How to Tell If Eggs Are Good or Bad?

It isn’t always possible to eat all eggs in the fridge before they go bad. If you leave eggs out on the counter or in the fridge for too long, how do you know if they are still fresh? How to tell if eggs are good or bad?

To tell if your raw eggs are good or bad, look for the expiry date on the carton. If the eggs don’t come with a carton, or there is no expiry date on them, you can tell if eggs are good or bad by performing the floating water test.

To perform the floating water test, submerge the eggs in a bowl of cold water. If the eggs are good, they will sink to the bottom and lay flat on its side. If the eggs sink but stand on the bottom, it’s still edible but less fresh. You’ll know if the eggs are bad when they float instead of sink. 

There are exceptions to the water float test, though. So, you should perform other methods to determine if the eggs are good or bad.

The 5 methods for telling is a raw egg is good or bad are as follows:

  1. Float Test
  2. Inspect the Egg Visually
  3. Smell the Egg
  4. Shake the Egg and Listen
  5. Candling Method

Read on to learn more about how to tell if eggs are good or bad, including the various methods.

How to Tell If Eggs Are Good or Bad

To tell if your raw eggs are good or bad, look for the expiry date on the carton. If the eggs don’t come with a carton, or there is no expiry date on it, you can tell if eggs are good or bad by performing the floating water test. 

I personally like the float test method for telling if an egg is still good. However, there are other methods you can try. I’ll describe each method below.

1. Float Test

The float test is the most common way of determining if eggs are good or bad. The shells of eggs are semi-permeable to air. As eggs grow older, the air inside the shells increases in volume. When they are immersed in water, the older eggs float because they contain more air. On the other hand, the fresh eggs sink because they have lesser air content.

2. Inspect the Egg Visually

Inspect the egg visually by looking closely at its shell. Are there cracks or unusual markings? Is it slimy? If there are cracks and are slimy, discard the egg. The shell should be smooth and unmarked.

You could also crack one egg and visually inspect the appearance of the egg inside. The yolk must be yellow with no dark or brown patches. The egg white must also be white without other colors. Discard if there are any discolorations or markings.

3. Smell the Egg

Good eggs don’t have any strong odor. They have a neutral odor. Any foul or unpleasant odor coming from the eggs indicates that they have gone bad. When you cannot smell anything but the expiration date is over, you can crack one egg to find out the odor.

Sniff and observe for any bad odor. Discard if you smell suspicious odors. You can smell bad eggs right away, even before putting your nose close to them. But, to stay safe, don’t use eggs past their expiration dates–even when they don’t smell. 

People who eagerly want to save money tend to use eggs even after their expiry date. But you’re not saving money when your health is at stake. You will spend more if you land in the hospital for a possible Salmonella infection. 

4. Shake the Egg and Listen

Shake the egg and put it close to your ears. If you hear whishing sounds, the egg has gone bad. Good eggs produce no sounds after shaking because the air packets inside their shells are insignificant. The sound usually comes from a damaged, old, and watery yolk.

5. Candling Method

Egg producers typically use the candling method to find out the quality of the egg or the embryo. They use a bright light to check the egg’s internal defects and find out any cracking of eggshells. Producers automated this procedure. But you can also do it at home by darkening the room and using a bright light or torch.

Illuminate the egg against the bright light and observe for eggshell cracks. Proceed to examine the interior of the egg. There should be a small air sac at the egg’s larger end. The air bubble should measure less than one-eighth of an inch. If the air sac is bigger, it indicates that the egg is older. 

How to Tell If Raw Eggs Are Good

how to tell if eggs are still good

Learning how to tell if fresh eggs are good is a skill that you can acquire while cooking. You can perform all the possible ways mentioned earlier. But the best way to know is to crack the egg, sniff it, and visually inspect it.

Raw eggs are good when their odor is neutral, and their egg yolks are bright yellow with transparent egg whites without any discolorations. Infected eggs have green, pink, or black discoloration, indicating bacterial growth. Eggs are excellent nutrients for the growth and proliferation of bacteria. Hence, they are suitable magnets for bacteria.

More Tips to Tell If Eggs Are Still Good or Should Be Thrown Away

How to tell if fresh eggs are good? Other tips for determining if an egg is still good or if it has gone bad are as follows:

  • When the egg yolk and egg white are runnier than usual, throw them away. They are old and not fit to eat.
  • Egg packs without expiry dates but are freshly packed can last up to 30 days. Within that time frame, they are good eggs.
  • A powdery texture of the eggshell may indicate the growth of molds. Throw the egg away.
  • Reportedly, a few eggs that float can still be good to eat. To confirm this, you can crack the egg and do the scent and visual test. Nonetheless, it’s best to throw floating eggs away.

How Long Do Raw Eggs Last in the Fridge?

Raw eggs last about four to five weeks in the fridge at a temperature of 4°C. Read more about it from this post, How Long Do Eggs Last in the Fridge (Raw and Hard-Boiled).”

