The average American consumes almost 300 eggs a year. Whether they’re being bought to hard boil or go into a recipe, they are a staple in most every household. If you’re like me and many other consumers, you are a bit overzealous with your egg purchasing at times (cue covid shutdows and hurricane warnings) and end up with more than you can consume by the time they expire. What do you do in these instances? That little expiration date stamped on the package can be mighty intimidating, but just because you’ve passed the time written there doesn’t mean you should rush to toss your carton’s contents into the garbage. Read on to learn about how long you can eat eggs after the expiration date, what the expired egg test is, and more.
So, can you use eggs after the expiration date?
This short answer is yes, you can. If you have had a carton sitting in your fridge for a few weeks now, they are probably still safe to eat, especially if they have been stored properly. However, improperly handled eggs might contain harmful bacteria, so it’s important to be able to tell the difference between spoiled and expired eggs. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
What does the date on the egg carton mean?
Your egg carton likely contains several useful numbers, though the meaning of which can vary depending on the store or farm you got your eggs from.
Here are some of the most common dates that can be included:
How long do eggs last?
So with these numbers out of the way, how long do eggs actually last? Well, this all depends on where you store your eggs and at what temperature, and if you have washed or pasteurized them.
Do eggs expire if refrigerated?
(1) Make sure your eggs are properly stored
- Temperature fluctuations may spoil eggs or accelerate their decline in quality.
- Refrigerator storage is generally the best way to go.
- Eggs keep best at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4-5 degrees Celsius).
- If possible, avoid keeping them in the door because that’s often the warmest spot as it’s exposed to air more frequently.
- We don’t recommend freezing either because the contents are likely to expand and damage the shell. If you do freeze your eggs, make sure to use them within one year.
(2) Know if your eggs have been washed
(3) Consider pasteurized eggs
What is the expired egg test?
Worried that your egg has spoiled either because of poor storage or because it's past the expiration date?
Here are a few ways to check:
Eating expired eggs - the risks
Eating expired eggs and encountering a bacteria like salmonella usually means feeling sick for a few days for most people. However, the following higher-risk groups might want to consider more caution: Young children Older adults People with immunocompromised systems Pregnant women These folks are probably better playing it safe and avoiding expired or raw eggs, as contracting an illness might lead to a hospital visit.
So, how long are eggs good for after the sell by date?
Eggs will last you a long time. The dates on the carton are more of a reminder of how old the they are, than a level 10 warning of when you must stop all consumption. If an egg is older than five weeks, it might be good to consider testing it before dumping it into your fried rice. If an it’s less than 5 weeks old, you’re probably good to go.
Whether you’re frying your eggs or using them to bake, you don’t have to toss them out just because they’re past their expiration date. If your eggs still look and smell good, they probably are good. Don’t believe me? Just watch. Or in this case, just try!
Author: Sarah Moore has been with EggCartons.com for almost 4 years. Prior to coming here, she didn’t know the difference between a rooster and a hen. Sarah spent many years in business prior to landing at EggCartons.com and has since become an egg carton connoisseur. When she’s not thinking about egg cartons, she’s thinking about the things that go inside of them, which is usually food (in her case) and sometimes eggs. Since starting here, Sarah has tried raising chickens of her own and finally learned the difference between a rooster and a hen.