How long do cracked eggs last?

In this article, we will explore the question, “How long do cracked eggs last?” We will also discuss the best ways to use accidentally cracked eggs.

How long do cracked eggs last?

Cracked eggs should not be purchased as bacteria can enter through the shell. However, if eggs crack on the way home from the store or while handling them at home, they can be consumed within 2 days if properly refrigerated (1). 

When cracked eggs are discovered, it is advised to transfer them to a clean container, tightly cover it, and store in the refrigerator. By following these steps, the cracked eggs can be safely consumed within 2 days while minimizing the risk of bacterial growth (2).

It is important to note that the 2 days timeframe applies only to cracked eggs for consumption. Cracked eggs that are already sitting on store shelves should not be bought. 

If eggs crack during the process of hard boiling or cooking, they are generally considered safe to use. However, it is always recommended to thoroughly cook all eggs, regardless of whether they are cracked or intact, to eliminate any potential bacteria.

Can you eat a cracked egg?

If you notice the eggs are cracked on your way back home, it is advisable to use these eggs immediately (1). 

However, if you want to preserve them for an additional two days, there are alternative options (1).

 How to store cracked eggs?

It is recommended to use these eggs immediately. However, if you want to preserve them for an additional two days, you can store the cracked contents in the fridge (1). 

Ensure that the container is airtight and the fridge temperature is stable. The egg white and yolk can also be refrigerated separately.

If you prefer to store the eggs in a cooked form, it is important to follow these guidelines provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure food safety when cooking eggs:

1- Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after contact with raw eggs.

2- Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm.

3- Avoid runny scrambled eggs.

4- Cook egg-containing dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F or 71°C. Use a food thermometer to check for doneness. 

These precautions help minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses associated with undercooked or raw eggs, as recommended by the FDA.

Maintaining proper hygiene practices and ensuring thorough cooking are crucial for safe egg preparation, according to the FDA guidelines.

Can you freeze cracked eggs?

In the case of accidental egg cracking, you can also choose to freeze them for later use. 

You have several options when it comes to freezing yolk and egg whites. Use fresh eggs, checking expiration dates (3). Freezing it in smaller servings is a practical approach. 

To store your eggs in the freezer, use a freezer-proof bag or container that will protect it from air and moisture. Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the container or bag (4).

Clean utensils like knives and cutting boards thoroughly with hot, soapy water to remove any food residues and bacteria, preventing cross-contamination (4).

By following these steps, you can maintain hygiene and ensure the safety of your egg ingredients.

Why is a cracked egg dangerous to consume?

An eggshell serves as a protective barrier for the embryo inside the egg. When the shell and membrane are damaged, dented, or cracked, it allows bacteria to enter the egg and multiply (4). 

The most significant and prevalent threat associated with a cracked egg is Salmonella contamination. Ingesting a salmonella-contaminated egg can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, blurry vision, severe dehydration, and in extreme cases, even death (4).

Salmonella poses a risk not only to cracked eggs but also to other poultry products, including chicken, egg products, and various meat products.

What to do with cracked eggs?

It is important to never purchase cracked eggs and to carefully inspect all eggs for any dents or cracks. The duration of the eggs being cracked is unknown, increasing the risk of contamination (2 and 4). 

Additionally, if the eggshell feels unusually thin, it is best to avoid purchasing them as they have a higher likelihood of salmonella contamination compared to eggs with a normal shell thickness (2).

If you accidentally break eggs during handling and they remain clean, free from dirt, and with an intact membrane, they can be consumed immediately or refrigerated for a maximum of two days (1).

When boiling or steaming eggs, if the eggs crack during the cooking process, they are still safe to consume. This cracking typically occurs due to the vigorous cooking process, and it does not pose any food safety concerns.

Other FAQs about Eggs that you may be interested in.

How long can unpeeled hard-boiled eggs sit out?

How long do eggs last at room temperature?

Conclusion

In this article, we have addressed the question, ‘How long do cracked eggs last?’ Cracked eggs should not be consumed due to health risks. Use cracked eggs immediately or consider other options for a maximum of two days.

References

1. FDA. U. S. Food and Drug Administration. What You Need to Know About Egg Safety.  [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jun 26]. Available from: 

https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/what-you-need-know-about-egg-safety#:~:text=Wash%20hands%2C%20utensils%2C%20equipment%2C,cooked%20to%20160%C2%B0%20F.

2. Wolc A, Arango J, Settar P, O’Sullivan NP, Olori VE, White IMS, et al. Genetic parameters of egg defects and egg quality in layer chickens. Poult Sci [Internet]. 2012;91(6):1292–8. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579119402460

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

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/shared/data/EN/FoodKeeper-Data.xls

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

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinmicnews.2011.02.004

5. 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. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Neeraj-Gupta-17/publication/339877534_Food_safety_and_hygiene_A_review/links/5e7f7b41299bf1a91b866018/Food-safety-and-hygiene-A-review.pdf

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!