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Mar 29, 2008 04:09 PM

How long will eggs last in the fridge?

I've had some eggs in the fridge for quite awhile. Do eggs go bad if kept in the fridge? If so how can I tell? When I crack them open will they look or smell bad?

For the avoidance of doubt, I am talking about whole, uncracked, chicken eggs still in the carton, not cooked eggs.


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  1. Over a month, assuming you bought them somewhere relatively reliable, and they hadn't been mishandled. I've never had them actually go bad unless one of the shells got cracked. Their cooking properties change somewhat. They are better for hard boiling and subsequent peeling if they are a little older, IIR. The yolk will become flatter if you crack it as it gets older, and the air sack in the end will expand so that the egg will float in water and not sink. If it totally floats, I wouldn't use it. Tilting and sort of hovering is fine.

    Do be aware that American eggs are washed, which is part of why they are refrigerated. If they are unwashed, they still have a natural coating.

    Once hard boiled, I'd not keep them over a week. I've eaten many, many eggs at a month or a week more from the fridge.

    14 Replies
    1. re: saltwater

      Thanks... I think it's probably been a couple months. Honestly I don't know :-)

      So I cracked them into a bowl and whipped it up. I'd say there's a *slight* off smell to them, something like the smell of the inside of a raw chicken carcass. Not so strong that they're clearly bad, but when I lean my face down into the bowl and take a whiff, it does have a smell like chicken carcass, which is not something I ever noticed in raw eggs before.

      Safe? Unsafe?

      1. re: dhchait

        Um, I would not eat them if there is even a *slight* off smell. No sense in risking salmonella, and this from one with an iron stomach.

        1. re: diablo

          Yep, after a bit of thought I chucked em. Was hoping to finish preparing tomorrow's brunch tonight (fritata), but no such luck. Off to the market in the morning for some fresh eggs.

          1. re: dhchait

            Definitely a good idea if you detected any odor. Lots of egg packages have dates on them, so you might look for it on your next package. I know exactly what you mean about losing track of when you bought them. It is so easy to do that. Usually that date is one after which they can't sell the eggs as fresh, so the eggs are good for awhile after that date (the four weeks or month).

            Actually, to be really nerdy, there is another type of date on the package, the secret date of packing number. It runs in a consecutive fashion through all the days of the year, so 038 would be packed some time in February, I think Feb 7, by subtracting off the 31 days in January. This number is a different number on the package from the "sell by" date.

            1. re: saltwater

              Any truth to the old tale that bad eggs float in water?

              1. re: cwodtke

                As the eggs get older the air cell gets larger. I don't know for sure that just because it floats its bad but it is definitely older.

                Here is a study done to see how best to store eggs.


                1. re: cwodtke

                  Yes, because the contents shrink, leaving a growing air pocket. Once, when recovering from surgical complications, I did almost no scratch cooking for months.
                  A single egg that had languished in the fridge door (I do know that's not the best place for an egg). When at last I wanted to use it, it weighed next to nothing and when I shook it, I heard a marble rattle around. I did NOT investigate further!

                  Note: this thread is 4 yrs old.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Hmmm... From physics point of view air pockets don't matter if the shape and weight are same as when bought. Flotation is determined by the shape of egg and the weight of the water displaced by that shape. as the gas forms inside no material has left the egg so there can be no change in weight. If the air escapes through the hard egg shell there is a way for the egg to weigh very very slightly and allow the egg to float. But I doubt that happens.

                    1. re: Slacsteve

                      I once forgot an egg in the refrigerator for several months. By the time I found it, it weighed next to nothing and the contents had shrunk into what sounded like a jelly bean rattling around inside the intact shell. Though I was curious as to what it looked like inside, I was afraid enough of how it might smell that I put it inside a sealed container and threw it out.

                      1. re: Slacsteve

                        I don’t think it’s fair to assume that the weight of the egg will remain constant over time. An egg's shell is a semipermeable membrane that allows air and water to pass (in either direction). Water makes up a significant portion of the egg’s mass and refrigerators have a way of dehydrating things, especially the frost-free variety. (Have you seen what a frost-free fridge does to a baby carrot? It's weird.) So, the egg isn’t losing air over time; it’s losing water in the form of water vapor. The corresponding volume lost will be replaced with air (with arguably negligible weight). So, with that in mind, Archimedes’ principle for determining buoyancy still holds, and while the buoyancy will remain relatively constant (I can’t comment on whether an egg also shrinks as it loses water), its mass and corresponding weight will decrease. At some point, the egg’s buoyancy in water will overcome its weight, and the egg would float.

                        1. re: aguynamedtodd

                          Apparently one thing you can do to preserve eggs is dip them in mineral oil. This slows down moisture loss via the shell.

                    2. re: cwodtke

                      This is what I've always heard. And you'll smell a bad egg the moment you crack it.

              2. re: dhchait

                Never waste time if you are the slightest bit concerned about food poisoning. Better safe than sorry.

                1. re: dhchait

                  If you can smell anything at all, I'd dump them.

              3. Eggs purchased fresh and kept refrigerated - between 35 & 41 degrees - and having never reached room temperature should keep up to about 4 weeks past the date on the carton (which is the packaging date). You can put an egg in a container of unsalted water, deep enough to totally immerse the egg by twice its diameter, and if it rests under the water and in contact with the bottom of the container it's probably just fine. If one end turns upward, it's probably still OK but it needs to be used right away. If the entire egg floats I'd just toss it. Those are usually no good and often have an odd taste.
                The important part to consider about eggs being "good" is how they're handled.
                Here's some advice from the folks who know:

                1. How long will eggs last in the fridge?


                  Old eggs will float in water.

                  But old does not mean "bad" or much less rotten.

                  Trust me, you don't need to crack open an egg to know it's rotten.

                  1. how about hard boiled eggs in shell in fridge. How long are they good for? I've had mine since Easter. Are they still good for egg salad

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: musicmouse

                      One week is the general rule of thumb for a hard boiled egg in the shell, stored in the refrigerator.

                    2. For the record, today, 13 June 2014, (yeah, I know, Friday the 13th), I ate eggs which were stored in their cardboard container in a 35-degree F fridge with a box date of January 8, 2014. They were delicious. So, eggs can keep over 6-months if properly stored.