If you’re stocking up on pickled onions, it’s crucial to know how long you can keep them in your fridge or pantry until they go bad. This is especially true if you’re making pickled onions yourself.
Otherwise, you could end up losing a ton of pickled onions to spoilage. More than that, you could accidentally consume spoiled pickled onions without knowing it, or worse—feed them to other people by mistake!
So, the question is: how long do pickled onions last, exactly?
Short Answer: Pickled onions can last a very long time with proper storage. Nevertheless, they will still go bad eventually.
Sit back as we concisely uncover:
- How long do pickled onions last, exactly?
- How can you make them last longer?
- How to tell if your pickled onions should be thrown out.
- And all the frequently asked questions about it.
Are you ready to find the answer!
Let’s get started!
- How Long Do Pickled Onions Last?
- How Can You Make Pickled Onions Last Longer?
- How to Tell if Your Pickled Onions Has Gone Bad
How Long Do Pickled Onions Last?
The shelf life of pickled onions largely depends on how they were prepared. Pickled onions that have been prepared quickly and kept in a jar last around 2 to 4 weeks in the fridge.
Vacuum-sealed pickled onions can last up to 2 years at room temperature. However, the shelf life of vacuum-sealed pickled onions drops to about a month once you open them.
How long pickled onions last also depends on whether they are homemade or not. Homemade pickled onions last for about 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge once opened, while store-bought pickled onions can last up to 2 to 3 months in the same conditions because they contain more preservatives.
So, in general:
- Opened, homemade pickled onions in the fridge – 2 to 4 weeks
- Unopened, homemade, vacuum-sealed pickled onions in the pantry – 2 years
- Opened, store-bought pickled onions in the fridge – 2 to 3 months
- Unopened, store-bought pickled onions in the pantry – 2 years
How Can You Make Pickled Onions Last Longer?
Pickled onions last longer when kept in the right conditions. Homemade pickled onions that don’t go through typical preservation methods (etc. boiling the jars, vacuum-sealing) last the longest in the refrigerator since they are more prone to bacterial growth.
Keep your homemade pickled onions in an airtight jar to maintain their freshness for as long as possible. To prevent bacterial growth, always make sure to use a clean utensil to take pickled onions out of the jar.
If you want your homemade pickled onions to last longer, consider vacuum-sealing your jars. When done right, the vacuum sealing process can extend your pickles’ shelf life to 2 years (in the pantry).
For store-bought pickled onions, the best way to store them is to place them in a cool, dry place like the pantry. Once they are opened, keep them in the fridge at all times to extend their freshness. (*)
Another great way to extend the shelf life of pickled onions is by freezing them. You can do this for both homemade and store-bought pickled onions.
Frozen pickled onions can last up to 6 to 12 months. Once thawed, they should be eaten within 2 to 3 weeks.
How to Tell if Your Pickled Onions Has Gone Bad
There are several tell-tale signs that can tell you that it’s time to throw your pickled onions out. To avoid accidentally eating bad pickled onions, here are the things that you should look out for:
1. Pungent Smell
Fermentation is common for pickled vegetables, but there is a clear difference between the normal sour smell of pickled vegetables vs. the foul smell of bacteria.
So, when the smell of your pickled onions goes from a sharp vinegary sourness to something rancid, it is a sign that harmful bacteria are present. (*) As soon as you smell something off in your pickled onions, throw them out as soon as possible.
Mold on any type of food is never a good thing. It is especially dangerous for pickled onions, which are eaten as they are (without cooking).
That said, throw out the entire jar once you see even the smallest bit of mold in your pickled onions.
3. Change in Taste
If you don’t see any discoloration or smell a foul odor from your pickled onions, then chances are, they are still good to eat. However, if you detect a strange taste from your pickled onions, it’s probably a sign of spoilage.
Spoiled pickled onions can taste bitter or bland. So, if you take a bite and either taste bitterness or nothing at all, it’s time to throw the entire jar into the trash.
1. Can you eat pickled onions past their expiry date?
If the jar is unopened and has been kept in ideal conditions, then you can probably still eat them a few months past their expiry date. However, make sure to look for signs of spoilage first, such as mold, discoloration, and a rancid odor.
2. What happens when you freeze pickled onions?
Freezing pickled onions can extend their shelf life up to a year. However, freezing can degrade the quality of their texture and taste.
3. Can expired-pickled onions make you sick?
Yes, there is a possibility of expired pickled onions making you sick. If you accidentally eat pickled onions that have gone bad, you could get food poisoning.
Most cases of food poisoning will usually include vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite. In worst cases, food poisoning can lead to severe dehydration and high-grade fevers.
So, how long do pickled onions last?
As you can see, the shelf life of pickled onions varies depending on how it is made and stored. In general, opened pickled onions last around 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge (longer if they are store-bought), while unopened pickled onions can stay stable for as long as 2 years at room temperature.
Knowing how long your pickled onions are safe to eat is crucial for food safety. The same goes for recognizing the signs of spoilage.
After all, pickled onions should make your meal even tastier—not give you a bad stomachache!
If you want to learn more about food, cooking, and food safety, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.