How to Tell if a Sweet Potato is Bad

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By: Christian Chereau


When it comes to sweet potatoes, you want them to look as vibrant and healthy as possible. But how can you tell if they’re bad? Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy. Many people are unsure of what signs they should be looking for when assessing their sweet potatoes before breaking out the oven mitts or frying pan! 

In this blog post, we’ll provide some helpful tips on how to know whether your sweet potato is worth keeping – or whether you should throw it away and start again with a fresh one!

How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad

Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal, but it’s essential to know how to determine if they are still good to eat. Here are some key indicators to watch out for:


A healthy sweet potato should have a firm and smooth skin, with no soft spots or bruises so when it comes to determining whether a sweet potato is bad, appearance is key. 

  • Look for any signs of mold or discoloration, as these are clear indications that the potato has gone bad. 
  • If the skin is wrinkled, this could also be a sign of spoilage. 

By paying attention to these visual cues and using your senses, you can quickly assess the quality of your sweet potatoes and avoid any potential health risks.


Another way to check if a sweet potato is bad is to feel it. With a fresh sweet potato, the flesh should be firm and slightly springy when you apply pressure with your fingertips. 

  • Give your sweet potato a gentle squeeze. If it feels squishy or has any soft spots, it’s time to toss it. 
  • Smell them really carefully. A bad sweet potato would have a pungent, rotting smell. 
  • Cut it open. If you want to be absolutely sure that the sweet potato is bad, cut it open. Inside should be a bright orange color and firm texture. If you notice any off-colored spots or slimy textures, discard the sweet potato immediately. 

How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Normally Last?

How to Tell if a Sweet Potato is Bad

Sweet potatoes can typically last up to a month if stored correctly in a cool, dry place. The exact length of time will depend on the type and condition of the potato when it was harvested. Make sure to check your sweet potatoes regularly for any signs of spoilage, as this could cause them to go bad more quickly than they normally would. 

Can You Still Consume Sweet Potatoes That Have Sprouted?

How to Tell if a Sweet Potato is Bad

A sprouted sweet potato is a sweet potato that has begun to produce shoots or small roots out of its skin. This natural process can occur when sweet potatoes are stored for an extended period of time. 

You can read more about sprouting here.

While some people may discard sprouted sweet potatoes due to their unusual appearance, they are actually safe to eat as long as they are still firm and have not begun to rot. You can remove the sprouts before eating or cooking the sweet potatoes, however, it may slightly affect the taste and texture of the sweet potatoes

In fact, some people consider sprouted sweet potatoes to be even more nutritious than non-sprouted sweet potatoes, as the sprouts contain high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. However, it’s important to note that sprouted sweet potatoes may cook more quickly than non-sprouted ones, so keep an eye on them during the cooking process to avoid overcooking.

What To Do With A Bad Sweet Potato?

When dealing with a bad sweet potato, it’s important to take action quickly in order to salvage as much of it as possible. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Inspect the sweet potato to determine the extent of the damage. If it’s just a small area, you might be able to simply cut it off and use the rest.
  2. If the sweet potato has mold or is extremely soft and mushy, unfortunately it’s time to toss it out.
  3. If you’re not sure whether the sweet potato is still good, you can try baking it. If it still tastes bitter or unpleasant, it’s no good.
  4. In the future, try to store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place to prevent them from going bad too quickly.

By following these tips, you can make sure to get the most out of your sweet potatoes and avoid any potential health risks. Paying attention to visual cues, using your senses, and understanding how long sweet potatoes typically last can all help you determine whether a sweet potato is still good or bad. 

How To Choose Good Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are delicious and packed with nutrients, but choosing good ones at the grocery store can be challenging. Follow these tips to ensure you pick the best sweet potatoes:

  • Look for firm and smooth skin without any blemishes or soft spots.
  • Choose medium-sized sweet potatoes that are uniform in shape.
  • Check the color – a deep orange flesh indicates a sweeter flavor and higher nutritional value.
  • Avoid sweet potatoes with sprouts or green spots as they are a sign of decay.
  • If possible, buy organic sweet potatoes as these are grown without the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Finally, make sure to store your sweet potatoes properly in a cool, dry place to ensure they stay fresh for longer. The above tips can help you choose the best sweet potatoes for your meals so that you can enjoy their great taste

How To Store Sweet Potatoes So They Last Longer?

Sweet potatoes can last a while if stored properly. Here are some key points to keep in mind for maximum longevity:

  • Store them in a cool, dry, and dark place like a pantry or cellar.
  • Don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them to prevent moisture from accelerating spoilage.
  • They can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the storage conditions and freshness at the time of purchase.
  • Check for any signs of rotting, soft spots, or mold before using them.
  • Cooked sweet potatoes can last up to a week in the fridge, but it’s best to consume them within 3-4 days to ensure freshness.

Hopefully , these tips will help you get the most out of your sweet potatoes and make sure they last as long as possible. No matter what, always remember to inspect your sweet potatoes before consuming them to ensure that they are still fresh and safe to eat.


What Does Mold On Sweet Potatoes Look Like?

Mold on sweet potatoes can look like white, grey, or green fuzzy spots and can be found on the skin or inside when cut open. You should discard any sweet potatoes with signs of mold as they may contain harmful toxins. 

What Is The Weird White Stuff On My Potato?

The white stuff on your potato may be a sign of oxidation and is caused by the exposure to air. It’s usually harmless, but check for any signs of mold before consuming it.

Should Uncooked Sweet Potatoes Be Refrigerated?

Uncooked sweet potatoes should not be refrigerated. They can last for up to two months at room temperature in a cool, dry, and dark place. Refrigeration will cause them to spoil more quickly.

What Happen If You Eat A Bad Potato?

Eating a bad potato may cause food poisoning or other serious health risks. It’s best to avoid consuming potatoes that are discolored, have soft spots, or mold. Furthermore, always cook them thoroughly before eating to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.

How to Tell if a Sweet Potato is Bad on the Inside?

You can tell if a sweet potato is bad on the inside by cutting it open and checking for any signs of discoloration, soft spots, or mold. More than that, it should smell sweet and not have a sour odor. If any of these signs are present, throw the potato immediately. 

How Long Does A Cooked Sweet Potato Last In The Fridge?

A cooked sweet potato can last up to a week in the refrigerator. It’s best to consume it within 3-4 days of cooking for maximum freshness. 


All in one, knowing how to tell if a sweet potato is bad can help you get the most out of your potatoes. Not only will it help you avoid wasting food, but it will also keep your family safe from any potential health risks associated with eating a bad potato. So next time you buy sweet potatoes, make sure to pay extra attention and follow our comprehensive guide to ensure that they are healthy and safe. 

Who knows – maybe you’ll find a way to make the perfect sweet potato dish for your family and friends! Remember, fresh is always best when it comes to potatoes!

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Christian Chereau

Christian Chéreau is a fourth generation French Pastry Chef born in France on December 20th, 1951. Chéreau cultivated his passion for the art of Pastry as a child in his grandfather’s acclaimed pastry shop, “Chéreau” in Sandillon, France

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