How Long Do Green Onions Last and How to Tell if They’re Bad?

Here’s all you need to know about the shelf life and spoilage of green onions. Learn how long green onions last, how to store them, and how to tell if one is spoiled.

Bought a bunch of green onions and worried they’ll spoil before you get to them? How long do green onions last in the fridge?

Or maybe yours already have been in storage for quite some time and look iffy, and you’d like to know how to tell if green onions are bad.

If either sounds familiar, this article is for you.

Let’s jump right in.


Green onions are the same thing as scallions. The name you’re familiar with depends on where you live. I use both interchangeably.

Green onions in hand

How Long Do Green Onions Last?

Green onions, wrapped in plastic1 – 2 weeks
Green onions, wrapped in moist paper towel and sealed in freezer bag2 – 3 weeks
Green onions, chopped3 – 4 days

Green onions last about 7 to 14 days when wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. You can extend that period by about a week by wrapping green onions with a damp paper towel and sealing in a freezer bag. Cutting the onions in half to fit the bag is okay.

That’s how long, approximately, scallions last.

If you simply leave them in the bag they come in and chuck them in the fridge, they’ll most likely retain quality for about a week, maybe up to 10 days.

If you take a moment and make sure they sit in a reasonably humid place, say in the veggie drawer, they can last up to two weeks.

Scrambled eggs with green onions

Of course, the storage time depends on the veggie quality, so if your scallions didn’t look that great from the get-go, they’ll probably only keep for a couple of days.

If you need to store yours for longer, wrapping them in a moist (not wet) paper towel and sealing them tightly help. A similar trick works for storing chives, too.

(As you can tell, regular onions last noticeably longer than green onions, and they don’t require refrigeration.)

Cut green onions
Cut green onions last about 4 days if sealed tightly in the fridge

Do Green Onions Need to Be Refrigerated?

You don’t have to refrigerate green onions, but doing so helps to prolong their storage time to 10 to 14 days, or even longer if you wrap them in a moist paper towel. If you leave green onions at room temperature, they’ll keep for only a few days and rapidly lose quality.

Technically speaking, it’s not a must to keep scallions in the fridge, but leaving them on the counter limits their storage time quite noticeably.

So if you’re going to use them the same day you buy them, or maybe the day after, leaving them out of the fridge is probably going to be okay. Otherwise, it’s a bad idea.

Green onion bulbs

How to Store Green Onions

The easiest way to store green onions is to simply place them in the fridge in whatever form you got them.

The ideal environment for green onions is 32°F (or 0°C) and a high relative humidity of 95% or more.

So if your scallions were wrapped in plastic, place them on one of the shelves in the back. This way, they stay in a cold place (instead of sitting near the door, where it’s warmer), and the wrap helps them retain moisture.

If the bundle wasn’t wrapped, going with the veggie drawer is a much better idea. That’s because that space is usually quite humid, and without a wrap, green onions lose moisture (and quality) quite quickly.

Now, if you want to go the extra mile to get that extra week I mentioned earlier, you should wrap your green onions with a moist paper towel and seal them in a resealable bag.

That paper towel (or towels) should be only slightly moist, spritzed once or twice with a little water, that’s all. The towel shouldn’t be wet, as that might speed up spoilage.

(Green onions benefit from little misting, not having water drops on the surface.)

A wet paper towel combined with a bag helps scallions retain water for much longer, extending the shelf life by about a week.

When it comes to storing chopped green onions, use an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Sliced green onions in an airtight container
Sliced green onions in an airtight container

Next up, let’s talk about spoilage.

How to Tell if a Green Onion Is Bad?

Discard a green onion if:

  • It’s soft, wilted, discolored (translucent or darkened), or mushy. All of these are signs of water loss, and at a certain point, the whole onion, meaning the underdeveloped bulb and the leaf, is useless. Of course, if only a specific leaf section is soft or water-soaked, you can cut it off and use the rest.
  • It’s moldy. Too much moisture and some mold spores in the area where you store green onions, and you might end up with a moldy bunch. That said, water loss is by far the most common reason one might have to toss scallions.

If you notice anything else that seems off or odd, trust your gut and toss the onions. Or, at the very least, cut off the affected part of the leaf or bulb. Better safe than sorry.

Here’s a green onion that has started to rapidly lose water:

Green onion losing water
Green onion losing water – cut out the part that looks dry

If you stored it for a few more days, it would look like this:

Slimy green onion
Slimy green onion – that part is no good

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