If part of the onion is bad can you eat the rest? (+3 things to consider)

In this article, we will answer the question “If part of the onion is bad can you eat the rest?”, and how to tell if an onion is bad along with the safe storage methods for onions.

If part of the onion is bad can you eat the rest?

Yes, if part of the onion is bad, you can eat the rest of it. You may have come across a rotting onion that is partly firm and fresh while a small portion of it has started to rot, you may not necessarily want to discard it. Read on if you bought the onions in bulk and want to know how to store onions in a way that prevents spoilage and rot.

Do onions go bad and how to tell?

Yes, onions go bad and only quicker when stored improperly. There may be different ways to identify spoiling onions and it depends on whether the onion was whole or cut, peeled or not, and varies with the onion type.

The worst-case scenario is mushy and soft onions, which is an indication of rotting and happens only if onions have been in direct contact with water.

Whole onions

Whole onions, if kept for too long in the storage, begin to germinate and develop long and slender green stems. In this case, the onion will start to wither developing wrinkled and rubbery outer leaves. The outer leaves can be removed to eat the rest of the firm onion.

The sprouted onion is also edible in most cases. In the case of immature stems, they taste bitter and are not a pleasant addition to your food.

Cut onions

Cut onions will go bad once they start giving off a foul odor and develop a slimy texture. The spoilage is quick due to an increased surface area. Therefore it is recommended to refrigerate sliced or chopped onions tightly covered in the plastic wraps.

However, the rule of thumb is, a bad onion would have a discolored appearance and/or darkened and soft spots.

Mold growth 

Soot like patches on onion is a clear sign of mold growth. This happens due to contamination from the soil and improper storage conditions that favor these bacteria to multiply. 

It is recommended to remove these black pathy areas and store the onion in the fridge after proper rinsing.

However, if the mold continues to the inside of the onion, discard it.

A white liquid is often seen coming out from an onion when it is being cut. This liquid is either considered poisonous or the onion is labeled moldy. But this may not be the case. This liquid is the onion’s natural water and is safe to consume.

Does eating bad onions make you sick?

Eating a bad onion might not have any serious effects. Your stomach might act up a little and obviously, it will taste bad. But food poisoning from eating a bad onion is a rare case.

Other FAQs about Onions which you may be interested in.

How to store sliced onions?

How long does a cut onion last?

How to store onions safely?

Always keep the following things in mind when storing onions.


Keep your onions in a cool and dry place if you want them to preserve their freshness. However, in the case of green onions, the cold temperature of the fridge is recommended due to higher water content. 

But in the case of white onions, the cold temperature of the fridge will turn its starch into sugars and the onions develop a leathery and withered appearance. White onions kept at 60-70°F is the ideal temperature.


High humidity will spoil your onions by favoring the mold and bacterial growth. Go for a pantry instead of a basement or cellar to avoid getting your onions to come in contact with moisture.


Keep the onions in the original netted bags that they came in. You can also store them in baskets, solid container without covering, or a paper bag by poking holes into it. 

The purpose is to allow as much air as possible to pass through the onions and prevent mold issues.

Do not pile up your onions too much to avoid the development of bruises or soft spots on the onions at the bottom pile because of the weight of onions on the top.

The shelf-life of onions

In the pantryIn the refrigerator
Whole onions8-12 weeks4-8 weeks
Cut onionsNot recommendedUp to a week
Cooked onionsNot recommended2-3 days


In this article, we answered the question ‘If part of the onion is bad can you eat the rest?”, and how to tell if an onion is bad along with the safe storage methods for onions.