Do Sweet Potatoes Go Bad? How to Store Them to Last Longer

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on October 30th, 2023

Absolutely. Like all produce, sweet potatoes have a finite shelf life. They’re moisture-rich, which, while lending to their delectable texture, unfortunately, makes them susceptible to spoilage. 

The storage methods, whether it’s raw or cooked, as well as the environment in which they’re kept, can significantly influence how long they remain good for consumption. Those who frequently enjoy the velvety taste of sweet potatoes know how crucial it is to store them correctly to maximize their lifespan.

sliced orange fruit on white table

The Lifecycle of a Raw Sweet Potato

Raw sweet potatoes, when left on the kitchen counter, will generally hold their freshness for one to two weeks. But these tubers have more to offer. Tucked away in a cold, dry, and dark environment (mirroring the conditions of old-fashioned root cellars), they can remain in prime condition for about a month. 

However, even the best storage methods can’t stop them from eventually sprouting. While sprouting isn’t a direct sign of spoilage, it’s an indicator that the sweet potato is aging. 

Therefore, it’s recommended to consume them before this stage to enjoy their peak flavor and texture.

Storing Cooked Sweet Potatoes

Cooked sweet potatoes are a different story. Once they’ve been exposed to heat, their structural integrity changes and their shelf life reduces. After cooking, these tubers will last a mere few hours at room temperature. 

However, properly refrigerated within an airtight container, they can stay fresh for up to five days. It’s imperative to move cooked sweet potatoes to the refrigerator promptly to prevent bacterial growth, which could lead to potential health issues.

The Refrigerator Dilemma

Storing raw sweet potatoes in the refrigerator might seem like a good idea, but it’s a practice best avoided. The cold environment can alter their intrinsic sweet taste, leading to an undesired hard center. If you’ve sliced a raw sweet potato and you’re looking to preserve the remaining portion, it can last about a day when submerged in cold water and refrigerated.

Freezing Your Sweet Potatoes

Freezing is an excellent option for those who wish to keep sweet potatoes for extended periods. Cooked sweet potatoes, when stored in the freezer, can last up to six months, retaining much of their original flavor and texture. However, freezing raw sweet potatoes isn’t recommended, as they tend to lose their nutritional essence.

Identifying Spoilage in Sweet Potatoes

A keen eye and touch are often all you need to ascertain the freshness of your sweet potatoes. Their skin should be smooth and firm, free from any mushy spots, which can be early indicators of rot. A color shift to a darker hue or the appearance of black patches is a clear sign that the tuber has passed its prime. 

Mold is another obvious red flag. As for those white droplets that sometimes emerge when slicing? That’s merely the starchy sap – harmless and not a spoilage indicator.

Why Sweet Potatoes Darken When Cut

Upon slicing, sweet potatoes often darken, as a result of their starch content. While this may look unappetizing, it’s harmless. However, for those who prize aesthetics as much as taste, a simple remedy exists. Submerging the sliced pieces in cold water, perhaps with a dash of lemon juice or a sprinkle of salt, can prevent this discoloration.

Tips for Optimal Storage

Before storing raw sweet potatoes, a gentle rub to remove dirt, instead of rinsing, is advised. Excess moisture can hasten spoilage. And if you’re storing them in a refrigerator with other veggies, keep them separate. 

Sweet potatoes can inadvertently expedite the ripening process of other produce. As for cooked sweet potatoes, remember to cool them entirely before refrigeration, and always use an airtight container.

Reviving Sub-Optimal Sweet Potatoes

Sometimes, we catch our sweet potatoes just as they begin showing signs of spoilage. In such instances, all might not be lost. Growth from the eyes, for instance, can be snipped away, with the rest of the potato still being safe for consumption. 

Soft spots on the skin can be peeled away, often revealing perfectly good flesh underneath. However, if a large portion of the potato appears compromised, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

Freezing: A Deeper Dive

While it’s generally not advised to freeze raw sweet potatoes, freezing the cooked variety can be beneficial. Whether they’re whole, sliced, or mashed, the process is straightforward. Properly wrapped and stored, they can provide an emergency stash for future culinary endeavors. 

The key is ensuring they’re appropriately sealed to prevent freezer burn and flavor degradation.


Sweet potatoes are culinary gems, offering both taste and nutrition. Understanding their storage needs ensures you can savor them at their best. The potential for spoilage exists, but with the right knowledge and a bit of vigilance, you can maximize their shelf life and enjoy them to their fullest.


Editorial Staff

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