How Long Do Hard Boiled Eggs Last In The Fridge

Having some hard-boiled eggs on hand sets you up for a quick breakfast, easy add-on toppings, or even crispy deviled eggs for some impromptu home entertaining. Boiling a batch and keeping it in the fridge is always a good idea — that is unless you wait too long and have to throw it out. 

Hard cooking eggs removes the protective coatings on their shells, leaving them porous and susceptible to bacteria, which is why raw eggs last so much longer than boiled ones. So, how much time do you have to use up those boiled eggs? 

Unpeeled hard-cooked eggs will last for up to a week in the fridge, provided they're cooled within two hours of cooking and stored in airtight containers. If you've already peeled your hard-boiled eggs, storing them is a little more complicated since the exposed egg-white surface is moist and ripe for contamination. 

One way to preserve them is pickling, but it's still necessary to do a rigorous smell test on any leftover eggs before consuming them. Freezing, unfortunately, is not an option as it makes egg whites too rubbery. So, here's what you can do to store and eat hard-boiled eggs in a stress-free way.

Unpeeled, peeled, and pickled

The first step to prolonging the life of hard-boiled eggs is to ensure they're quickly cooled and refrigerated. You can do this by dunking them in an ice bath (for about 30 minutes), as soon as they're firm, then sealing them up to be stored in the fridge. The ice bath speeds up the process considerably compared to letting them cool on the counter. Putting the hot eggs in the fridge to cool is also not advisable as it risks raising the temps of nearby foods.

When it comes to peeled hard-boiled eggs, the USDA says they'll keep in the fridge for a week, but there are some caveats. Due to their susceptibility to bacteria, peeled hard-boiled eggs stored in the refrigerator must be rigorously checked before eating and, ideally, consumed as soon as possible before the seven-day deadline. To be safe, consider limiting their time in the fridge to five days.

If you want to keep peeled eggs for longer, pickling them in vinegar, salt, and spices in a sealable glass jar is a tasty option. If prepared correctly, pickled eggs will last for up to four months, though you may have to reconsider how you use them. Once opened, store the pickled eggs in the fridge and use them within the week.

How to tell if a hard-boiled egg has gone bad?

The prospect of them going bad shouldn't stop you from prepping a batch of boiled eggs and storing them for future use, especially if you fire up the grill for some smokey-goodness-infused boiled eggs. The most useful trick to avoid eating an egg that's gone bad is to know how to spot one. Eggs, or for that matter any food, should be given a once over if it's been stored to ensure it's safe to eat. 

Fortunately, spotting a spoiled egg is relatively easy due to the pungent sulfuric smell it develops when egg whites start breaking down. You may also notice a gray-green ring around the yolk or a change in consistency. Any discoloration or sliminess on the egg indicates it is unfit to eat. If you're ever in doubt, it's better to err on the side of caution and toss the egg out.

To minimize eggs spoiling in the fridge, use airtight containers and mark them with the dates on which they were boiled. And remember, raw and boiled eggs, even unpeeled ones, should always be stored separately to avoid contamination.