Holes in Sweet Potato (Causes + Is It Safe to Eat?)

Most people enjoy the taste of sweet potatoes. They work as a side dish or a complete meal, especially when delicious toppings are added. However, sweet potatoes sometimes have a few issues that may put some people off using them. The most common of them are holes in the skin of the sweet potatoes. So, if you’re wondering about the holes in sweet potatoes, here’s a quick answer:

Sweet potatoes can have holes for several reasons. However, the most common cause is wireworms. These worms tunnel into the sweet potatoes on the ground, causing these holes. However, they are usually shallow and don’t live in the potatoes. Thus, they remain safe to eat as long as you cut out these holes.

Some people see these holes as problematic, and in some cases, they are. However, there are other things to consider before throwing your sweet potatoes. You can still enjoy the potatoes at some point, and that’s what we’ll learn today.

In this article, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about the holes in sweet potatoes. Here, you’ll learn the causes and if these potatoes with holes are still safe for consumption.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Holes in Sweet PotatoPin

Why are there holes in my sweet potato?

If there are holes in your sweet potato, it is likely because of wireworms. Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles, are mainly responsible for potato holes. Their tunnels leave behind a hole in the potato tuber.

There are various methods for controlling this pest, including crop rotation, traps, pesticides, and predatory nematodes. Hollow heart diseases and white grubs can also cause Holes in sweet potatoes.

When sweet potatoes are harvested, holes often appear in the crop. A farmer who fails to resolve this problem in the early stages can negatively affect the entire crop.

In most cases, holes in sweet potatoes are caused by wireworms. This type of worm commonly attacks root crops, and sweet potatoes can be affected to have to be discarded and not sold.

Occasionally, some of these sweet potatoes may slip through, so that you may buy them anyway. As long as the holes are dry and do not go deep within the sweet potato, you can cut out the parts and keep the good ones.

Can you eat sweet potatoes with holes in them?

Yes, you can eat sweet potatoes with holes in them. If you choose to consume pithy potatoes, you can always do so. However, you should make sure that there are only a few holes inside the potato.

To be safe, throw away the item if there are holes all over it. Although that sweet potato probably isn’t spoiled, it will taste awful, so it would be pointless to cook it.

Can you eat sweet potatoes with wireworm holes?

Yes, you can eat sweet potatoes with wireworm holes in them. However, you can only do so as long as the holes are dry.

Warm temperatures cause the sweet potatoes to develop tiny holes. As a result, these potatoes are sometimes called spongy, but the correct term is pithy.

The sweet potatoes should be refrigerated once they have been cooked. This is because wireworms most likely cause the holes in the potatoes. Still, you can consume it as long as the holes are dry.

Are sweet potatoes with holes in them safe to eat?

In most cases, sweet potatoes with holes remain safe to eat. There may be a misconception that you should not eat holes in sweet potatoes. However, this isn’t true in all cases. Sweet potatoes that have spots aren’t necessarily bad for you.

You may think that sweet potatoes with holes are bad because they contain pests and worms. However, you can be sure the potatoes you buy are no longer infested with worms. Worms remain in the soil.

What to do with sweet potato with holes in it?

If your sweet potatoes have holes, you should always check if they are still safe for consumption.

When they reach your kitchen, worms and other pests usually leave sweet potatoes with holes. During harvest time, they enter the crop for a short time and leave after a while. Nevertheless, the holes they leave in the sweet potatoes persist.

So, if you have sweet potatoes in your kitchen that have holes, and you do not want to throw them away because they have holes, you will need to check whether they are infested with worms.

Usually, sweet potatoes are not contaminated with these diseases, but there are some rare exceptions. Hence, you need to look out while peeling the sweet potato to see if there are any pests or worms, and if there is nothing like it, you are good to go.

If you find any bits that don’t look right, you should cut them out before proceeding with the rest. However, it does not mean you should throw the whole thing away.

How can you tell if a sweet potato has gone bad?

You can tell if a sweet potato has gone bad once they turn mushy. The ends of the sweet potatoes usually become soft before they turn brown or black.

There is a high chance that the flavor will be affected by the spoilage of these parts. In addition, there can sometimes be visible wrinkles on the surface of the tubers.

Frequently asked questions

Little holes in sweet potato

You can still eat little holes in your sweet potato if you see them. If these holes are dry, you should be able to treat this potato like you would a regular one. Worms will not enter the potato and remain there for the rest of its life. It is also not thought that these worms transmit diseases to humans.

Black holes in sweet potato

You can still eat your sweet potatoes if they have a few small black holes. Black holes can be caused by bruising, oxidation, or chemical reactions from cooking. Sweet potatoes with deep black pits, however, are signs of rot, so you should discard them.

Often, the potato was damaged during harvest or storage, which allowed mold spores or bacteria to enter. From the outside, these spots are typically dark or black and need to be cut off before cooking.

White holes in sweet potato

If there are white holes in your sweet potato, don’t worry, it’s normal. The liquid starch causes the white holes in sweet potatoes, and it can happen to any sweet potato without causing any harmful effect. Thus, if you find such in your sweet potatoes, you can still cook them.


There are several reasons why sweet potatoes can have holes. Typically, wireworms are to blame. These holes on the ground are caused by worms tunneling into sweet potatoes. They’re shallow, though, and they don’t live inside potatoes. Therefore, as long as these holes are cut out, they’re safe to eat.

The presence of these holes is problematic to some people, and in some cases, they are. But before you throw your sweet potatoes away, you should consider other factors. You can still save these sweet potatoes at some point, and I hope you learned about that after reading this article.

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Image credits – Canva

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