Is it safe to eat over-boiled eggs?

In this article, we will answer the question “Is it safe to eat over-boiled eggs?”, what’s the best way to store hard-boiled eggs, what is the shelf-life of hard-boiled eggs, can you eat cracked eggs, and how many eggs can you eat per day. 

Is it safe to eat over-boiled eggs?

Generally, it is safe to eat over-boiled eggs. But there are a few things you need to be wary of. First on agenda: You need to make sure the eggs were fresh before boiling. 

If the eggs were old or contaminated, over-oiling them won’t magically make them fit for consumption. This is aside from the poor quality characteristics of the old and boiled eggs.

Over-boiling tends to produce a greyish-green ring around the yolk. This ring forms when the iron from the yolk reacts with the hydrogen sulfide present in the egg albumen, to produce iron sulfide. 

The amount of iron sulfide produced determines the extent of greying. If the greying is slight and the ring is petite, the amount of iron sulfide is not high enough to cause you any harm. 

In this case, eating 1-2 over-boiled eggs won’t do you any bad. However, when the whole egg yolk appears grey and/or the over-boiled egg emits a sulfur-like odor, you should toss it in the bin.

If you are a sensitive individual, eating such an over-boiled egg may result in an upset stomach with other symptoms that are characteristic of food poisoning such as nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. 

If you eat too many greyish over-boiled eggs, you may feel extremely uneasy. In most cases, you can get away with eating a small amount of the over-boiled eggs that have started to go grey.

What’s the best way to store hard-boiled eggs?

Eggs have a transparent layer on the outside of their shell which serves to preserve the freshness and maintain the safety of the eggs by filling in the pores.

This layer, called the cuticle, dissolves into the water during boiling. This makes eggs highly susceptible to attack from contaminants present in their surroundings.

First, you need to put the hard-boiled eggs in an air-tight container. Then put the container in the refrigerator. The low temperatures inside the refrigerator (below 40°F (4°C), impede the growth of spoilage and pathogenic microbes.

The result: eggs keep their quality for longer. However, it is equally important to not wait for too long before refrigerating the eggs. The USDA suggests you refrigerate or freeze the eggs within 2 hours of cooking or boiling. 

Eggs are a perishable food item and leaving them at room temperature for more than 2 hours puts them at a risk for microbial contamination and eventually, spoilage. 

If you are attempting to refrigerate peeled hard-boiled eggs, do so after wrapping the eggs in a damp paper towel and then putting them in an air-tight container.

What is the shelf-life of hard-boiled eggs?

According to the USDA, hard-boiled eggs preserve their freshness for up to a week if correctly and timely refrigerated. The sooner you finish the eggs, the better will be the taste and texture. The longer you wait, the higher the chances of spoilage.

Can you eat cracked eggs?

You should never eat cracked eggs for they are a threat to your health. Cracked or dirty eggs are an ideal and easy growth medium for microbes. The egg shell and egg membrane are the outer and inner defense lines of the eggs against contaminants.

When the defense is weak due to cracks, the eggs are rendered unsafe for consumption. Cracked eggs should be tossed immediately. 

One exception where you are allowed to cook and eat the cracked egg is when you accidentally cracked it due to poor handling. 

Even then, you should not leave it in for too long. Do not purchase cracked eggs from the store shelves. If you unintentionally bought cracked eggs, you better discard them when you find out about them.

How many eggs can you eat per day?

Eggs are overestimated when it comes to the amount of cholesterol they contain. But this does not mean you can eat 6 whole eggs a day regularly without gaining weight or not experiencing an increase in the blood cholesterol level.

Experts recommend eating no more than 1-2 eggs per day if you are a healthy adult. If you want to keep your blood cholesterol levels in check without limiting your protein intake, skip the egg yolks when eating more than 1-2 eggs per day. 


In this article, we answered the question “Is it safe to eat over-boiled eggs?”, what’s the best way to store hard-boiled eggs, what is the shelf-life of hard-boiled eggs, can you eat cracked eggs, and how many eggs can you eat per day. 


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