Do potatoes really go bad? Here’s what you need to know

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Written By Gabriela
Gabriela is a science journalist and writer. She has a PhD in biochemistry and a master's degree in science communication. Gabriela has published articles in magazines and newspapers in Mexico and USA, and has also given talks on science subjects.






Potatoes are a versatile and nutritious root vegetable, and they are a staple in many kitchens. But do potatoes really go bad? How can you tell if a potato is still good to eat? And what should you do if you have potatoes that are out of date?

In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about potatoes, their shelf life, and how to tell if a potato has gone bad. We’ll also share tips on how to store potatoes so they last longer, and how to tell when a potato has gone bad. Read on to learn all you need to know!

Do russet potatoes Go Bad?

As with any tuberous crop, it is important to store potatoes properly and check their condition regularly to make sure they don’t go bad. So, do russet potatoes go bad? The answer is yes – but with a few simple tips, you can make sure your spuds stay fresh for as long as possible!

How to Prolong the Shelf Life of Your Potatoes

  • Keep potatoes in a cool, dark place.
  • Store in a paper bag or loosely tied up plastic bag with holes for ventilation.
  • Check potatoes regularly for softness or sprouting.
  • Separate any that are already beginning to rot away from the rest.
  • Only wash potatoes right before cooking or eating.

Signs Potatoes Have Gone Bad

  • Soft spots or discoloration on the potato skin.
  • Potatoes are sprouting green shoots.
  • The flesh is dry, grainy, and crumbling.
  • A sour odor or white fluffy mold on the surface.

Effects of Eating Bad Potatoes

Consuming old or rotten potatoes can have some harmful effects on your health. Not only is there a risk of food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, but spoiled potatoes also contain glycoalkaloids which can lead to headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and more serious symptoms. If you experience any adverse effects after consuming bad potatoes, seek medical attention immediately.

How Long Do Potatoes Last?

On average, fresh uncooked potatoes should last between one and two weeks if stored in a cool dark place like a cellar or pantry. But if you remember all these tips on prolonging shelf life and check on your spuds regularly, they could potentially last even longer!

The Warning Signs of Spoiled Potatoes

If you love potatoes, then you might be familiar with the signs of a spud gone bad. A bad potato can be identified by a few key signs: shriveled skin, dark spots, mushy texture, pungent odor, and sprouts or mold.

The most immediately noticeable sign of bad potatoes is their shriveled skin. This often resembles wrinkled paper or cloth and has a dry feel to it. The potato itself will start to lose its shape as the skin begins to wrinkle.

Dark spots are another common indicator of a potato gone wrong. These may be small or large and appear anywhere on the potato but are most common on the skin. They may be dark brown, black, or yellow in color.

Apart from the outside, mushy texture is a key sign that something has gone wrong inside the potato. It may start to feel slimy or squishy when squeezed between your fingers. If it is particularly soft, then it’s likely past its prime.

Pungent odor, similar to vinegar or ammonia, is often an indication that rotting has started within the potato. You may also see some sprouts growing out of one end, or even see bits of mold in some cases — yet another sure sign that it should be discarded right away.

It’s worth inspecting any potatoes before you buy them at the store as some can already be starting to rot. Here’s a quick checklist of signs for when you’re on the lookout for bad potatoes:

  • Shriveled skin
  • Dark spots
  • Mushy texture
  • Pungent odor
  • Sprouts or mold

These are all reliable indicators that your potatoes have begun to go off and should not be consumed. So next time you reach for a spud from the pantry, keep an eye out for these five signs!

Examining Bad Potatoes: What to Look For

Spoiled potatoes can be a misleading sight. On the outside, the potatoes may appear just fine, but if you take a closer look, there are surprising signs of spoiling. Read on to learn what to watch out for, whether you’re looking at cooked or uncooked potatoes.

can potatoes go bad

Signs of Spoiled Uncooked Potatoes

When it comes to figuring out if your uncooked potatoes have gone bad, these signs can help:

  • Dark spots: Discoloration and dark spots could be an indication that your potatoes have spoiled.
  • Mushy texture: If they’re no longer firm, they may have begun to spoil and should not be eaten.
  • Foul odor: If the potatoes are giving off a bad smell, this is likely from bacteria or mold growth and means they should not be eaten.

