How long does it take apples to go bad?

Fresh apples can last for different periods of time depending on how they are stored. On average, apples last for:

  • Counter: 7-10 days
  • Fridge: 1-2 months
  • Freezer: 8-10 months

The exact shelf life depends on the apple variety as well as storage conditions. Below we’ll go into more detail on how long different types of apples last and what signs to look for when they start to spoil.

How Long Do Apples Last at Room Temperature?

At room temperature, apples will generally last about 7-10 days before they start to go bad. Some signs that an apple is past its prime when stored on the counter include:

  • Wrinkled or softened skin
  • Brown or bruised spots
  • Mealy or mushy flesh
  • Mold growth

The timing depends somewhat on the apple variety. For example:

Apple Variety Room Temperature Shelf Life
Gala 7 days
Braeburn 10 days
Honeycrisp 7-10 days
Fuji 10 days
Granny Smith 10 days

As you can see, certain varieties like Braeburn and Fuji tend to last a little longer on the counter while Gala apples have a shorter shelf life at room temp. But overall, most apples will start to deteriorate within 7-10 days without refrigeration.

How to Store Apples on The Counter

To get the maximum shelf life out of your fresh apples at room temp, follow these tips:

  • Keep apples in a bowl or basket instead of piled in a fruit bowl. This allows air circulation which keeps them fresh.
  • Place the fruit bowl away from direct sunlight to avoid overheating.
  • Check apples daily and remove any that are bruised or spoiled. One bad apple really can spoil the bunch.
  • Wash apples just before eating to keep their protective skin intact for longer.
  • Enjoy apples within 7 days of purchasing for the best flavor and texture.

How Long Do Apples Last in the Fridge?

Cold storage extends an apple’s shelf life significantly compared to sitting out at room temp. In the refrigerator, most varieties of fresh apples will last 1-2 months before going bad.

Some signs that apples are over the hill when refrigerated include:

  • Deepening brown spots
  • Wrinkling skin
  • Mealy, mushy flesh
  • Moldy patches
  • Fermented aromas

Sticking to the proper refrigerator temperature of 32-35°F will give you the longest storage. The crisper drawer also helps keep moisture in the air to prevent apples from shriveling up.

Average Fridge Life of Popular Apple Varieties

Apple Type Refrigerator (32-35°F)
Gala 1-2 months
Braeburn 2 months
Honeycrisp 1-2 months
Fuji 2-3 months
Granny Smith 2-3 months
Red Delicious 2 months

As shown, Braeburn, Fuji and Granny Smith often last a little longer in the fridge compared to Gala and Honeycrisp. But proper storage conditions can extend the life of all types significantly.

Tips for Storing Apples in the Fridge

Follow these guidelines for keeping apples fresh in refrigerator storage:

  • Place apples in a perforated plastic bag in your fridge’s crisper. This prevents moisture loss while allowing air flow.
  • Sort apples frequently and remove any that are spoiled. Inspect for mold and soft spots.
  • Add an ethylene gas absorber to the bag or crisper. Ethylene promotes ripening.
  • Keep refrigerated apples away from foods with strong odors that could be absorbed.
  • Wash just before eating and enjoy within 1-2 months for best quality.

How Long Do Apples Last in the Freezer?

For maximum long-term storage, most apple varieties can be frozen for 8-10 months before going bad.

There are two main ways to freeze apples:

  1. Raw.
  2. Cooked – like applesauce, pie filling or baked apples.

Raw apples will be better for uses like baking, cooking or eating plain. Cooked apple dishes will be more convenient for quick sides or desserts down the road.

How to Freeze Raw Apples

Follow these steps to freeze raw apples at their peak freshness:

  1. Choose firm, ripe apples without bruises or soft spots.
  2. Leave the skin on to retain nutrients and texture.
  3. Core and slice apples to your desired size. Cut larger slices if you want apple slices for snacking or smaller pieces if using for baking or sauce later.
  4. Place apple slices in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
  5. Transfer frozen apple slices to an airtight freezer bag or container. Squeeze out air and seal.
  6. Return to freezer where they’ll keep for 8-10 months.

