I have a carton of fresh eggs here. They don't expire until this time next month. They don't float in a large bowl of water. But many of these ones after being hard boiled have a very strong sulfur smell.

So i looked it up but now i am confused. Some say that smell is a normal reaction that occurs when sulfur reacts to the heat when being boiled. And others say that hard boiled eggs that are rotten have a very distinct and disgusting smell; a smell of sulfur.

So which is it? Are my (very strong) sulfur-smelling eggs rotten or is the smell only caused by the sulfur reacting to the heat?

Right now Id be more inclined to say that the eggs are rotten or that there's something wrong with them, simply because this smell is rare when i make eggs - and i always make my eggs the same way and heat them for the same amount of time.

  • Do they smell of sulfur after you crack them open, or while the shell is still on?
    – Erica
    Mar 30, 2015 at 18:38
  • @Erica after they habe been hard-boiled, they smell of sulfur when I crack the shell. The more shell I peel away, the stronger the smell.
    – Jase
    Mar 30, 2015 at 18:40
  • 2
    Rotten eggs don't smell like sulphur, they smell like hydrogen sulphide which is far more foul and unmistakable.
    – Escoce
    Mar 30, 2015 at 20:52
  • 4
    I don't know how to qualify an answer but I can quantify one. Sulphur may or may not be unpleasant depending on how strong the odor and the person. A light odor may be curious and make you sniff again. Hydrogen sulphide is exteremy unpleasant no matter the strength. When strong it will OMG drive you to get rid of or get away from the smell. At its weakest it smells like death and although maybe not so driving, will still make you want to get rid of it.
    – Escoce
    Mar 30, 2015 at 21:16
  • 1
    IME, sulfurous hard boiled eggs are mostly from over-doing the hard boiling (the eggs get hard, the water should be just simmering.) I switched long ago to boiling a pot of water, lowering eggs in with a spoon, and turning the heat off. Timing is a bit longer than for "eggs at the boil", but you can get any level of hard or soft you want by when you remove eggs, or transfer the whole pot to the sink and run cold water into it. If you crack a raw egg, does it stink? If not, they are not rotten. A very rotten one can sometimes be smelled before it's cracked.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 2, 2015 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


What you're describing sounds normal to me. It's the result of overcooking them. The eggs themselves were fine. At a guess, you unknowingly messed up the timing for the particular batch described here (alternatively, the eggs may have been smaller than usual).

Over cooking hard boiled eggs will result in the smell you identified (and also cause the exterior of the yolk to turn green).

Further information: http://io9.com/when-you-overcook-eggs-you-turn-them-into-chemical-wea-1682497376


If you have the carton take them back to the store when you bought them from and exchange them for a new carton or get your money back. My grandfather had a chicken ranch and if there was a problem he had no problem returning money or exchanging with eggs or both so, when in doubt, return. Most supermarkets are great at returning groceries and especially with a good date. Why take the chance and eggs are expensive and if it happened to you I'm sure it's happened to someone else. Good Luck and food poisoning Sucks and don't be embarrassed!

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