I had some eggs that were a couple weeks overdue and I used them in an off-the-shelf cake batter. I've had eggs that past due date before without issues but these were two weeks overdue and I thought they smelled a bit off but I couldn't be sure.

Would anyone know if bad/old eggs in baking would make you sick? The eggs are cooked in the batter so I was hoping that they would still be ok.

  • I feel like no one has really answered this. I have an old egg from like November (~5 months ago). It looks normal but floats like an ice cube. I want to make cornbread and this is my only egg. I opened it and it looks fine. Why can't I use it?
    – user49955
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 10:46

3 Answers 3


The standard test for eggs is to slowly lower your egg(s) in cold water. If it floats, throw it out. The smell test will only identify severely rotten eggs, while the float test will hint at how well the egg will perform as a binder in baking recipes.

If it helps, the FDA standard best-by dates are normally 1 week prior to the use-by (which is the date the food is considered no longer fit to use). The standard use-by date for eggs in the US is 28 days after being laid. After 28 days the chances of bacterial growth within the egg are significant enough that they're not worth using.

  • 2
    Just for the record, eggs can be kept out on the counter for several weeks without spoiling. An egg that has spoiled would have done so whether on the counter or in the fridge and probably spoiled before it got to you. This is also a good reason to crack eggs into a small bowl before adding them to whatever you are making. It lets you catch the bad egg before adding it in.
    – Escoce
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 18:29
  • 1
    That test measures how much water has evaporated from the egg, nothing else It does not indicate safety or quality.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jun 28 at 8:25

Always trust your nose!

The "best by" date is a useful reference, but it's somewhat arbitrary and may not be consistent among different producers. Eggs might be perfectly safe after that date, but eggs can also go bad well before their "best by" date, if for example, they weren't maintained at the proper temperature.

Eggs can be dangerous, but still smell perfectly fine. However, if your nose detects even the slightest hint of a suspicious odor, it's not worth taking the chance of cooking with them. In addition to the possibility of getting sick, the spoiled egg could ruin the flavor of whatever you are baking.

When shopping for eggs...

... look for the production date code. This three-digit number identifies the day of the year the eggs were packaged. For example, the eggs on the left were packaged on March 14th, and the eggs on the right were packaged on February 19th:

enter image description here

To buy the freshest eggs, simply choose the package with the highest number (until January, when it starts back at 001 again).

  • Given that, as you say, “Eggs can be dangerous, but still smell perfectly fine.”, I'm guessing that the first line actually means “Always trust your nose if something smells bad (but not it if it smells OK)!”?  (Of course, that applies to pretty much all foodstuffs, not just eggs.)
    – gidds
    Commented Jul 1 at 15:17

I'm just here to chime in that cooking does not necessarily render spoiled food safe!

I'm sure most of you here already know this, but for those of you who aren't aware:

There are three different modes through which pathogens transmit food-borne illnesses:

  1. Infection
  2. Intoxication
  3. Infection-mediated intoxication

In the case of #1, yes, simply achieving lethality would render the food safe for consumption. However, in the case of #2 & #3, simply cooking out the pathogens is not sufficient to prevent foodborne illness. This typically refers to spore-forming, gram positive pathogens such as, e.g., Listeria monocytogenes, etc.

In the OP's case, chances are the only pathogen of concern would be Salmonella, which would be rendered safe at an internal temperature of 165°F (refer to Ceres or Tompkins papers). However, I don't think it needs to be said that one should never intentionally adulterating the food you are preparing with questionable ingredients, regardless of the expected outcome!

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