Food & Drink

How Long Can Eggs Sit Out?

Published on September 8, 2023 | 0 Comments
How long can eggs sit out?

If you buy fresh eggs at the grocery store but aren’t headed straight home, you might be wondering how long eggs can sit out safely. Nobody wants to experience the ill effects of food poisoning, and salmonella transmitted by contaminated eggs can be a common cause of that. But it’s not unheard of to see eggs left out on the counter without refrigeration, especially if you grew up on a farm that raised chickens. Is that safe?

If you’ve ever been told that it’s okay to leave a dozen store-bought eggs on the counter, you’ve been told wrong. Eggs are one of the greatest joys of the culinary world, so don’t let them go to waste by not storing them properly. Follow these simple rules when it comes to how long eggs can sit out safely.


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How Long Can Eggs Sit Out? 

How long can eggs sit out safely? Not long. No more than two hours. The USDA requires that commercially sold eggs be thoroughly washed before transport and sale, and this process causes the shells to thin out. That means they are more susceptible to any bacteria they come into contact with. That is why eggs have to be refrigerated.

Sure, you can pull your carton of eggs out of the refrigerator when you are getting ready to use them. But in general, it’s always a good idea to keep eggs refrigerated right up until you need them. Once you take cool eggs out of the refrigerator, you should return them as soon as possible. Otherwise, condensation forms, which is another conduit for potential contaminants.

What about baking? Since eggs should always be room temperature when used in baking, how long can eggs sit out while you prepare your other ingredients? The answer is no more than 30 minutes. 

Remember that when you are thinking about how long eggs can sit out safely, go with the shortest duration possible.

eggs sitting out while chef sifts flour
via Canva

How  Long Can Hard-Boiled Eggs Sit Out?  

What about cooked eggs? One of the most popular types of cooked eggs is the hard-boiled. How long can hard-boiled eggs sit out? According to the CDC, two hours is the limit. If you’ve boiled some eggs for use throughout the week, keep them in a covered container in the refrigerator. It doesn’t matter whether you peel the shells immediately or not. It’s just as important to refrigerate cooked eggs as fresh. 

hard-boiled eggs sitting out
via Canva

How to Store Eggs

Pretty much every refrigerator in America has an egg shelf on the door. But did you know that the door is the warmest place in your refrigerator? It’s better to use that shelf for other packaged items and tuck your carton of fresh eggs on a center shelf toward the back.

There is one exception to our rule about how long eggs can sit out safely before needing refrigeration, and that’s fresh farm eggs. If you can get your eggs directly from a farm, and they are unwashed, it is okay to store them at room temperature. How long can fresh eggs sit out at room temperature? Up to 2 weeks is usually okay as long as the inside temperatures are moderate. 

Did you know that in Europe, eggs are also kept unrefrigerated? That’s because instead of requiring that commercially sold eggs be washed, they enforce the opposite. Because European eggs are not washed before sale, their shells remain thicker and thus much more impermeable to antigens like bacteria. 

Remember that if you refrigerate your eggs at any point, they must return to the refrigerator to remain safe.

fresh eggs
via Canva

Eggs are one of the most versatile and functional ingredients in your kitchen. We count on them for everything, from our first meal of the day to the midday snack to bread to pasta. Learning how long eggs can sit out safely is important so that you don’t get more than you bargained for when you crack that shell.

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