Eggs are an excellent source of protein and vitamins and one of the simplest meals to prepare. You can enjoy them in different ways, including frittatas, veggie-packed omelets, and breakfast burritos. They have an average lifespan and are best stored in the fridge.
But how long can they sit out?
Raw and boiled eggs can sit outside the refrigerator for 2 hours (or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90F); however, there are exceptions.
Continue reading for details about egg storage and shelf life.
How long can eggs sit out of the fridge?
How long eggs can sit out of the fridge varies across regions. In Canada and the United States, you should not keep shelled raw eggs at room temperature for more than two hours.
In Europe, you can safely store eggs at room temperature, and refrigeration is not required.
Why do some eggs need to be refrigerated?
In the U.S., eggs are refrigerated to reduce salmonella contamination, a bacterium often found in hen’s feces.
Once the eggs are laid, they are removed almost immediately and washed in warm water to reduce contamination.
This process removes the natural chemical barrier on the eggshell; thus, it becomes easier for bacteria to find their way inside the clean egg. Therefore, they will need to be put under cooler temperatures (such as refrigeration) to prevent the growth of bacteria on the eggs.
However, in Europe, salmonella is less of a health concern as most of their hens are vaccinated against salmonella. Hence, eggs laid by chickens with the salmonella vaccine need not be refrigerated. Moreso, refrigeration can make these eggs more susceptible to bacterial growth.
How to store eggs in the fridge
In refrigerating eggs, avoid putting them in fridge doors.
Although this is a common practice, placing eggs close to your fridge door can cause them to deteriorate quickly. This is because fluctuations in temperature caused by the constant opening of the fridge may subject them to bacteria contamination.
Eggs are best stored in the middle or towards the back of your refrigerator.
How long are refrigerated eggs good for?
Uncooked eggs can stay fresh for 4-5 weeks in the fridge.
In the case of cooked eggs, they shouldn’t stay longer than four days; the longer your cooked eggs stay in the refrigerator, the greater the chances of bacteria growing on them.
On the other hand, Pasteurized liquid eggs can stay good for as long as ten days if unopened and three days if opened.
Can eggs be frozen?
Though uncommon, you can also store eggs by freezing them.
Crack them out of their shells and pour them into a muffin pan, one egg per hole.
Afterward, wrap the pan tightly in freezer paper or plastic wraps and put it gently in the freezer. Your eggs can last in this state for 3 – 4 months before consumption. Transfer the muffin pans to your refrigerator to thaw, leaving them to defrost overnight.
N:B: Do not freeze eggs in their shells as they can crack from the cold and become unfit for consumption.
Do I have to refrigerate my fresh eggs?
The simple answer is no. Eggs are laid with a thin coating on the shell (known as bloom or cuticle) that helps keep air and bacteria from getting into the eggs, keeping them fresher for longer.
So, if you own a small poultry farm, you can collect the laid eggs and store them in a container or basket. So long as you don’t wash the eggs after gathering them, there’s no need to refrigerate them.
How to store eggs without refrigeration
If you live in the European Union or other countries that do not clean their eggs, the best way to preserve your eggs is at room temperature.
Below are some tips to adequately store your eggs without refrigeration.
- Never wash your eggs before leaving them on the counter.
- We recommend using an egg storage container such as a wire basket or enamel bowls when storing eggs. This will help protect them from breaking and protect your counter from contamination.
- Remember to always wash your hands after handling unwashed eggs to avoid contamination.
N.B.: Unrefrigerated eggs do not have such long shelf life and should be eaten within three weeks.
How to tell if your eggs are bad
Eggs can go bad if not properly stored or after their shelf life has passed. Here are some ways to tell if your eggs are spoilt.
Sniff the eggshell to confirm its freshness; bad eggs have a rancid smell. If you aren’t sure of its spoilage, break it into a bowl and check the smell.
Check the shell for cracks
Egg cracks or slimes often indicate bacteria contamination. If the shell has a powdery appearance, it’s most likely covered by mold and has become unfit for eating.
Break the eggs into a bowl and confirm that the yolk is pure yellow. Your egg is spoilt if you observe any green, pink, blue, or black discoloration.
The expiration date
The sell-by date is another way to determine how fresh your eggs are. Dispose of them if they are long past the expiration date.
How long do eggs last before going bad?
Eggs can last up to 3 weeks without going bad, depending on the storage method. Eggs can last for 3-5 weeks and up to a year in the freezer when put in the fridge.
What happens if I eat spoilt eggs?
Eating rotten eggs can expose you to bacteria that cause food poisoning. You may experience one or more of these symptoms; diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and fever.
How long can boiled eggs sit out?
Boiled eggs and raw eggs can sit out of the fridge for 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eggs have a reasonably long shelf life; however, they need to be stored properly to avoid bacteria growth which causes quick spoilage. Generally, eggs can sit out of the fridge for 2 hours before losing their freshness.