How to Tell if Sweet Potatoes are Bad

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You might not think there are many ways you can tell if a sweet potato is bad, but you’d be surprised. For example, you can take a look at the skin and decide if it’s soft or wrinkled and has moldy spots, or you can take a look at the inside and decide if it’s mushy and discolored.

Sweet potato

Sweet potato is a starchy tuber used in cooking and baking and like other fresh food products, it spoils, especially when poorly stored. Sweet potatoes have high antioxidant content and low calorie and hence are perfect for health.

This tuber has become a common ingredient for many meals and you may end up realizing you have bought more than you actually need for a few meals. This article has the details you need to check to establish if your sweet potatoes are spoiled.

Sweet Potatoes are versatile vegetables that can be turned into a wide variety of dishes. You may be wondering, though, how can you tell if a sweet potato is bad ? You should never eat a sweet potato that looks or smells bad because it could make you sick.

With their golden, sweet, earthy flavor, sweet potatoes are one of our favorite fall vegetables to roast and enjoy on a cool evening. The only problem is, they’re also one of our least favorite foods to waste.

How to tell if a sweet potato is bad

By employing human senses, you can quickly tell whether a sweet potato is spoiled or not.


Fresh sweet potatoes should be hard and firm to the touch and if they feel mushy, then that is a sign that they are spoiled. Sweet potatoes also develop wrinkles when they are spoiled due to loss of moisture.

Wrintled sweet potato


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Any color changes indicate that the sweet potato has spoiled. If any of these colors develop on the flesh, your sweet potatoes are no longer safe; yellow, purple, and orange. You can confirm if it is spoiled by observing the skin if it has turned black, yellow, purple, brown, red, or white.


If sweet potatoes develop any rotten odor, you should toss them off as that is a sign they are not safe. In normal circumstances, sweet potatoes will not have any strong characteristic smell.

Spots and odd growths

The presence of black and brown spots that you can easily poke through indicates that the sweet potato is rotten and should be discarded. If you find an abnormal growth outside the sweet potato as you peel it, it is an indication that it is unsafe.

Sweet potato with outgrowth

Mold and black rot

Small molds on the sweet potato surface can be peeled off and the rest be cooked, but if they are big, throw away the whole product. Black rot caused by fungi found in the soil means that the sweet potato is spoiled as it makes it bitter and tasteless.

Discolored sweet potato

How to store sweet potatoes


• Fresh- Store fresh sweet potatoes in baskets, string bags, or paper bags that allow good air circulation. Keep them in a dark, dry pantry to extend their shells life.

• Canned- Unopened canned sweet potatoes can last even up to a year in the pantry. Just make sure that the area does not receive too much heat.

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• Fresh- You should not store fresh sweet potatoes in a fridge since the low temperature makes them become tasteless and have poor texture.

• Cut- Store cut sweet potatoes in a tightly sealed container before stacking them in the refrigerator. It is best if you consume them within 24 hours as they develop an acidic taste with time.

• Cooked- Add squeezed lemon juice to mashed potatoes before storing them to prevent color change and allow them to first cool down for about 20-30 minutes.


Sweet potatoes get spoiled easily due to their high water content and hence you should follow this guide to ensure that they remain fresh. Employ your senses well to establish if your sweet potatoes have spoiled by smelling, feeling the texture, and observing for signs of molds, growths, and black spots. To prolong the cooked sweet potatoes’ duration before they become spoiled, you can put them in an airtight container and store them in a freezer.

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