How To Store Onions: Reader Question

What is the best way to store onions? I just got a whole bunch of onions on sale and don’t want them to go bad (there’s no way I could use them all up before they start to rot). -Mary

Do you have any ideas for Mary? Please share in the comments!

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Comments
  1. Sarah M. says:

    Ideally you want to put onions in a cool room or cellar, homes built before 1960 usually came standard with a cool room. Since the ladies of the house then actually grew a garden for food, not sport. They would usually allow onions a short drying period in a dry shed, or garage type area. They would then braid the onion tops together, creating a chain of onions, they would then tie of the braid at the top with twine, and hang them in their cold room or cellar, this same process was also applied to garlic.

    Unfortunately as times have progressed since then, most homes no longer have cold rooms or cellar, and apartment buildings and condos certainly don’t.

    Which has caused people to find more creative and inventive ways to store and save onions.

    I personally do a few different things for the purpose of storing onions, as I have a household that use a “lot” of onions.

    1. I use a dehydrator. I love my dehydrator. Firstly it dries them out meaning you no longer need to worry about finding a cool and dark place to store them, secondly a single dehydrated onion of average size, will typically take up less than a quarter cup of space. I store my dehydrated onions in a 2 quart canning jar and put in on the self like any other canned or jarred food.
    Dehydrated onions are great for stews, soups, chili, scalloped potatoes, or any dish that will allow them to fully hydrate. You can also use them as a spice, but explaining that would take me another whole page, lol.

    2. You can cut them up, and toss them in the crock pot over night.
    This is a great way of having them already cooked and ready to use for certain dishes.
    You simply cut them in have then, cut the into to small 1cm-2cm strips and toss into the crock pot with a few tbps of olive oil, turn on low and forget for the night.
    In the morning your house will smell really good, not an onion smell. It just smells like you were cooking up a store all night and made something super yummy 🙂
    You want to turn of the crock pot allow the onions to cool a bit, When they have cooled you’ll notice there is quite a bit of “onion juice” in the pot, so you’ll need a slotted spoon to remove the onions. When you remove the onions you have 2 choice you can either put them into ziploc bags in what you feel is an appropriate amount for use in each bag. Or you can put them on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper or wax paper spread and them out, put the tray in the freezer for a few hours, to allow them to freeze separately, and then toss them all in a big ziploc bag, and scoop out what you need as you need it.
    And the left over “onion juice” you can either use to do another round of onions or take it out and use it in soups, stews or a flavor enhancer in gravies. And it freezes great too 🙂

    3. For fresh storage I use a small plastic drawer lined with an old paper bag, and keep it in my pantry. How ever my pantry has a door and is dark, and because it has a door it doesn’t get a lot of heat meaning things stay cool. But I usually never have more than a pound of onions in there at any given time.

    That is just what I personally do with my onions.

    However the idea with the pantyhose works well. As does cutting and freezing, all though as mentioned above you’ll want to first freeze them on a tray.
    Another idea is using a paper bag cut the top off place onions in bag and store in a cool dark place. Or you could you a wire basket that will allow plenty of air flow.

    Or as mentioned you could “can” them, or pickle them or turn them into a relish or jam. How ever unless you plan on doing more than just onions investing in the equipment to do such a thing would really be silly. The start up cost of canning is quite expensive. But well worth it if you do many things, like pickled veggies, jams, relishes, chutneys, fruit juices, pickles and so many others. I also do my own “canning”, but I’ve never bother pickling or canning my onions I prefer to either hydrate or freeze them. But I do use a small mountain of fresh onions every canning season in plenty of my own canning recipes. Mostly relishes or pickled veggies.

    I hope this helps you and many others on ideas for storing your onions 🙂 Good Luck

  2. Lauren says:

    Freezer is always your best friend for fast meal prep. I cut up onions, peppers, freeze fresh herbs in ice cube trays, and meat and vetables in meal size portions. Just pull a few things out for fast stir fry.

  3. Jen says:

    We use a cold room. It works.

  4. Judy says:

    I have not done this personally, but a friend, cuts them up and puts them in the freezer. This works if you are using them in a recipe that you are going to cook anyway.

  5. Yes, cool place for them…and if you have a single cut up onion, those containers in the veggies section of alot of grocery stores , that look like an onion,a tomato, etc.. are great for keeping them longer in the fridge.

  6. Sharon says:

    I grew about 50 lbs of onions this year. I chopped them all and put them in the freezer. I did this outside at my picnic table to avoid crying my eyes out. 🙂 It is so convenient to scoop a cup or so out of the freezer whenever I need them. Been doing this for a few years.

  7. Ann Thibault says:

    I just did this last week….I bought a big bag of onions, VERY cheap…..I took some old pantyhose and pushed the onions one by one down to the toe, tieing a knot in between each onion…..When both legs were filled I hung the pantyhose on a coathanger in the basement…When I need an onion, I just cut them off from the bottom, below the knot..I never thought of pre-cutting and then freezing, but that sounds like a good idea too.

  8. Brooke says:

    I buy 10 pound bags of onions in a mesh bag. These bags have handles. I hang them on a nail in my pantry closet. They keep well for several weeks.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Use a food dryer to dry them. They have far more flavour when used in recipes, so go alot further and keep for months. I store them in large canning jars in a dark, cool cupboard. Saves on the onion bill also. HA!

  10. Ramona says:

    Hi everyone, just some info to share with you all….Please remember it is dangerous to eat cut onions that you didn’t use right away after cutting them. Try to use it to cook immediately. It becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria which may cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning. If you look this up, you may be surprised at how sick those saved onions can make you or your family. I used to store a 1/2 an onion in the fridge often, after a bbq for example, but I don’t anymore. For the price of them, to me it just wasn’t worth saving them after learning how sick it could make us. Just wasn’t worth the risk. 🙂

  11. Lise says:

    We have a cantena to store veggies etc. We just leave them in the mesh bag and place them in an enameled bin. If you do not have a cool or cold place to store them try a dark cupboard and be generous with friends and family and share. Onions come up for sale often between now and Christmas.

  12. debbie says:

    http://www.snopes.com/food/tainted/cutonions.asp

    the cut onion thing…false….if you put it in the fridge it’s fine generally speaking

  13. mrunal says:

    We use a lot of onions in our daily cooking so i usually pick up a 10lb sack which goes for three weeks or more.initially i used the white onions and used to just leave them in the sack inside a dark cupboard.but then i realized that they started rotting from inside.i switched to buying the dryer variety of red onions because most of the white onions are really wet from the inside though dry on the outside.next is i take them all out from the sack a keep them in a flat open basket outside on my kitchen counter.it does use my space but it gives those onions some breathing room and fresh air so they stop rotting and remain dry.i usually sort out the onions which i feel are soft and on the verge of rotting to be kept separate from their buddies so i finish them before i use the good ones.this has worked really nice for me.and yes i too do not recommend cutting up onions and keeping them in the fridge..it is unhealthy..

  14. Courtney says:

    thanks, you guys are awesome!!!

  15. Eve says:

    Remember that cheese does not freeze well to slice and eat after freezing. It crumbles. So I shred my cheese usually in food processor and then put it in baggie and freeze. I also shred some cheese and put in frig when there are good sales on blocks of cheese.
    Cheaper than buying shredded cheese!

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