How To Tell If Sweet, Red, Salad & Baked Potato Is Bad [Signs & Preservation]

Shelf life aside, how can you tell that a potato is bad?

Potatoes make the list of perishable food items. Since they do not last forever, you have to check them regularly because one bad potato can spoil the others.

Potatoes, raw or cooked, can go bad. With this established, find out how to tell if a potato is bad and how to preserve potatoes properly.

What are potatoes?

Potatoes are starchy tuberous vegetables of the species Solanum tuberosum. These root crops are native to America and are known for their long-lasting shelf life.

Analyzing the nutritional value of potatoes, they have high water content and are very rich in carbohydrates too. They are low in protein and their fat content is negligible. Potatoes are also rich in vitamins and minerals.

These root vegetables are a common food staple that can be made into different meals. You can either eat your potatoes boiled, mashed, fried into chips, or made into potato salad. Either way, the nutritional value of potatoes remains intact.

How can you tell that a potato is bad?

1. Check the texture

Good potatoes should feel firm with smooth skin. A deviation from this towards extreme softness is a sign that the potatoes have gone bad and you should throw them away.

Moreover, raw potatoes with bruised skin, black spots, and leaking moisture are signs of spoilage you should look out for.

2. Any sprouts?

Sprouting is another way to tell that your potatoes are bad. However, if the sprouts are new and still very short, you may cut them off and cook the part without the sprouts.

But potatoes with long, mature sprouts are already spoiled and no longer fit for food.

3. Presence of mold

When you see mold growth on your potatoes, they are no longer safe to eat. If the mold is present on only a small area of the potato, you can cut off that area and cook the potato. But you should cook the potato immediately.

When mold growth seems to take over the whole potato, you should thrash it already. Mold growth is a sign of spoilage on both raw and cooked potatoes. You should watch out.

4. An offensive smell

Fresh, raw potatoes have a natural earthy smell. Any deviation from this to a foul smell of rot and spoilage makes the potato a no-no.

Carefully examine your raw and cooked potatoes for any trace of foul smell and discard them if necessary.

5. An off-taste

An off-taste is a sign that your cooked potatoes have gone bad. Bad potato salad (or any other potato recipe) may look good on the outside and the smell may not easily give it away. Then, you have to put your taste buds to work.

If it tastes bitter or sour taste, the potato meal has gone off. Discard it to avoid food poisoning.

How can you tell sweet potato is bad?

When sweet potatoes are bad, they become soft and mushy with mold growth.

You will also notice that the smooth brown skin will turn black with spots and blemishes. When you notice any of these signs, it is time to throw them away.

How can you tell red potato is bad?

Bad red potatoes have a moldy smell with growth. They also have soft, mushy skin with dark spots, blemishes, and shriveled long sprouts.

Red potatoes last up to three weeks in the pantry but you may observe these signs of spoilage before this time lapses. When you notice any of these, discard the potatoes.

How can you tell baked potato has gone bad?

When a plate of baked potatoes goes bad, you will notice a sour and fermented smell.

Physical appearance also helps to identify a spoiled dish. Dark spots, a slimy texture, excessive softness, and discolorations are signs to look out for in baked potatoes.

How can you tell potato salad has gone bad?

When potato salad goes bad, it gives a foul smell, off-taste, mold growth, and a slimy texture. When you notice any of these, throw them out.

How long can potatoes last?

As mentioned earlier, potatoes last a long period. But some factors can influence how long they last.

  • If you store potatoes in the pantry, away from moisture, you can expect them to last several months
  • Storing potatoes anywhere in the kitchen will allow them last between two weeks to a month
  • Cooked potatoes last only two hours at room temperature but can last up to four days in the refrigerator
  • But if you freeze a dish of cooked potatoes, it should last up to a year. However, it may have lost quality to freezing

How to preserve potatoes

  • Store raw potatoes in a cool, dark place away from sunlight
  • Keep large quantities of raw potatoes in a bag with holes to allow the potatoes to get ventilation
  • Also, do not refrigerate or freeze raw potatoes
  • In addition, separate potatoes from other food items like onions, ginger, and garlic
  • Do not wash raw potatoes until you are ready to cook them
  • Store cooked potatoes in an airtight container
  • Additionally, check your potatoes regularly and remove spoilt ones quickly
  • Most importantly, always buy fresh potatoes


Can you eat potato sprouts?

Potato sprouts are toxic and unsafe to eat. You risk solanine poisoning if you eat potato sprouts, regardless of how new they are.

What happens if you eat bad potatoes?

Bad potatoes can make you sick.

Eating bad potatoes can result in solanine (a compound present in spoiled potatoes) poisoning. The symptoms of this poisoning include headache, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea.

Should you eat raw potatoes?

Some people eat raw potatoes but it is not advisable because the starch is not easily digested in humans.

Also, raw potatoes contain a toxic compound, solanine, that can cause digestive issues and make you sick.


Potatoes naturally have a long life span. Regardless of this, they can go bad whether raw or cooked. How you store and cook your potatoes are major factors that determine how long your potatoes last.

After storing your potatoes well, you should check them regularly, especially if you have a lot of them in the pantry.

Check for signs of spoilage on the potatoes and isolate the spoiled ones to avoid spreading the rot.

Now that you know the warning signs of potatoes going bad and how to prevent them, this article highlights the warning signs of onions going bad and and how extend the shelf life of onions.

Thanks for reading.