Can You Eat 2-Week-Old Hard Boiled Eggs? (What Would Happen If You Do…)

Raw eggs seem to last forever; whether you keep them in the fridge or not, 2–5 weeks seems to be a standard recommended storage time. However, once you boil the egg, the shelf life shortens.

This is because eggshells have a fine coating of semi-permeable mineral oil to protect them from water, air, and bacterial infection. Boiling removes this protective barrier, leaving the shell sensitive to air and defenseless against bacterial contamination.

So, using a two-week-old raw egg is perfectly fine, but can you eat 2-week-old hard boiled eggs?

The short answer is no, and let’s look at why it might not be such a good idea.

Why Is It Unsafe To Eat 2-Week-Old Hard Boiled Eggs?

peeled hard boiled egg

As mentioned before, bacterial contamination of the boiled egg begins right after cooking since the protective coating vanishes and leaves the inner content exposed to all sorts of environmental contaminants.

While you can not stop your eggs from going bad once that process begins, you can slow down their spoiling rate by keeping them in the fridge. The cold temperature in the refrigerator slows down the growth rate of potentially dangerous bacteria, but it cannot completely stop it [1].

Considering this, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates that hard-boiled eggs can last in the fridge for one week, which means that a two-week-old boiled egg is significantly past the recommended storage time and is far too unsafe to eat [2].

Do Peeled And Unpeeled Hard-Boiled Eggs Have The Same Shelf Life?

storing peeled and unpeeled eggs

Peeled and unpeeled hard-boiled eggs will go bad at different rates, so you cannot treat them the same.

In that regard, The American Egg Board recommends consuming peeled hard-boiled eggs the same day for the best quality and unpeeled boiled eggs within a week if kept in the fridge. However, some consumers affirm that peeled eggs will still remain edible for up to five days after peeling [3].

Keep in mind that peeled hard-boiled eggs lack that additional protection from the shell, which means they can absorb other food odors, dry out much quicker and develop an unpleasant texture and flavor, even if they have not gone bad.

How To Tell If A Hard-Boiled Egg Is Bad?

boiled egg gone bad

Although you have a safety window of one week according to the official recommendation, your best bet to determine if a boiled egg is bad is to check for its appearance, texture, and smell.

The first step is to look at the hard-boiled egg’s shell—any out-of-the-ordinary appearance is a matter of concern. Specifically, be wary of a chalky, dull, gray or slimy appearance and throw it away if it displays any of these characteristics [1].

Like their raw counterpart, rotten boiled eggs have an unpleasant, distinctive smell [4]. Keep in mind that if the egg is still in the shell, it may be impossible to detect any scent, so you will have to assess it once peeled.

Unlike other types of food, don’t consider color a tell-tale sign of spoilage. If your boiled egg looks green or gray, odds are it resulted from overcooking the egg and does not pose a health risk.

Related Post: How To Peel Eggs Without Shell Sticking – (Shell Slips Right Off).

What Happens If You Eat An Old Boiled Egg?

eating an old hard boiled egg

Eating an old boiled egg within the recommended timeframe and without any apparent signs of spoilage probably won’t have any bad consequences.

However, if you eat a hard-boiled egg that has been left out at room temperature or kept in the fridge for too long, you risk getting a foodborne illness with symptoms such as nausea, cramps, or diarrhea. [1]

Eggs are considered a perishable food item, so if you know that the egg is already past its recommended storage time and you suspect it shows signs of spoilage, it is best to play it safe and throw it away.

Can You Leave A Hard-Boiled Egg Out Overnight?

boiled eggs left out overnight

Although you could do it, leaving a hard-boiled egg out overnight is not recommended and could pose a health risk when consumed. Because of this, most experts agree you should store hard-boiled eggs in the fridge within two hours after cooking [1].

As with all perishable food groups, the “two-hour rule” is—food is only safe at room temperature for up to two hours before bacteria start proliferating [4].

The sooner you store your hard-boiled eggs in the fridge, the better your chances of minimizing bacterial overgrowth and the longer they will last until you decide to eat them.

How Do You Safely Store Hard-Boiled Eggs In The Refrigerator?

storing boiled eggs in the fridge

The first step is the one I mentioned above—store the eggs within two hours of boiling. Likewise, it would be best if you could not remove the shell or store them in a container, preferably airtight, as it can keep the eggs from drying out or absorbing any food smells inside the refrigerator.

Lastly, whether peeled or unpeeled, avoid placing them in or by the door. Since you open the fridge regularly, any food stored there would have a fluctuating temperature that could encourage bacteria growth [1].

Read Also: What To Store In Refrigerator Door – If Not Milk And Eggs, Then What?

Can You Freeze Boiled Eggs?

freezing boiled eggs

Unlike raw liquid egg whites or liquid whole eggs, boiled eggs do not tolerate freezing well. It will completely ruin the flavor and texture of your egg. The egg whites will become tough, watery, or rubber-like, while the egg yolk can turn viscous and gel-like [3].

However, some websites affirm there is a way to freeze boiled egg yolks if you want—discard the egg whites and seal the yolks in an airtight bag or container [5]. In my opinion, it is a bigger hassle than boiling the eggs right before using, so I would not recommend it.

How To Store Boiled Eggs Without A Refrigerator?

preserving eggs in vinegar

Considering that leaving food at room temperature for too long can risk excessive bacterial growth, your options are minimal without a refrigerator—or even a freezer.

Despite this, there is an alternative available: pickling. Storing hard-boiled eggs in vinegar is a sure-proof way to preserve them for a month without any refrigeration needed.

To pickle eggs, you will need a pickling solution and a glass jar.

  1. You can make a pickling solution by mixing white vinegar, water, and salt in a ratio of 1:1:0.5.
  2. Boil the pickling solution for 5 minutes. Allow the pickling solution to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place the cooled, peeled hard-boiled eggs in the jar and pour the pickling solution over them, making sure that the eggs are completely covered.
  4. Cover the jar with a lid and keep it in a cool, dark kitchen cupboard or pantry for up to a month.
  5. If you like, you can add some pickling spice by mixture, 1 tsp of peppercorns, five whole cloves, one bay leaf, and one dried whole chili pepper.

Pickling is an old way of preserving foods without refrigeration that could be eaten months later. But you have probably noticed that many recipes suggest storing pickled eggs in the fridge.

However, in many countries, pickled eggs are stored at room temperature, as the salt and vinegar in the brine create an acidic environment that prevents the growth of bacteria. However, if you are using a weak vinegar or if the eggs are not entirely submerged in the brine, it is best to store them in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Read Also: Which Eggs Are The Healthiest – Buying And Cooking Guide.

Summary:

While there may not be any visible sign of spoilage and they have been properly refrigerated, it is not recommended to eat 2-week-old hard-boiled eggs or even if they are ten days old. Eggs are considered a perishable food item, so if you are unsure about the safety of your eggs, it is best to err on the side of caution and throw them out.

References: