How long do eggs last after the sell by date?

Eggs are one of the most versatile and commonly used ingredients in cooking. They can last for weeks beyond the sell by or expiration date printed on the carton under the right conditions. Here’s a detailed look at how to tell if eggs are still good, how long they typically last, and how to store them to extend their shelf life.

Can you eat eggs after the expiration date?

Yes, eggs can legally be sold and eaten after their expiration date or best-by date that’s printed on the carton. This date is not an indicator of when the eggs will spoil. Instead, it indicates the period during which the eggs will remain at peak quality.

As long as eggs have been refrigerated consistently, they can last 3 to 5 weeks beyond the date on the carton. After this time, the risk of spoilage increases. However, they should still be safe to eat for an additional 2-3 weeks if they’ve been stored properly.

How to tell if eggs are bad after the expiration date

Here are a few techniques to check whether eggs are still good or spoiled after their sell by date:

  • Visual inspection: Open the carton and inspect each egg. If any eggs are stuck to the carton or have cracks, discard them. Check for thinness, discoloration, or dryness on the shells, which may indicate age but not necessarily spoilage.
  • The float test: Gently place the eggs in a bowl of cool water. If they sink, they’re very fresh. If they float to the top, they’re no longer good.
  • The sniff test: Crack the eggs open one at a time into a bowl and give them a sniff. If they have a sulphurous or unpleasant odor, they’ve gone bad and should be thrown out.
  • Cooking test: If the egg has browned, watery whites or unpleasant odor while cooking, it’s spoiled and should not be eaten.

As eggs age and their quality begins to decline, the whites thin out and the yolks become flatter. However, they’re still safe to eat hard boiled or cooked thoroughly in dishes.

How long do eggs last refrigerated?

If eggs are kept continuously refrigerated, here is a general timeline of how long they stay fresh beyond the date on the carton:

  • 3-5 weeks beyond the sell by date: Eggs are still good for frying, boiling, scrambling, baking, etc.
  • 2-3 months: The whites may become thinner and the yolks may start becoming flatter but eggs are fine for cooking and baking.
  • 3-5 months: Quality declines further but eggs are generally still safe to eat when cooked thoroughly.
  • 5+ months: Risk of spoilage increases. Best to use them for baking and cooking rather than eating raw or frying.

Note that these timelines can vary based on handling practices. Temperature fluctuations and improper storage will shorten how long eggs last.

How long do hard boiled eggs last in the fridge?

Hard boiled eggs last for:

  • 1 week: Hard boiled eggs in the shell or peeled eggs kept in a covered container
  • 5 days: Hard boiled eggs peeled and stored in an open container in the fridge
  • 2-3 months: Hard boiled eggs stored in a covered container without the shell in the freezer

Make sure to only keep boiled eggs as long as they look, smell, and taste normal. Discard any eggs that have an off odor, appearance, or flavor.

How long do raw eggs last in the fridge?

Here’s how long raw eggs last refrigerated:

  • 3-5 weeks after the sell by date: Use for frying, poaching, baking, etc.
  • 2-3 months: The whites thin out but can still be used for cooking
  • 3-5 months: Only use cooked in baked goods and other dishes

Crack each raw egg into a bowl before adding to a recipe to check for freshness. Cook eggs thoroughly to reduce the small risk of illness from bacteria.

How to store eggs to make them last

Proper storage extends the shelf life of eggs past the sell by date. Follow these tips:

  • Store eggs in the carton in the main body of the fridge at 40°F or below. The carton helps maintain humidity and prevents odor absorption.
  • Place eggs with the pointed end down, which keeps the yolk centered and prevents it from breaking.
  • Cook oldest eggs first and keep track of purchase dates.
  • Don’t wash eggs as this removes their protective cuticle coating.
  • Check for cracks before storing and use cracked eggs first.

Can you freeze eggs?

Yes, eggs can be frozen to extend their shelf life up to 1 year. However, freezing changes their texture. Options include:

  • Whole eggs: Whisk together whole eggs and either freeze in an airtight container or pour into ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
  • Egg whites and yolks: Place them in separate sealed freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air. Thaw overnight before using.
  • Hard boiled eggs: Boil and cool peeled eggs, then store in airtight bags or containers for up to 1 year.

In most cases, thawed eggs work best in cooking and baking, not for frying or eating raw. Label packages with the number and date before freezing.

