How To Tell If a Potato Is Bad? How Long Does It Last?

“Ah! Sweet delicious potatoes! They make french fries, chips, even vodka; it seems like the other tubers aren’t even trying!”.

We know you agree that potatoes are on the list of versatile foods. And like all good things, they can go bad.

So, how can you tell if a potato is bad? This article answers this question and more. Let’s get started.

15-Seconds Summary

  • When your potatoes go bad, you can tell by their smell, appearance of shoots and color.
  • Potatoes can last for about 1 to 2 weeks in the pantry while cooked potatoes shouldn’t be kept in a pantry.
  • It’s not advisable to freeze potatoes as this converts their starch to sugar and leaves them dehydrated.

Does Potato Go Bad?

different potatoes

Sadly, yes, potatoes can go bad. These versatile tuber kings are not indestructible.

Thankfully, you can protect your potatoes from going bad by knowing their shelf life.

How Long Does Potato Last?

As with every food item, with proper storage conditions, they stay useful.

Potatoes will last longer depending on their method of preparation, storage, humidity, and expiration date (based on manufacturers’ instructions).

How Long Does Potato Last?

Potates Types

Pantry

Fridge

Freezer

Raw potatoes

1 to 2 weeks

3 to 4 weeks

Years

Cooked potatoes

/

3 to 5 days

6 to 8 months

/

Up to 5 days

12 months

Baked potatoes

/

3 to 5 days

6 to 8 months

French fries

/

1 to 2 days

2 to 3 months

Raw potatoes in your pantry will last for 1 to 2 weeks, while in your fridge, potatoes will stay for about 3 to 4 weeks.

Cooked potatoes are not meant to be stored in the pantry. If kept in the fridge, they are only viable for about 3 to 5 days.

baked potatoes

Additionally, if you keep your potatoes in a cool pantry, they can stay healthy for about 3 to 5 months. And in a dark pantry or kitchen cabinet, some potatoes can last up to 5 weeks.

You may like: How to Tell if Sweet Potato is Bad?

With that knowledge out of the way, how can you tell if your potato is bad?

How To Tell If Potato Is Bad

We’ve all forgotten what we have in our pantry sometimes, so it’s forgivable if you remember your potatoes after a couple of weeks.

Look out for these signs of bad potatoes:

1. Green Spots

Once you notice green spots on your potatoes, it will go bad. The green areas are a result of the presence of the toxin solanine [1].

You can cut those affected areas off if you notice little green spots. But if a large part of the tuber is green, you need to throw out the tuber.

2. Growing Shoots

It’s natural to see some shoots growing on your potato if they have stayed too long. The short shoots can easily be cut, and if the tuber shows no other signs, you can use it.

On the other hand, if the sprouts in your potatoes are 5 inches or more, you should throw out the tubers.

Sprouts need nutrients to grow, so the more they get from the potato, the more they grow. A long shoot shows your potato has little or no nutrients for you.

3. Smell

Look out for a bitter and moldy smell instead of earthy and fresh for healthy potatoes.

Even if the tuber looks fresh, if you notice some “choky” rotten smell, it’s best to toss it in the trash.

hasselback potatoes

4. Texture

Fresh raw potato is firm to touch. If you notice that your potato is unusually shriveled and soft, it’s time to dispose of it.

5. Molds

High-humidity, unconducive temperature can cause mold growth on your tubers.

If you notice molds, don’t try to cut the affected part. It might have spread further to other regions. The best practice is to discard.

  • Cooked potatoes are at risk of spoilage faster, so look for obvious signs like molds, and smell.
  • Baked potatoes might have a soft, mushy texture. Some might smell bad. Be on the lookout for these signs if you want to tell that a baked potato is bad.

If you buy large quantities of potatoes and notice any of these signs, we are sorry. Thankfully, you can preserve your potatoes better next time.

So, how do you store potatoes better?

How To Store Potatoes (7 Tips)

To extend the viability of your potatoes, you have to store them appropriately.

store potatoes

  1. Do not store your potatoes in plastic bags. The heat will destroy them. Please allow them to breathe. Use a mesh bag, basket, or poke holes in sealed bags to store them.
  2. At the store, select tubers that are firm and fresh. These tend to stay long since they are new.
  3. Keep your tubers away from direct sunlight. This prevents solanine production.
  4. Keep your potatoes away from onions. They produce a gas that quickens ripening.
  5. It would be best to separate spoilt potatoes from those that are still good. This will prevent them from getting bad faster.
  6. Keep your potatoes at a cool temperature (7°C to 10°C).
  7. Wash your potatoes when you are set to use them. The dirt around them protects them from mold. Storing damp potatoes predisposes them to spoilage.

Optimal storage conditions will preserve your potatoes. Can you eat a bad potato? Are there any risks?

Risk Of Eating Spoiled Potatoes

Cooked potatoes breed bacteria faster; after a couple of days, these bacteria can grow and result in salmonella, staphylococcal food poisoning, botulism, etc.

If not taken care of, food poisoning can lead to dehydration and, in severe cases, death. To prevent any of these, proper storage is a must.

Does that mean you can freeze potatoes?

Can You Freeze Potatoes?

Yes. Although we do not recommend freezing unless it’s necessary, you can.

When you freeze, an overly cold temperature can dehydrate your potatoes and cause the starch to convert to sugar.

This conversion affects their taste and texture. Hence, you might notice potatoes turn black while frying.

Before they go bad, we can still enjoy delicious potatoes, so we have put together a mashed potato recipe solely for your enjoyment.


You can prepare this mashed potatoes in 15minutes, and the best part is you don’t have to boil the potatoes.

homemade mashed potatoes

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This recipe is for microwave mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 6 peeled large Russet potatoes
  • ½ cup of whole milk or half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Freshly chopped chives
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

    1. Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe container.

    2. Microwave at high temperature for about 9minutes until a fork can pass through easily.

    3. With a potato masher, mash the soft potatoes.

    4. Pour the whole milk on the potatoes and smear the butter over them. Then microwave for one minute, mix properly, and microwave again for another one minute.

    5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    6. Once it's ready, garnish with chives and serve.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 63mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g

Suppose you are preparing your potatoes in advance. Once it’s ready, cover tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for one day.

When ready to serve, microwave thoroughly, garnish with chives and serve.

Final Words

Potatoes are going to potate! No matter the chance of them going bad. Still enjoy every bit of fresh potatoes while you can.

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