Can you leave eggs out on the counter?

In this article, we will explore the question, “Can you leave eggs out on the counter?” We will also address the ways to maintain their quality.

Can you leave eggs out on the counter?

It depends. Eggs can be left out at room temperature (around 77 °F or 25°C) if they have not been refrigerated. When eggs are transferred from the refrigerator to the kitchen counter, it is possible for moisture to accumulate on the eggshell (1).

 However, it is recommended to store them in the refrigerator as quickly as possible to maintain their freshness. 

In many countries, unrefrigerated eggs are commercially available with a shorter shelf life (around 3 weeks), using appropriate sanitization methods and/or surface coating (1). 

When stored in the refrigerator or a cool place, raw eggs can have a shelf life of up to 5 weeks (1 and 2).

Can you leave cooked eggs out on the counter?

Cooked eggs should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacterial growth occurs rapidly between 40 °F or 4°C and 140 °F or 60°C, increasing the risk of contamination. Discard eggs left out for longer to ensure food safety (3).

What factors contribute to the risk of leaving eggs out on the counter?

Salmonella poses a risk to eggs and other poultry products due to potential contamination before they leave the farm. Variations in handling methods during farming and processing explain the different refrigeration practices worldwide (3). 

The FDA mandates proper washing, drying, sterilizing, and refrigerating of eggs to prevent salmonella contamination during shipment. While hen immunization is not required in the United States, efforts focus on handling practices to limit salmonella spread (4). 

Mass vaccination of hens to prevent food-borne disease began in the late 1990s in the UK after an increase in salmonella cases (5).

 Refrigeration is crucial to prevent the growth of new bacteria as salmonella thrives between temperatures of 40°F or 4°C and 140°F or 60°C (3). 

Water on eggshells can expose them to potential infection in warm and moist environments. The USDA advises against washing eggs at home to avoid the risk of contamination through the shell (4).

What are the recommended safety guidelines for handling eggs?

The recommended safety guidelines for handling eggs include:

1. Avoid purchasing cracked eggs and inspect them carefully for any dents or cracks (6).

2. Avoid eggs with unusually thin shells, as they have a higher risk of salmonella contamination (7).

3. Consider the consistency of the egg: fresh eggs have tightly clinging egg white to the bright yolk, while older eggs have separated whites and flattened yolks (6).

4. Rely on the odor of the egg: fresh eggs emit a mild, agreeable smell, while spoiled eggs release an unpleasant, sulfur-like, or putrid odor (1).

5. Ensure the eggs are thoroughly cooked in dishes or recipes (4).

Do eggs have a shelf life?

Yes, eggs have a shelf life. Unrefrigerated eggs can last for around 3 weeks when stored at a temperature of 77°F or 25°C and a relative humidity of 65% (1). 

However, when stored in the refrigerator, eggs in their shells can be safely consumed for up to 5 weeks. It is important to discard open raw beaten eggs that have been left outside the refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth and contamination (1). 

By storing eggs at a temperature of 39°F or 4ºC, their internal quality can be preserved, and their shelf life can be extended by at least 5 weeks (1). 

Freezing eggs, after removing them from their shells, can also help maintain their quality and safety for an extended period of time.

Other FAQs about Eggs that you may be interested in.

Can I leave eggs out overnight?

Can you leave hard-boiled eggs out?

Can you freeze deviled eggs?


In this article, we have addressed the question, ‘Can you leave eggs out on the counter?’ The answer varies. Unrefrigerated eggs can be stored at room temperature if they have not been previously refrigerated. These eggs can maintain their quality for approximately 3 weeks.


1. Torrico DD, No HK, Prinyawiwatkul W, Janes M, Corredor JA, Osorio LF. Mineral oil–chitosan emulsion coatings affect quality and shelf‐life of coated eggs during refrigerated and room temperature storage. Journal of Food Science. 2011 May;76(4):S262-8. Available from:

2. USDA. Food Safety and Inspection Service [Internet]. [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:

3. Linscott AJ. Food-Borne Illnesses. Clin Microbiol Newsl [Internet]. 2011;33(6):41–5. Available from:

4. FDA. U. S. Food and Drug Administration. What You Need to Know About Egg Safety.  [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jun 26]. Available from:,cooked%20to%20160%C2%B0%20F.

5. Parkhurst C, Mountney GJ. Poultry meat and egg production. Springer Science & Business Media; 2012 Dec 6.

6. Wahba NA, Mel-Shereif WA, Amin M. The effect of different preservation methods on egg quality and validity. Assiut Veterinary Medical Journal. 2014 Oct 1;60(143):42-8. Available from:

7. Kamboj S, Gupta N, Bandral JD, Gandotra G, Anjum N. Food safety and hygiene: A review. Int J Chem Stud. 2020;8(2):358–68.