June 22, 2024
Learn how to tell if a potato is bad with this guide. Discover the signs of spoilage, how to perform a smell and touch test, and storage tips to prevent food spoilage. Comparison between fresh potatoes and bad potatoes is also introduced in this article.


Potatoes are one of the most versatile and commonly eaten vegetables worldwide. Whether boiled, mashed or fried, they are a staple in many households. Unfortunately, potatoes can go bad quickly and become unsafe for consumption. It is important to be able to determine whether a potato is bad to avoid eating spoiled food.

In this article, we will explore the various signs of spoilage and ways to test whether a potato is bad. We will also share tips on how to properly store potatoes and compare bad potatoes with fresh ones.

Signs of Spoilage

There are several signs that a potato is going bad and should not be eaten. Pay attention to the following:


If you notice small white or green sprouts protruding from the surface of a potato, it has likely started to spoil. These sprouts grow when the potato is past its prime and should be removed before consumption.


When potatoes are kept in moist or damp environments, mold can grow. If you see mold on any part of a potato, it should be discarded immediately. Mold indicates spoilage and can be harmful if consumed.


Potatoes that have started to turn brown, black, or green in certain areas have begun to spoil. Some discoloration may be acceptable and can be cut away, but be wary of excessive discoloration.


If a potato is wrinkled or has a shriveled appearance, it is likely old and dehydrated. This is another sign that it is no longer fresh and should be avoided.

Soft Spots

Soft spots on a potato indicate that it has begun to rot. These areas will feel mushy and may cause the potato to emit a foul odor. If you find soft spots, it is best to dispose of the potato.

Smell Test

One of the easiest ways to determine if a potato has gone bad is to use your sense of smell.

How to Detect a Bad Potato by Smell

Take a whiff of the potato. If it has a strong, pungent odor, it is likely bad. Fresh potatoes should have little to no odor.

Different Smells to Look Out For

There are several unpleasant odors that a bad potato can emit. These include a musty or moldy smell, a sour odor, or a strong sulfurous smell. All of these can indicate decay within the potato and should not be consumed.

Best Time to do the Smell Test

The smell test should be done before cooking the potato. If the potato smells bad before it is cooked, it will likely emit an even stronger odor when cooked.

Touch Test

Another effective way to detect a bad potato is to feel it with your fingers.

Explaining the Texture of a Bad Potato

A bad potato will feel soft and mushy in certain areas. These areas will often feel slimy or wet as well.

Evidence of Decay that can be Felt

If you notice any bruises or damage on the skin of the potato, gently press on these areas. If they feel soft or squishy, the potato is likely spoiled and should be discarded.

Best Time to do the Touch Test

The touch test should also be done before cooking the potato. This is because cooking can often mask the texture of a bad potato and make it difficult to detect.

Cooking Test

Cooking a potato can also reveal any spoilage or decay that may be present.

Changes in a Potato after Being Cooked

If a potato is bad, it will often change in color or emit an off odor when cooked. The flesh may also discolor or appear darkened.

Off Taste or Change in Color

If you notice an unpleasant taste when you eat a cooked potato or if it looks significantly different from a normal potato, it should not be consumed.

How to Perform the Cooking Test

Slice the potato into small pieces and boil or bake it as you normally would. If it comes out looking and smelling the way it usually does, it is safe to eat. If it looks or smells different, it is likely spoiled and should not be consumed.

Storage Tips

Proper storage of potatoes can prevent spoilage and help them stay fresh for longer periods of time.

Best Practices for Storing Potatoes

Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a pantry or root cellar. They should be kept away from moisture and direct sunlight, as this can cause them to sprout or rot.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid storing potatoes in the refrigerator, as this can cause them to break down and develop a sweet taste. Also, do not store them next to onions or garlic, as they can produce gases that will cause the potatoes to spoil more quickly.

Comparing with Fresh Potatoes

Finally, it can be helpful to compare a bad potato with a fresh one to determine any differences.

How to Identify the Differences Between a Bad Potato and a Fresh One

A fresh potato will have a firm texture, no wrinkles, and no sprouts or discoloration. It will also have a mild or neutral odor.

Texture, Color, and Overall Feel

A bad potato will have a soft or mushy texture in certain areas, as well as discoloration or sprouting. Overall, it will feel older and less firm than a fresh potato.

Benefits of Using Fresh Potatoes

Fresh potatoes have a better taste and texture than those that have gone bad. They are also more nutritious, as they contain more vitamins and minerals that can be lost when potatoes spoil.


Potatoes are a delicious and healthy food that can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways. However, it is important to be able to identify when a potato has gone bad to avoid eating spoiled food.

By using the signs of spoilage, smell test, touch test, cooking test, storage tips, and comparing with fresh potatoes, you can determine whether a potato is safe to consume.

Remember to always trust your instincts and err on the side of caution when it comes to food safety.

Share this article with others to help them learn how to tell if a potato is bad and avoid consuming spoiled food.

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