Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by Claire
You must have repeatedly heard the mantra “big risks come with big rewards” from movies, TV shows, during sporting events, and adverts. While this is true to some extent, it’s not exactly true when it comes to eating undercooked potatoes. That leads to the question, “Is it OK to eat undercooked potatoes?”
Here’s what you should know. Although you can choose to gnaw at undercooked potatoes, eating them is a risk that won’t bring you any ‘good’ rewards except pain, headaches, and digestive issues.
Grab a spud, a pen, and your sense of humor, and let’s jump right into the wild wide world of undercooked potatoes…
Is it OK to eat undercooked potatoes?
No, it’s not safe to eat undercooked potatoes. This is because eating undercooked potatoes can be dangerous and lead to all sorts of gastrointestinal issues, from cramps and bloating to flatulence and others. Moreover, the University of Illinois Extension recommends that soft, shriveled, or wrinkled potatoes with or without sprouts should not be eaten.
Not forgetting about the risk of food poisoning also…
Sure, you might think the risks are insignificant, and what’s the worst that could happen if you eat undercooked potatoes. Trust me on this, I speak from experience.
So, the next time you’re tempted to gnaw at a potato undercooked, just remember the old saying “a potato a day keeps the doctor away, but an undercooked potato will send you running to the loo”. Pun intended.
What makes undercooked potatoes unsafe to eat?
The answer to this question is down to chemistry my dear potato lover. Potatoes contain a couple of nasty little chemicals called solanine and chaconine, which can make you seriously ill if ingested in large quantities.
These chemicals are produced by the potato plant as a natural defense mechanism against predators, and they’re particularly concentrated in the skin and eyes of the potato. And one reason it’s not particularly OK to eat undercooked potatoes.
Listen up, solanine and chaconine are not chemical compounds to joke around with. They can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in extreme cases when consumed in large amounts.
Now, you might be thinking, “but I always eat a large amount of potatoes, am I in danger?”
I’ll gladly tell you this for free- You’re not in danger because the amount of solanine and chaconine in a single potato is usually pretty low, and the best way to avoid ingesting any of these dangerous chemicals is not to eat raw or undercooked potatoes.
This is because cooking the potato thoroughly can effectively break down these chemicals.
What can undercooked potatoes do to my health?
A lot. Below are common things undercooked potatoes can do to your health:
Eating undercooked potatoes will likely give you digestive problems. So, it’s not OK to eat undercooked potatoes.
This is because undercooked potatoes have been known to contain high levels of starchy carbohydrates (also known as resistant starches) that are difficult to digest, and also cause digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and others.
Potential health risks
As previously mentioned, the chemical compounds solanine and chaconine present in undercooked potatoes have been known to pose certain health risks to the human body when consumed.
Here are a few of those potential health risks when you eat undercooked potatoes:
- Stomach upsets and other gastrointestinal issues.
How do you know if potatoes are properly cooked?
Since you know it may not be OK to eat undercooked potatoes, how do you know properly cooked potatoes?
The surface of the potato should be soft and tender to the touch without any hard or uncooked areas.
Fully cooked potatoes will float to the surface when fully cooked.
Use a fork or knife to pierce the potato. If the potato gives in easily or feels soft, then it is fully cooked.
Potatoes have a soft and buttery smooth texture when fully cooked. If they are still hard or crunchy in the middle then they need to be cooked for a bit more time.
How do you fix undercooked potatoes?
Ideally, the best way to fix your undercooked potatoes is to cook them again by using the same method they were cooked before they came out undercooked.
Put them in a steamer basket and steam until they are properly cooked.
Cut the undercooked potatoes into smaller pieces, place them in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave them at a high-temperature setting for about 3-5 minutes until they are fully cooked.
To do this, heat a pot of boiling water and put the undercooked potatoes in it to boil for an additional 10-15 minutes at 212° F until they are fully cooked.
Wrap your undercooked potatoes in foil and grill them until properly done.
Pro tip: Always remember to give your potatoes a quick boil before grilling. This is to make sure they’ll be creamy on the inside and slightly charred on the outside when grilled.
Preheat the oven for about 8-10 minutes at 450° F, then put your undercooked potatoes in a casserole dish to bake for 10-15 minutes until they are fully cooked.
Similar to the microwaving method, you need to cut the undercooked potatoes into smaller pieces, and then spread them out evenly on the pan to fry for about 4-5 minutes until they are thoroughly cooked.
Just remember to flip them until all the sides have a golden color.
What is the best cooking method for potatoes?
Boiling, baking, roasting, grilling, and microwaving are some of the best cooking methods to ensure your potatoes are fully cooked.
Although all of these methods differ by process, the most important thing is keeping an eye on the cooking times (according to the cooking method) to make sure your potatoes are not undercooked or overcooked.
Are undercooked potatoes healthier?
No, undercooked potatoes are not healthier. This is strange since they have a lot of health benefits since they contain a higher amount of vitamin C and resistant starch.
However, undercooked potatoes are more than likely to cause digestive problems since they contain anti-nutrients and harmful compounds.
Can you eat potatoes that are hard in the middle?
Yes, you can eat potatoes that are hard in the middle. But you wouldn’t really enjoy them. So, you need to make sure your potatoes are properly cooked and tender to the touch before gnawing at them.
Is it better to overcook or undercook potatoes?
None is better. Cooking your potatoes just right is key. If they’re undercooked, you wouldn’t like their taste and texture — which can be a big turn-off. If they’re overcooked, they will disintegrate, lose a lot of their nutrients, and your potatoes will be too soft.
Should you boil potatoes fast or slow?
This depends on your recipe. For small or cubed potatoes, reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot to let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. While for large potatoes, do the same routine and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
In a nutshell- Is it OK to eat undercooked potatoes?
Don’t mess around with undercooked potatoes. They might seem harmless, but they’re not something to be trifled with. So, stick to fully cooked spuds, and you’ll be just fine.