How long can eggs sit out? It is easy to be confused about how long eggs can sit out of the fridge. This confusion comes largely due to the difference in storage and refrigeration of eggs in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe. In this article, I’ll describe how long raw eggs can sit out, and how long hard-boiled eggs can sit out.
How long can raw eggs sit out?
In the U.S., raw eggs can sit out for 2 hours, according to the USDA. In the U.K. and Europe, raw eggs can sit for 2 or 3 weeks.
Why the difference?
In the U.S., the chickens are not vaccinated and the eggs are chemically washed. This removes the natural protective coating on the eggshell. This requires the egg to be refrigerated. So if you buy eggs in a store in the U.S., they must be kept refrigerated. If you leave the egg out at room temperature for too long, they will “sweat” or develop condensation from the warmer temperature and will develop harmful bacteria.
So eggs sold in the U.S. (and Canada) should only be left out of the fridge for a maximum of 2 hours.  And this 2-hour time limit should only be for when driving the eggs home from the store or leaving them on your counter when back from the store. Once you put the eggs in your fridge, they should stay there until you cook them.
In the U.K. and Europe, chickens are vaccinated against salmonella and the eggs are not chemically washed. So the protective barrier is still on the eggs which means they can be stored out of the fridge. They typically are good for about 2 or 3 weeks out of the fridge.
In the U.K., the egg industry recommends that for freshness and food safety, eggs should be kept at a constant temperature below 20°C (68°F).  So while many store their eggs out of the fridge in the U.K. and Europe, it can keep the eggs fresh for longer if stored in the fridge.
How long can hard-boiled eggs sit out?
Hard-boiled eggs can sit out for 2 hours before they need to be refrigerated. The same applies to any other type of cooked egg, including scrambled eggs, fried eggs, etc. Once refrigerated, cooked eggs last for about a week.
Read on to learn more about how long eggs can sit out, and how to check if it is good or bad.
How Long Can Eggs Sit Out?
For freshly harvested eggs, they can sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks, as long as you don’t wash them or scrub their natural coating off. Washing them would remove the natural coating that protects the raw eggs from bacteria and air. However, it would be best to clean the egg before cooking to ensure that you don’t contaminate your food.
So fresh, raw, and unwashed eggs can last for 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature, without placing them in the refrigerator. Ensure you don’t wash or scrub the outer shell to ensure that the invisible “bloom” (outer protective cover) is in place. Also, room temperature must be from 62°F to 73°F (16°C to 23°C).
In Europe, they don’t usually refrigerate fresh eggs because farmers vaccinate their chickens beforehand to prevent the Salmonella bacteria from infecting the hens and the eggs. So the eggs are already protected before they come out.
The Salmonella bacterium is the most common microbe that infects eggs. The resulting infection can cause fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. The mortality rate is not high, but the condition can prove fatal for a few untreated symptoms. Hence, it’s best to take preventive measures to avoid bacterial infection.
For the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that consumers should refrigerate their raw eggs at 40°F (4°C) and below to ensure that they don’t get infected with bacteria.
The difference between how the eggs are stored in the States is because the FDA doesn’t require farmers to vaccinate their hens. There is no concrete evidence that vaccination of hens would prevent people from getting sick.
Nevertheless, the FDA conducts regular testing and implements sanitary rules to prevent infection.
Once you put the eggs in the fridge, keep them there. Temperature fluctuations would increase the risk of bacterial infection. With temperatures higher than 90°F (32°C), it will take a quicker time for the eggs to spoil. Warm temperatures enhance bacterial growth. So, once you refrigerate the eggs, let them stay that way until you are ready to cook them.
How Long Can Fresh Eggs Sit Out? Washed vs. Unwashed
For unwashed eggs, they can stay at room temperature for two to three weeks without refrigeration. For washed eggs, you have to refrigerate them as soon as possible because you have removed their protective coating, preventing bacterial contamination. Thus, you have to refrigerate them immediately. If you don’t, they can spoil within a few days.
For Washed Raw Eggs
So, how long can fresh eggs sit out when you wash them? Washed eggs cannot sit out of the refrigerator once washed. You have to store them in the fridge. If they stay in the ref, you can cook them safely within two months.
When cooking, do not bring the whole tray out. Get only the eggs that you plan to cook. If you bring them all out after refrigeration, you should put them back immediately within two hours. Allowing the eggs to sit out after refrigerating them could increase the risk of infecting and spoiling them because of the temperature fluctuations.
You have to consume the washed raw eggs within two months of their storage, to ensure that they don’t get spoiled.
For Unwashed Raw Eggs
You can keep the eggs at room temperature for unwashed eggs and consume them within two to three weeks. If you want the taste to be as fresh as possible, consume them within two weeks.
If you have placed the unwashed raw eggs in the refrigerator, you have to consume them within three months.
Thus, you can allow unwashed and unscrubbed raw eggs to sit at room temperature for two to three weeks or at refrigerated temperatures for three months.
Remember that one day at room temperature is equivalent to seven days in the refrigerator. Hence, if you don’t plan to consume your eggs within the next few weeks, you have to refrigerate them.
For Cooked Eggs
How long can cooked eggs sit out? How long can hard-boiled eggs sit out in shell? For hard-boiled eggs or cooked eggs, you have to eat them within two hours. If you plan to eat them later, you must refrigerate them and eat them within 24 hours.
If the boiled egg stayed longer than two hours outside of the fridge, it’s best to discard it, as bacteria may have contaminated it.
How to Preserve Fresh Eggs for Longer Periods?
- Again, don’t wash or scrub the fresh eggs; you can preserve them at room temperature for a month or in the refrigerator for three months.
- If you want a longer time, you can freeze them. You can crack the egg and separate the egg whites from the yolk and place them in separate containers. Label the container with the preservation’s date and the number of egg yolk or egg white in the box. This preservation method is suitable for one year.
- Please note that you cannot freeze the egg with its shell intact as it can crack and spill its content due to low temperatures and the solidification of the egg’s content. It’s best to break the egg and separate its contents in individual containers before freezing them.
- For cooked eggs, you can freeze them for two to three months. Remember not to consume them if you bring them out. To make it convenient for you, you may want to pack them in different containers, so you don’t put them back and forth in the freezer. Putting them back and forth in the freezer will increase the risk of Salmonella contamination.
- Once you bring the cooked eggs out, you will have to consume the whole lot. Please note that they taste better when you reheat them within three to six months after freezing.
How to Know If the Egg Is Good or Bad?
After an egg has sat out at room temperature, you should know how to check if it is still good or not. There are several simple ways to check if the egg is still good.
Typically, an egg that floats means it may be bad. An egg that sinks indicates that it’s good. If it sinks but stands on one end, it indicates that it is old but is still good.
The reason why bad eggs float is that they have so much air inside, making them float. Good eggs have only a small air sac inside the egg, so they don’t float. As the eggs get older, the air sac grows. Hence, they become lighter and lighter.
Odor and Color
Smell the egg and take note of its odor. If it smells bad, then it’s no longer useful. You have to throw it. Good eggs are neutral; they should not have any odor. Good eggs are bright yellow, without any discoloration. The yellow color must be homogenous and not darker or lighter in other parts.
Examine the outer shell. If the cover has a powdery appearance, it may be infected with molds and is not acceptable to eat. If there are cracks or discolorations on the shell, discard it, as microbes may have already entered the egg’s interior.
Good eggs are gelatinous but not too clumpy or lumpy. The egg yolk should fluidly roll when lifted, and the egg white must be clear. The egg white usually is smaller in amount than the egg yolk. When the egg yolk is too tiny, it denotes that the egg may be old. You can smell and observe the color to ascertain the egg’s freshness.
Factors Affecting How Long Eggs Can Sit Out
1. Presence of Protective Coating
The invisible coating of fresh raw, unwashed eggs protects from bacterial infection. If this coating remains intact, it increases the time that you can sit out the eggs without refrigerating them for two to three weeks.
So, whether you refrigerate them or not, it’s crucial to maintain the “bloom” (protective coating” of the raw eggs because it lengthens your eggs’ freshness. Once you refrigerate unwashed eggs, you should keep that temperature, and it will last for two to three months.
As mentioned earlier, eggs sold in the U.S. don’t have the protective coating as they are chemically washed. So these eggs can sit out of the fridge for only about 2 hours.
Refrigerated temperatures preserve the eggs longer than room temperature. So, if you plan to cook your eggs for one month, it’s best to refrigerate them whether you washed them or not. Don’t bring out the whole tray outside of the ref when cooking. Just get the eggs you plan to cook.
If you want to store them at room temperature (for unwashed eggs), choose a place away from direct sunlight or direct water contact.
The relative humidity must be above 80 %. If you’re storing large quantities of unwashed eggs, you may want to use a humidifier to prevent the formation of moisture, especially in warm areas. This equipment is essential if you are storing large amounts of eggs.
We have finished discussing, “How long can eggs sit out at room temperature before they go bad?”, also “How long can boiled eggs sit out?” Now, let’s proceed to some essential tips that you should remember.
How to Make Eggs Last Longer
1. Don’t Wash or Scrub the Shell
As previously mentioned, don’t wash or scrub the eggs’ shells. Whether you choose to store them at room temperature or in the fridge, they last longer when unwashed. Thus, please don’t wash them or scrub their shells. But you have to wash them before cooking.
2. Refrigerate Them
When you refrigerate the eggs, whether you cooked them or not, will make them last longer since cold temperatures tend to prevent bacterial growth and delay spoilage. High temperatures facilitate spoilage because warmth attracts microbes.
3. Store the Eggs Properly
Store your eggs properly by placing them in egg boxes with the pointy end down, and the blunt end up. This position will ensure that the air sac will help provide just enough moisture for the egg.
Place the egg box at the fridge’s farther end to avoid temperature fluctuations when its door is opened and closed.
4. Freeze Them
You can freeze your eggs if you plan to cook them within one year. You can follow the instructions mentioned earlier. Remember to store the eggs without their shells, and to label your egg containers properly.
5. If the Eggs Are Too Dirty That You Have to Wash Them, Use Lukewarm Water
Dry them and refrigerate them, or cook them immediately. Ensure that the water is lukewarm, or you would end up cooking the egg. If you do, then continue cooking as boiled egg and consume it within two hours, or refrigerate it.
Conclusion – How Long Can Fresh Eggs Sit Out? How Long Can Hard-Boiled Eggs Sit Out?
So to recap, how long can fresh eggs sit out? In the U.S., fresh, raw eggs can sit out for 2 hours, according to the USDA. In the U.K. and Europe, raw eggs can sit for 2 or 3 weeks.
Refrigerated, raw eggs must not be allowed to sit out of the fridge for more than two hours, as the temperature fluctuation will increase bacterial infection risk.
How long can hard-boiled eggs sit out? Or, how long can cooked eggs sit out? For hard-boiled eggs, or any cooked eggs, they must not sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you plan to consume them later, then you have to refrigerate them. Hard-boiled eggs last for about one week in the fridge.
Leaving the eggs at room temperature can spoil them due to their enhanced exposure to the atmosphere and heat. It’s best to play safe and store them in the fridge immediately.
Stay healthy by knowing how long you can sit eggs from the fridge without spoiling them. You can relish your egg dishes while prioritizing your health.