Does Broccoli Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 20th, 2022

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a popular vegetable that is abundant in nutrients. It is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals like A, C, K, potassium, iron, and manganese.

Broccoli is linked to cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, including brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cabbage, and kale.

green broccoli on brown wooden chopping board

It may be eaten either raw or cooked. It is also simple to make into various recipes using various cooking methods such as steaming or boiling, stir-frying, roasting, and so on.

Like most people, you probably go food shopping every few days or maybe every 1-2 weeks. Of course, you want your vegetables to stay as fresh as possible. Furthermore, most recipes do not call for a large quantity of broccoli, leaving you with leftovers.

In any case, you may wonder how long broccoli lasts in the refrigerator. What is the best way to store broccoli? What should you do if your broccoli has turned yellow? How can you tell if broccoli has gone bad?

Does Broccoli Go Bad?

Broccoli, like cabbage, kale, and cauliflower, is a cruciferous vegetable. It is high in minerals, vitamin K, and antioxidants and has many health advantages, including cancer prevention. However, it, like other fresh vegetables, can deteriorate.

You may consume wilted broccoli, but it will not taste the same and lose nutritional value over time. That is why it is critical to get the most recent items available. You can considerably extend its shelf life if you know how to store it properly.

How Long Does Broccoli Last?

To begin with, storing broccoli that is already in terrible shape is pointless. Buy only high-quality ones that are fresh, vivid deep green, firm, and free of yellowish or black stains.

Broccoli won’t keep at room temperature for more than two days. It will quickly begin to wilt and become yellow.

When properly stored in the refrigerator, excellent broccoli should last at least 3 to 5 days, but it can last up to a week or two. This duration can vary based on various factors, including the quality, how long it has been since it was harvested, and the storage environment.

Cut broccoli has a lower shelf life than entire broccoli. It should be used within 1 to 3 days of being cut to avoid losing its freshness.

Cut broccoli purchased in a store should be consumed before the “use by” date marked on the label. It can be consumed after the expiration date, although the quality may have degraded.

Broccoli that has been boiled, steamed, or cooked should be consumed within 3 – 5 days. When preparing a dish, look at the other components that go bad the fastest to see if the dish is still edible.

Frozen broccoli may be stored for up to a year, but its quality will deteriorate with time.

Frozen broccoli from the store is labeled with a “best before” or “best use by” date. It is recommended that the veggies be consumed before this date, while it is conceivable that the food will remain edible after the date has passed. To make a decision, use your best judgment.

Broccoli typePantryFridgeFreezer
Fresh2 to 3 days7 to 10 daysUp to one year
Fresh cutUnsafe3 to 5 daysUp to one year
CookedUnsafe2 to 3 daysUp to one year

How Long Will Broccoli Last Outside?

Broccoli will only survive up to two days if stored at room temperature. Broccoli will deteriorate quicker if kept in temps over 40 degrees.

Bacteria will begin to infect the broccoli and form mold within hours if left outdoors at room temperature. It is not advised to preserve broccoli in this state, whether raw or cooked.

How Long Does Broccoli Keep in the Refrigerator?

Broccoli will keep in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days. Extra broccoli should be stored in the refrigerator. The broccoli will decay much more slowly in this cold atmosphere.

The fridge will also aid in preserving the broccoli’s flavor and nutritional content. Broccoli that has not been cooked will survive somewhat longer than cooked broccoli.

How Long Can Broccoli Be Stored in the Freezer?

Broccoli may be preserved in the freezer for up to a year. If you intend to preserve broccoli for more than a week, place it in the freezer. Cooked broccoli may be stored in the freezer and retrieved as required.

Before keeping raw broccoli in the freezer, it must be blanched. To get the greatest quality out of frozen broccoli, use it within 5 months.

Where broccoli is stored is critical in deciding how long it will survive. The longer it remains edible, the colder the environment.

How Can You Tell If Broccoli Is Bad?

Let’s start with raw broccoli. Storing raw broccoli in the fridge will cause its quality to decline before it goes bad (or rotten). And it’s more probable that you’ll toss it away due to quality loss than technical failure.

Broccoli should be bright green and firm to the touch when it’s fresh. If it begins to grow limp, it is past its prime period, and you must decide whether to cook it or toss it. The same thing happens as the florets become yellow.

It’s not awful enough to make you sick, but it’s not tasty. If the broccoli head has any little black or brown spots, remove them.

When it comes to tell-tale indicators of rotten raw broccoli, the first thing to look for is a terrible odor. Large dark regions, mildew, or any other visible changes that aren’t little dark spots are all reasons to get rid of broccoli.

