It’s important for both safety and taste to know if sweet potatoes have gone bad. Here’s how to tell if sweet potatoes are no longer safe to eat:

Visual Inspection

Look at the sweet potatoes to see if there are any obvious signs of spoilage, like mold, dark or soft spots, or decay. If you see any of these, you know the sweet potatoes are bad and should throw them away.


Take a soft whiff of the sweet potatoes. If they smell bad or sour, that is a strong sign that they have gone bad. The smell of fresh sweet potatoes should be faint and earthy.


Feel the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. If they have become too soft, slimy, or mushy, they are no longer safe to eat. Sweet potatoes should feel firm when they are fresh.

Sprouts and Green Spots

Look for any sprouts or spots that are green. Small sprouts can be removed, but a lot of sprouts or green spots could mean that solanine, a toxic substance, is present. These sweet potatoes should be thrown away.


If you are still not sure after looking at it and smelling it, you can taste it. Sweet potatoes that have gone bad after being cooked may have a bad taste.

How To Tell If Sweet Potatoes Are Bad
How To Tell If Sweet Potatoes Are Bad

What Is The White Stuff When You Cut Into A Sweet Potato?

The white stuff you might encounter when you cut into a sweet potato is usually starch. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes contain complex carbohydrate starch.

Cut or peel a sweet potato and you may see a milky or murky liquid, which contains starch and water. Nothing to worry about—it’s natural. The amount of starch in sweet potatoes varies, so the white stuff you see may vary.

This starch will break down and turn into sugars as the sweet potato cooks, giving it its sweet, caramelized flavor.

The presence of this white substance indicates the sweet potato’s carbohydrate content, which gives it its delicious aromas and textures.

How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?

Sweet potatoes have a relatively long shelf life if stored correctly. When kept in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area, such as a pantry or root cellar, uncooked sweet potatoes can last for several weeks to several months.

The exact duration will depend on the quality of the sweet potatoes when purchased and the storage conditions.

How Long Do Cooked Sweet Potatoes Last?

How Long Do Cooked Sweet Potatoes Last

Cooked sweet potatoes, on the other hand, have a shorter shelf life compared to their raw counterparts.

If properly stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, cooked sweet potatoes can last for about 3 to 5 days. It’s crucial to cool the cooked potatoes completely before transferring them to the refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth.

How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last in the Fridge?

Sweet potatoes can last quite a while when stored properly in the refrigerator. When stored in the fridge, raw sweet potatoes can typically maintain their quality for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

However, it’s important to note that the specific condition and freshness of the sweet potatoes at the time of purchase can also affect their shelf life.

To maximize the shelf life of sweet potatoes in the fridge, follow these guidelines:

Choose fresh sweet potatoes: Select sweet potatoes that are firm, smooth, and free from any signs of decay or damage. Fresh sweet potatoes tend to have a longer shelf life.

Store in a cool, dark place: Before refrigeration, keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark location such as a pantry or cellar. Exposure to light and warmth can cause them to deteriorate more quickly.

Wrap individually: If you have multiple sweet potatoes, it’s a good practice to wrap each one individually in paper towels or place them in a perforated plastic bag. This helps to prevent moisture build-up and prolong their freshness.

Place in the refrigerator: Once properly wrapped, store the sweet potatoes in the vegetable crisper drawer or a similar compartment in your refrigerator. The temperature should be around 55°F (13°C) for optimal storage.

What Happens If You Eat a Bad Cooked Sweet Potato?

If you eat a badly cooked sweet potato, there are a few potential outcomes that could occur. It’s important to note that these outcomes can vary depending on the specific circumstances, such as the degree of “bad” cooking and individual sensitivity.

Here are some possible scenarios:

Digestive discomfort: Improperly cooked sweet potatoes may be difficult to digest, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, gas, or stomach cramps. These symptoms are generally temporary and should subside as your body processes the food.

Food poisoning: Consuming a poorly cooked sweet potato can potentially result in food poisoning if harmful bacteria or toxins are present. Symptoms of food poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. If you experience severe or persistent symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Allergic reactions: In rare cases, individuals may have an allergic reaction to sweet potatoes. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include itching, hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis. If you have a known allergy to sweet potatoes or any related foods, it’s crucial to avoid consuming them altogether.

To minimize the risk of these adverse effects, it’s essential to cook sweet potatoes thoroughly to ensure they are safe to eat. Properly cooked sweet potatoes should be soft and easily pierced with a fork, indicating that they have been cooked to a safe temperature and are less likely to cause any issues.

How to Choose Good Sweet Potatoes?

How to Choose Good Sweet Potatoes

Selecting fresh and high-quality sweet potatoes is key to enjoying their delicious flavor and nutritional benefits. When picking sweet potatoes, keep the following tips in mind:

Look for firmness: Gently squeeze the sweet potatoes. They should feel firm without any soft spots or areas of decay.

Examine the skin: Opt for sweet potatoes with smooth and unblemished skin. Avoid those with cuts, bruises, or signs of mold.

Check for uniform color: Choose sweet potatoes with a consistent color throughout. Variations in color are normal but avoid those with excessive discoloration or green patches.

Size matters: Select sweet potatoes that are of medium size. Larger sweet potatoes can sometimes have a woody or fibrous texture.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to choose sweet potatoes that are fresh, flavorful, and perfect for your recipes.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes?

Proper storage plays a crucial role in extending the shelf life of sweet potatoes.

Here’s how to store them correctly:

Keep them cool and dry: Store sweet potatoes in a cool and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Ideal storage temperature ranges from 55°F to 60°F (12°C to 15.5°C).

Avoid refrigeration for uncooked sweet potatoes: Uncooked sweet potatoes should not be refrigerated, as cold temperatures can negatively impact their flavor and texture.

Refrigerate cooked sweet potatoes: If you have leftover cooked sweet potatoes, store them in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. This helps to prevent bacterial growth and maintain their quality for a few days.

How to Use Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Here are some creative ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your meals:

Roasted: Cut sweet potatoes into cubes or wedges, toss them in olive oil, and season with your favorite spices. Roast them in the oven until tender and caramelized for a delicious side dish.

Mashed: Boil sweet potatoes until soft, then mash them with butter, salt, and pepper for a creamy and comforting side dish.

Baked: Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap them in foil, and bake until tender. Serve them with your favorite toppings like sour cream, cheese, or cinnamon for a satisfying meal.

In soups and stews: Add diced sweet potatoes to your favorite soups and stews for added sweetness and a boost of nutrients.

In salads: Roast or steam sweet potatoes and incorporate them into salads for a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to determine if sweet potatoes have gone bad is essential for maintaining food safety and enjoying their delicious taste.

Remember to inspect the freshness of sweet potatoes before consumption and follow proper storage practices to prolong their shelf life.

By choosing high-quality sweet potatoes and experimenting with various cooking methods, you can savor the unique flavors and versatility of this nutritious root vegetable.

So go ahead, embrace the sweet potato goodness, and elevate your culinary adventures.

Read More: The Maris Piper Potato Everything You Need to Know

Sweet Potatoes

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