When it comes to healthy breakfast foods, there’s a reason why hard-boiled eggs are so popular: These tasty bites are not only packed with protein, they’re also incredibly versatile. From topping avocado toast for the easiest-ever egg recipe to snacking on the go, the incredible ingredient comes in handy. And it’s so easy to get all of the great egg nutrition benefits if they’re easy to grab out of the fridge. Once you know how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs, you may find yourself wondering: How long do hard-boiled eggs last, and how exactly should I be storing them?
The bad news is that hard-boiled eggs, while a great meal prep breakfast, last for a shorter period of time than fresh eggs. But it’s important to know that hard-boiled eggs last for different times depending on how you store them. One rule of thumb: storing hard-boiled eggs in the fridge is always best, whether they’re unpeeled or peeled. Bonus: If you learn how to freeze eggs, uncooked, they last longer and make for a great ingredient. Any way you store them, eggs are amazing. Here’s what to know about the shelf life of hard-boiled eggs.
Curious how long your other favorite foods last in the fridge and freezer? Our guide has it all.
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How long do hard-boiled eggs last in the fridge?
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), eggs should always be refrigerated at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to ensure the best quality and safety. Whether they’re peeled or still in the shell, hard-boiled eggs that are stored properly in the fridge should be consumed within one week after cooking.
How long do hard-boiled eggs last unrefrigerated?
Of course, sometimes you might have to leave hard-boiled eggs out for some time, such as when you’re making your favorite Easter egg decorating ideas (or maybe you just accidentally forgot to stick your leftovers in the fridge — we’ve all been there!). If you’re wondering if it’s safe to eat those eggs that’ve been left out at room temperature, you should know that hard-boiled eggs outside of the refrigerator won’t last for more than two hours, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And if they’ve been left at a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, you should toss them after just one hour.
How can you tell if a hard-boiled egg is still good?
Spoiled eggs are at increased risk for bacteria which can cause salmonella symptoms, so it is really important to know if they’ve gone bad. Just like with fresh eggs, you should check to see if your hard-boiled eggs have any foul odors; if they smell like sulfur or give off any other rotten smells, you should definitely discard them right away. And of course, if you’re ever not sure, play it safe and throw them out.
How should I store hard-boiled eggs?
As mentioned before, hard-boiled eggs should be stored at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. (Note: It’s also not recommended to freeze hard-boiled eggs.) When it comes to storage methods, store hard-boiled eggs in a covered food container in the refrigerator — and if you’re planning on transporting them (to a picnic, for example), you should try to keep them cold in an insulated cooler or with frozen gel packs. For maximum freshness, you should also leave them unpeeled in their shells until you are ready to eat or prepare them.
Becca Miller (she/her) has been working in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen since 2018, where she researches and writes about tasty recipes, food trends and top cooking tools. She graduated from NYU with a liberal arts degree focusing on creative writing. She makes killer scrambled eggs, enjoys a glass of un-oaked chardonnay and takes pride in her love of reality television.