Cooking TipsIngredient GuidesCan You Eat Green Potatoes? A Comprehensive Guide

Can You Eat Green Potatoes? A Comprehensive Guide

Must Try

David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

Potatoes are a staple food in many households worldwide due to their versatility and nutritional value. However, when potatoes turn green, it raises concerns about their safety for consumption. This green coloration is often associated with the presence of solanine, a potentially harmful substance. The question then arises – can you eat green potatoes?

Understanding the safety of consuming green potatoes is crucial for maintaining good health. Consuming green potatoes can lead to solanine poisoning, which can cause nausea, dizziness, and in severe cases, neurological problems.

Therefore, it’s essential to have an in-depth understanding of what causes this green coloration, how to prevent it, and the potential health risks associated with consuming green potatoes.

This article aims to provide comprehensive information on this topic, helping you make informed decisions about your potato consumption.

green potatoes taste

Understanding Green Potatoes

Why potatoes turn green?

Potatoes turn green when they’re exposed to sunlight or damaged. As tubers, potatoes are accustomed to darkness, and their exposure to light causes them to produce chlorophyll, which results in the green pigmentation[^1^][^2^]. This is a natural defense mechanism that potatoes use to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun.

The science behind solanine and chlorophyll in green potatoes

The green color of potatoes is primarily due to the presence of chlorophyll. However, the production of chlorophyll is also accompanied by the formation of solanine, a naturally occurring toxic compound in potatoes[^3^].

Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison that can be harmful if consumed in large amounts. It’s important to note that while chlorophyll itself is not harmful, it serves as an indication of the presence of solanine[^4^].

While the green coloration of potato is not inherently poisonous, it signals that higher levels of solanine may be present. The highest concentration of solanine is found in the skin and sprouts of the potato[^5^]. Therefore, it’s advised to avoid eating green potatoes or at least remove the green parts before consumption to reduce the risk of solanine poisoning.

  • [^1^]: Healthline. (n.d.). Green Potatoes: Harmless or Poisonous? Retrieved from
  • [^2^]: MSU Extension. (n.d.). Is it safe to eat a green potato? Retrieved from
  • [^3^]: AllRecipes. (n.d.). Can You Eat Green Potatoes? Retrieved from
  • [^4^]: WebMD. (n.d.). What to Know About Green Potatoes. Retrieved from
  • [^5^]: Idaho Potato Commission. (n.d.). Q&A: Why are my potatoes green? Retrieved from

Health Implications of Eating Green Potatoes

A. Effects of Solanine on the Human Body

Solanine is a naturally occurring compound in green potatoes. It’s a type of glycoalkaloid that can be toxic when consumed in large amounts.

Various studies have shown that solanine can affect acetylcholinesterase activity, potentially leading to neurological problems[^1^].

Solanine can also induce ROS-mediated autophagy, a process that contributes to cell death, by activating endoplasmic reticulum stress and inhibiting the Akt/mTOR pathway[^2^].

B. Possible Symptoms and Health Risks Associated with Consuming Green Potatoes

Consuming green potatoes containing high levels of solanine can lead to solanine poisoning.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, nightmares, headache, and dizziness[^3^].

In severe cases, hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils, hypothermia, and even death have been reported[^4^].

C. Studies and Research Supporting These Health Risks

Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of solanine on human health. For instance, research has shown that solanine can modify the cardioinhibitory activity of some drugs[^5^], indicating potential interactions with medications.

Furthermore, it has been found to show antitumor efficacy against certain cancers in vitro and in vivo[^6^], suggesting that while it can be harmful in large doses, it may also have therapeutic applications. However, further research is needed to fully understand the implications of these findings.


[^1^]: “Evaluation of solanine toxicity” [^2^]: “α-Solanine induces ROS-mediated autophagy through activation of endoplasmic reticulum stress and inhibition of Akt/mTOR pathway” [^3^]: “Induction of apoptosis in HepG2 cells by solanine and Bcl-2 protein” [^4^]: “Pharmacology of solanine” [^5^]: “Solanaceae glycoalkaloids: α-solanine and α-chaconine modify the cardioinhibitory activity of verapamil” [^6^]: “Antitumor efficacy of α-solanine against pancreatic cancer in vitro and in vivo”

How to Identify and Handle Green Potatoes

green potatoes

Tips on How to Identify Green Potatoes at the Store or at Home

Identifying green potatoes is a straightforward process. These potatoes often have a distinct green hue that is visible even beneath the skin. You can tell whether a potato is greening by scratching off part of the skin and checking for any green patches underneath.

If potatoes aren’t stored properly and have been exposed to light, they will often turn green due to the production of chlorophyll[^2^].

