How long do hard-boiled eggs last?

Eggs are healthy. They are rich in nutrients and having them hard-boiled has been said to be the best way to get as much from eggs as possible nutrition-wise. Surprisingly enough, hard-boiled eggs have a shorter shelf life as compared to fresh eggs.

How Long Do Hard-Boiled Eggs Last?
How Long Do Hard-Boiled Eggs Last?

How long are hard-boiled eggs good for?

Hard-boiled eggs are protein-packed. So versatile are they that you can just take them, slice them up, and include them in a salad or any platter made of deviled eggs. If you frequently eat eggs, there’s the likelihood that you once accidentally left one out for too long.

Rotten eggs are not a sight to behold or smell. When hard-boiled eggs are stored well in a refrigerator, whether unpeeled or peeled, they will be good and safe to eat for the next seven days from the day of boiling. This is according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

If you do not have an idea as to when the boiled eggs you have were first boiled, just check the eggshell and look for chalky or slimy appearances. If they are there, it is time to throw them out. You should also not eat eggs that are beyond their prime.

Eating such eggs puts your health at risk, as you may develop food-borne illnesses. Symptoms brought about by food-borne illnesses include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If a boiled egg has gone bad, it almost always has an unpleasant odor. However, you may have to break the egg to assess its smell.  

Sometimes you may find that your just boiled eggs have a greenish-grey color on the yolk. Do not be alarmed, as this is not a sign that the egg has gone bad. The color of yolks tends to vary depending on the cooking temperature and time.

When an egg is boiled for long, the yolk will take on a paler color. This color is what will eventually turn greenish-grey. The color comes when the iron from the yolk comes in contact with the hydrogen sulfide in the egg whites. Such an egg is safe to consume.

How long do hard-boiled eggs last at room temperature?

The USDA states that unreserved cooked or uncooked food should not be left in temperatures that range from 40 °F — 140 °F for over 2 hours. They gave these temperatures the name ‘danger zone’. This is because it is in this danger zone that bacteria thrive the most.

Also, items that easily go bad should be thrown out after an hour if they have been kept at a temperature that is above 90 °F.  

Do eggs need refrigeration?

Many European supermarkets store their eggs in the non-perishable goods section or on shelves. In the U.S., eggs are refrigerated, as this reduces the risk of food contamination and food poisoning. So, should you refrigerate eggs or not?

Risk of hard-boiled eggs unrefrigerated

Yes, refrigerate hard-boiled eggs. The American Egg Board confirmed that refrigerating eggs keep them edible for longer. Refrigerating boiled eggs with their shells will give them a lifespan of about 168 hours if stored properly.

On the other hand, peeled boiled eggs need to be consumed on the same day, the USDA states. Neither of the two bodies recommends freezing boiled eggs, shelled or not.

Nature of Boil eggs refrigerated or unrefrigerated

There are pros and cons when it comes to storing eggs in the refrigerator

Cons:

· Eggs contain the bacteria Salmonella. If eggs aren’t stored well, food poisoning symptoms may be experienced.

· Eggs can sometimes go bad quickly if stored in a fridge because when the fridge is opened and closed, the temperature is not constant, thus encouraging the growth of bacteria.

· It is not easy to incorporate a cold boiled egg into your dishes.

Pros:

  • The lifespan of eggs is higher when in the fridge
  • You still get the same nutritional value as if it were freshly boiled
  • Can be stored peeled or unpeeled

How long do hard-boiled eggs last in the refrigerator?

A hard-boiled egg can last up to seven days in the refrigerator, either peeled or unpeeled. You should also ensure that long-hard-boiled eggs get refrigerated within two hours after boiling. Also, you should not leave hard-boiled eggs, which were previously refrigerated, at room temperature past 2 hours.

Should they be stored peeled or unpeeled?

While different people choose to either have their hard-boiled eggs peeled or unpeeled, it is highly advisable to store hard-boiled eggs unpeeled. When unpeeled, boiled eggs can last for a longer time, and you also do not risk cross-contamination with other foods. Do not panic if you find yourself with peeled boiled eggs. You won’t have to eat them all at once.

To store them safely, take an open container/bowl and fill it with cold water. Now, take the eggs and store them in the refrigerator without closing the container/bowl. Make sure that the water is changed daily. You can alternatively store them in an air-tight container.

Methods that will keep the eggs safe and edible for up to one week.

The first method is to bake the eggs in a muffins baking tin. These eggs can be eaten on your menu at breakfast or even used when baking muffins.

If you are pressed for time and can’t cook, mix then freeze raw eggs. Place all raw eggs in one zip bag and store them in your freezer. When you want to cook them, just thaw a bag in the refrigerator then cook.

You can also coat your hard-boiled eggs in mineral oil. This ensures that the boiled eggs last for a longer time. Using mineral oil replaces the boiled egg’s natural coating, keeping the egg fresher. Lastly, you can bury the eggs upside down in a storage container filled with salt and without the eggs coming in contact with each other.

The best place to store hard-boiled eggs

While most refrigerators come with the egg compartment by the door, it is actually not the best place to place your boiled eggs. This is because refrigerators are frequently opened, and so the temperature by the door fluctuates.

This means that your eggs will be subjected to these temperature changes and may end up going bad fast or even be a health risk. The best place to store hard-boiled eggs is on any inside shelf.

Keep hard-boiled eggs fresh

The best way to keep hard-boiled eggs fresh is to store them in covered containers. If your boiled eggs are not in their shell, you will need to maintain their moist nature. To do this, take two paper towels, dampen them with water, and then cover the peeled boiled eggs at the top and bottom. Then take a container and store them in the fridge with the container.

How do you know if an egg has gone bad?

Take a container, fill it with tap-cold water, then place the egg in the water. If your egg sinks to the bottom of the container, and then it lies on one side, then it means the egg is still fresh. However, if the egg floats on the water, it is an indication that the egg has gone bad. The air cells in bad eggs are large and form at the bottom of the egg. If your eggs are floating, throw them in the trash.

FDA recommended

When buying, handpick your eggs. Check for eggs that do not have cracks. The FDA also advises you to store eggs in the carton they came in and use them within 21 days.

When storing, you are advised to use hard-boiled eggs within seven days of cooking. This is for both peeled and unpeeled boiled eggs.

When cooking, you need to boil the eggs until the yolk and white parts are firm. Boiled eggs should not be runny.

Topics & Questions

Can you eat hard-boiled eggs after 10 days?

Hard-boiled eggs will still be edible 10 days after boiling only if during this time they were refrigerated. 

Can you eat 2-week-old hard-boiled eggs?

It is not safe to eat hard-boiled eggs after 2 weeks. It is advisable to throw out hard-boiled eggs that are over 10 days old ad unrefrigerated.

Why do hard-boiled eggs only last a week?

Eggs contain avidin which acts as an antibiotic, thus keeps the egg fresh. Boiling the egg destroys avidin. After a week, the growth of bacteria is high, and these bacteria are what cause eggs to go bad.    

What happens if you eat a hard-boiled egg after a week?

Eating a hard-boiled egg after a week may end up inflicting you with mild food poisoning. 

How do I naturally dye Easter eggs?

Use the following ingredients, per one cup of water, to naturally dye Easter eggs:

  • A cup of chopped cabbage (purple) will turn blue and green on white and brown eggs, respectively.
  • A cup of red onions will turn to red or lavender eggs.
  • A cup of shredded beets will give pink and maroon on white and brown eggs respectively. 

You’ll get yellow eggs from 2tbsp of ground turmeric.