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How Long Can Hard Boiled Eggs Sit Out?

Posted in Food Safety on September 28, 2022

Like most foods, hard boiled eggs can only sit out at room temperature for two hours before spoiling. If your kitchen is very warm, such as 90° F or higher, they will only last one hour outside the refrigerator before becoming unsafe to eat.

What Happens to Hard Boiled Eggs When They Are Left Out?

When eggs are boiled, the shell’s integrity can be compromised due to the heat. As a result, the boiling process removes the protective layer that keeps eggs safe from bacteria. If the eggshell cracks or has holes, the egg can be exposed to outside air that carries harmful bacteria. When hard boiled eggs are left sitting out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours, bacteria grow rapidly and to the point where they are no longer safe to eat and should be discarded.

Eggs are particularly susceptible to Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning symptoms anywhere from 12 to 72 hours after ingesting. Symptoms can include diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, or vomiting, and severe cases can require hospitalization.

How Do You Tell if Hard Boiled Eggs are Spoiled?

When spoiled, hard boiled eggs often give off a strong sulfur odor that becomes most obvious when the shell is removed. If you smell a foul odor, you should discard it. Other signs include the following:

  • Appearance: If there is any discoloration, such as dark brown, black, or green spots, it is safest to discard them. You may have to cut a hard boiled egg open to check. However, a greenish-gray ring in the yolk is normal. The color of the yoke will vary depending on cooking time and temperature.
  • Change in Texture: When a hard boiled egg’s shell is slimy, chalky, or powdery, it has gone bad.

Hard boiled eggs have a shorter shelf life than uncooked eggs. If they still have their shell, they can be stored for about seven days in the refrigerator. However, if the eggs are peeled, they only last around three to five days.

How Long Do Pickled Eggs Last in the Fridge?

Pickled eggs are preserved in vinegar or brine, giving them a shelf life of 3 to 4 months if stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar or plastic container with a tight-sealing lid. The acidic solution prevents the development of harmful bacteria. However, hard-boiled eggs should be kept in the pickling solution for around a month until they are fully seasoned. A few signs that pickled eggs have gone bad include a foul smell, bubbles on the surface of the pickling solution, the jar’s lid is bulging, or if there are any color changes.

Can You Freeze Hard Boiled Eggs?

Hard boiled eggs can be frozen, but if they are frozen whole, their texture will change dramatically, making them unappetizing. As a result, it is best to freeze only the yolks from hard boiled eggs. Before freezing, separate the egg whites from the yolk and place them in a freezer bag or airtight container to store for up to six months.