How to Store Onions

Keep them fresh for over a month with these simple storage tips.

May 08, 2020
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Photo by: Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images

Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images

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By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen

Onions are a key ingredient in many recipes, so it makes sense to keep some on hand at all times. But though they last for a long while, they don't store forever — have you ever reached into the bag and noticed that a few of your onions have gotten soft and moldy or have started to sprout? With a few simple storage solutions, you can extend the life of those beloved bulbs for up to 2 months.

The Right Conditions

Whether you have red onions, Vidalia onions, Spanish onions or even shallots, they're best stored whole. Their papery exterior serves as natural protection from outside elements. Whole onions should be stored at room temperature in a well-ventilated container, such as a wire basket, perforated plastic sack or open paper bag. Any moisture that gets trapped around the onions will promote early spoilage, so good air circulation is key, as is removing thm from plastic produce bags, if you use those to gather them at the store. Place the container in a dry, dark spot, like in the back of your pantry or inside a cabinet. Sunlight can affect temperature and humidity, causing onions to go bad. Properly stored whole onions will stay fresh for 6 to 8 weeks.

If you’ve already peeled an onion or have leftover pieces you'd like to save, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Keeping peeled onions tightly sealed will not only keep them fresher, it will also prevent other refrigerated items from absorbing any odors from this pungent ingredient.

How to Use Up Onions

Onions can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. When serving them raw, try soaking diced or sliced onions in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes, then drain well and pat dry with paper towels. The cold water will mellow that strong, raw-onion flavor.

If you have an abundance of onions on hand, try caramelizing them! When cooked very slowly over low heat, onions become amazingly tender and sweet, and will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 months. Used caramelized onions as the base of a soup, piled onto a grilled cheese, or stirred into a creamy dip, such as this Caramelized Onion Dip.

Here are some of our favorite onion-forward recipes:

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