Frozen raw apple slices are great for:

  • Baking – Add to muffins, breads, pies, etc.
  • Cooking – Use in pancakes, compotes, cranberry sauce, etc.
  • Snacking – Thaw at room temp for an easy healthy snack.

How to Freeze Cooked Apples

You can also freeze prepared apple dishes like:

  • Applesauce – Freeze in airtight containers leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Baked apples – Allow to cool fully then wrap individually in foil before freezing.
  • Pie filling – Cool completely then freeze in sealed containers.
  • Apple butter – Freeze in freezer-safe glass jars, allowing headspace.

Cook apples to a consistency where they won’t oxidize and turn brown when thawed. Fruit purees like applesauce and apple butter freeze particularly well.

Storing Frozen Apples

For best quality frozen apples, be sure to:

  • Use freezer-grade storage bags or containers.
  • Remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Label packages with contents and freeze date.
  • Avoid over-filling bags or containers.
  • Store at a consistent 0°F or below.
  • Avoid thawing until ready to use to retain texture.

Signs Apples Have Gone Bad

Here are some common signs that apples have spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Soft spots – Extremely soft sections that are watery and brown indicate rotting.
  • Wrinkled skin – A wrinkled, shriveled peel signals dehydration.
  • Mold – Fluffy white or green mold growing on the skin.
  • Fermented smell – A beer-like aroma indicates fermentation and spoilage.
  • Off flavors – Strange tastes like bitterness, mustiness or cloying sweetness.
  • Mealy flesh – Apples go mealy and mushy as starch converts to sugar.

Cut apples open to check for any internal issues. Trust your senses – if an apple seems off in any way, don’t risk eating it.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Apples

There are several tricks to get the maximum storage life out of fresh apples:

  • Buy firm apples without any bruising or punctures. Check the skin for cuts.
  • Handle gently to avoid new bruises which accelerate spoilage.
  • Store apples individually instead of piled in a bowl to prevent “one bad apple” from speeding decay.
  • Use perforated produce bags that allow airflow and reduce humidity.
  • Keep refrigerated apples away from foods with strong odors.
  • Mist apples with lemon juice to prevent oxidation which causes browning.
  • Use ethylene gas absorbers to help slow ripening.

While certain apple varieties store better naturally, following these steps can extend the shelf life of any fresh apples.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if an apple is still good?

Check for visible signs of spoilage like brown spots, soft spots and wrinkling. Give apples a sniff test – if they smell fermented or rotten, compost them. Apples that still have firm flesh and crisp texture without any off odors are still good to eat.

Why do my apples get slimy?

Excess moisture causes fresh apples to become slimy during storage. To prevent, store apples in perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer of your fridge to allow ventilation while retaining humidity. Wipe apples dry before storing and check frequently for any slimy apples developing.

Can apples be frozen whole?

It’s best to core and slice apples before freezing rather than freezing them whole. The cell walls rupture faster when frozen whole, causing a mushier thawed texture. Slicing apples allows for better moisture control. Wrap each whole sliced apple in plastic wrap before freezing if you want to keep them separated.

What’s the best way to thaw frozen apple slices?

Leave frozen apple slices in the refrigerator overnight to thaw gradually. Apples can also be thawed at room temp, but may become mushy if left too long. For quick thawing, place a sealed bag of apples under cool running water. Thaw only as much as you plan to use.

Can apples be refrozen after thawing?

It’s best not to refreeze thawed apples. The texture will degrade, making them mushier. Only refreeze apples if they are still cold and firm. Thawed apple dishes like sauce and pie filling can generally be safely refrozen.


Fresh apples can last anywhere from 1-2 weeks without refrigeration. For longer storage, keep apples refrigerated in plastic bags in the crisper. Allow good air flow and humidity. Remove spoiled apples promptly to prevent accelerated decay of surrounding apples. Freeze sliced apples in airtight containers to extend the shelf life by 8-10 months. Look for visible signs of spoilage and trust your senses to determine if apples are over the hill.

Following proper apple storage methods allows you to enjoy this nutritious fruit year round. Just be sure to handle with care, refrigerate and use frozen apples within the recommended time periods for the best quality and food safety.

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