Does Fennel Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Does Fennel Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Fennel is a wonderful onion-like plant that is full of flavor. Fennel has a high source of vitamin C, a healthy amount of manganese, and it contains potassium and calcium. But a healthy nutritional spectrum is not the only benefit of using and eating fennel. They don’t have two distinct flavors, and they come out during different parts of the cooking process. 

Uncooked fennel is known for its licorice flavor, but cooked fennel is better known for its mild savory flavor.

Does fennel go bad? Yes, fennel does go bad. Depending on the form of fennel you have, it can go bad in 5 days, or it can last indefinitely until it loses its flavor and smell. Fennel leaves last about 12 days in the refrigerator if they are stored in a plastic Ziplock with a damp paper towel inside. Otherwise, they will only last 5 to 7 days. 

A fennel bulb will last for 5 days at room temperature and 7-14 days in the refrigerator. Fennel seeds will last indefinitely or until they lose their flavor and smell. The average container of fennel seeds usually expires within 2-3 years. 

Not many people know what fennel is or how to use it. But by not knowing the flavors and uses of fennel, they miss out on a wonderful vegetable and herb that is part of the onion family. The bulbs, leaves, and seeds are all extremely nutritious. 

How Long Does Fennel Last?

Depending on what you buy, certain fennel products can last from 2 days to 3 years. The full fennel bulb and the plant will decompose the fastest, while the fennel seeds will last a long time. 

Fresh Fennel Leaves

From the moment you bring home a packet of fresh fennel leaves, you must quickly place them in the fridge to ensure that they last as long as possible. They do not have a long shelf life. Fresh fennel leaves will last about 12 days if they are stored correctly. 

If you leave fennel leaves out with your onions and potatoes, do not expect them to be usable in 5 days. Fresh fennel leaves will barely last 2 days if they are not kept cold. 

If the fennel leaves are from your private garden, they may last between 14-15 days. Their longer shelf life is because they don’t have to be transported and sit on the market shelf. 

Fennel Seeds

Little effort is required to store fennel seeds properly. Just keep them in a glass or plastic container and put them in your pantry. If they come in a small bag, place the bag in a Ziplock bag to protect them from air and bugs.

Fennel seeds last a very long time. If stored properly, they can last indefinitely or until they lose their flavor and taste. This usually happens around me to the 3-year mark. But as long as there are no bugs inside the container and the fennel seeds retain their flavor, you can still use them in your daily cooking. 

Fennel Bulbs

How long the entire fennel bulb plant lasts depends on how you store it. If it is stored at room temperature in the kitchen with the other vegetables, it will last for 5 days. Compared to regular onions and potatoes, that’s not a lot of time.

But its expiration date can be prolonged to 7-14 days if it is stored in the fridge. Fennel that is in the fridge lasts up to two weeks. 

How Long Does Fennel Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Item Length of time
Fennel seeds 2-3 years, indefinitely
Fennel bulb 5 days
Fennel bulb, fridge 7-14 days
Fennel leaves 2 days
Fennel leaves, fridge 14-15 days

How to Know if Fennel has Gone Bad

You will know right away if a fennel bulb or fennel leaves have gone bad because their color will begin to change, they will smell rotten and they will begin to soften. If fennel bulbs are only soft, they can still be used, they’re just not as fresh and don’t have as much flavor. But if they smell bad, then don’t use them.

Never use fennel seeds if they have bugs inside the container or if you can see that there’s moisture in the container as well. It may look like just water, but moisture can also create a breeding ground for bacteria.

If the fennel seeds look fine but just have no flavor or taste, try warming them up in some oil. That may release any flavors that are left in old fennel seeds.

How to Store Fennel

If you purchase or harvest a whole fennel bulb and plant, then it can be stored with your onions on the counter at room temperature, or you can place it in the fridge. Just make sure no bugs are crawling around your kitchen, or else they will be all over the fennel.

Prepackaged fennel seeds are easy to store. To do this, keep the seeds in the container they came in from the grocery store and place them in the cupboard or pantry or wherever you keep your spices. Fennel seeds, like all other spices, should not be exposed directly to sunlight.

The heat from the sun’s light can raise the fennel seeds container’s temperature and ruin the seeds. To protect the fennel from the sunlight, you can place the seeds in a completely covered container. But you can also put them in a cupboard and keep the door closed.

Fresh fennel leaves and bulbs: leaving fennel leaves at room temperature will ensure that they rot quickly, so they must be stored in the refrigerator.

To store fresh fennel leaves in the refrigerator, wrap a few leaves in individual paper towels and place them in a ziplock bag. Then put them in the vegetable drawer or somewhere where heavier objects cannot smash them. The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture, so the leaves won’t rot as fast. You don’t have to store fennel bulbs in ziplock bags, just place it in the vegetable crisper.


  • The fennel plant is a type of onion that has many unique and interesting flavors, including licorice.
  • You can buy three types of fennel: fennel bulbs, fennel seeds, and fennel leaves.
  • Fennel leaves only last two days at room temperature, but they will last up to 15 days in the refrigerator.
  • While fennel leaves are in the fridge, they must be stored in damp paper towels and Ziploc bags.
  • Fennel seeds can last two to three years, or they can last indefinitely.
  • The fennel bulb the last five days at room temperature and seven days in the refrigerator.
  • Fennel bulb and fennel leaves how come that if they are soft and they smell terrible.
  • Assume fennel seeds are not fit for consumption if moisture is in the container or bugs are crawling around the seeds.