Do Pickling Onions Go Bad?

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Pickling onions are delicious and crunchy forms of onions eaten worldwide. They are prepared by soaking fresh onions in vinegar and sugar syrup. Pickling onions add to the delight of many dishes. They have a unique tangy flavor.

Pickling onions make an amazing addition to salads, burgers, and sandwiches. Do pickling onions go bad? How will you confirm if they have gone bad? If any such questions pop up in your mind, you have come to the right place.

How to Store Pickling Onions?

Pickling onions are available in canned forms but can also be prepared at home. Vinegar acts as a good preservative and keeps the onions fresh for a long. If stored correctly, pickling onions usually maintain long shelf life.

When buying canned onions, always note the best before date to protect your onions from early spoilage. There are various methods to store pickling onions. The most common methods are discussed as follows.

Away from sunlight

Pickling onions should always be stored away from direct sunlight and heat. If exposed to heat, they tend to go bad because of bacterial growth occurring at high temperatures.

Store on the kitchen counter

It is preferable to store the pickling onions in a cool and dark place. A corner counter of your kitchen can be utilized to keep the onion jars safe for long.


Refrigeration is the best method for the long-term storage of pickling onions. As cold temperatures are favorable for storage, the onions do well in the refrigerator.

You should always keep your onions in a tight jar or an air-tight container before refrigeration. In this way, they stay fresh for long and can be used whenever desired.

The canned varieties of pickled onions are also safely stored in the refrigerator. The best before date should always be checked before using the stored pickling onions.

Can you Freeze Pickling Onions?

Yes, you can. As for all other vegetables, freezing is an efficient method to prolong the shelf life of the pickling onions. Once frozen, you can use the pickling onions after thawing them for a few minutes.

Although frozen onions maintain long shelf life, they lose some of their crunchiness if stored for long. If you want to freeze your pickling onions, you need to follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Divide your pickling onions into portions according to your choice.
  • Place the portions in Zip-lock plastic bags or air-tight jars.
  • Tighten the lid of the jars or seal the plastic bags to avoid air entry into the onions.
  • Add a label denoting the amount and time of storage for your ease.
  • Place your onions at a suitable place in the freezer
  • Freezing pickling onions yields the best results if you wish for long-term storage. You can safely store them for 2-3 years in your freezers.

How Long Do Pickling Onions Last?

The shelf life of pickling onions depends upon the method of storage. Some methods can only be used for short-term storage. They usually have a long shelf life if stored correctly.

If stored on the kitchen counter, they maintain their freshness for about 1-3 months. However, they maintain a shelf life of 2-3 months if stored carefully in the refrigerator. Canned onions last comparatively longer than homemade pickled onions. While storing canned onions, don’t forget to check their best before date.

In the freezer, the shelf life of pickled onions increases remarkably. They maintain their freshness and quality for 2-3 years. This serves a great benefit as they can easily be saved for another season.

How to Tell if Pickling Onions have Gone Bad?

Although pickling onions maintain good shelf life, they tend to go bad if not stored properly. Any imbalance in the required temperature conditions can spoil them. If you have not stored them by the correct methods, you might get in trouble.

There are some obvious indications which help you confirm that your pickling onions have gone bad. Keep a check on your onions to look for these signs.

  • If your pickling onions have gone bad, they tend to discolorize and appear rusty.
  • Molds may grow into the onions and destroy their texture.
  • They may give an unpleasant smell due to mold growth
  • If the onions appear soft and mushy in contrast to their crunchy texture, they have probably gone bad
  • Finally, pickling onion loses its tangy flavor ongoing bad.

If you notice any of such signs, you should discard your onions at the earliest. Using spoiled onions in your recipes can lead to a disaster.

Pickling onions are a delicious ingredient for many recipes. They are an excellent choice whenever you crave tangy and sweet food. Pickling onions can be stored easily but require some care. If you store them well, you can enjoy their long-lasting benefits.