Flash Sale! to get a free eCookbook with our top 25 recipes.
How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad?

How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad?: Discover the Secrets

Fun Fact: Did you know that sweet potatoes are not actually related to regular potatoes? They belong to the morning glory family, making them a distant cousin of your favorite garden flowersprotein intake effortlessly!

How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad? Sweet potatoes are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients, making them a popular choice for many dishes. However, like any perishable food item, sweet potatoes can go bad if not stored or handled properly. In this article, we will explore the signs of a bad sweet potato, how to store them correctly to prolong their freshness, and what happens if you accidentally consume a spoiled one.

How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad?

Signs of Freshness in Sweet Potatoes

What a Fresh Sweet Potato Should Look Like?

  1. Firm Texture: Fresh sweet potatoes should feel firm to the touch, without any soft or mushy spots.
  2. Vibrant Skin Color: Look for sweet potatoes with a vibrant, consistent skin color, free from dark spots or blemishes.
  3. Lack of Visible Blemishes: Inspect the skin for any cuts, bruises, or blemishes. Fresh sweet potatoes should be smooth and unblemished.

How Freshness Impacts Taste and Nutrition

Fresh sweet potatoes not only taste better but also retain more of their nutritional value. They’re richer in vitamins and minerals, making them a healthier choice for your meals.

How Long Before Sweet Potato Goes Bad?

The shelf life of sweet potatoes depends on several factors, including how they are stored, the temperature, and the initial quality of the potato. On average, sweet potatoes can last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks when stored in a cool, dry place. However, by following proper storage guidelines, you can extend their freshness for several months.

How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad?


One of the most obvious signs of a bad sweet potato is a change in its appearance. A healthy sweet potato should have smooth, firm skin without any wrinkles or soft spots. If you notice any of these issues, it’s a sign that the sweet potato is past its prime.


Fresh sweet potatoes have a slightly sweet and earthy aroma. If your sweet potato emits an unpleasant, musty, or moldy smell, it’s an indication that it has gone bad. Trust your nose; if it doesn’t smell right, don’t use it.


When you touch a sweet potato, it should feel firm and dense. A bad sweet potato will become soft and spongy. Press your fingers gently against the skin; if it leaves an indentation, the potato is no longer good to eat.

Mold and Sprouts

Mold and sprouts are clear signs of a sweet potato that has gone bad. If you notice any fuzzy green or white patches on the skin, it’s mold. Moldy sweet potatoes should be discarded immediately. Additionally, if the sweet potato has sprouted, it’s an indication that it’s past its prime. While you can remove the sprouts and still consume the potato, the quality may have deteriorated.


Color can be a useful indicator as well. While sweet potatoes come in various shades, such as orange, purple, and white, the color should be vibrant and uniform. Any signs of discoloration, especially dark spots or patches, could mean the potato is no longer good to eat.

Taste Test

Sometimes, appearance and smell may not provide definitive answers. In such cases, a taste test can be helpful. If you cook or bake a sweet potato and it tastes off, has an unusual bitterness, or a strange aftertaste, it’s a sign of spoilage. Trust your taste buds; they can often detect subtle changes.

How To Store Sweet Potatoes The Right Way?

1. Temperature

Sweet potatoes are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Store them in a cool, dark place with a temperature range of 55-60°F (13-15°C). Avoid refrigeration, as temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can cause the potato’s starches to convert to sugar, resulting in an unpleasant taste.

2. Humidity

Maintaining the right humidity level is crucial. Aim for a humidity level of around 75-80% to prevent the sweet potatoes from drying out or sprouting.

3. Avoiding Moisture

Excess moisture can lead to rot. Keep sweet potatoes dry and avoid placing them in plastic bags, as they can trap moisture. Instead, store them in a breathable container or a perforated plastic bag.

4. Proper Ventilation

Ensure good air circulation around your sweet potatoes. Use a mesh or wire basket to store them, allowing air to flow and preventing the buildup of moisture.

5. Keep Away from Ethylene-Producing Fruits

Ethylene gas can speed up sweet potato spoilage, so store them away from fruits like apples and bananas.

What Happens If You Eat A Bad Sweet Potato?

Food Poisoning

Consuming a spoiled sweet potato can lead to food poisoning. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. If you suspect you’ve eaten a bad sweet potato and experience severe symptoms, seek medical attention.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Even if the sweet potato isn’t severely spoiled, it may still cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating, gas, or indigestion.

Allergic Reactions

Even if the sweet potato isn’t severely spoiled, it may still cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating, gas, or indigestion.

Some More Storage Tips For Sweet Potato

To prevent sweet potatoes from going bad prematurely, here are some storage tips:

    • Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place, preferably in a well-ventilated container or basket.
    • Avoid refrigeration, as cold temperatures can negatively impact their texture and flavor.
    • Keep sweet potatoes away from onions and garlic, as they can release gases that promote spoilage.
    • Check your sweet potatoes regularly and use the ones that show signs of aging first.

Safety Concerns with Spoiled Sweet Potatoes

    1. Potential Health Risks: Consuming spoiled sweet potatoes can pose health risks, including food poisoning and digestive discomfort. It’s essential to prioritize food safety.
    2. Erring on the Side of Caution: When in doubt, throw it out! It’s safer to discard a potentially spoiled sweet potato than risk your health.
    3. Salvaging Slightly Spoiled Portions: In some cases, you can trim away small spoiled areas and use the remaining parts of the sweet potato. However, be cautious and cut generously around any affected areas.

How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad?: Conclusion

In summary, knowing how to tell if a sweet potato is bad is essential for your health and culinary endeavors. By recognizing the signs of freshness, common spoilage indicators, and proper storage techniques, you can enjoy fresh and safe sweet potatoes in your meals. Remember to prioritize food safety, and when in doubt, trust your instincts and discard potentially spoiled sweet potatoes.
We hope this guide helps you make the most of this nutritious and versatile root vegetable.

Is Shrimp Keto-Friendly?: FAQ's

Question 1. How long before sweet potato goes bad?

Answer: Sweet potatoes can last 2 to 4 weeks when stored properly. However, you can extend their shelf life by following correct storage practices.

Question 2. Can you eat sweet potatoes if they are sprouting?

Answer: While sprouts themselves aren’t harmful, they indicate that the sweet potato is aging. You can cut off the sprouts and use the rest if the potato is otherwise in good condition.

Question 3. Is it safe to eat the skin of a sweet potato?

Answer: Yes, the skin of a sweet potato is edible and contains additional nutrients and fiber. Just make sure to wash it thoroughly.

Question 4. How can I prevent my sweet potatoes from spoiling quickly?

Answer: Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place with proper ventilation and humidity control. Check them regularly for signs of spoilage, and remove any bad ones to prevent the spread of mold or decay.

Question 5. Can you eat sweet potatoes if they have sprouts?

Answer: Yes, you can eat sweet potatoes with sprouts, but it’s best to remove the sprouts before cooking.

Question 6. What is the white stuff on my sweet potato?

Answer:  The white stuff is starch and is safe to eat. You can rinse it off before cooking.

Question 7. How long do sweet potatoes last in the pantry?

Answer: Sweet potatoes can last 2 to 4 weeks when stored in a cool, dark pantry.

Question 8. Can you freeze sweet potatoes?

Answer: Yes, you can freeze sweet potatoes, but blanch them first for better quality.

Question 9. What's the best way to store cut sweet potatoes?

Answer: Store cut sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use them within a few days for optimal freshness.