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?

  • Fascinating. In super markets here hard boiled eggs are sold without refrigeration around Easter. And surprisingly they don't usually go bad for at least two weeks without refrigeration. Unpeeled, of course. But that seems to be quite contradictory to the advice given in the answers to your question here. As far as I can remember from my childhood we ate hard boiled eggs from Easter even three weeks later without any issues. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


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).

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    Shouldn't we rely more on the sniff test anyway rather than throwing out perfectly good food just because it's over the "best before" date? Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 22:09

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