How long can you leave boiled eggs out?

This article will answer the question “How long can you leave boiled eggs out?”, and how to store hard-boiled eggs?

How long can you leave boiled eggs out?

Boiled eggs should not sit for more than 2 hours outside the fridge. If the temperature is above 90℉, boiled eggs last only 1 hour outside the fridge. 

The best practice is to toss the boiled eggs in ice-cold water and refrigerate them within 2 hours if they are not to be consumed right away.

How to make the perfect boiled eggs?

When boiling eggs, temperature and holding time are the two important considerations. The following table is a complete guideline on how to boil eggs with a runny, fudgy, and hard yolk.

Egg textureHolding time
Soft white and a runny yolk4-6 minutes
Soft yolk that stays in place8 minutes
A firm yolk with a central soft spot10 minutes
Hard-boiled egg with a light yolk12 minutes
Hard-boiled egg with a firmer white and yolk but not overcooked14 minutes

How to refrigerate hard-boiled eggs?

Though it is preferable to not peel the eggs if they are not to be consumed within hours of cooking, it is safe to store peeled hard-boiled eggs for later use. There are two ways you can do that:

  1. Keep the eggs in a bowl of cold water and put the bowl in the fridge. Cover the bowl and change the water daily. It will be good for about a week.
  1. Keep the eggs in an air-tight container. To retain moisture, keep some damp water towels on top of the eggs and secure the container with a tight lid. The eggs will preserve their freshness for a week.

How to store hard-boiled eggs in the freezer?

You can also freeze store your peeled hard-boiled eggs. It is important to note that storing the peeled eggs as a whole will damage the texture of the eggs considerably when thawed. The eggs will lose their moisture and freshness and become rubbery.

To overcome this problem, it is recommended to freeze the boiled eggs and yolks separately. Just crack open an egg, separate the egg white and yolk. Carefully place the yolk and the egg in boiling water just like the poached eggs are made.

When boiled completely, remove carefully from the water and store for up to a year in the freezer bag. Squeeze out the air from the bag. 

The science behind boiled eggs?

An egg is a rich source of protein.  A large egg has approximately 628g protein, 3.6g of which constitutes the egg white.

The building block of proteins is amino acids which are held together by weak bonds. These covalent bonds are weak enough to be broken by the heat that is provided during boiling.

The heat breaks these weak bonds and stimulates the amino acids to make stronger bonds simultaneously. 

During this process, water is expelled through the egg resulting in the solidification and denaturation of the protein. Proteins in an egg pass through the following stages during boiling.

At 130-140°FEgg proteins start to unfold
At 140°FOvotransferrin turns the egg white into a gelatinous matrix as a result of bonding with itself.
At 155°FOvotransferrin is moist but solid
At 180°FOvalbumin makes the egg white firm due to cross bonding
Above 180°FProteins lose water slowly. As a result of dehydration, the egg white develops a dry a rubbery texture and starts to give off a foul Hydrogen sulfide smell.

What factors impact the cooking time of soft-boiled eggs?

The temperature of the water

The temperature of the water should reach as high as 190°F. Lower temperature water will take longer to boil the eggs. First, let the water come to a rolling boil. 

Then turn the flame low and bring the water to a constant simmer. Place the eggs in ice-cold water immediately after boiling to halt the cooking process.

Batch size

Add only 4 eggs to the pot at a time. Try to avoid overcrowding the pot as it will increase the cooking time of the eggs considerably.

Egg size

A larger egg will naturally take longer to cook to the desired consistency.

How to peel a soft-boiled egg?

  • First, tap the egg against a flat and hard surface like a cutting board or the edge of a bowl.
  • Tap the egg all over to create cracks or roll the egg after the first tap to create smaller cracks. 
  • Remove the loosened and cracked egg-shell pieces carefully without damaging the egg.


This article answered the question “How long can you leave boiled eggs out?”, and how to store hard-boiled eggs?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.