Can You Eat Moldy Potatoes?


If you have moldy potatoes sitting in your fridge and you are wondering if it’s okay to eat them, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve asked the right people and know if it’s safe or not.

It is not safe to eat moldy potatoes because they could be contaminated on the inside. Eating moldy potatoes can cause food poisoning, nausea, and vomiting. The only instance where moldy potatoes can be eaten is if the mold is cut from the potatoes and the vegetable is still firm.

Potatoes growing roots in a brown paper bag
Potatoes growing roots in a brown paper bag

If you want to know the details of what will happen if you eat moldy potatoes, keep reading! Make sure to know all the information before attempting to eat rotten potatoes.

Why Can’t You Eat Moldy Potatoes?

I contacted the USDAOpens in a new tab. and they explained to me that moldy potatoes are in fact NOT safe to eat. You should not eat moldy potatoes because they could cause food poisoning or other illnesses that could be dangerous. USDA.gov says that produce that is moldy and bruised should be avoided. HealthlineOpens in a new tab. has an awesome article explaining what might happen if you eat rotten potatoes. They explain that as the potatoes get older, they become filled with dangerous bacteria that can be harmful to your body.

The food safety specialist that I talked to seemed very knowledgeable about moldy potatoes and even led me to a couple of websites that he sourced while he was talking to me. In the end, we came up with the very firm conclusion that moldy potatoes are not safe to eat.

Both of these reliable, great websites claim that moldy potatoes are a big no. So don’t do it! You should never ever eat molded potatoes unless you can easily cut out the mold.

What Happens if You Eat Moldy Potatoes?

Here are some of the symptoms you may experience from food poisoning or other illnesses from eating spoiled potatoes.

  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • could cause hospitalization or death

Mold Found on Potatoes

Solanine

Solanine is a dangerous poison that can cause mold poisoning. It is a type of poison that can take over potatoes if they have rotted too much for too long. Solanine can cause symptoms like those above and more like abdominal pain, headache, and slow pulse.

White Mold

White mold is a fungus from Sclerotinia sclerotiorum which is a horrible, disgusting pathogen that can cause serious food poisoning. It is not safe to eat this type of mold and could be very dangerous if you do.

Save yourself from feeling horrible, and just toss your moldy potatoes in the trash.

I Ate Moldy Potatoes, What Should I Do?

If you ate moldy potatoes, do not panic. You should watch for signs of food poisoning like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or fever. If you are very worried or begin to show symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately or go to the hospital.

They should be able to run tests on you and determine how to best help you and your situation.

Is There Any Way to Eat Moldy Potatoes?

Firm Potato

There are a couple of ways in which moldy potatoes can technically be considered safe to eat. One of those ways is if the potato is still firm and you cut out the mold. If a potato is firm, it is still considered safe. This is because the firmness means that the bacteria haven’t gotten to the potato and caused it to be soft (which is bad). If the potato is still firm, you can go ahead and cut out the mold of the potato. Make sure you get all of it. We will go over this in more detail below, but you should never eat soft potatoes.

Tocosh

In countries like Peru, they actually eat rotten potatoesOpens in a new tab. religiously. There is a dish called Tocosh which is made from potatoes that have been rotting for months! It doesn’t sound very good to me, but it’s some of the people’s favorite dishes. Now, it is known to smell bad AND taste bad, but somehow they eat it. I can’t tell you how safe it is, but it is possible.

How to Tell When Potatoes Are Bad?

Large pile of freshly dug potatoes during harvest
Large pile of freshly dug potatoes during harvest

Firm vs. Soft

As mentioned above, potatoes that are firm are okay to eat. But those that are soft are not. Soft potatoes mean that the bacteria that the mold holds have begun to take over the potato. So, the softer it is, the more dangerous it is. Under no circumstances should you eat soft, moldy potatoes.

Don’t even attempt to cut out the mold and eat the potatoes, it could still be very bad for you in the parts you can’t see. Stay safe and healthy and do not eat soft, moldy potatoes.

Too Much Mold

If there is too much mold, on the outside or inside of the potato, then you should not eat it. Too much mold is not worth cutting out and possibly getting food poisoning over. If you want to know if the inside of the potato is still okay or not, cut the potato in half and see if there is mold on the inside. If there is, do not eat it!

Bad Smell

Potatoes are not supposed to have a bad smell. Do not eat potatoes if they have a bad smell. It most likely means they have mold and are therefore not safe to eat.

How to Properly Store Potatoes

Storing potatoes properly is essential to keeping them good for as long as you can. To store potatoes correctly, keep them in a dry, cool, dark place. It would be best in a paper bag or box. This will prevent mold, green spots, or sprouts.

Surprisingly, potatoes should not be stored in refrigerators. This is because it doesn’t help keep them good for longer, but the cold could make the potatoes even more dangerous and potentially harmful.

