How to Tell If An Egg Has Gone Bad

source: Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Drew Aichele

Eggs are a staple in many households, whether you enjoy them for breakfast, use them in baking, or as a versatile ingredient in various dishes. However, like any perishable item, eggs have a limited shelf life, and it’s essential to ensure their freshness before incorporating them into your culinary creations. In this article, we will explore practical methods to help you tell if your eggs have gone bad.

The Float Test:

One of the most reliable ways to check the freshness of your eggs is the float test. Here’s how you can perform it:

Fill a bowl with water.

Gently place the eggs in the water.

Fresh eggs will sink and lay flat on the bottom.

If an egg stands upright on the bottom but doesn’t float, it’s still good to use but not as fresh.

Eggs that float to the surface are no longer fresh and should be discarded.


The Sniff Test:

Your nose can be a valuable tool in determining egg freshness. Follow these steps:

Crack an egg onto a plate or into a bowl.

Give it a sniff.

Fresh eggs have a neutral or slightly grassy scent.

If the egg emits a foul or sulfur-like odor, it has gone bad.

The Shake Test:

You can also employ the shake test to assess the freshness of your eggs:

Hold the egg near your ear and shake it gently.

Fresh eggs will produce very little sound.

If you hear a sloshing or a watery sound, the egg has likely spoiled.

Check the Date:

Many egg cartons come with a “sell-by” or “use-by” date. While this date is a useful reference, it’s not always the most accurate indicator of freshness. Eggs can often be consumed safely beyond this date if stored correctly.

Inspect the Shell:

The condition of the eggshell can offer valuable insights:

Cracked or damaged shells can allow bacteria to enter the egg, leading to spoilage.

If the shell is visibly dirty or has unusual discolorations, it’s best to discard the egg.

source: Pexels

The Yolk and White Test:

Once you crack an egg, pay attention to the appearance of the yolk and egg white:

Fresh yolks are firm and bright yellow or orange.

The egg white should be clear and not cloudy.

Any signs of unusual color or texture should raise concerns.

Temperature Matters:

Proper storage temperature is crucial for egg freshness. Store eggs in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C) to extend their shelf life. Eggs kept at room temperature will spoil more quickly.

Use Them Promptly:

Eggs have a relatively long shelf life, but it’s still a good practice to use them promptly to ensure freshness. Try to consume eggs within three to five weeks of purchase.

Keeping your eggs fresh is essential to ensure the quality and safety of your dishes. By utilizing these straightforward methods and being mindful of the factors that influence egg freshness, you can confidently determine whether your eggs are still suitable for consumption.