How long do boiled eggs stay fresh?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How long do boiled eggs stay fresh?” and will discuss how to properly store the boiled eggs.

How long do boiled eggs stay fresh?

Hard-boiled eggs stay fresh for up to seven days when stored in the refrigerator, according to the USDA.

How do you keep cooked eggs fresh?

In boiling, the shell’s protective covering is lost and the eggs are exposed to air and dangerous germs, making them more vulnerable.

To prevent hard-boiled eggs from being contaminated or spoiled, refrigeration is essential. Because potentially harmful germs develop slower at temperatures below 40°F (4°C), it’s a good idea to store them in the refrigerator. 

In shelf life studies of hard cooked eggs it was reported that a storage temperature of 25°C (77°F) permitted rapid development of bacteria after 1 day, and sliminess was visible on the peeled eggs after 4 days. In contrast, both peeled and shell hard-cooked eggs stored at 5°C (41°F) failed to show any significant bacterial development until 20 days of storage (1).

Immediately refrigerate any cooked eggs that have been left out at room temperature for over two hours. It’s also a good idea to keep them in an airtight container or a carton. Because of the constant opening and shutting of the fridge, keep them on an interior shelf rather than in the door.

When keeping hard-boiled eggs, you may detect a gassy stench in your refrigerator at first. When eggs are cooked, hydrogen sulfide develops, causing this. But don’t worry; this is very normal and will go away in a few hours or so. The white and yolk of hard-boiled eggs become harsh and watery when frozen, therefore avoid doing so if possible.

 How to store hard-boiled eggs that have been peeled?

Wait to peel hard-boiled eggs until you’re ready to eat or use them in a dish for the highest quality.

To protect the eggs from drying out, store them in an airtight container with a moist paper towel once they’ve been peeled. The same rules apply to hard-boiled eggs that have been peeled: don’t let them sit out at room temperature and immediately put them in the fridge.

How long can you keep hard-boiled eggs before they go bad?

Hard-boiled eggs, whether peeled or unpeeled, may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week if stored correctly, according to the USDA (USDA). A slimy or chalky shell is an indication that your hard-boiled eggs have been sitting in storage for an extended period. It’s best to get rid of any eggs that may be in the house just to be safe.

Foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes can be readily destroyed during the boiling of eggs due to their low thermal resistance. However, hard-boiled eggs may be subjected to post-processing contamination by handling or work surfaces during preparation. Once they are contaminated, the moist surface and neutral pH provide near ideal conditions for microbial growth, even at refrigerated temperatures. Therefore, it is important to be aware of signs of deterioration, such as off-odors, slime and color changes (2).

Eggs that are beyond their peak may put you at risk of foodborne disease, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting if you consume them. The smell of a damaged hard-boiled egg may be quite distinct. Cracking the egg may be necessary if the shell is still on.

When the yolk of a hard-boiled egg becomes greenish-grey, many people feel frightened. If this is happening to you and your egg, it does not necessarily imply that it has gone bad. Cooking time and temperature have an impact on the color of the yolk. Long-boiling eggs have a greenish-grey hue as the yolk gets paler.

Commercially, a post-processing terminal treatment using steam heating (> 95 °C for 40 min)  can be used to ensure the maximum safety of ready-to-use cooked eggs. 

As a result of overcooking, iron from the yolk is reacted with hydrogen sulfide in the white, resulting in a yellowish hue. It’s safe to consume, even though the texture and mouthfeel may be affected. This color adversely affects consumer acceptance of cooked eggs (3).

For how long can you store hard-boiled eggs in the fridge?

According to the American Egg Board, the best way to keep hard-boiled eggs fresh is to store them in the refrigerator. Although hard-boiled eggs in their shell may be kept for up to a week if stored correctly (in a fridge no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit), peeled eggs should be consumed the same day. Agreed to by the Food and Drug Administration. Both sites advise against freezing hard-boiled eggs, whether or not they are in their shells.

A study compared storage conditions of cooked peeled and unpeeled eggs by sensory analysis. They concluded that hard-cooked eggs should be best stored in their shells in the home refrigerator and the shells removed just prior to using the eggs. This practice minimizes postcooking contamination, which can come from different sources such as improperly cleaned equipment, poor hand washing, or a poor quality water supply. A storage period of up to 3 wk for properly handled hard-cooked eggs is suggested (1).

At room temperature, for how long do hard-boiled eggs stay good?

Uncooked or unpreserved foods should not be kept in the “danger zone“—temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit—for more than two hours, according to the USDA. That’s because harmful germs thrive in that temperature range. If the temperature rises beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit (such as at a backyard BBQ or summer picnic), food that is quickly ruined must be thrown away after only one hour.

How to detect spoiled hard-boiled eggs?

A hard-boiled egg that has gone rotten may be identified by its color, texture, and taste. Yolk may have discoloration or a darker color at the yolk-albumen interface may apear, due to formation of an iron sulfide complex. There is an increase in the formation of off-odors and off-flavor can develop during storage, with the formation of sulfide or other compounds associated with typical hard-cooked egg flavor. Sensory analysis often described the increased aroma intensity of stored boiled eggs mainly as a fruity aroma, probably due to ester formation, generally produced by lactic acid bacteria (1).

So you found an Easter egg a few days later, huh? Fortunately, it’s simple to discern whether something is horrible since it’s obvious. Because of their sulfurous odor, they’ve been likened to rotten eggs in the past! When you smell it, you’ll never forget it. When in doubt about whether an egg has been left out for too long, it’s best to throw it.

Other FAQs about Eggs that you may be interested in.

How long do I cook hard-boiled eggs?

How long do eggs stay good for?

How long past the expiration date are eggs good?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How long do boiled eggs stay fresh?” and discussed how to properly store the boiled eggs.

References

  1. Barbut, S., L. C. Arrington, and A. J. Maurer. Hard-cooked egg shelf life. Poultry Sci, 1987, 66, 1941-1948.
  2. Kim, K. W., M. Daeschel, and Y. Zhao. Edible coatings for enhancing microbial safety and extending shelf life of hard‐boiled eggs. J food sci, 2008, 73, M227-M235.
  3. Shahbaz, Hafiz Muhammad, et al. Application of high pressure processing for prevention of greenish-gray yolks and improvement of safety and shelf-life of hard-cooked peeled eggs. Innov Food Sci Emerg Technol, 2018, 45, 10-17.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.