Does Onion Powder Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie
Does Onion Powder Go Bad

Onion powder is dehydrated, ground onion that can be made from red, white and yellow onions. The powder has salt and spice mixes that make it a great seasoning. 

Does onion powder go bad? Yes, onion powder does go bad. It is not like garlic powder, which lasts indefinitely as long as it’s protected. Onion powder will last about 3 to 4 years if kept in an airtight container and protected from moisture or the sun’s light. If you make fresh homemade onion powder, then it must be stored in the refrigerator. Homemade onion powder only lasts from 6 to 8 months. 

There are four ways to tell if the powder has gone bad: bugs inside the powder, if there’s moisture damage, a darker color, and if it has no smell and flavor.

How Long Does Onion Powder Last?

If you love onions, you’ll be happy to know that onion powder has a very long shelf life. As long as the onion powder is kept in an airtight container, it can easily last 3 to 4 years. Onion powder can even be eaten during its fifth year. 

So that means onion powder is great if you are making a long-term food storage kit. It lasts far longer than whole onions, and it tastes much better than onion oil. 

How Long Does Homemade Onion Powder Last?

All the freshly made onion powder is twice as intense as manufactured onion powder. It does not have the same shelf life. But it will last long enough to justify doing all that hard work and powdering the onion yourself.

Homemade onion powder kept in an airtight container will last 6 to 8 months, perhaps even a year. But you may not have to worry about keeping it for that long. Powdering a single onion doesn’t make that much onion powder, so it will be gone by the end of the month if you cook regularly.

How Long Does Onion Powder Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

ItemLength of time
Onion powder, grocery store3-4 years
Onion powder, fresh6-8 months

How to Know if Onion Powder Goes Bad

If it is well sealed, garlic powder will not go bad. But that does not apply to onion powder. Onion powder would expire even if it were not affected by moisture or air. Here are the signs you can watch for to see if your onion powder is expiring:

Bugs

No one should eat food that has been infested by bugs. So, when you spot a few disgusting white larvae crawling around in the onion powder, just throw it out.

Darker color

Onion powder that develops a darker color does so because the powder is oxidizing. This is also another way to see if there is water inside the container. Do not eat onion powder that has a dark color.

No smell or flavor

No smell or flavor is the most obvious sign that onion powder is no longer fit for consumption. Onions have an obvious strong smell and taste, so if there is no sign of either of these, the powder must be tossed. To test this correctly, take a pinch of onion powder and rub it between your hands. The warmth of your hands should bring out any lasting smell. If it does not smell like anything after the rubbing, it has probably expired.

Powder becomes hard

If you see hard clumps inside your onion powder container and are not breaking down easily if you hit the container against the table or counter, then don’t eat it anymore. Onion powder that clumps together and does not break apart is a sign that moisture has gotten into the container.

Also, onion powder that is contaminated by moisture will develop a darker color. If it is affected by moisture, there could be bacteria rolling in the powder, so it may not be safe to eat.

How to Store Onion Powder

Storing onion powder is just like storing garlic powder. It is best stored in a plastic or glass container and kept in a cupboard or pantry where it will not experience too much temperature change. It should also be kept away from exposure to light. The sun tends to bleach and damage everything it so shines on. So, it is likely to damage onion powder if it is kept in direct sunlight. 

If you purchase the type of onion powder that comes in a small baggie and does not have a seal to keep the air out, then place it in a small Ziplock bag. Leaving the onion powder in the small bag while it has a large hole will mean that it is unprotected from the air and from the many bugs that want to crawl inside and lay their eggs.

Or you can keep the onion powder in the bag and put it in the refrigerator. You can also add some tape over the hole, so the bag of onion powder is ready for storage in the pantry with the rest of the spices.

Making your homemade onion powder is great because the flavor is twice as strong. But you have to store it well because it does not last as long as a powder comes from the grocery store. Unlike manufactured onion powder, homemade onion powder must be kept in the refrigerator. But if there is no space in the refrigerator, it can also be placed in a cooler area than the rest of your kitchen. Cold temperatures will prevent the homemade onion powder from caking.

Onion powder also does well in the freezer, so feel free to freeze either grocery store or homemade powder If you have too much.

Conclusion

  • Onion powder is an extremely popular spice all around the world. Most of the cultures and cuisines on earth use some type of onion in their recipes.
  • Unlike garlic powder, onion powder will expire. 
  • Do not leave a small bag of garlic powder unprotected. seal up the hole with tape, place it in a Ziplock bag, or put it in the fridge.
  • Onion powder, which is purchased from the grocery store, can last two to three years.
  • Onion powder is best stored with your other spices in an airtight container.
  • If you make homemade garlic powder, it has to be stored in the refrigerator or in a cooler area than room temperature.
  • Fresh onion powder lasts about six to eight months in the cold.
  • The cool temperature prevents the fresh onion powder from caking.
  • If there are hard clumps in the onion powder, the moisture has seeped in and destroyed it, and you cannot use it.
  • Also, do not use onion powder that has lost its flavor and taste.

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