Can You Freeze Whole Onions?

Last updated on July 18th, 2022 at 11:35 pm

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Onions… they make my eyes water and my nose run! They permeate the air and cause those around you to take a step back and reassess if they wish to enter the room. 

They also add delicious taste to any soup, or baked chicken dish! They can be added to meatloaf (YUMMY!), green bean casserole, and baked vegetable sides. 

They can be a topping for juicy hamburgers or delicious BLT sandwiches. Onions are used in homeopathic remedies and sometimes can be used to give you different health benefits. 

But if you plant a garden and have an overabundance of onions, what do you do with them? If you have a big upright or chest freezer, can you freeze onions? If so, what is the process? What about if you have a whole onion, can you just freeze a whole onion?

You can definitely freeze onions, and cooked onions can be frozen without any issues but if you are wanting to freeze a whole onion bulb you must blanch it first. 

What is blanching? It is the process of cooking a fruit or a vegetable in boiling water and then you drench it in cold water or give it an ice bath. 

There are several very helpful purposes in blanching, especially with an onion. It washes away the dirt that may be stuck in-between the grooves. It also gets rid of potential organisms that are harmful to consume. 

Blanching also brightens the colors of the vegetables and slows the process of losing the essential vitamins and minerals. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

If you want to freeze onions that are chopped, then that is best for soups, or added into a meat mixture as they can lose their shape and possibly turn mushy. They’re still delicious. 

They just need to be used in a way that they don’t necessarily need to keep their shape, just taste good! You don’t need to blanch them if they’re chopped and frozen in freezer bags.

If you have a way to cut onions without the need to cry, please let me know! That’s the only downside to onions that I see. Otherwise, freezing onions as a whole or chopped is a very easy process and can bring great results to your future cooking endeavors. 

Whether you are saving onions for an easier meal in the future, found a sale and decided to stock up on onions, or you grew an abundance of onions and now have no idea what to do with them, you now know you can freeze onions whole. 

I grew up with a mother who loved to freeze food. She had a huge chest freezer that she would use to keep everything she got in. 

She would often find great sales on fresh produce and bring it home. She would then proceed to chop them up and put them in double freezer bags. 

Then she would clearly label what each bag held. 

After that, she would place them in the freezer. She used the frozen produce especially during the winter for casseroles, chilis, or my personal favorite meatloaf. 

By having it ready, it made future meals easier by simply dumping what she had together to make a meal.

Now, people always knew that my mom could use any and all food that was available. Because of this knowledge, people would constantly be giving my mother food which she would then use to make future meals for families who had a member in the hospital, new mothers, or bereavement meals. 

She would also often help in the kitchen in our church and make meals for different functions. Cooking became a specialty she was known for. 

She was given tons of meat and different products which she could then use to feed her large family or to be a blessing to others.

With all the cooking that my mom did, and the different foods that she froze she learned a lot about freezing veggies and she helped me by passing on that knowledge too. 

How Long Do Onions Last in the Freezer?

Freezing vegetables is a great way to make sure you always have the vegetables you need even when they are not in season. It is also a great way to make sure you have everything you need right when you need it so you don’t have to keep rushing to a store to get something that you forgot. 

It takes little prep work, but will give you long lasting results that will ease your mind as you prepare a future meal. 

As you prepare your freezer with different fruits and vegetables, you always want to mark the date so you can determine when it’s expired. Now, specifically what about onions? 

Just freezing onions is a whole process to begin with. Whether you decide to freeze a whole bulb or chop your onions into small pieces for easier access is its own dilemma. 

If you freeze a whole onion bulb, then you need to blanch it first. If you chop the onion up into small pieces, then you don’t have to blanch it. Whichever you decide, know that you can freeze onions.

But how long do onions last in the freezer? Do they even have an expiration date if you do decide to freeze the onions? 

First, you must decide if you wish to freeze the onions raw or cook them first. Each method has its own expiration date in the freezer. 

Raw onions will last about 8 months in the freezer while cooked onions will last up to 12 months. Of course this is assuming that you store them properly. 

If you wish to keep your onions raw you should place them in either a freezer bag, air tight container, or just wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then they can last inside the freezer for 8 months without being considered too old or expired. 

If you decide to cook your onions, you should again keep them inside an airtight container or a freezer bag, then they can last 12 months in the freezer! 

That is a 4 month difference in how long an onion can be frozen in a freezer. Whichever you decide, those are the expiration dates that are currently being recommended.

Personally I don’t like using aluminum foil or plastic wrap as they can possibly cause freezer burn or tons of ice around your onion making it super soggy when you try to thaw them out. That’s just my experience though. 

Using a thawed out onion isn’t always a favorite though. They tend to lose their crispness and lose their shape as well. They may still taste great, but you won’t find them to be as they were before they were frozen. 

Frozen onions are best used in soups, stews, and casseroles. Those dishes don’t necessarily need the onions to keep their shape, they just need the taste to be added. 

Since they will be used in a recipe, it may also be helpful that when you mark the dates on the packaging, you also add how much is inside its package. For instance, say if it’s 1 cup of chopped onion, 2 onion bulbs, 1 onion circle. You get the idea. 

It’ll help you when you add it to any future meals you plan.

Whether you decide to freeze raw onions or cooked onions, just remember the difference in the expiration dates of each type. Raw onions are able to be frozen for up to 8 months. Cooked onions may be in the freezer for up to 12 months. 

Make sure you clearly mark the dates on the packaging to show when you need to use it by! Also don’t forget to write the amount of onion in the package. 

It’ll save you a little bit of work later on.

If you see a big sale at the store or the farmers market and decide to freeze a ton of onions, or if you just have too many onions to know what to do with them, there is the option to freeze your unused onions and you have many months to use them. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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