How to Store Eggs Properly, so They Last Longer

Eggs are perishable products, so you should properly store them in the refrigerator to last longer. However, they would still dry up due to prolonged storage. The temperature of the fridge should be 35 to 45°F. How can you store eggs for them to last longer? Here are ways to do that.

  • Store raw eggs in the fridge in their original carton. The carton will keep away other odors and maintain the temperature inside the box. Place the eggs away from the fridge’s door to help keep the temperature steady. 
  • With eggs nearing their expiration dates, you can hard boil them and prepare pickled eggs. 
  • If you have removed raw eggs from their shells, store them in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container. The egg yolks are good for up to two days.
  • If you’re storing raw egg yolks separately, make sure you cover them with water to prevent drying. You can drain the water before cooking. Just remember to label the container properly with the date of storage and the number of egg yolks.
  • In cases when you have more eggs that could last for several weeks, you can remove their shells, place them in appropriate containers, and freeze them. It would be best if you labeled the containers, indicating the content and the day you have prepared them, such as six egg yolks, six egg whites, or six whole eggs. Seal them tightly to avoid leakage.

Storing Egg Yolks

For egg yolks, you could add sugar or salt to prevent gel formation. The ratio is two to three pinches of salt into four egg yolks (for dishes) and ½ teaspoon of sugar into four egg yolks (for desserts). Mix thoroughly before freezing. Remember to label them appropriately.

Also, remember that raw whole eggs can last four to five weeks after packing. Raw beaten whole eggs and raw egg yolks only last up to two days, while raw egg whites last up to four days.

We’ve answered, ‘How to tell if eggs are good or bad’; next, let’s look at what happens if you eat a bad egg.

What Happens If You Cook and Eat a Bad Egg?

how to tell if eggs are still good

If you cook and eat a bad egg, you increase your risk of acquiring Salmonella infection from contaminated eggs. Salmonella is a gram-negative bacterium that thrives on egg yolks or egg whites. 

Bacterial growth in eggs causes food poisoning. This infection displays symptoms of fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms often appear after 6 to 48 hours of egg ingestion.

You could treat each of the symptoms accordingly, and generally, people recover without hospital confinement or antibiotics. However, certain groups of people may have a severe reaction to Salmonella infection. These people often have weak immune systems, such as those with HIV, the elderly, and kids below 5 years old. 

Additionally, people with existing conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders, have an increased risk of hospitalization. Their conditions tend to worsen the infection.

You may be able to avoid Salmonella infection if your immune system is strong enough to fight the bacteria. All your organs should be functioning correctly, as well.

How to Prevent Salmonella Infection from Eggs

1. Dry Clean the Eggs 

Dry clean the eggs if you have freshly harvested them from your chicken farm. You can do this by rubbing the shell with a slightly abrasive material to remove dirt or dust. Don’t wash the egg if you plan to store it.

Dry cleaning your egg would allow the ‘bloom’ to stay in place in the eggshell and naturally protect your egg from bacteria. The ‘bloom’ acts as natural antibacterial protection for your eggs.

When you’re ready to cook the egg, you can wash it before cracking the shell to eliminate any material clinging to it.

2. Don’t Eat Bad Eggs

Understandably, this is one of the primary preventive measures. You will never get infected if you don’t eat bad eggs contaminated with bacteria. Learn how to differentiate bad eggs from good eggs and discard the bad ones immediately before someone cooks them.

3. Store Eggs at Refrigerated or Freezing Temperatures

For eggs that you can consume before the expiry date, you can store them at refrigerated temperatures (35 to 45°F). For more extended periods, you can remove the shell and store the egg yolks and egg whites in the freezer. Refer to the earlier instructions on freezing cracked eggs.

4. Cook Eggs Thoroughly

You have to cook the eggs thoroughly to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. If you’re one of those people who want their sunny-side up or boiled egg half-cooked, you should buy pasteurized eggs instead. They’re safer to eat if you want slightly cooked eggs. But if you don’t have pasteurized eggs, make sure to cook the eggs well.

5. Discard Eggs After the Expiry Date

You should discard the eggs when they expire. It’s better to lose a small sum of money than having a needle stuck to your arm and spending more dollars on hospitalization bills. Stay safe while relishing your delectable eggs.

Conclusion – How to Tell If Eggs Are Still Good or If They Have Gone Bad 

So to recap, how to tell if eggs are good or bad? The most common way to tell if an egg is still good is by doing the float test. For this procedure, you submerge the egg in a bowl or cup of cold water and observe whether it floats or not.

Fresh eggs would sink to the bottom of the bowl and lay flat on their sides, while bad eggs float to the top. If the egg sinks but stands on one end at the bottom, it’s still edible but not as fresh.

Furthermore, you can visually inspect the shell of the egg for cracks or slimy appearances. If there are any, discard the egg. It’s a bad egg. You can also crack the eggshell and observe the scent and appearance of the egg yolk and egg white. Fresh and good eggs don’t have an odor, with the egg yolk appearing bright yellow and the egg white having no discoloration.

Any strong or unpleasant odor and discoloration indicate that the egg is bad. Throw away bad eggs to avoid getting sick.