Can You Store Potatoes and Onions Together?

Here's why it's not the best idea.

Full Frame Shot Of Onions And Potatoes
Photo: Cristiano Almeida / EyeEm via Getty Images

Potatoes and onions have a fair amount in common: They're infrequently the star of a dish, but play stellar supportive roles in everything from pot roasts to casseroles. Onion bulbs and potato tubers both flourish underground, meaning that the vegetables require similar storage conditions — cool, dark, and ventilated environments — and they fare much better on a counter than in the fridge.

However, just because onions and potatoes prefer the same conditions doesn't mean they make good neighbors. In fact, storing the vegetables together will shorten both of their shelf lives.

Can You Store Potatoes and Onions Together?

Storing potatoes and onions together isn't the best idea. Onions produce a high level of ethylene gas, which will cause potatoes to ripen — and go bad — before you're ready to use them. However, those spuds aren't completely innocent, either; potatoes' high moisture content can cause onions to liquefy and leak. Keep onions and potatoes apart for both vegetables' sakes.

What Is Ethylene Gas?

Ethylene gas is a plant hormone that has a huge impact on plant growth, particularly with how quickly a fruit or vegetable ripens. If you place a fruit or vegetable that makes ethylene next to produce that doesn't, the ethylene will trigger the remaining food to ripen at a faster pace.

Ethylene is why you keep apples away from other fruits, like bananas. That's not to say ethylene is entirely bad. In fact, if you need to ripen fruit quickly, pair it with an apple in a paper bag to jump-start the process. Using this method, your fruit will ripen within a day.

How to Store Potatoes

Keep potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as in the cellar or pantry. Keep potatoes out of the fridge or freezer unless they've been cut or cooked, or if your house is well above room temperature. Store cooked or cut potatoes in an airtight container.

How to Store Onions

Store onions in a well-ventilated area that's cool, but not cold — a fruit bowl, hanging basket, or hanging mesh bag should do the trick. Don't refrigerate onions unless they've been chopped and stripped of their protective outer layer, or if your house is well above room temperature. Keep cooked, peeled, and cut onions in an airtight container.

More Potato Storage Tips

  • Potatoes should be kept separate from other vegetables and fruits that release a high amount of ethylene gas, including apples, avocados, pears, and apricots.
  • Potatoes that are exposed to too much sunlight will start sprouting, which can affect the taste and potentially render them toxic. If you store potatoes on the counter, make sure they're away from direct sunlight and get enough ventilation.
  • Potatoes that are improperly stored or exposed to sunlight may also turn green and create solanine, a poisonous chemical. Be sure to keep your potatoes in an area that won't undergo drastic temperature changes, such as near your stove.


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