Tater tots in a bowl
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Do Tater Tots Go Bad? (How to Tell?)

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If you have ever tasted taster tots, then you might have thought about whether it is possible to preserve them. You might also have wondered if it is possible for tater tots to go bad. If you are wondering if tater tots go bad, then you’ve come to the right place!

It is possible for tater tots to go bad. They have an expiration date just like any other food product. They will start to lose their freshness after a certain period of time. Eating tater tots after they have become spoiled can prove to be harsh on your health.

I will inform you about how to tell whether the tater tots in your house have gone bad or not. I will also tell you what possible diseases you could encounter if you eat bad tater tots.

Do Tater Tots Turn Bad? 

Yes, tater tots do turn bad. If you are living under the impression that tater tots can last a long time, then sorry to burst your bubble! It is not true. This is because, like any other food substance, the microscopic bacteria on the tater tots will cause them to spoil. 

This will happen even if you keep them in the fridge or the freezer for a long time. Your fridge and your freezer can only help them stay fresh for a longer time, but they cannot preserve them forever. Your tater tots will lose their quality and become tasteless with time, no matter where you keep them. But of course, this time differs according to where you place them.

How To Tell If Tater Tots Have Gone Bad? 

There are several ways to tell if your tater tots have gone bad. If you can detect these signs properly, then you will have a better chance of being safe from eating spoiled tater tots.


I should tell you that this is one of the biggest indicators of bad food. If your tater tots have become bad, they will not smell the same as when you first made them. If they start giving off a rotten odor, then it is best to not eat them. 

There is no direct way to describe how your tater tots will smell once they have gone bad. But they will usually smell unappetizing. The smell can even spread from your kitchen to other rooms easily. If this happens with your tater tots, even if you have put them in the fridge for a couple of days, then it’s best to throw them out. 


Tater tots are generally supposed to be moderately soft and easy to chew. However, if they turn rubbery after some time, it’s a sign that they have gone bad. 

Your tater tots can even become overly soft. I should also tell you that the texture may also become slimy once they have gone bad. Needless to say, in this case, you should stop yourself from trying to eat them.


Your tater tots will show signs of mold if they have turned bad. This can cause lots of problems in your body, such as allergies and breathing disturbances. For this reason, I will advise you to throw out your tater tots immediately to avoid illness.

I must tell you that even if your tater tots have no mold but you still suspect that they’ve gone bad, then it would be wiser to not take the risk of eating them. I should inform you that spoiled food has lots of invisible germs that can harm you and your family. So it’s best to throw them out as soon as you can. 


You may think that just because your tater tots are in the freezer, they will not become spoiled. I must tell you that this thinking is wrong. Tater tots, like any other food, can develop ice crystals on top of them if you keep them in the freezer for a long time.

If pieces of frost show up, then that means that your tater tots are not safe to eat anymore. If this happens, then rather than attempting to warm up the tater tots, you should toss them out. 

How Long Does It Take For Tater Tots To Go Bad?

The amount of time your tater tots will remain fresh will differ according to where you put them. This is because the physical atmosphere of the air will be different according to the area they are in. This happens due to the chemical reactions of your tater tots, which can change according to the environment you have placed them in.

For example, if you put your tater tots in the refrigerator, they can last roughly three to five days. Also, they will not be edible forever either, even in the freezer. In the freezer, they will last for around six months to one year.

But if you want to keep your tater tots out of the fridge at a normal temperature, they will go bad faster. Their freshness will then last for about two hours. I will advise you to eat your tater tots as soon as possible if you are planning to leave them outside the fridge. You should make sure that you warm them before you want to eat them in these two hours. 

Risks Of Eating Tater Tots That Have Gone Bad 

Tater tots will often smell horrible once they have turned bad. Not only that but there can be several harmful side effects of you eating spoiled tater tots.

Loss Of Nutrition

Tater tots that have gone bad do not just look unappetizing, they also lose their nutrition. Tater tots generally have carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in them. Once they become bad this nutritional value deteriorates. They slowly disappear with time.

I should tell you that this lack of nutritional value can cause you side effects such as numerous food-related illnesses. That is why it is always important to be sure whether or not your tater tots have gone bad or not. 

Food Poisoning 

You should know that this is one of the most common and dangerous problems associated with eating food that has gone bad. If your tater tots have become spoiled, then you can develop food poisoning. This is a type of illness that develops from eating rotten food. 

If you get food poisoning, you can have very harsh symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, etc. I should tell you that you may even get excessive diarrhea. Infectious creatures such as viruses, parasites, and bacteria may live in your bad tater tots.

These can enter your body once you have eaten them. From here, they travel to your stomach and cause food poisoning. For this reason, I will advise you to stay away from tater tots, which you may even suspect have gone bad. I have inserted a video about the various symptoms you can experience once you get this disease.

Exposure To bacteria 

If you eat tater tots that have gone bad, you can expose yourself to a lot of bacteria. These bacteria and toxins can make you severely sick. These can create problems in your body that are quite similar to having food poisoning.

You can develop problems in your digestive system too. Not only that, you could even have a stiff neck. I must tell you that nausea, dizziness, and even muscle aches can occur if you fail to protect yourself from harmful bacteria. For this reason, it is best to avoid tater tots that have become spoiled. 

Stomach Flu 

You should know that stomach flu can also occur if you eat bad tater tots. This disease causes inflammation in your stomach. This typically arises from having food poisoning. So I must tell you that this too can happen if you eat bad tater tots.

Stomach flu can be fatal and cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Dehydration, on the other hand, is one of the most dangerous side effects of stomach flu. Your body will lose its water, which will cause serious side effects on your strength. You may also experience weight loss, headaches, and thirst. 

You may think that food poisoning and stomach flu are the same, but no, there is a small difference between the two. Gastroenteritis is another name for stomach flu. It is a disease that occurs due to a viral infection such as rotavirus. However, food poisoning happens due to parasites, bacteria, and viruses. So they are not exactly the same.

Since there are many ways that bad tater tots can harm you, I will advise you to ensure that yours are safe to eat. If yours are good enough to be eaten, you can bake them in your baking oven. You should ensure that your oven is preheated to around three hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. I must tell you that this temperature varies from oven to oven.

You can then bake and reheat them for around fifteen to twenty minutes. Once this is done, you can enjoy your tater tots. But you should always keep checking whether or not they show any signs of spoilage. This will protect not only you but also your family and friends from serious illnesses. For your ease, I have inserted a video below to show you how to bake tater tots.

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