the remainder with water.


Slime is a frequent byproduct of rotting onions. Mold development is possible on the onion, and the surface will feel slimy when touched. Cut away the sticky surface and smell the fresh one. If it is still slimy, you should discard it.

A Funny Smell:

Onions naturally have a strong smell. A terrible onion will smell foul and rotten. Sometimes, the smell of onions will help you identify a terrible onion that looks and feels good on the outside. If the odor is still confusing, try to identify a stench of compost, once you get that, discard the onion.

Skin Discoloration:

Some mold development may seem like skin discoloration, with the hue resembling the onion’s natural skin. If the outermost skin does not reveal the status of the onion, peel it off and inspect the skins of the remaining concentric layers for discoloration.

Mature Sprouts:

Naturally, sprouts do not indicate that the onion is rotten; nevertheless, when the sprouts are too developed to consume, the onion is terrible. If the rest of the onion seems healthy and firm, remove the sprouts and afflicted region. Otherwise, chuck everything away.

Furthermore, one growing onion might cause the others to spoil soon. As a result, separate growing onions from the others.

Pulpy Flesh:

Bruised skin or flesh with many spots are warning indicators that your onion is rotting. The juicy meat obscures under the papery outer covering. When you chop an onion and observe this, it is no longer edible.

On the other side, you may observe dry and crisp meat that is devoid of moisture. It’s also an indication that you shouldn’t cook with onions.

How To Tell If An Onion Is Bad After Cooking?

Like its raw counterpart, a cooked onion shows a few crucial indicators of aging. While cooked onions survive a few days in the fridge, if kept in the wrong way, they may go bad within a day or two.

If you’re not sure about the onions in your fridge, utilize your senses: smell and sight – don’t taste! Rotten or spoilt onions will have a distinct ‘off’ odor, similar to decomposing compost.

The pleasant caramelization aroma will be gone, replaced by a sour rotting odor. This odor is inescapable and exhilaratingly strong.

Cooked onions will also appear differently depending on their degree of decomposition. They might seem tighter and slimmer loose and with threads of white running through them. Onions with this look are deteriorating and should be thrown right away.

How Long Do Onions Last?

Onions will stay in your fridge or freezer for a long time, depending on whether they are raw or cooked. Cooked onions may be stored in an airtight container or resealable bag for 3 to 5 days.

Whole, raw onions stay longer in the fridge, but the chilly atmosphere isn’t good for the skins, which need to be dry and crisp. Whole unpeeled onions may be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, after which a thorough check is advised.

Cut raw onions can be kept in an airtight container or bag for approximately a week, but they should be eaten within a couple of days and are best used in prepared meals as a precaution. Peeled onions, on the other hand, may keep for a few days but should be used within 3-5 days to be safe.

However, if you have a freezer, all of these time restrictions are greatly increased! Frozen onions, whether raw or cooked, may be stored for months without deterioration. Onions may be stored in freezer-proof bags or containers for up to 10-12 months, but they must be cooked and consumed as soon as they are defrosted.

While eating fresh thawed raw onion is safe, the physical structure of the onion will have altered owing to the freezing process. The onions will be very mushy and easy to break apart once thawed. As a result, frozen onions are preferable for cooked recipes to uncooked ones.

The worst place to keep onions is on the kitchen counter. The increased heat and light in most kitchens can substantially accelerate the aging of your onions. If your onions are kept at room temperature for 7-10 days, they will turn utterly inedible and rotten.

How To Store Onions?

Onions must be stored properly to stay fresh. How long do onions last? It is determined by the technique of storage. The best way to store onions depends on whether they are raw, cooked, peeled, unpeeled, chopped, or whole.

Fresh and unpeeled onions should be stored between 40° and 50°F. The issue is finding a temperature range that is both cooler than room temperature and warmer than the fridge.

Basements, cellars, garages, or any other dark spot are ideal storage options for raw, unpeeled onions. Raw, unpeeled onions should never be stored in the refrigerator because the temperature is too low and the air is too damp. Refrigerators speed up the spoilage process by allowing the onion’s dry skin to absorb moisture.

Moisture absorption allows germs and mold to thrive. To allow for optimal air circulation, store-fresh, unpeeled onions in a netted or mesh bag or a wire hanging basket. Avoid pantries and other enclosed spaces since onions need proper ventilation and a dry environment.

Refrigerating onions that have been cooked, peeled, or chopped is the best method to keep them. Peeled and chopped onions should be stored in an airtight container like a Ziploc plastic bag. It is also feasible to freeze peeled, sliced, or chopped onions to increase their shelf life.

When freezing onions, consider vacuum sealing or removing as much air as possible from the freezer bag. Cooked onions must be stored in the same manner as peeled or chopped onions. Make careful you observe food safety requirements while keeping onions.

Store onions away from fresh fruits, especially watermelon. Fruit emits ethylene gas, which hastens the spoilage of vegetables. Never wash onions before storing them because moisture promotes mold and bacteria development. Also, after handling, wash your hands.


Fresh onions are an excellent addition to a variety of cuisines. They give out a distinct perfume and enhance the flavor of any dish. In addition, they have a significant nutritional content that will help your health.

It’s essential to know how to identify whether your onions are rotten or not. Otherwise, you risk cooking an onion that has gone bad, which is neither safe nor healthful.

Furthermore, We constantly highlight to our readers the significance of basic kitchen hygiene and decorum. Although they are just basic hygiene regimens, they may make food preparation easier and less susceptible to toxins that might cause food poisoning.

Washing your hands, for example, and using the proper cooking temperatures both make a significant effect. They are your first line of defense against many foodborne infections.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How Can You Tell If A Chopped Onion Is Bad?

To keep chopped and sliced onions fresh, store them in the refrigerator. However, this does not imply that they will remain edible in the fridge indefinitely. If the chopped onions are slimy and smell like anything other than onions, they should discard.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Onions At Room Temperature?

If you can’t locate a well-ventilated or cold place to keep your entire raw onions, they may store at room temperature for up to a week. Of course, this varies depending on the scenario and if they have been properly preserved. After a week, check for mold to see whether your onions have gone rotten.

How Can You Know If A Red Onion Is Bad?

If you see black patches, sprouts, or a strange sweet fragrance, it implies the red onion has gone bad. If you detected a slimy feel or black mushy areas on the onion, this suggests it has molded within. And you should remove it.

How Long Can You Keep Onions In The Freezer?

By freezing fresh onions, you may extend their shelf life by up to eight months. Onions, whether chopped or sliced, may be frozen for three to six months. Cooked onions may also be frozen and kept in the freezer for up to 12 months.

How Long Do Onions Keep In The Fridge?

If you keep your onions in the kitchen cupboard as I do, you may expect them to survive for two to three months. The onions should be kept in a cold, dark, and well-ventilated environment that is 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit.

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