Do Sweet Potatoes Go Bad? How To Pick, Store and Freeze It

do sweet potatoes go bad

Sweet potatoes, like regular potatoes, are just simple root vegetables. And like any other vegetable, they will eventually rot and decay which means will go bad. So, Yes! Sweet Potatoes do go bad! To maximize their shelf life and eat healthily, one should know how to identify sweet potatoes properly, store sweet potatoes, etc.

Signs of Bad Sweet Potatoes

These are some of the things to look out for:

  • External damage. Like: Cracks, bumps, etc.
  • Mold spots. Mold growth or fungal growth on their body.
  • They are shrunk and have wrinkles.
  • Sprouts and eyes
  • Funky smell
  • Dark or black spots on the inside.
  • Soft and mushy
  • Holes

Of all these signs, you can eat potatoes with sprouts and eyes by simply cutting off that part. Moreover, bumps on sweet potatoes are okay and are still edible as long as there is no mold or fungal growth on that part.

Caution :

Never eat sweet potatoes that have mold, as they are and can be poisonous

Now that you know which ones to avoid let’s look at what you should look for when buying them.

How to Pick Good Sweet Potatoes?

When buying potatoes, you should look for the following:

  • No external damages. A few bumps are okay.
  • Orange, red, yellow, or purple skins
  • Orange, white or purple flesh
  • Uniform size or similar sized ones.
  • Buy sweet potatoes, not yams.

Fun Fact : Yams and sweet potatoes are often mixed up. Yams are starchier and have tougher skins.

Now that you know what to avoid and buy let me help you in the storage department.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes?

It depends on whether your potatoes are uncooked or cooked.

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Storing Fresh Sweet Potatoes

Raw sweet potatoes don’t need much to be stored. You can easily store them in a basket or tray and leave them in a dark, cool and dry corner in your kitchen or pantry. Sweet potatoes prefer a temperature slightly lower than your room temperature. Depending on how old they are, they will easily last from 2 weeks to up to a month. 

raw sweet potatoes in a basket
Image credit: Amallia Eka, Shutterstock

According to the U.S Sweet Potato Council, you should not store fresh sweet potatoes in the refrigerator as it compromises their quality and taste. 

Tip : Avoid keeping sweet potatoes and onions together, as it increases their chances of rotting faster. You can keep them in your attic, cellar, or basement.

Store Cooked Sweet Potatoes

Storing cooked sweet potatoes is easy; you can store them in the fridge in resealable zip lock bags or an airtight container. They will last up to a week inside the fridge. You can even store them in the freezer. It’s always the best option for cooked sweet potato storage.

Tip 1 : Never leave out your cooked potatoes for more than 2 hours as it causes bacterial growth.

Tip 2 : You can boil and chop them up and freeze them to make food like soup, stews, etc.

Tip 3 : Remember always to thaw your frozen or refrigerated sweet potatoes.

Now you might be wondering whether you can freeze sweet potatoes. Let us have a look at that.

Can You Freeze Sweet Potatoes?

Yes! You can freeze both cooked and raw sweet potatoes in your freezer. To know more, I urge you to read this article to learn more about freezing sweet potatoes.

Following up on that, let’s see how you can eat the frozen potatoes.

How to Eat Frozen Potatoes?

  • Defrost the frozen potatoes by leaving them overnight inside the regular fridge
  • Microwave the potatoes, either for defrosting or reheating.
  • If the potatoes are boiled or just chopped and frozen, you can cook them directly on the stove or oven.
  • You can thaw them out and let them reach room temperature, but they may become watery.

Now let us take a look at how long they last.

How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?

Raw Sweet Potatoes

From 1-2 weeks to up to 1 month outside the freezer. You can keep raw cut and peeled sweet potatoes submerged in water inside the fridge for a day.

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Cooked Sweet Potatoes

Cooked sweet potatoes last for 2 hours outside the fridge, anywhere from 3-5 days up to a week in the fridge, from 6 months to a year in the freezer.

cooked sweet potatoes in a half-plate
Image credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock

Some FAQ

What are pithy sweet potatoes?

Sweet Potatoes harvested too late and have become hollow inside are pithy sweet potatoes. Often they are called spongy potatoes, but that is the wrong term to describe pithy potatoes.

Can you eat pithy sweet potatoes?

Yes, you can eat pithy potatoes, but they won’t be as tasty as regular sweet potatoes.

Why are there holes in sweet potatoes?

Because of worms and insects eating through your sweet potatoes.

What is the white liquid or milky liquid in sweet potatoes?

It’s normal and is a substance called starch.

Why does sweet potato turn black after peeling or cutting?

Like apples and many other vegetables and fruits, it is expected as they tend to react with the oxygen in the air to oxidize and turn grey or black.

Can you refrigerate cut and peeled sweet potatoes?

Yes, submerge them in water, preferably salted water, and keep them in the fridge for up to a day or two.

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

No Yams are not even widely produced in the U.S, and yams tend to be more starchy and have very tough skin, making them hard to peel.

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To Summarize

Sweet potatoes are perfect for health-conscious people. They pack a huge load of nutrients and are a healthier alternative to regular potatoes. They can be baked, steamed, fried, grilled, etc., and be prepared in any manner you want. So now that you know how long they last and all other relevant information on them, make some tasty dishes and share your recipes with me as I would love to make them for myself.


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