How long can eggs be left out?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long can eggs be left out?”, discuss answers to other related questions like why is it important to refrigerate eggs and how to tell if eggs are gone bad.

How long can eggs be left out?

Eggs can be left out for about 2 hours only and 1 hour if the temperature is 90℃. After 2 hours, the optimal eating quality of the eggs will have deteriorated so much that they will not taste good and they might not remain safe to eat. To increase this time-frame, it is better to refrigerate the eggs if you are sure that you can not consume them within the specified time limit.

Why is it important to refrigerate eggs?

It is important to refrigerate eggs due to two important reasons, explained below:

Protein degradation

Eggs that are left out will degrade more quickly than those kept in the refrigerator. Because as eggs age, their protein structure degrades. This causes older egg whites to become runnier, and the yolks to stand less round and tall. The warmer the room temperature, the more this is true. So it is better to keep the eggs in the refrigerator than to leave them out.

Bacterial growth

Leaving eggs out, at room temperature, encourages bacterial growth. Eggs are particularly more susceptible to one particularly nasty bacteria, known as Salmonella. This bacteria can be a reason for a very severe form of food poisoning, with symptoms developing from 12-72 hours after infection.

How to tell if eggs are gone bad?

Eggs can easily go bad if they are not stored properly. To check whether an egg is good to be used or not, consider the following points:

Expiration date

If you have kept eggs in their original carton, you can check for the expiration date to see whether the eggs are gone bad or are still good to be used.

Smell test

The smell test is the simplest and most reliable way to tell whether an egg has gone bad or not. A bad egg will give off a foul odor when cracked. This smell will be present even after the egg has been cooked.

Visual inspection 

One of the simplest ways to tell if the eggs are gone bad or not is the visual inspection. Don’t cook the eggs if there is a crack in the shell, or there is a powdery substance on the shell or the shell is looking or seeming slimy

Float test

The float test is a quick and easy way to check the freshness of an egg. For this, place an egg in a bowl of water. If the egg stays at the bottom, it is fresh, and if the egg stands on its end, it is not fresh (older egg).


Candling involves the use of bright light to examine eggs for signs of cracking and interior defects.

What happens if you eat bad eggs?

The main risk of eating bad eggs is to be the victim of food poisoning due to Salmonella infection. Salmonella, a gram-negative bacteria, can grow both on the shell and inside the yolk and egg white. Symptoms of Salmonella-based food poisoning include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, chills, vomiting, and nausea. 

These symptoms usually develop 6-48 hours after eating a contaminated egg and last for about 4-7 days.

If the frequency of diarrhea and vomiting is very high, you need to increase the intake of fluids so that the loss of water and essential nutrients can be compensated to a level. Also, it is better to seek medical assistance to avoid any big loss.

How to store eggs?

To keep the eggs fresh for a long period, store them in their original carton because:

  1. The carton protects the eggs and prevents the eggs from absorbing the strong odors and flavors of other foods in your fridge through the thousands of tiny pores in the eggshell.
  2. The best-by date is always visible to you so you can guarantee freshness.

Eggs should always be stored with the large end up, the same way they are packaged in the carton, to help the yolk remain centered.

Do not store eggs in the door of the refrigerator but store them in the main body of the refrigerator. This will ensure that they keep a consistent and cool temperature.

Leftover raw egg whites and yolk should be kept in air-tight containers and stored in the refrigerator immediately. To prevent yolks from drying out, cover them with a little cold water and drain this water before using the yolk.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long can eggs be left out?”, discussed answers to other related questions like why is it important to refrigerate eggs and how to tell if eggs are gone bad.


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