In summary, if you suspect something is wrong with the vegetable, you are most likely correct and should toss it.

When it comes to cooked broccoli, the spoilage indicators are typically clear.

Here’s a typical scenario: you open the fridge, take the broccoli container, open it, and find white mold on top. Mold in the container indicates that the contents should be discarded.

Look for discolorations and give it a particular scent if there is no mold. It is most likely safe to eat if it appears in good condition and does not smell terrible. Get rid of it if there’s anything wrong with it.

Also, if you’ve had the cooked broccoli in the fridge for more than a week, it’s best to toss it out, even if it appears to be fine. Better to be cautious than sorry.

The Dangers of Consuming Expired Broccoli

Even though broccoli has no expiration date, eating it after it has gone bad might make you sick. Since it has an awful flavor, you won’t want to consume more than a mouthful of steamed broccoli.

A large quantity may result in food poisoning, with symptoms such as moderate cramps, stomach discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea. Broccoli can become infected with dangerous germs that can cause significant sickness in some situations.

Unspoiled broccoli may also pose certain dangers. The high fiber content might cause intestinal discomfort, and thiocyanate can induce thyroid problems. As a result, you may experience hypothyroidism and weight gain.

Finally, broccoli is abundant in vitamin K. If you use blood-thinning medicine, you should restrict your intake and avoid it regularly.

How to Keep Broccoli From Turning Bad

  • Refrigerate your unwashed broccoli with a gently wrapped, moistened paper towel. Broccoli likes to breathe, so don’t wrap it in a paper towel or put it in a bag.
  • Consume your broccoli within a few days since it will not survive long in the fridge.
  • For the longest-lasting broccoli, blanch and freeze it. If you carefully freeze the broccoli, you may keep it for up to six months before it develops freezer burn.

How To Select Fresh Broccoli From The Grocery Store

You can’t always rely on the package’s expiration date. It’s best to tell by inspecting them and deciding based on that.

When purchasing broccoli, seek dark green tight florets with a firm, bright green trunk.

It will feel heavy for its size, and you should check for mildew on the florets and black or brown patches on the trunk.

Broccoli Storage Instructions

Broccoli might be difficult to keep if you don’t know how. Lush green broccoli may become yellowish and unpleasant in just a few days.

The key to not wasting this healthy vegetable before its time is appropriate storage. It will not only keep your broccoli fresh, but it will also keep it safe to consume.

Vegetables are quite diverse, and each species has a unique set of optimum storage conditions that allow them to stay longer. Broccoli should be kept at temperatures ranging from 32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit/0 to 2 degrees Celsius.

Broccoli, like other vegetables, has a high water content; hence, increased relative humidity will keep it fresher for longer. The best place to store broccoli is in the fridge, in the crisper drawer.

Separate the veggies and fruits. Apples and pears, for example, produce ethylene gas.

While ethylene is excellent for accelerating the ripening process in underripe fruits (such as the ancient tip for ripening avocados by placing them in a sealed paper bag with an apple), it is a true nemesis for many veggies.

Exposure to ethylene reduces the quality and shelf life of vegetables, especially broccoli, by hastening wilting, yellowing, softening, discoloration, stem detachment, and inducing bitterness.

Here are several ideas for storing broccoli! Store a complete broccoli head (florets and stem) in the fridge. Wrap the broccoli in a moist paper towel or a plastic bag to keep it fresh. There is no need to wash it since excess moisture promotes mold development.

Refrigeration is always required for cut broccoli, whether purchased from a shop or at home. Store the chopped florets in an airtight container. Store-bought sliced broccoli can be stored in its original packaging. After opening, place any leftovers in a tightly sealed container.

Allow the broccoli to cool before keeping it in the fridge if it has been cooked, whether it has been boiled, steamed, or made into a dish. Store it in an airtight container.

Broccoli Can Be Frozen

Depending on your needs, you can freeze both cooked and raw broccoli. Freezing raw broccoli is the way to go if you want some broccoli for soup or another prepared meal. Cook the broccoli before freezing it if you want to reheat it as a side dish.

To freeze raw broccoli, follow these steps:

  1. Wash and chop the broccoli head into florets. If freezing the stalks, chop them into little pieces as well.
  2. Blanch the vegetables. Bring a kettle to a boil and drop in the sliced broccoli. Depending on the size of the sliced pieces, leave them there for 2-3 minutes. Drain the water and place the vegetables in an ice bath for at least 5 minutes to stop the cooking process. Remove the broccoli from the cold water and set it aside to dry. To remove the wetness, use paper towels.
  3. Freeze the veggie first. Take a cookie sheet and arrange the pieces so they do not touch. Place the sheet in the freezer and keep it there until the vegetables are frozen.
  4. Put the frozen chunks in freezer bags. If necessary, label each bag.
  5. Place the frozen freezer bags in the freezer.

