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This Is the Quickest Way to Tell If Eggs Are Still Good

Not sure if your eggs are still good? Stop guessing and start checking—the right way.
How to tell if eggs are good with egg float test

You just woke up on Sunday to a rumbling stomach. You need food—and you need it now. You trudge over to the kitchen where you rummage through the fridge in search of anything to eat. That's where you uncover a carton of eggs that you bought a couple of weeks ago. Or was it a month ago? Darn—the expiration date is long passed, but does that mean the remaining eggs are bad? Besides checking the expiration date, is there another way for how to tell if eggs are good? Luckily for your hungry self, the answer is yes. Just employ the quick egg float test.

We spoke with the head chef at HelloFresh, Claudia Sidoti, for the lowdown so you can accurately—and quickly—figure out how to tell if eggs in your fridge are good enough to eat or if it's time to toss them out.

How to tell if eggs are good or are no longer fresh: the egg float test.

One of the easiest ways to check if eggs are still good is by using the egg float test. Sidoti elaborates on exactly how to tell if eggs are good or not with the egg float test: "Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom of the bowl on their sides. Older eggs will sink to the bottom at a tilted or upright position. If the eggs float, they're too old and you should toss them."

How to use the egg float test:

  1. Fill up a see-through flat-bottomed bowl, pot, or tall glass with water. The water should be able to cover an egg completely plus a few inches.
  2. Drop the questionable egg in the water. If it isn't completely submerged or is only barely covered by water, add more water.
  3. If the egg sinks to the bottom, that means it's still good to eat. If the egg floats to the top, that means it has gone bad, and it should be thrown out promptly. If an egg sinks to the bottom but sits in a tilted or upright position, that means it's on the older side and should be consumed sooner rather than later.

In short:

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  • Float: Bad
  • Sink: Good

Why does the egg float test work?

It's not magic: there's a scientific reason why the egg float test works as a way to tell if eggs are still good.

"The reason [the egg float test] works so well is that eggshells are absorbent," Sidoti explains. "This means they allow some air to get through."

"Fresh eggs have less air in them, so they sink to the bottom."

As eggs age, more air seeps through the shell and into the cavity. This creates an air bubble that will increasingly expand as the days go by. When you drop an old egg in water, that air bubble rises to the top, making these older eggs more likely to float.

How long do eggs typically stay fresh for?

"If stored properly in the refrigerator, eggs can stay fresh for four to five weeks. In the U.S., eggs must be refrigerated. If not, they will go bad after about two hours if left at room temperature," says Sidoti.

So once you get home from grocery shopping, don't forget to pop your eggs in the fridge right away!

Are there any other ways I can tell if an egg has gone bad?

"A bad egg will have a foul odor when you crack it open," says Sidoti. "The smell will usually be obvious the second you crack it open."

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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