Proper Handling and Storage Methods to Prevent Potatoes from Turning Green

To prevent potatoes from turning green, it’s important to store them correctly. When potatoes are stored in a warm, bright place, the tubers detect that they might be in a suitable growing location and prepare to sprout[^8^]. Therefore, potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place to reduce the chances of them turning green.

What to Do if You’ve Purchased Green Potatoes

If you’ve purchased green potatoes, don’t panic. Small green spots and sprouts or eyes should be completely trimmed off[^6^].

Simply cut off the green part and use the rest of the potato safely. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it’s best to also remove any sprouts[^7^]. However, if the green area is more than small spots, it’s safer to throw the potato out[^6^].


[^2^]: A Table Full of Joy [^6^]: MSU Extension [^7^]: Taste of Home [^8^]: Britannica

Safe Consumption of Potatoes

A. Steps to Ensure Safe Potato Consumption

To ensure safe potato consumption, there are several steps that should be taken. Firstly, do not rinse harvested potatoes before storing them, just brush off the dirt. Moisture can lead to rot, so it’s best to rinse them just before you use them[^1^]. When cooked, make sure the potatoes are eaten within two hours, or keep them at 140 degrees F or hotter[^2^].

Additionally, raw potatoes should only be consumed occasionally and in small portions due to their starchy and bitter taste[^3^]. Lastly, when dealing with sprouting potatoes, it is advised to wash them thoroughly and use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to carefully cut or scrape off the sprouts[^4^].

B. Alternative Methods of Preparing Potatoes to Minimize Risk

Beyond these steps, there are alternative methods of preparing potatoes to minimize risk. One such method is the three-step cooling process, which ensures that food is safe for consumption[^5^]. This involves cooking the potatoes fully, cooling them quickly to a safe temperature, and storing them properly.

C. Expert Opinions on Consuming Potatoes Safely

Experts agree that following these guidelines will help reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. They also recommend establishing suitably conservative pre-plant intervals appropriate for potato production as an effective step towards minimizing risk[^6^].

Furthermore, following commodity-specific food safety guidelines for the production, harvest, storage, and packing of potatoes can also help ensure safe consumption[^7^].

[^1^]: Michigan State University Extension. (n.d.). Food safety of potatoes – Safe Food & Water. Retrieved from [^2^]: Food Safety News. (2020). Tune into these important food safety tips for cooked potatoes. Retrieved from [^3^]: Eating Well. (n.d.). Can You Eat Raw Potatoes? Here’s What a Dietitian Says. Retrieved from [^4^]: Nao Medical. (n.d.). Are Potato Eyes Safe To Eat. Retrieved from [^5^]: ThermoWorks. (n.d.). Thermal Secrets to Safe Potato Salad. Retrieved from [^6^]: Rutgers University. (n.d.). POTATOES. Retrieved from [^7^]: Idaho Potato Commission. (n.d.). Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production, Harvest, Storage and Packing of Potatoes. Retrieved from


We’ve delved into understanding why potatoes turn green – a process triggered by exposure to light which causes the production of chlorophyll and the potentially toxic compound, solanine. The green coloration of potato is an indication of the presence of solanine, with the highest concentration found in the skin and sprouts of the potato. Consuming green potatoes can lead to solanine poisoning, with symptoms ranging from mild gastrointestinal disturbances to severe neurological disorders and other health risks.

While the occasional consumption of a small amount of green potato is unlikely to cause harm in most healthy individuals, it’s always a good practice to avoid eating green potatoes or at least remove the green parts before consumption. As consumers, understanding the science behind our food and being mindful of potential risks is key to maintaining a balanced and safe diet. Always remember, when it comes to green potatoes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Can I eat green potatoes?

While small amounts of green on a potato can be cut off and the rest of the potato eaten, if a potato is mostly green it’s best to avoid it. The green color is a sign that the potato contains solanine, a naturally occurring toxic compound that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities

What causes potatoes to turn green?

Potatoes turn green when they’re exposed to light. This triggers the production of chlorophyll, which gives the potatoes their green color, and also solanine, a potentially harmful substance

Are green potatoes poisonous?

Green potatoes aren’t exactly poisonous, but they contain higher levels of solanine, a natural toxin. Consuming large amounts of green potatoes can lead to solanine poisoning, which can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, and in severe cases, neurological problems

How can I prevent my potatoes from turning green?

To prevent your potatoes from turning green, store them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place. Exposure to light triggers the process that turns potatoes green, so keeping them in the dark will help to keep them safe to eat

What should I do if I’ve already bought green potatoes?

If you’ve already bought green potatoes, you can cut off the green parts and safely eat the rest. However, if a potato is mostly green, it’s safer to discard it

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Recipes

Featured on


More Recipes Like This