How Long Can Unpeeled Hard-Boiled Eggs Sit Out?
Hard-boiled eggs should not be left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours, as they can spoil quickly due to the presence of bacteria. It is important to keep hard-boiled eggs refrigerated to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. If the temperature is above 90°F (32°C), the eggs should not be left out for more than 1 hour.
It is preferred to not peeled eggs unless you plan on eating them within hours after cooking, and storing peeled hard-boiled eggs safely for later use is fine. Most people will immerse the hard-boiled eggs, which are easily peeled, in cold water before boiling, but actually making it easier to peel the eggs is better when you first place them directly into the boiling water. Hard-boiled eggs that are still in the shell will stay delicious for about a week if stored correctly (meaning in a refrigerator not warmer than 40xB0F), but peeled eggs need to be eaten on the day. Peeled hard-boiled eggs do not last nearly as long as those without peeling, so you can leave the shells on if you are not planning to eat the eggs in around five days to give yourself an entire week.
If you are not planning to eat your eggs once they are prepped, go ahead and put them in the freezer. Instead, place the eggs you have just cooked into a bowl of ice water, then move your chilled eggs into the refrigerator to help preserve their long shelf life. The FDA, or Food and Drug Administration, advises that after you have cooked your eggs, you should immediately place them into an ice bath to shock and rapidly chill. Before you boil, discard any eggs with cracked shells or imperfections, advises the FDA.
During boiling, the protective layer coating the shell is removed, making eggs more vulnerable to airborne contaminants and harmful germs (1). Once the eggs are cooked, heated water melts away the shells protective coating, making them more susceptible to harmful bacteria to get in through the cracks and other porous areas in the shell. This coating is compromised in the boiling process, making it easier for bacteria to slip through the exposed pores and contaminate the eggs within. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, cooked eggs are actually more vulnerable to bacteria contamination because the cooking process damages a protective layer on the shell of the egg.
When eggs are cooked, their shellas integrity is sometimes compromised because of the heat applied during the boiling process. Once an eggshell is cracked or has holes drilled into it due to the boiling process, the eggs interior is exposed to outside air, which may bring in harmful bacteria looking for a host. In most cases, odors of cooked eggs that are spoiled might not be obvious on the surface, as the odor is likely contained inside the shell.
If, by chance, you are eating an egg that has been left sitting in its dangerous area for longer than a couple hours, bacteria might be growing on the egg. Because the shells on eggs are brittle after being cooked, you may be able to leave them exposed to unrefrigerated temperatures for just a couple of hours before it goes bad. In other countries, the process is not done in quite the same way, and eggs are usually kept outside of the fridge, even after being boiled. As with any contaminated food, egg whites are unsafe to eat and should be discarded immediately.
The shell helps to keep the eggs free of bacteria, and it may also help keep them from picking up smells from the rest of your fridge. Keeping eggs in their shells will keep them from drying out, since the shell acts as a barrier against moisture.
To ensure that your fresh eggs are kept safe, keep them stored at a temperature of 40 degrees or cooler at all times. Avoid keeping cooked eggs at room temperature for too long, and refrigerate within 2 hours after cooking (4). If you happen to keep the eggs at room temperature for two hours or longer, to prevent food poisoning, toss them immediately. Hard-boiled eggs should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking, said Rubin, and discarded if left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
Peeled, hard-boiled eggs can be stored in a cooler in a bowl with cool water that is covered for about one week — changing the water every day — or in a sealed container with no water (covering eggs with wet paper towels) for about as long. Unpeeled eggs will last for a couple of days longer than peeled ones, so it may make more sense to store them shelled if you are making a big batch. When it comes to storage methods, Glad also suggests keeping your hard-boiled eggs in an enclosed container of food in your fridge – if you are planning to take them with you (to a picnic, for instance), you will want to try and keep them cool in insulated coolers or using gel packs that freeze. If you are trying to keep things safe from contamination, you might want to stick to hiding plastic eggs filled with candy, or using the ones that are blow-up to deflate.
Sure, certain eggs produce a sulphurous odor after they are cooked solid – it is the chemical reaction when eggs are cooked too long – but an overcooked egg has a distinct odor. If your egg is not quite as fresh, but still pretty good, it will sink to the bottom anyway, except that rather than lying sideways, it will be standing up in a little piece. Frankly, if you are unsure if the egg has been sitting out too long, simply throw it away–it is just not worth the risk.
The reason is that air cells (found on the larger end of the shell, amongst the membranes on the shell) tend to grow larger the longer a raw egg is kept.
Can I eat a hard-boiled egg that was left out overnight?
When hard-boiled eggs are left out of the fridge for a prolonged period (or if the temperature is above 90° F for a prolonged period), harmful bacteria can multiply to the point where their safety as a food item is no longer guaranteed and must be thrown away.
Can you leave hard-boiled eggs unpeeled?
You should store hard-boiled eggs with their shells on, providing a protective barrier to protect them from moisture and bacteria during storage. In addition, once they’ve been chilled in a fridge for a few hours, it is much easier to peel them. It’s a win-win situation! Once hard-boiled eggs have been cooked, place them in cold water as soon as possible to speed up their cooling process.
Can you peel hard-boiled eggs ahead of time?
It is perfectly fine that some people prefer to peel their hard-boiled eggs before storing them. You will only need to take a few additional steps: To help hard-boiled eggs cool faster, immediately place them in a bowl of cold water after cooking. Under running water, peel the eggs.