How to tell if an egg is bad

Want to know how to tell if an egg is bad reliably? All of these methods will tell you how fresh an egg is for sure

how to tell if an egg is bad
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Always wondered how to tell if an egg is bad? Just to be very clear: just because your eggs have reached the expiration date on the carton, it does not mean you have to throw them out immediately.

This applies whether you store your eggs in the fridge or if you keep them in a cool place, such as your pantry. In fact, most eggs are good for another couple of weeks after their use by date, so it pays to test them before you use them rather than automatically discarding them. 

Read on to find out how to tell if an egg is bad – and don't miss our food and recipes hub page for more hints, advice and foodie know-how.

1. How to tell if an egg is bad: whole raw eggs

The most reliable way of testing whole raw eggs for freshness is the water bowl test. Fill a deep bowl with cold water and place the egg in it. If it floats, it's gone off. Fresh eggs sink or stand at the bottom of the bowl.

The other test is listening to the egg. Shake the egg: a fresh one will make no sound; an egg that's off will make a sloshing sound. 

Finally, if you've cracked your egg and it smells bad, chuck it. If it doesn't smell, but the yolk looks weird and flat (rather than plump) and the white is very runny, also chuck it. 

2. How to tell if an egg is bad: cracked eggs

The rule is: a whole raw egg without its shell will keep in the fridge for two days. A yolk on its own should be used within a day, while an egg white on its own within three days. Don't exceed these time frames, as you could end up with food poisoning – even if you cook your egg.

3. How to tell if an egg is bad: cooked eggs

If the egg is soft-boiled, treat it in the same way as a raw egg yolk, which means consuming within the next day. If the egg is hard boiled and still in its shell, it'll keep in the fridge for one week. A peeled egg should be eaten within a day.

Any dish with cooked egg in it, such as a quiche, pancake, egg fried rice and so on, should ideally be eaten the same day, or within one day if it was promptly refrigerated after cooking. 

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Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.