Don’t store potatoes next to other produce like onions or bananas because they could cause the potatoes to go bad faster.

Rotten Potato Smell

Rotten potatoes aren’t just dangerous if eaten, they are just as dangerous if you smell the rotten potato fumes. There is a famous storyOpens in a new tab. that is included below so you can know about the dangers of keeping rotten potatoes in your home.

A young, 8-year-old girl from Russia was left to be an orphan all because of rotting potatoes. Her family had a cellar full of potatoes that they didn’t know had begun to rot horribly. The girl’s father went down to the cellar, not knowing the potatoes had gone bad. He quickly succumbed to the poisonous fumes and died.

Then, one after the other, the girls’ mother, brother, and grandma all went into the cellar to look for the one who went down before them. They all succumbed to the fumes and died.

This horrible story will perhaps scare you into throwing out your potatoes if you have had them for too long or if they have rotted too much. Most of the time, these fumes are caused by a large number of potatoes being stored in one place, but anything is possible, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to Get Rid of Smell

Did you have rotten potatoes in your cupboard for too long and now they have stunk up the cupboard? Well, no worries, we know how to get rid of the smell and it is quite easy. First, you will want to throw away the rotten potatoes in the garbage and take the trash out so they don’t stink up your kitchen. Next, you should take soap and scrub the cupboard. Wipe it down next with some water. You should then take vinegar and a bit of water and scrub down the cupboards.

This will fully cleanse your cupboards and help them to smell better!

If One Potato Is Moldy, Are All of Them Moldy?

If one of your potatoes is mold, that doesn’t mean they are all necessarily bad. You should check to see if they look bad, and if they are, throw them out. It is usually likely that if one is bad, then they are all bad.

This is because they are usually from the same batch and come out of the ground at the same time, meaning that they are most likely all bad. However, you should still check to see if they smell or look bad and act accordingly.

Can You Cook Out The Mold?

Some wonder if it is possible to cook out the mold of the potatoes. The firm answer is no. Sometimes, boiling or cooking rotten or moldy food can make the rotten or moldy part go away. I would not suggest it. Just because you cook a potato filled with mold, doesn’t mean the mold will instantly go away.

Potatoes with mold growing inside

It may make the mold less strong or the mold on the outside appears less, but there is still mold on the outside. Chances are, that the mold on the inside will still be there when you cut the cooked potato in half. Meaning that there is still a lot of danger from cooking and eating moldy potatoes.

Once, I wanted baked potatoes, but my potatoes didn’t seem like the right firmness or color. But I really wanted baked potatoes. I thought to myself, well, cooking them will make the bruises and bad parts of the potatoes go away right? Nope. I cooked my potato, and alas, it tasted just as bad as it looked once I cut it open and ate it. I took that one bite and threw it away! I wasted my time and energy and had to cook something different for dinner anyways.

It would just be easier to throw away the potatoes if you have even a small doubt that there is something wrong with them. Save yourself the time and energy and toss them in the trash!

How Long Does it Take For Potatoes to Mold?

Potatoes luckily last a generally long time. They typically last about 3-5 weeks depending on how they were stored. It all depends on the sell date of the potatoes and the climate they are in. If you live in a hot climate, it is more likely that your potatoes will go bad faster than if you live in a cold climate.

Green sprouted potato eyes, potatoes ready for planting in the ground
Green sprouted potato eyes, potatoes ready for planting in the ground

Just make sure that you are storing your potatoes correctly, that you are checking on them frequently, and that you buy potatoes from the store that look and feel okay and have the latest expiration date you can get. This could possibly save you and your family from a lot of sickness and pain and is something quite easy to do.

My Advice

As a young child, my dad would make mashed potatoes a lot. Sometimes, as he would do this, he would find that the potatoes we had had bruises on them that sometimes went deep into the potato. What he would do is take a knife and cut the bruises off the potatoes so they would be okay to eat.

If the potato was too badly bruised, he would simply throw it out. If he was making baked potatoes and wasn’t planning on cutting open the potato, he would test to see the firmness or the softness of the potato. If it was too soft, he would throw it away. If it was still firm, then he would use it.

He stored potatoes in the sack it came in in our dark, cool pantry in the kitchen. The potatoes stayed good for a long time in the pantry, and we used them quite often.

My general advice to you would be to just be aware of the texture and firmness of your potatoes so you can stay safe foodwise. Your or someone else’s health can go downhill quickly just from eating a moldy potato. Just look at your potatoes as you buy them and throw them out if they begin to look sketchy. Be smart and be careful when dealing with produce that is susceptible to mold.

Anna Silver

Anna Silver is the principal creator of CookForFolks.com, a website dedicated to new go-to original recipes. Inspired by her grandmother’s love of cooking, Anna has a passion for treating the people in her life to delicious homemade food and loves to share her family recipes with the rest of the world.

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