Contemplating if you can eat sprouted potatoes? Find out if they are safe to eat, how to remove small sprouts and other blemishes, and when to toss them. Stick around for tips on how to store them so you can minimize the growth of sprouts and keep your potatoes fresh for a long time (teaser: they love dark places!).

Someone holding a sprouted potato with other potatoes in the background.

You’ve purchased a giant bag of potatoes at the grocery store, and after cooking a few, you’ve totally forgotten about the rest. When you finally remember weeks later, you see small amounts of sprouts peering out. Some might even have some green skin.

So, will these taste bitter or creamy and delicious? Can you salvage these sprouted potatoes, or are they toxic food waste now?

The short answer: it depends on the severity of the color, sprouts, and dark spots.

Someone holding a potato with marks and dark spots.

Are sprouted potatoes safe to eat?

It simply depends. As potatoes begin to sprout, growths like roots, eyes, and bumps have a very high concentration of glycoalkaloid compounds that may create an unpleasant, sharp, and bitter taste. It can even cause them to have a grassy flavor once cooked.

If you eat a potato with small sprouts, you’re not likely to get sick because one of those compounds called solanine is actually one of the natural toxins in nightshade plants like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. If you’re not sensitive to nightshades, you probably won’t feel any effects.

The best move is to use the rest of the potato, with the roots, bumps, and eyes removed. Simply take a paring knife and cut completely around the base of the sprouts. It might make your raw potato funny-looking, but it definitely won’t make a difference in your overall cooking of potatoes.

One potato with sprouts.

However, if you eat a potato with large sprouts that have been growing, you can experience extremely toxic effects. Spuds that have grown “arms” and “legs” can be dangerous to your health. If your potato has extensive roots and eyes so big they’re staring back at you, it’s best to toss them.

It’s not worth it to eat these sprouted potatoes because in the worst cases, you can experience poisonous, digestive symptoms from the solanine like a high-grade fever, headache, and even abdominal pain like an extremely upset stomach.

So, if the potato has too many arms or eyes, has soft spots, or is wilted or wrinkled, just throw it out.

How to Remove Potato Sprouts

Removing sprouts from potatoes is easy! Simply snap off the little sprouts by hand or use a vegetable peeler. This tool is great because it often has a sharp end where you can dig out the base of the sprout and dark spots. Then you’ll be good to eat the rest of the potato!

It’s important to implement a cleaning process with potatoes after you’ve removed the sprouts and dark spots. Rinse them under running water to remove any dirt.

Someone holding a sprouted potato.

What happens if my potato has green skin?

Potatoes exposed to light for a long time will start to take on a green color because they produce chlorophyll. So, peel them well when you see skin-deep green and you’ll be completely fine.

If you cut into it and see green deeper than the skin, that indicates the toxins have developed too far into your potato. Toss it out and buy new potatoes.

What happens if my potato has dark spots?

If you see a few dark areas on your potatoes, it’s most likely because of bruising or concentrations of natural sugars. You can also simply use a vegetable peeler or cut them out with a paring knife.

However if there are too many, you’ll end up with barely any potato to use! So as a general rule, digging out more than five bigger, dark spots isn’t worth the risk.

Multiple potatoes sitting on the countertop.

How long do potatoes last?

Generally speaking, potatoes can last anywhere from one week to several months. It depends on how they’re stored and if they’ve been cooked or not. They definitely prefer cooler temperatures over room temperature.

If you cut your potato, i can last up to 24 hours in water before browning. Once you cook it, it can last up to four days in your refrigerator and one year in the freezer. Remember that the quality of your potatoes in the freezer decreases as time goes on.

How to properly store potatoes?

Potatoes need air to breathe which is why they are sold in mesh bags. The best way to store potatoes is in a dry, cool, dark place with little light. You can keep them in the mesh bag you bought them in, or a cardboard box.

Some people store them with their onions in a kitchen drawer while others stick them in their pantry. It’s entirely up to you and your kitchen!

Avoid keeping your potatoes anywhere that is too hot or humid, which will prompt them to grow sprouts. Definitely don’t store them in your refrigerator. Cold temperatures can cause starches to convert to sugars and will turn brown once cooked.

Baked loaded hasselback potatoes are filled with cheese and topped with bacon.

Potato Recipes

There are so many ways you can prepare and eat potatoes, so you don’t want to miss out on these recipes! Check out these Melting Potatoes… And yes, they really do melt in your mouth. If you’d like to switch it up, make these Potato Gnocchi with a lemon garlic butter sauce.

Add potatoes to your pancakes using this Mashed Potato Pancake recipe. In a time crunch? Make these Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes in just under 30 minutes. For a crispy take, enjoy this Cheesy Hasselback Potato Recipe that you can top off with bacon bits, sour cream, green onions, and more.

A bowl of potato soup made in the Instant Pot.

If you really want a punch of garlic, try out these Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Prepare this Instant Pot Potato Soup for the next cold, winter day. You won’t want to miss garnishing these Mashed Sweet Potatoes with butter and rosemary.

Add these Crispy Baked Parmesan Garlic Fries as a delicious side for barbecue night. Prepare this Sheet Pan Breakfast Potato Hash for your family before everyone’s off to work and school.

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