Are Cooked Potatoes Susceptible to Spoiling?

Yes! Just like uncooked potatoes, cooked potatoes can also spoil. However, it might be harder to determine since there may not always be immediately visible signs of spoiling. That being said, some indications that cooked potatoes are going bad include:

  • Mold growth: Mold on the surface could mean that your cooked potatoes have gone bad and should be thrown away.
  • Unpleasant smell: If your cooked taters have taken on an unpleasant smell that may indicate bacteria or mold growth.
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It’s important to stay mindful when checking your potatoes for spoilage so that you don’t become ill by ingesting them!

What to Do When Your Potatoes Have Spoiled?

If you find that your potatoes have gone bad in either cook or uncooked form, always discard them immediately.

To avoid eating spoiled cooked or uncooked potatoes make sure to inspect them carefully and toss any with dark spots, mushy textures/feel, or foul odors. For best results store uncooked potatoes in a cool dark place like a cupboard and cooked potatoes in the fridge.

How to Spot a Potato gone Bad

Potatoes are incredibly versatile and can be used in many delicious dishes. The key to making a perfect meal is having fresh ingredients.

The general rule for knowing if uncooked potatoes have spoiled, is to look for signs including a soft/mushy texture, bad smell, or dark spots on the skin.

When inspecting fresh potatoes, it’s important to use all five senses. Begin by looking at the potato skin. Has it become discolored? Are there any dark spots? If there are dark spots or the potato is discolored it may have spoiled.

Give the potato a sniff. Does it smell like raw potatoes or has it developed an unusual odor? If it smells off or strange this could mean that it has gone bad.

Next, gently press down on the potato, if you notice that the texture feels softer than usual this could be a sign that the potato has started going bad.

  • Soft or mushy texture
  • Bad smell
  • Dark spots on skin

By being mindful and paying attention to these signs, you can easily determine whether your potatoes are good for use or not. Next time you need to grab some potatoes make sure to take note of the signs discussed above.

In the Nick of Time: Eating Potatoes 10 Days Out of Date?

Are you wondering about consume-by dates for potatoes? You might have noticed a sell-by date on the bag of potatoes at the store and are not sure if you can safely use them after that date.

The truth is, the sell-by date for packaged potatoes is different from the expiration or consume-by date for fresh vegetables. While other produce must be consumed before the expiration or best-by date, potatoes are an exception. After the sell by date on your potato bag has passed, you can still use them to make meals.

It’s important to note that while you can use potatoes past the sell-by date, they may not be in peak condition. To maximize their freshness, you should use them as soon as possible since they do spoil over time. As a general rule, it’s best to consume potatoes within 10 days of purchasing them, since this will ensure maximum freshness.

When preparing potatoes at home, it’s important to properly store them so they stay fresh longer. Here are some tips:

  • Store in a cool, dark place.
  • Keep them away from sunlight.
  • Avoid storing with other fruit and vegetables.
  • Check periodically for any sign of softness or discoloration.

With some proper storage, you should have no problem using your potatoes up to 10 days out of date. So when selecting your potatoes at the store next time, rest assured knowing that you can pull from your pantry safely past the sell-by date.

The 2-Week Potato Test: Is It Still Safe to Eat?

There’s been times when we’ve forgotten about food going off so it’s a good thing to know that potatoes can stay edible way past their expiry date. But how long exactly can you eat potatoes that are 2 weeks out of date?

Raw potatoes, if properly refrigerated, can be consumed up to 4 months after the date written on the bag or label. Potatoes stored this way will retain their freshness and will not cause any unwanted effects.

It is also safe to eat cooked potatoes up to 7 days after they have passed their expiry date, as long as they are kept in the refrigerator. The shelf life of cooked potatoes increases greatly when kept frozen, as they can last for up to 8 months without any change in quality.

So to conclude, it is safe to eat potatoes 2 weeks past their expiry date, either cooked or raw. It is best to store them according to their state; raw potatoes should be chilled in the fridge and cooked potatoes should be kept frozen or in the refrigerator if eaten within a week.


  • Always check for visible signs of spoilage before consuming any food past its expiry date.
  • Do not attempt to reheat cooked potatoes twice, no matter how much time has passed since they were cooked.