As you can see, freezing raw broccoli may be a pain. Freezing cooked one saves time and eliminates the need for any extra preparations. You may accomplish it in the following manner:

  1. Cook broccoli in your preferred method. Depending on what works best for you, you may steam or roast it.
  2. Divide the cooked broccoli into meal-sized servings and set aside to cool to room temperature (30- 40 minutes max).
  3. Once the vegetables have cooled, place them in freezer bags or meal-prep containers. If necessary, add labels.
  4. Put the bags or containers in the freezer.

That’s all. As you can see, the procedure is simple and does not require much time.

Now that you’ve learned how to freeze broccoli, let’s look at how to thaw it:

  1. Refrigerate overnight. This is the best option to prepare it the next day.
  2. Microwave. Place the broccoli in a glass container or on a platter. Start it on low to defrost it, then turn it up to warm it up.
  3. In ice-cold water. If you don’t have a microwave and need the broccoli to thaw quickly without cooking it, place it in a dish of cold water. Of course, this method works considerably faster if the veggie is in a frozen bag rather than a container.
  4. Using a nonstick skillet. Begin on low heat to defrost, then raise it to warm it up. Add more if there isn’t much water left, but the broccoli is still too cold.
  5. Place it in the freezer. If you’re using broccoli in a soup, there’s no need to thaw it. To account for the freezing of the vegetable, add a few minutes to the cooking time.


What happens if you consume contaminated broccoli?

First and foremost, it will not taste good. Second, eating rotten or rotting broccoli can cause food poisoning. Broccoli and other vegetables are susceptible to environmental bacterial infection. If the germs are harmful, you will become unwell.

Food poisoning symptoms range from upset stomach to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and more serious symptoms. Consult the CDC website to find out if you need to see a doctor.

Is yellow broccoli harmful?

Yellow broccoli is a quality issue rather than a safety one. It is safe to drink, but you will not enjoy the bitter flavor. It’s better to trim the yellow section and save the remainder. However, if the entire head is yellow, it is best to toss it.

What causes broccoli to smell like a fart?

Sulphuric chemicals are abundant in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, cabbage, and kale). When they begin to deteriorate, they create a distinct, strong stench. Some say it smells like a fart, excrement, or rotten eggs. You won’t forget the fragrance.

What is the best way to protect broccoli from becoming yellow?

When broccoli turns yellow, it is a sure indicator that it is getting old or that it has been improperly stored. When the color of the vegetable changes, it loses its sharpness and begins to wilt. When this happens, it signifies that most of its nutritious value has gone.

To avoid this, store broccoli frozen or cooled in the refrigerator. When keeping your head of broccoli in the fridge, wrap it in a moist paper towel and set it in the vegetable drawer.

However, wait until you’re ready to use it before washing it. This will keep excess moisture at bay, preventing the broccoli from becoming moldy and inedible.

Are broccoli stems edible?

Absolutely. Broccoli stems may not be the most cosmetically beautiful vegetable component, but they are high in vitamins and minerals that the human body needs. Make careful you consume them alongside the florets.

Is it OK to store broccoli in a plastic bag in the fridge?

It is, indeed. Although wrapping broccoli in a moist paper towel is preferable, plastic bags can store broccoli in the fridge. However, make sure it is perforated and loosely wrapped. This is because broccoli needs fresh air to circulate it while being kept to stay fresh.

What is the most perishable element of broccoli?

The flowers’ florets. Broccoli florets are the vegetable’s most perishable portion.

They are more likely than other portions to lose their green hue initially. Yellowing occurs due to chlorophyll breakdown, initiated by ethylene generated as the vegetable deteriorates.

Broccoli, in general, is a highly perishable food that does not keep for long. Yellowing, water loss, and off-odors are visible indicators of spoiling, indicating that it has lost nutrients and is no longer appropriate for food.


Broccoli is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, broccoli loses its quality quickly before becoming rotten. If you aren’t using it within a week, consider freezing it to have a considerably longer shelf life.

The indications of poor broccoli are pretty evident. If the broccoli becomes yellow or deeper in color, remove the afflicted portion and utilize the remainder. If the discoloration is all over the head, throw it away. The same is true for broccoli, with molds, stinks, and rots.


Editorial Staff

Our writers, editors, content managers, and SEO specialist. We all take part in crafting amazing articles. We spend hours ensuring that each article is based on facts, researched, and thorough. You'll never want to click the back button to look for more answers other than here!