Can you refrigerate eggs after boiling?

Yes, it’s safe to refrigerate hard boiled eggs as long as you peel and store them properly:

  • Cool hard boiled eggs completely first before refrigerating.
  • Store peeled eggs in an airtight container rather than loose in the carton.
  • Use within 1 week for best quality and freshness.
  • Discard any eggs that smell bad or have an off appearance or texture.

You can also refrigerate soft boiled eggs in the shell after cooking. Simply submerge them in ice water to prevent the yolk from turning grey.

Can you eat scrambled eggs after sitting out?

Scrambled eggs should be eaten right after cooking. Bacteria grow rapidly when eggs sit at room temperature.

If cooked scrambled eggs have been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature, it’s unsafe to eat them. Eggs that have been sitting out for more than 1 hour should be discarded.

To err on the safe side, freshly cooked scrambled eggs and other egg dishes should be eaten immediately or refrigerated within 1 hour.

Do egg whites and yolks expire?

Egg whites and yolks can be stored separately in the fridge for use later. Here’s how long they typically last:

  • Raw whites: 4 to 5 days in a sealed container
  • Raw yolks: 2 to 4 days in a sealed container
  • Hard cooked whites: 7 days
  • Hard cooked yolks: 7 days

Freeze egg whites and yolks for longer storage. They can last up to 1 year in the freezer but the texture will become somewhat gummy after thawing.

Always inspect the color and smell before using separated egg whites and yolks. Discard if they have any discoloration, sliminess, or strange odor.

Do farm fresh eggs last longer?

Yes, farm fresh eggs from local suppliers tend to have longer shelf lives than supermarket eggs. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Farm eggs are usually collected daily, so they’re fresher when purchased.
  • The cuticle or protective coating on farm fresh egg shells is thicker.
  • Farm chickens are usually fed a natural diet without additives.
  • Local eggs don’t undergo washing processes that remove the cuticle.

The sell by date is also later on farm eggs, typically 4-5 weeks versus 2-3 weeks on store eggs. Under proper refrigeration, farm fresh eggs can last 5+ weeks beyond their printed date before quality starts to decline.

How long do fertilized eggs last?

Fertilized eggs and unfertilized eggs have the same shelf life and last just as long in the fridge. Fertilized eggs are completely safe to eat. The main differences are:

  • Fertilized eggs will never develop into chicks if kept refrigerated.
  • The embryo does not start developing unless incubated at around 100°F.
  • Blood spots or meat spots may appear inside the raw eggs.
  • If incubated, fertilized eggs need higher humidity levels to hatch.

Use fertilized eggs within the same timeframe after the sell by date. Their freshness and how long they last depends on proper storage at 40°F or below.

Can you eat rotten eggs?

Rotten or spoiled eggs should never be eaten, even if they’ve only been sitting out for a short time. Bacteria like Salmonella rapidly multiply once eggs are no longer refrigerated or cooked.

Eating rotten eggs puts you at high risk of contracting Salmonella poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.

Raw and cooked eggs should always be inspected carefully before consuming. Never eat eggs that have an odd odor, appearance, or texture.

Can expired eggs make you sick?

Eating expired eggs that are several months past their sell by date can make you sick due to increased bacteria growth. However, eggs that are weeks past their date are generally safe if refrigerated continuously at 40°F or below.

The main risk factor is Salmonella. Use the float test, smell test, visual cues, and cooking clues to check an egg’s freshness before deciding to eat it.

While expired eggs may make some people sick, those with weaker immune systems have higher risk of illness. This includes young children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and those with chronic diseases.

If you’re unsure how old an egg is, it’s better to be safe and throw it out. When in doubt, cook eggs thoroughly to eliminate risks.


Knowing how long eggs last after their sell by date can prevent needless waste. While the carton date is a good guideline, eggs can keep for several more weeks when handled properly.

To maximize freshness, store eggs in the original carton on an interior fridge shelf at 40°F or below. Cook oldest eggs first and boil, scramble, or bake expired eggs to reduce risks. Discard eggs if they appear odd or smell bad.

With proper refrigeration, eggs typically last 4-5 weeks after the sell by date before quality decline, but remain safe to eat for an additional 2-3 weeks. Freezing also extends shelf life for up to 1 year.

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