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What is the Shelf Life of Eggs?

The shelf life of eggs varies depending on whether or not the eggs have been washed, cooked and how they are stored. 


What is the Shelf Life of Eggs?

The shelf life of eggs is going to vary greatly depending on whether the eggs are "farm fresh" or from your backyard flock versus those purchased commercially. 

The shelf life will also vary depending on whether the eggs are raw in the shell, out of the shell or cooked.


The Shelf Life of Store Bought Eggs

Since store bought eggs in the United States have been cleaned before being cartoned and sold, they must be refrigerated, preferably at a temperature around 40 degrees F. 

Store bought eggs should always be stored pointed end down in the original carton to help keep the eggs free from odors from other foods that can seep through the pores in the eggshell. 

They should never be stored on the fridge door, but on a shelf, preferably towards the back so they won't be affected by temperature changes each time the door is opened.

Furthermore, they shouldn't be left out at room temperature for more than two hours before being put back in the fridge, to prevent condensation from forming on the shell - which aids bacteria in entering the eggs.

Shelf Life of Store Bought Eggs | 3-4 months after the packing date 

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook

The Shelf Life of Fresh Eggs 

"Fresh eggs" refer to eggs collected from a backyard flock, or purchased from a local farm or farmers market, which haven't been washed

Because they haven't been washed, the protective coating on the shell (also called the "bloom" or "cuticle") is still intact. This coating helps to keep air and bacteria out of the egg, resulting in an egg that will last longer. 

An unwashed egg will last for 6 months or more in the refrigerator. If the fresh eggs have been washed, then the shelf life will be similar to a store bought egg - about 4-5 months. 

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook

Although remember that the eggs you buy in the supermarket have likely been sitting on the store shelf for a week or two before you purchase them and the clock starts ticking when they were put in the carton, not when you buy them.

An unwashed egg can be safely left out on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 weeks. And remember, you can always do the Float Test if you aren't quite sure how old an egg is.

Shelf Life of Fresh Eggs | 2 weeks to 6+ months depending if its been washed and refrigerated

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook

The Shelf Life of Egg Yolks and Whites

Once you've cracked an egg open and separated it, you do have to use the leftovers fairly quickly. 

They do need to be refrigerated within 2 hours of being cracked and then used within 2 days (raw egg yolks) or 3-4 days (raw egg whites). 

They can also be frozen so they last from 6 months up to even a year (although the texture and quality will degrade over time). 

Shelf Life of Egg Yolks and Whites | 2 days to up to a year

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook

The Shelf Life of Beaten Egg Whites

Once whipped into peaks, egg whites not used immediately can be stored, loosely covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.

Shelf life of Beaten Egg Whites | 6 days


The Shelf Life of Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs will last longer if you leave them in the shell. 

They should be refrigerated immediately after they cool if not being eaten immediately, and definitely within two hours of being cooked, then can be stored in the shell for up to 7 days or up to 4 to 5 days if you peel them.

Shelf Life of Hard Boiled Eggs | 4-7 days

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook

The Shelf Life of Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs can be left out at room temperature for up to 2 hours safely, then stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but preferably eaten within 2 days. 

Some lemon juice or vinegar added to the filling will act as a natural preservative. 

Shelf Life of Deviled Eggs | 2-4 days

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook

The Shelf Life of Egg Salad

Egg salad should be eaten within 2-3 hours of making it and then any leftovers stored, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator and eaten within 3-5 days. 

Again, adding some lemon juice or vinegar to the salad will help to keep it preserved and safe to eat.

Shelf Life of Egg Salad | 3-5 days

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook
The Shelf Life of Other Cooked Egg Dishes

General rule of thumb for other egg dishes such as souffles, quiches, frittatas and the like is that they shouldn't be left out at room temperature for longer than 5 to 6 hours. 

Then they should be refrigerated and eaten within 3 to 4 days or frozen and eaten within 3 to 4 months.

Shelf Life of Cooked Egg Dishes | 3 days to 4 months

Photo credit Tina Rupp for The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook

The Shelf Life of Pickled Eggs

Pickled eggs should always be refrigerated - pickled eggs are never room temperature shelf-stable - and used within 3 to 4 months.

Shelf Life of Pickled Eggs | 3 to 4 months

Additional Information | The above guidelines are just that - guidelines. You should always examine leftovers closely before consuming them and discard any eggs or egg dishes that appear runny, discolored or smell bad.

Note: Several of the photos featured in this post were taken of recipes that appear in The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook which includes more than 100 recipes using eggs, including some great uses for leftover yolks or egg whites! 

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Further reading
How Long do Eggs Last? (Healthline)
How Long do Eggs Last? (Greatist)
How Long Can you Store Eggs in the Refrigerator? (USDA)
How Long do Eggs Last? (Incredible Egg)

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