Green Onions
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How To Tell If Green Onions Are Bad

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Checking the quality of green onions can be tricky, but you can use a few techniques to figure out the overall quality of the vegetable.

How to tell if green onions are bad? Green onions begin to go bad when they start to wilt and dry in the fridge. They can also accumulate slime and will usually take on a duller appearance. Be mindful of the texture and smell of the vegetable before use as these severe changes might hint that the green onions have spoiled.

Read below to learn more about how long green onions last, signs of spoilage, and how to store them for maximum shelf life!

What Are Green Onions?

Green Onion Bundles

Green onions are one of the most consumed vegetables in the world. Not only do they taste great, but each section of the vegetable can provide a lot of value in terms of flavor and texture! 

The anatomy of a typical green onion consists of a long, leafy stalk that is connected to an onion bulb at the end.

What makes green onions so great is that all of the vegetable can be used in different ways!

The stalks can be chopped and used as a garnish to add light crispiness and a distinct vegetable-like flavor.

The bulb at the bottom shares a lot of the characteristics of onion and can be used in the same way to add a crunchy texture and a subtle onion-like flavor.

That’s because green onions, scallions, and regular onions are all the same — it is just that they are harvested at different stages of their growth!

But unlike onions, which are enclosed in thick layers, green onions are smaller, less dense, and more exposed to the environment — this means they are likely to go bad earlier. 

Signs Of Warning

Here are a few common warnings and signs of spoilage for green onions!


On their own, green onions will last up to 2–3 weeks in the fridge if they are stored properly (more on this below).

The earliest warning that you will get from this vegetable is its change in appearance. Green onions are known to have fresh green stalks with leafy tips. 

If the vegetable is stored for too long, the stalk will start to droop and shrivel. This will be a clear indication that the vegetable has started to go bad — if you don’t use it within the next few days, then it will likely spoil.

In the case of even older vegetables, the bulbs will also begin to lose their texture and may also subtly reduce in size due to the loss of moisture.


Green onions that go dark or take on a duller appearance are usually primed to spoil. While a darker appearance isn’t an indication of spoilage, it will give you an idea of the overall quality of the vegetable. 

If the vegetable doesn’t show obvious signs of spoilage, then you may still be able to use dulled green onions – just know that they won’t taste as great, though! 

Signs Of Spoilage

Now that you know how to check for warning signs, here are a few important factors to keep in mind that will help you spot spoilage!

Slimy Texture 

Once green onions wilt and dry up, they will be primed for bacterial growth. If left to store for longer, the bulb and leaves will begin to develop a distinctly slimy appearance. 

While the slime will not be that noticeable on the leafy part, it will begin to form a visible coating over the bulb. Visually, the bulb will take on a shinier appearance, and it will have a slippery texture. 

When this happens, you must discard the entire vegetable and clean the slime off any surface before storing other vegetables!

Change In Color 

While a duller or darker appearance doesn’t equate to spoilage, a sharp discoloration may point towards something even more sinister, like mold!

Green, gray, and white patches must be inspected closely as this type of growth may likely be mold. Check the patches for a fuzzy texture.

Mold usually grows erratically, so there won’t be any hallmark shape, but you will notice a haziness around the edges of the patch. 

If the vegetable is contaminated with mold, then you must discard it. Do not bother removing the mold — it may appear over the surface, but its spores will have already compromised the vegetable from the inside.

Foul Odor

This is another definitive sign of spoilage! If the green onions give off a foul smell, then this will indicate that they have gone bad.

When bacteria invade food, they begin to produce toxins and various other byproducts that eventually accumulate and cause a sulfur-like odor.

Needless to say, when this happens, the only course of action is to discard the vegetable and clean the surface where they were stored.

How To Store Green Onions

Storing green onions is easy and only requires you to follow a few basic storage best practices!

The first rule of storing green onions is to keep them away from moisture. 

A common mistake that many people make is that they clean the vegetable before storing them in the fridge.

Although we understand the intuitive need to keep clean produce in the fridge, in this case, cleaning the vegetable will only end up doing more harm than good.

Even if you pat them dry, the leaves will soak up some of the moisture and this will be enough to prime the green onions for spoilage!

Instead of washing the green onions, simply store them in a dry, airtight bag

If you have purchased the onions in bulk, then we highly recommend that you break them apart into smaller groups so that they can easily fit in the storage bag without overcrowding it.

The second rule is to maintain a stable temperature in the fridge and keep the vegetables in a separate drawer.

Green onions should only be kept at 40°F in the fridge. If kept properly, they will last about 3 weeks without losing much of their original quality.

Every traditional fridge has a crisper drawer that is specifically designed to store fresh produce. Instead of keeping the bagged green onions on the top shelf, move them into the crisper and make sure that the drawer is not jam-packed!

A full crisper drawer may cause an unwanted buildup of moisture — if the drawer has a separate ventilator cover, then make sure you open up the vents.

Also, avoid keeping green onions around fruits and vegetables that produce high levels of ethylene — this is a ripening hormone that is commonly found in several types of produce, like apples, bananas, pears, etc.

Typical Storage Life Of Green Onions

Green onions store well in various environments, but since this vegetable consists of a leafy stalk, you should try to consume it as soon as possible for maximum flavor and texture. 

We have already discussed how you can store them in the fridge for a maximum life of up to 21 days, but there is another way to push the shelf life even further. Green onions can also be frozen for up to 3–4 months! 

All you have to do is follow the same storage indications mentioned above, but instead of keeping the whole vegetable, you will need to chop it before storing it in a freezer-safe bag.

Chopped green onions will maintain their quality even if they thaw — it will also make it easier for you to use them directly in your recipes! Just add them frozen and cook them as required. 

If you need to thaw green onions, then we recommend defrosting them in the microwave. For the best results, try to thaw them naturally overnight by shifting the bag from the freezer to the fridge.

Consume thawed green onions within 24 hours and avoid refreezing. 

If you don’t plan to store the vegetable for that long, then you can even try storing them at room temperature. Just keep them wrapped in a paper towel and store the vegetable in a cool and dry place. 

Green onions will last about 3–4 days at room temperature.

In some conditions, they may even last up to 5 days, but we recommend that you begin to look for warning signs and signs of spoilage before consuming 4–5-day-old green onions. 

Here is a quick view of the storage life of green onions:

Storage TypeStorage Duration
Room Temperature2–4 days
Fridge (40°F)2–3 weeks
Freezer (0°F)3–4 months

Related Questions 

Green onions are extremely easy to store and you can maintain their crispy bulb and tender stalk by following a few simple best practices!

Now that you know how long they will last, here are some related questions we thought you might have.

Should you blanch green onions before freezing them?

No, green onions do not need to be blanched before freezing them. Just make sure that you keep them away from moisture or the vegetable might accumulate freezer-burn. 

For the best results, try to wrap them in a paper towel and then store them in a freezer-safe bag for maximum quality and shelf life.

How long do cooked green onions last? 

Cooked green onions will last about 2–3 days in the fridge. While you could push their shelf life to up to 4 days, we recommend that you consume them within 24 hours for the best flavor and texture.

You can also freeze dishes that contain cooked green onions for up to a few months. 

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