Do Hard Boiled Eggs Go Bad?

It always starts with the best of intentions. You hard boil a dozen eggs to take for lunch every day. But you forget to take them once or twice, and soon you’ve got a few extra hard boiled eggs in your fridge. How long will they last, and do hard boiled eggs go bad?

Or perhaps you want to add eggs as a grab-and-go snack to your diet, but you’re too busy on weekdays to make them every morning. So you’re thinking about making them in a batch on the weekend to have them ready when needed.

Either way, knowing a thing or two about storage, shelf life, or going bad of hard boiled eggs wouldn’t hurt. So if you’d like to learn more about these topics, this article is for you. Read on.

Hard Boiled Eggs
Image used under Creative Commons from Andrew Toskin

How To Store Hard Boiled Eggs

When it comes to storing hard boiled eggs, the “where” is the easiest part. The answer is, obviously, the fridge. And for best results choose the main body of the fridge, not the door.

Now it’s time to talk about the “how,” as there are quite a few talking points here. For starters, eggs should be sealed tightly. The best options for doing that are freezer bags or airtight containers. Of course, you can wrap each egg with aluminum foil, or even plastic wrap, if you like.

Now let’s talk a bit about the shells-on or peeled dilemma. As you probably know, peeling the egg right after cooking and cooling it down is easiest. But on the other hand, an unpeeled hard-cooked egg lasts longer. So you need to choose what you value more any time you hard-cook eggs: storage time or convenience. Of course, you can mix things up a bit by peeling eggs for the next 2 or 3 days right away, and leaving the rest with the shells on. It’s up to you really.

If you’d like to go peel the eggs right away and still store them for a longer period, there are two tricks worth testing out. The first one is to keep the peeled eggs submerged in water that you change daily. The second is to place a wet paper towel or two on top of the eggs in the container. If you really want to make peeling all eggs right after boiling work, try these out and see how they work for you.

When it comes to freezing hard-boiled eggs, it’s not recommended. But in many cases, you can freeze any salads that contain the eggs cubed or peeled, and they should freeze reasonably well.

Hard Boiled EggsImage used under Creative Commons from Clarice Barbato-Dunn

How Long Do Hard Boiled Eggs Last

According to FoodSafety.gov, you can store hard-boiled eggs for about a week. And if you already googled that topic, you know pretty much everyone shares this exact same time frame. One thing to note is that the period is for unpeeled eggs, and peeled eggs don’t retain good quality for as long of a period. But they should keep well for at least 2 to 3 days. Some even suggest only peeling the eggs the same day you plan on using them.

If you’d like to store the hard-cooked eggs for longer than those 2 to 3 days, you can try out the two tricks described above. They should allow you to keep the quality of the eggs good enough for around 5 days even up to a whole week. So with those tricks in your repertoire, you should be able to make the eggs on a Sunday evening to have them ready for the entire work week.

Fridge
Hard-boiled egg (unpeeled)7 days
Hard-boiled egg (peeled)2 – 3 days

Please note the periods above are estimates only.

How To Tell Hard-Boiled Eggs Have Gone Bad

Let’s start by talking about the greenish ring around the yolk. It’s harmless and the egg is still safe to eat. It’s a result of two compounds interacting and happens in most cases if the egg is overcooked or not cooled right after cooking.

Now it’s time for signs of spoilage. The odor is the best indicator of that. If the egg smells like sulfur or has any sort of rotten odor, discard it. Same thing you notice any change in color, texture, or the egg starts to dry out. If everything looks and smells okay, cut the egg into halves, and if the insides are okay too, taste it. Based on the taste decide if it’s good enough to eat, or not.

Last but not least, keep the date of when you hard cooked the eggs in mind. It might even make sense to add a label with the date to the container to help with that. And if you store those eggs for longer than a week, discard them no matter the quality. Better safe than sorry.