How Long Are Onions Good For (And Why)?

How Long Are Onions Good For (And Why)?

Exact Answer: One to Two Weeks

The onion is a popular vegetable known for its layered interior structure. They are also well known for making humans irritated when slicing them due to the presence of certain chemicals in them. It can be used to prepare and add taste to other dishes, however, it may also be used to make pickles and salads.

The scientific name of onion is Allium cepa. The closest relatives of the onion with regard to botanical science are garlic, scallion, leek, Chinese onion and chive. Onions are used across continents and greatly impact the culinary art of a region.

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How Long Are Onions Good For?

Type Of OnionTime Lasts For
A. On the counterA week
B. In the fridgeA month
C. In the freezerFew months
Peeled Onion
A. On the Counter3 to 5 days
B. In the fridgeTwo weeks
C. In freezerFew months
Chopped Onion
A. On the counter2 to 4 days
B. In the fridge10 days
C. In freezer2 to 3 months
Cooked Onion
A. On the counterA day
B. In the fridge2 to 4 days
C. In freezer2 to 3 weeks
Pickled onion
A. On the counter2 to 3 months
B. In the fridgeA year
C. In freezer2 to 3 years

Onion can be stored in various formats and conditions. A chef can store it without peeling or chopping it, by peeling onions, chopped onions, cooked onions and pickled onions. Onions can also be stored on the counter, in the fridge and in the freezer.

An onion stored without any human interference like peeling or chopping tends to stay safe to eat for a longer period of time. It has a long shelf life as compared to the peeled, chopped, cooked or pickled onion. In addition to that, uncooked but peeled or chopped onion has a longer life on the counter and in the fridge. Although onions tend to last for several weeks, once they are chopped, they can only be stored for a few days.

In contrast to that, cooked onion tends to last for just a few hours on the counter and for one to two days in the fridge. However, pickled onion has a relatively large shelf life of several months on the counter.

Why Are Onions Good For So Long?

By looking at the structure and composition of the onions, a person can understand why the vegetable is good for so long. Onions are acidic in nature and as they are heated, this acid tends to escape from the onion’s structure. This speeds up the process of rotting of the onion and it lasts shorter.

Since an unpeeled onion has its sulfenic acid packed in it which delays its rotting and makes it last longer. When this onion is chopped, some acidic content escapes to air and it starts rotting. This process reaches its peak when the onion is heated for cooking.

When cooked, almost all of the moisture and acidic content of the onion is evaporated and its shelf life is reduced considerably. However, one can have a very large life of onion by making pickles from it. Pickling involves storing the onion in a solution that would reduce the growth of bacteria and result in a very long shelf life.

Storing the onion in the fridge or freezer is a great help in preserving the vegetable for longer. The temperature inside them is very less as compared to the room temperature which delays the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. This helps the vegetable to last for longer.


Onions when stored as obtained can last for a week on the counter. However, the shelf life decreases if it is peeled, chopped or cooked but increases when the onion is pickled.

The time for which onion lasts depends on the effect of bacteria on it. A low temperature helps to slow down this effect and makes it last longer.


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