Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Most sites that I've googled (such as http://www.ochef.com/1009.htm, and http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/eggs2.htm) say that refrigerated hard-boiled eggs need to be eaten within one week.

I'm a little skeptical, and I know that many are very conservative where eggs are involved.

Can anyone point to an authoritative source that explains why, say 10-day old, refrigerated hard-boiled eggs would be unsafe?

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Yes, they really are unsafe after a week.

According to the USDA (similar information can be found from other food agencies):

Why do hard-cooked eggs spoil faster than fresh eggs?

When shell eggs are hard cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving bare the pores in the shell for bacteria to enter and contaminate it. Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week.

Simply put, you're damaging the shell, and that expedites spoilage. Some secondary sources such as StillTasy (who use the agencies as their primary sources) are more liberal and say up to 2 weeks, but I'd at least give it a very thorough sniff test before eating hard-boiled eggs that old. (And note that the sniff test will not necessarily alert you to bacterial contamination, only the more conventional forms of food spoilage like rancidity).

share|improve this answer

I'm 75 and I eat hardboiled eggs and have for many years.keep them in fridge for salmon &tuna salad. Never made me sick and I sometimes keep longer than 2 weeks.

share|improve this answer
Of course, "unsafe" does not necessarily mean "it will kill you". Riding a bike on major roads without a helmet is unsafe, but many people do it their entire lives without incident. 1 week is simply the difference between "practically no risk" and "some risk". –  Aaronut Apr 23 '11 at 19:41

I ate a hard boiled egg that had been in my fridge a week. I had stomach cramping and was running to the bathroom (repeatedly) a couple hours after eating. Won't be doing that again.

share|improve this answer
Fun story, but certainly not an answer to my question. :) –  Eric Wilson Dec 6 '13 at 0:21

It struck me that THEE one important piece of information that's forever left out of the equation IS that we just do NOT have any perfect way of knowing ENOUGH about any one particular egg. Let's name our RAW egg "Henry-in-the-RAW". (1) How many days was it until Henry-in-the-RAW even got from the "farm" to the market; and (2) How much poop was on him; (3) Was his "mother" in good health when she created him?? (4) How much time did it take for Henry-in-the-RAW to reach your grocers (and did he have a continuously cold trip); (5) How long did Henry stay at your house, well refrigerated; (6) Do you have someone at your home who always is holding the fridge door open longer than anybody else seems to. (7) How much overall "time" accumulated in which Henry just was NOT refrigerated to the proper temperature (somewhere along the line-- every moment counts). (8) And how "good" was your own immune system when you ate the age. We can see that it's not a simple as we might wish. Logic dictates that ALL these things (and more) play a role in whether Henry makes us sick . . . or not.

share|improve this answer
That's exactly the point of food safety. The USDA looks at the risk of you getting sick no matter what the egg's history, and tells you it's almost zero within the first week in the fridge, even under the worst possible circumstances. Afterwards, Henry is considered "unsafe" even if he doesn't make us sick. –  rumtscho Dec 14 '14 at 16:39

My mom was a home ec teacher and always told us that once eggs had been refrigerated (like are commonly sold in the US) they needed to stay refrigerated. I do wonder why, though, as kids, we boiled and dyed Easter Eggs on Saturday, put them in the fridge overnight, then Sunday afternoon hid them, found them, and repeated the "hunt" several times all afternoon before we finally sat down and ate some of them. The rest were shelled and made into egg salad or chicken salad. We never got sick!

share|improve this answer

I just ate a hard boiled egg that had been in my fridge about 2 weeks, the last bites tasted like something bad, I am waiting to see how sick I get. I always thought they lasted longer....I will abide by the 1 week rule from now on!

share|improve this answer
"I am waiting to see how sick I get" - food safety doesn't work this way. You may eat 1000 unsafe eggs and not have any symptoms, you might get sick from the first. We are talking about a chance to get sick, and it is very, very hard to calculate. Personal anecdotes have nothing to do with it. –  rumtscho Sep 26 '14 at 12:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.