How to Tell If Eggs Are Bad: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Tell If Eggs Are Bad: A Comprehensive Guide
Written by Medhaavi Mishra

Eggs, beloved for their multitude of uses and nutritional value, play a crucial part in the culinary scapes of various cooks. Eggs are a staple of our daily cooking habits, whether they’re beaten into cake batter, folded into a fluffy omelette, or sizzling on a breakfast pan. Their versatility in adding richness, texture, and protein to an array of meals is unsurpassed. 

However, eggs, like other perishable items, are susceptible to the passage of time. The likelihood of ruining looms, which might lead to negative health implications if consumed. The following guide tackles that issue by digging into the world of egg inspection, which is an important skill for every cook. With this information, you are going to be able to effectively traverse the process of reviewing the freshness and safety of your eggs.

You’ll learn to recognise the indicators of a decaying egg by using procedures such as the float test, shell analysis, and nose test. Your senses—sight, smell, and touch—become great partners in protecting your culinary creations as well as your health. As we continue our investigation of egg preservation, keep in mind that a thorough awareness of freshness is the key to unlocking the full potential of this basic yet magnificent commodity.

The Float Test

The float test is one of the simplest techniques to identify if an egg has gone rotten. Fill a basin halfway with water and carefully insert the egg inside. A fresh egg will be found lying flat on its side at the bottom. The air cell inside an egg expands as it matures, causing it to stand upright or tilt. If the egg floats to the surface, it has probably deteriorated and should be thrown.

The Sniff Test

Your sense of smell may be a very effective tool in spotting damaged eggs. Take a mild sniff of the egg while keeping it near to your nose. Fresh eggs typically have a neutral odour, while a rotten egg emits a noticeable sulphur-like or rotten smell. If you detect an unpleasant odour, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not use the egg.

The Shell Inspection

Examine the eggshell thoroughly for fractures or damage. Cracks in the shell can allow germs to enter and speed up the rotting process. If the shell is broken, it’s best to toss the egg.

The Yolk and White Examination

Break the egg into a dish or bowl that has been cleaned. A fresh egg has a solid, spherical yolk that is elevated above the egg white. The egg white should be transparent and somewhat thick in consistency. Any browning, spreading, or runniness in the egg white might be an indication of deterioration. A flat yolk or one that breaks readily might also indicate an aged egg.

The Date Check

Many egg cartons have a “sell by” or “expiration” date. While eggs may frequently be used safely after these dates, they can still serve as a useful guideline for determining freshness. It’s best to eat eggs within three to five weeks of purchasing them, preferably when they’re still fresh.

The Cracking Technique

Tap the egg gently on a hard surface, such as the countertop, while holding it close to your ear. A pronounced hissing sound might indicate that the egg has gone rotten. This sound is caused by increased gas generation within a rotting egg.

The Egg White and Yolk Separation

Separate the egg white and yolk. A fresh egg white will keep its form, however a runny egg white may indicate deterioration. Furthermore, a hazy or discoloured egg white might suggest an older egg.

What if I ate Rotten eggs ?

What if I ate Rotten eggs ?

If you mistakenly ingest damaged or rotten eggs, you may develop foodborne disease or stomach pain. Rotten eggs can contain dangerous germs like Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach discomfort, and fever.

The severity of your symptoms will depend on the level of bacterial infection and your personal susceptibility to these pathogens. Symptoms may develop after a few hours of intake in some situations, but may take a day or two in others.

If you believe you ate rotten eggs and are suffering symptoms, you should take the following precautions:

1. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration induced by vomiting and diarrhoea.

2. Relax: Give your body time to relax and heal.

3. Keep Track of Symptoms: Keep a record of your symptoms and their intensity. Seek medical treatment if they intensify or last for a lengthy period of time.

4. Seek Medical Attention: If you have serious symptoms such as a high temperature, blood in your stools, or continuous vomiting, seek medical attention.

Always exercise adequate food safety practises to reduce the possibility of ingesting rotten eggs or other contaminated food in the future. Follow storage recommendations, check expiry dates, and evaluate the freshness of eggs using your senses (sight, smell, and taste).

Consult a healthcare professional for proper guidance and treatment.

What is the shelf life of an egg ? 

What is the shelf life of an egg ? 

The shelf life of an egg can vary depending on factors such as how they are stored and whether they are raw or cooked. Here’s a general guideline for the shelf life of eggs:

1. Raw Eggs in the Shell: When stored correctly in the refrigerator, raw eggs in the shell can survive for about 3-5 weeks after the pack date. Typically, this date is printed on the carton. To assess freshness, you can do the float test, look for cracks, or use your senses to detect any unpleasant scents.

2. Raw Unshelled (Cracked) Eggs: If you break an egg and separate the yolk and white, utilise them as soon as possible. Egg whites have a 2-4 day shelf life in the refrigerator, whereas egg yolks have a 1-2 day shelf life. Separated eggs can be frozen to increase their shelf life.

3. Hard-Boiled Eggs: Properly cooked and peeled, hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. To avoid absorbing other scents in the fridge, store the items in a sealed container.

4. Cooked Egg Dishes: Egg-based dishes including quiches, casseroles, and egg dressings may normally be refrigerated in the refrigerator for three to four days. Consider freezing them if you need to keep them for a longer period of time.

5. Stored Eggs: Raw egg whites and yolks can be separated, thoroughly beaten, and stored for later use. Frozen egg whites can be preserved and stored for up to 12 months, while frozen egg yolks can be maintained for roughly 4 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before using.

Remember that appropriate storage is essential for keeping eggs fresh and safe. To minimise moisture loss and smell absorption, always store eggs in their original carton. Keep them in the coldest region of your fridge, preferably at or below 40°F (4°C).

If in question regarding the freshness of an egg, it’s best to err on the side of caution and destroy it to avoid any potential foodborne diseases.


Understanding how to tell whether eggs have gone rotten is a critical skill that assures the safety and quality of your culinary creations. You may accurately test the freshness of your eggs and make educated decisions about their usage if you utilise the procedures given in this book. When in doubt, it’s always better to throw out an egg that displays indications of rotting. Your taste senses and stomach will reward you for your meticulous attention to kitchen hygiene.

About the author

Medhaavi Mishra