How Long Are Yellow Onions Good For 15 Types of Onions That Store Well

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In This Article

  • Onions That Store Well
  • Growing Storage Onions
  • Storing Onions
  • Preserve Onions

Planning to grow onions in your garden or to stock up on onions at the farmer’s market while they’re in season? If you want your onions to keep for months, it’s important to select storage onions. These are heirloom or hybrid onion varieties that have proven to hold up well under long-term storage.

Also referred to as keeping onions, these onions typically have thicker outer skins, a higher sulfur content, and a lower water content than most other onions. If you’ve ever chopped an onion that irritated your eyes more than usual, you were probably working with a good keeping onion. It’s all that extra sulfur that was to blame for your reaction. So, which onions are good keepers? Let’s look at some options:

Onions That Store Well

Yellow Onions

  • Bridger
  • Copra
  • Cortland
  • Patterson
  • Pontiac
  • Talon
  • Yellow Globe (includes heirloom and hybrid varieties)
  • Yellow Sweet Spanish

White Onions

  • Southport White Globe (heirloom)
  • Stuttgarter (heirloom)
  • White Sweet Spanish

Red Onions

  • Brunswick (heirloom)
  • Red Bull
  • Red Creole (heirloom) (short-day)
  • Red Wind

Choosing Which Storage Onion to Grow

Most storage onions are long-day varieties, meaning they require 14 hours or more of sunlight to grow properly. Because of this, they are best suited to being grown in northern states. If you live in the south, choose a short-day variety, like Red Bull. You’ll be much happier with the results.

As you can see from the list, there are far more yellow storage onions to choose from than red or white, but it’s certainly possible to grow a mix. Since some storage onions have a longer storage life than others, so many gardeners opt to grow a variety of keeping onions; then, they simply use the ones with the shortest storage life first. This is a smart way to ensure that you’ll have plenty of onions to take you through to next year’s harvest.

Start your onions as soon as the ground is workable, so they’re well established before the hot weather sets in. A good rule of thumb is to plant your onions outdoors when you’re starting the rest of your seeds indoors.

Storing Onions

How you store your onions is just as important as choosing the right onions to store. Homegrown onions need to be cured before they’re put up for the winter. This is a simple process, whereby the onion skins are allowed to dry and harden. Here are complete instructions for curing onions.

Once your onions have cured, choose a cool, dry, dark place to store them. A location at 40 to 45 F is ideal. This method of storing your onions allows for good air circulation. If you have a large harvest, they can also be stored in mesh bags or braids.

Do not store your onions near your potatoes. They each emit a gas that causes the other one to sprout and spoil faster. Those wooden boxes that are made to store onions and potatoes in the same container are a bad idea. So is storing your onions in the refrigerator. The damp environment will shorten their storage life and make them prone to mold. Green onions are the only exception. They can be stored in the fridge with good results.

For the best flavor, avoid storing your onions in an area where they’ll be exposed to light. This is likely to make them bitter over time.

Most storage onions last at least 8 months, but some can last up to 12 months. Inspect your onions regularly, and use up any soft ones first. Discard any that show signs of mold or rot, so that other onions aren’t affected.

More Ways to Store/Preserve Onions

If you had a particularly wet growing season, your onions probably aren’t going to keep very well no matter what you do. To ensure your onions don’t go bad before you have a chance to use them, you may find it’s best to chop and freeze them instead of storing them. 

Drying your onions is another great way to preserve their quality. Learn how to make onion powder and onion salt, and you’ll have two fewer things to buy for your pantry.

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Onions – What's the Difference?

What is the difference between types of onion? Bulb onions, like red, white, sweet, and yellow onions are similar, but with subtle differences. All onions can be eaten raw, or cooked, but some are better suited for specific culinary uses. For detailed onion information, visit this page on my website For recipe ideas, check out the Chef Buck playlist:
and to print all recipes visit my website at

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Yellow Onions:
Strongest flavor
Great for soups, stews, roasting, and sauces
Best for long cooking times.
Most popular onion (more than 80% of onions grown are yellow onions…so often economically the best buy)
High in sulphur and sugar content, so best for caramelizing
Also called brown onions

Sweet Onions:
Strong flavor
Great for roasting dishes, frying (onion rings!)
Are generally named for the region they are grown.
Examples include the Vidalia, the Walla Walla, and Bermuda onions.
They are high in sugar, but contain less sulphur than yellow onions.
Good for caramelizing and cooking.
They have a high water content and a relatively shorter shelf-life.
To extend the onion, wrap in a paper towel and store in the refrigerator

Red Onions:
Milder flavor
Best onion for raw applications
Excellent for slicing thin and adding to salads or sandwiches
Great for pickling
Best for Grilling
Lower sugar and sulphur makes them poor for caramelizing

White Onions:
Strong flavor
Great for cooking, and raw uses
Thinner onion layers, crisp
Favored onion for salsas, chutneys, guacamole, and most Latin recipes
Best pizza topping

When buying, choose onions that are firm, and heavy for their size. Avoid onions that are bruised or showing signs of mold. Store onions in a well ventilated, dry, cool area. Do not store onions with potatoes–this will reduce their shelf-life. Sweet onions are highest in water content and will spoil more quickly than dryer onions; to extend life, wrap a sweet onion in a paper towel and store in the fridge.

Cut onions when you are ready to use them. Onion flavor intensifies quickly after being cut, and once cut, can become overly strong over a short period (old onions!–blech!)

Nutritionally, onions are awesome. Onions provide vitamin C and valuable nutrients, are high in fiber, lower the risk of some cancers, promote heart health, and act as an anti-inflammatory. The greatest concentration of nutrition is in the outer layer of the onion, so peel away as little of the onion as possible when using–why waste it?

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