How Do You Know if Your Eggs Have Gone Bad? 6 Ways to Tell

Medically Reviewed on 5/27/2022
How Do You Know if Your Eggs Have Gone Bad
Here are 6 ways to tell if your eggs are going bad and how you can prevent getting food poisoning

Eggs are highly nutritious and excellent sources of nutrients that are good for your health. However, eating spoiled or contaminated eggs can be dangerous and make you very sick.

Here are 6 ways to tell if your eggs are going bad and how you can prevent getting food poisoning.

6 ways to tell whether eggs have gone bad

  1. Check the sell-by date: Egg cartons typically have a sell-by or expiration date, which indicates the date by which the shelves in the store or supermarket can have those egg cartons for sale. Eggs are still good to consume about 3-5 weeks after the sell-by date if they are stored and prepared properly.
  2. Check the smell: Fresh eggs do not have a bad smell even after you crack them open. Eggs that have gone bad, however, may emit a sour or putrid smell like hydrogen sulfide.
  3. Look for cracks: Cracks can act as entry points of disease-causing bacteria. If you notice cracks in the shell or notice that the outside of the egg is slimy or powdery, discard immediately.
  4. Look at the egg yolk and egg white: Egg yolk should be yellow and egg white should be clear or cloudy in appearance. Egg yolk can be pale or dark yellow depending on what the hens were fed. If the egg white has a greenish or iridescent appearance, however, it may indicate the presence of bacteria. 
  5. Do the floating test: To do the float test, carefully place the eggs carefully in a bowl of water. If the eggs sink, they are fresh. If they float, they are old. This is because older eggs have small air pockets that grow larger with time. However, the float test doesn’t tell you whether an egg is good or bad; it merely tells you whether an egg is fresh or old. 
  6. Do the candle test: Candling is used to look for any blood spots in an egg, which lets you know whether it has been fertilized. The presence of blood spots may indicate a bad egg. In order to perform the test, you need a dark room and a candle, flashlight, or reading light. Hold the light source near the broader side of the egg and tilt it to one side, holding it from its narrower end. This should allow you to see the inside contents of the egg and see how large the air pocket is inside. However, similar to the float test, the candle test will only tell you how old an egg is and not whether it has gone bad.

How to properly store eggs

Storing eggs properly can help you prevent them from going bad and also improve their shelf life:

  • Store eggs at a temperature of 40 F or lower. Place them in the main body of a properly functioning refrigerator, near the back of the shelf. Do not store eggs in the egg rack on your refrigerator door because the temperature is warmer in this area. 
  • Store eggs in the carton so that they are protected from cracks, and so that you can check the expiration date on the carton. 
  • Avoid leaving refrigerated eggs at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 
  • Avoid buying eggs that have dirt or cracks on them.

What are pasteurized eggs?

Pasteurization is the process of heating foods and liquids to destroy harmful bacteria. Egg pasteurization destroys harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella. Such eggs can be used for recipes that require raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as Caesar salad dressing, mousse, tiramisu, bearnaise sauce, mayonnaise, and hollandaise sauce.

Pasteurized eggs do not lose their texture or taste. They can be cooked and are safer to consume, making them the preferred option for young children, elderly people, and those with weak immunity.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 5/27/2022
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Egg Safety Center. What process makes an egg pasteurized?

FoodData Central. Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled.

University of Illinois. Candling Eggs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonella and Eggs.