Do Shallots Go Bad?

You heard shallots add flavor to cooked dishes, so you’ve bought a bunch. A couple of weeks later, half of them are still in storage, and you’re thinking: do shallots go bad?

Shallots indeed help add flavor to many cooked dishes, and are one of the favorite ingredients for both chefs and amateur cooks alike. And if you wanted to up your cooking game and bought a bunch of shallots, that’s perfectly understandable.

If you lack knowledge when it comes to basics such as storage, shelf life, and signs of spoilage, the best time to fix that is now. And this article is here to help you with precisely that.

How To Store Shallots

A shallot is a type of onion (WIKI), and it’s often called a “small onion” because of how it looks.

First and foremost, you should store shallots in a cool and dry location ([ISD]), and allow the bulbs to breathe. That’s why shallots are often sold in mesh bags, which are ideal when it comes to well-vented packaging.

Tip

No matter where you keep your shallots, make sure they don’t sit near ethylene-producing fruits or veggies like apples, bananas, or tomatoes. This gas speeds up the ripening process, and we don’t want the vegetables to spoil prematurely.

When it comes to where shallots should sit, the fridge is the best choice, as the ideal storage temperature is 32 to 40°F (or 0 to 4°C).

That said, I know lots of people store shallots in the pantry or a cabinet in the kitchen (me included). That storage location works quite well unless you live in a warm climate, or it’s the middle of a hot summer and you don’t have AC. If that’s the case, go with the fridge.

Of course, keeping shallots in the pantry or kitchen shortens their shelf life, but it’s still relatively long.

Tip

Unless you’ve bought a ton of shallots, or plan to save them for a month or more, room temperature is usually okay for storage.

Once you’ve peeled and sliced or diced the shallots, they belong in the fridge in an airtight container.

A couple of shallots
Image used under Creative Commons from Ruth Hartnup

How Long Do Shallots Last

When it comes to the shelf life of shallots, it depends heavily on storage conditions, and the temperature is probably the crucial factor.

If you keep the shallots at room temperature or slightly below, they can last up to a month. As I already mentioned, if your “room temperature” is quite high, like 77°F (25°C) or higher, that period will be closer to two weeks, or even less.

When it comes to shallots that you refrigerate, they can last even up to 6 months (WIKI), but I think three months is a safer and more realistic period. Hardly anyone keeps shallots for that long, anyway.

If you’re prepping shallots ahead of time, you can keep them for about a week in the fridge. That means you can prepare them on the weekend and use them throughout the week with no problem.

PantryFridge
Fresh shallotsup to 1 month3+ months
Cut or diced shallots7 to 10 days

Please note these periods are only estimates.

Farmer slicing shallots
(credit: v2osk)

How To Tell If Shallots Are Bad?

Finding out if your shallots are okay to eat or not is easy. You follow the same process you use for other veggies. First off, if the bulb is not obviously spoiled, you remove the dry outer leaves. Then you look out for:

  • Signs of rot, any dark patches, or mold. If present, discard the bulb. Mold is most probable on prepped shallots sitting in the fridge.
  • Changes in texture. If the bulb is soft, mushy, or is oozing liquid, it’s time for it to go.
  • Off smell. It’s not typical for the “small onions” to smell off or funny, but if they do, you know what you need to do.

Sources