Do Oranges Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

Written by: Mike Marshall
oranges on a wooden table

Two gallons later, you’re already tired of making orange juice.

You could make another batch once you go through this one first.

But the real question is – do oranges go bad?

If you’re looking for the answer, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything there is to know about your favorite citrus fruit.

So keep reading to find out more.

How Long Do Oranges Last

Oranges are fresh fruit, and as such, they go bad. They’re at the top of their game the moment they’re picked but slowly deteriorate in quality over time.

Generally, it takes orange about 2 to 3 weeks to go bad. But unless you picked them yourself, you can rely on this timeline estimate. 

That’s because most oranges in the store are probably been sitting there for a week already. That’s why you can expect the oranges from the grocery store to last you about a week. If you keep them stored at room temperature, that is.

Luckily, oranges benefit from being stored at cooler temperatures. When kept in the fridge, they can stay fresh for about 3 to 4 weeks.

Room temperatureRefrigeratorFreezer
Whole~1 week3 to 4 weeksUp to a year
Peeled or slicedLess than a dayUp to 5 daysUp to a year
CannedUp to a yearUp to a yearNot recommended

If you already peeled or sliced an orange, then don’t expect it to last as long. At room temperature, it will take less than a day for the orange to start spoiling. 

But you can transfer it to an airtight container or a releasable bag and store it in the fridge. That way, you can extend the shelf life of the orange up to 5 days.

When it comes to freezing, it’s not a recommended way of storing oranges. Because they have a high moisture content, their texture and flavor won’t be the same after thawing. 

But if you’re set on doing it anyway, freezing oranges keeps them from spoiling for another year.

Another way you can extend the life of oranges is to can them. This means submerging them in a simple syrup inside a jar. Stored like that, orange can stay fresh up to a year.

How To Tell If Oranges Are Bad

As we already established, oranges slowly deteriorate from the moment they’re picked. When they reach the point of having visible spoilage signs, then it’s time to throw them away.

The first of those signs is the change in texture. Over time, oranges will become soft. A simple squeeze test will tell you if they’re still as plump and fresh as they were when bought. If not, then it’s best to discard them.

The smell also changes in time. Fresh oranges have a barely noticeable zesty aroma. But once they start to go bad, they develop a sour or fermenting odor. Luckily, you can smell it from afar, so you can’t mistakenly eat an orange that’s gone bad.

Finally, the most obvious sign of them all is the appearance of mold. It starts as a white fuzzy growth, but quickly spreads and becomes green. 

While you can cut off the moldy part, there’s always a possibility of the entire fruit being contaminated. And considering that eating moldy oranges can cause food poisoning and allergic reaction, just throw them away. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you keep oranges stored in the fridge, they can dry out and lose some flavor. And while this doesn’t mean they’ve gone bad, oranges won’t be as juicy and plump as they used to be. 

How To Store Oranges

orange slices on a table

Even though oranges stored at room temperature don’t last as much, they retain optimal flavor and texture that way. So if you’re sure you can eat them within a week or so, there’s absolutely no reason to store them any other way.

Not unless you peel or cut them in slices, that is. Without a protective layer of skin, the inside of the orange will oxidize and spoil within a day. 

So what you should do is wrap the slices into a cling film or store them in an airtight container. Then, put the whole thing in the fridge.

If you refrigerate whole oranges, don’t use a bag or an airtight container. Instead, you should put them in a crisper drawer in your fridge. This drawer is designed to keep optimal airflow and humidity for storing fruits and veggies.

One way to preserve oranges for longer is to can them. To do this, wash and peel oranges, removing the white stuff and large seeds as well. Separate into sections and pack them in a jar until there’s an inch of space left.

Pour simple syrup until there’s ½ inch of space at the top, then seal the jar. Then, submerge the jar in a bath of boiling water for about 10 minutes. When prepared this way, oranges can stay fresh for up to a year.

When it comes to freezing, that’s not recommended for whole oranges. Because fresh fruit has a very high water content, oranges will turn into ice once frozen. Once thawed, the inside of the orange will turn into a slushy.

A better way to freeze oranges would be to peel, section them and remove the seeds. Then, transfer the pieces into a releasable bag or an airtight container. 

Because orange becomes soft after thawing, it might not be a great addition to your fresh fruit salad. But it can work well for cooking and baking.


Oranges are not one of those fruits that can sit on your counter for a long time. 

At room temperature, they can stay fresh for only a week. 

In the fridge, they’ll remain good for up to a month, although they won’t be as juicy.

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I’m not a pro chef by any means, but years of tinkering inside the kitchen have taught me a thing or two about preparing delicious, healthy food. So whether you’re interested in how to properly store food, figuring out side dishes for your main course, or even learning how to use a knife properly – I've got you covered.