Storing Onions and Potatoes

I’ve read that storing onions and potatoes close together can reduce the storage longevity of both, due to the incompatible gasses given off by each resulting in faster spoilage.

Has anyone experienced this?

If this is true, how far apart, or how separate should one store their onions and potatoes? Different shelf? Different cabinet altogether?

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I find this to be true.

I keep potatoes in the pantry closet - dark and cool- and try to allow them not to be crowded.

I keep onions , garlic and shallots in a terracotta container with ventilation made for this purpose. It resides on the counter. Onions last quite some time in this container.

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I keep both in the same refrigerator compartment, because that’s what Mom always did. They don’t spoil. I never heard the gas theory until I was middle-aged.


I just recently read that storing an apple with potatoes kept them from sprouting for a longer time. I’ll be trying this when our endless kitchen is finished.


So do you keep your onions in the same pantry closet, or somewhere else?

I keep the onions on the kitchen counter.

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My mom grew up on a farm and she told me potatoes should be stored alone in an open, non-plastic bag, kept in a dark, cool place. Same with onions, except for fresh ones. Those go in the fridge.

I refrigerated potatoes (russets, Yukon Golds) a couple of times and didn’t like the cooked results. My mom had said my fridge was so cold it affected the starches/sugars, and upped the sweetness in my potatoes. YMMV on that particular flavor. I love the result when it comes to corn on the cob but not in a baked potato.

I’ve noticed grocery stores are keeping most potatoes colder and colder – I look for the spuds they keep out of the chilled areas. It may be that the smaller, fresher potatoes (little red boilers, fingerlings) need the refrigeration, though.


This admonition has always frustrated me. Are we supposed to store potatoes, like cigars, in a Humidor? There IS NO dark and cool space in our house.

For years now, we’ve bought potatoes, eaten as many as we can, and thrown out the rest after they develop tubors and get soft.

I’ve also found potatoes in the fridge seem too sweet.


I have a specialized bin that I keep in the basement where it’s cool and dark:

Potatoes in the top, onions in a drawer underneath.


I store them together on the counter. But its hard to tell whether they go bad faster for me, because it usually takes weeks for them to go bad, and I usually eat them before they go bad.

I’m still trying to find an answer to this on the internet. In the meantime, I’ve been storing my potatoes in a lower kitchen cupboard, but I haven’t noticed if they’ve been lasting any longer.

Everything I’ve read says not to store onions and potatoes together. But that’s where the consensus ends. There is no agreement on why. Some articles say it’s because onions emit ethylene gas and potatoes are sensitive to ethylene gas. Other articles say potatoes emit ethylene gas and onions are sensitive to it. Still other articles say potatoes both emit ethylene gas and are sensitive to it. Other articles say potatoes should ideally be stored in high humidity, while at the same time saying a dry, well-ventilated place. It’s quite funny reading all about this on the internet.

I guess the takeaway is that potatoes and onions shouldn’t share the same airspace in a confined area. ie. same drawer. But what about say, the same tall pantry cabinet, just on a different shelf?

I still don’t know how close is too close.

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Yeah… I have seen a fair amount of conflicting info as well. Have a look at this thread:

… for more info. But there is conflicting info there as well.

I keep both in a bowl on the counter, along with the lemons, limes and tomatoes. Nothing bad has happened yet.

What’s a “fresh” onion?

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My next door neighbor has a son or grandson with a PHD that studies potatoes at New Mexico state, I think, and the only thing they say when they generously share the spuds with us, is keeping them in the dark or they’ll sprout. Damn those potatoes are good!

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I keep both in baskets, on separate shelves, potatoes on the bottom, aliums abot 15 inches above. Maybe not ideal, butcthe best I can do.

My potatoes are from a CSA, or my garden, I dont eat/buy them often, and they do sprout.

I keep trying to grow both fall/winter.

@Midlife I think fresh means recently dug, not cured, and emitting gasses. I sometimes keep those that say they don’t store well in the fridge. Maybe “sweet”, red, maybe “white”.

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Thanks. I actually never knew that store-bought commercial onions go through a curing process.

Not so much curing as drying.
Also important for home grown onions.
They get harvested when the foliage starts dying. Then put out to dry and every so often you check and pull of the dead foliage. And turn them around.
I’ll be harvesting in about a weeks time and can post some pictures (just small scale, enough for me for a year)