Published on:

Can You Eat 2 Week Old Hard Boiled Eggs?

Ah, the humble hard-boiled egg — a versatile snack, a protein-packed meal component, and a staple of picnics and packed lunches. But what happens when those perfectly boiled eggs start sitting in the fridge, forgotten amidst the hustle and bustle of life? The inevitable question arises: Can you eat 2-week-old hard-boiled eggs? Let’s crack this mystery once and for all.

cheerful brunette eating egg

Can You Eat 2 Week Old Hard Boiled Eggs?

While it may be tempting to nosh on a two week old hard boiled egg, you should err on the side of caution. To ensure food safety, it is best to consume hard-boiled eggs within one week of cooking and proper refrigeration. If in doubt about the freshness or safety of an egg, it is safer to discard it.

That said, there are some instances where you can technically at a hard boiled egg that is older than that 7 day limit. Those instances will be discussed below.

How Long Do Hard Boiled Eggs Last at Room Temperature?

Imagine this scenario: you’ve prepared a batch of perfectly boiled eggs for a gathering or a quick snack, but life gets in the way, and they sit on the countertop for hours. Is it still safe to eat them? No, not really. Hard boiled eggs may seem like they would be safe when left out at room temperature, but even if they go unpeeled, they shouldn’t be stored at room temperature.

Bacteria thrive in what is known as the temperature danger zone, which ranges from 40°F to 140°F (4°C to 60°C). Within this temperature range, microorganisms multiply rapidly, increasing the risk of foodborne illness.

To ensure food safety, it is crucial to consume or refrigerate hard-boiled eggs within two hours of cooking.

Therefore, if you have had hard boiled eggs sitting on the counter for two whole weeks, don’t eat them!

How Long Do Hard Boiled Eggs Last in the Refrigerator?

pack of eggs on a fridge shelf

Refrigeration is considered the best form of storage for freshly hard boiled eggs. By storing them properly in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F (4°C), you can prolong their freshness and safety. When stored under these cool conditions, hard-boiled eggs can remain safe to eat for about one week. That’s it — a single week.

The cold temperature of the refrigerator slows down bacterial growth, helping to maintain the quality of the eggs. However, it is important to note that even refrigerated hard-boiled eggs will eventually spoil. Therefore, it is advisable to consume them within the recommended timeframe to ensure optimal freshness. If you do happen to pull out a two week old hard boiled egg and it looks okay, you should check to see if it has gone bad before trying it. More on that soon.

How Long Do Peeled Hard Boiled Eggs Last In and Out of the Refrigerator?

Peeled hard boiled eggs have a much shorter shelf life than unpeeled ones. For that reason, peeled hard boiled should not be left at room temperature for an extended period. Again, bacteria multiples rapidly within the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F (4°C to 60°C). To ensure food safety, peeled hard-boiled eggs should be consumed or refrigerated within two hours of peeling. When stored properly in the refrigerator, peeled hard-boiled eggs can generally last for about one week, depending on how they are stored.

How to Tell a Hard Boiled Egg Has Gone Bad

Recognizing signs of spoilage is essential to avoid consuming a rotten hard-boiled egg. When an egg has gone bad, it may exhibit several noticeable indicators. Firstly, a foul odor may emanate from the egg, indicating the presence of harmful bacteria. Additionally, an off-color (such as yolks that are brownish or greenish) or slimy appearance can be a clear sign of spoilage. Lastly, an unusual texture, such as rubbery or excessively watery, may suggest that the egg is no longer fit for consumption. If you notice that the eggs are even slightly off, you should not eat them.

What Happens if You Eat a 2 Week Old Hard Boiled Egg?

peeling hard boiled eggs

Curiosity (or hunger) may get the better of us when faced with a hard-boiled egg that has been sitting in the refrigerator for two weeks. However, it’s important to understand the potential consequences of consuming such an aged egg. As previously mentioned, as eggs age, their shells become more porous, allowing bacteria, including Salmonella, to enter the egg’s interior. It doesn’t matter if the egg has been hard boiled or not. The shell will deteriorate regardless.

If you eat a two week old hard boiled egg, a couple of things may happen. Let’s assume for a moment that the egg had been stored well and there was nothing wrong with it. In this event, nothing is going to happen. Your body will happily accept the protein-packed snack, and you can move on with your day.

But what if the egg was bad? You could end up getting Salmonella, leading to gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. In severe cases, it can lead to dehydration and other complications. Hard boiled eggs that have gone bad may also harbor bacteria that is capable of causing food poisoning, including Staphylococcus aureus or Clostridium botulinum. These toxins can be present in improperly stored or prepared eggs. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

You can learn more about salmonellosis and its consequences from this video:

How to Properly Store Hard Boiled Eggs

If you want the best chance at eating a 2 week old hard boiled egg without any negative consequences, then you need to know how to store them properly. Here are some tips to help you get the best shelf life out of your hard boiled eggs:

  • Refrigerate Correctly: After cooking hard-boiled eggs, it is crucial to refrigerate them promptly within two hours. Leaving hard-boiled eggs at room temperature for too long creates an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply rapidly.
  • Keep The Shell On: Storing hard-boiled eggs in their shells provides an additional layer of protection, as the shell acts as a natural barrier against potential contaminants. If you choose to store peeled hard-boiled eggs, it is important to place them in a covered container. This protects them from potential cross-contamination and helps maintain their moisture content, preventing them from drying out.
  • Separate From Strong Odors: Hard-boiled eggs have a tendency to absorb odors from the surrounding environment. To preserve their delicate flavor and prevent them from acquiring unwanted smells, it is recommended to store hard-boiled eggs separately from foods with strong odors. This can include aromatic foods like onions, garlic, or strong spices.
  • Seal Properly: When storing hard-boiled eggs, it is important to ensure that the container you use is airtight or well-sealed. This prevents any potential cross-contamination from other foods in the refrigerator. It also helps maintain the freshness of the eggs and prevents them from absorbing any odors or flavors from nearby foods.

What About Storing Hard Boiled Eggs in Vinegar?

Is a two week old hard boiled egg that was kept in vinegar edible? Some people believe that storing hard boiled eggs in vinegar will preserve them better. However, vinegar is acidic. While storing eggs in an acid may inhibit bacterial growth, it does not protect the inside of the egg. On the outside of an egg, there is a protective coating that seals up the pores. So long as the bloom remains intact, the egg inside is safe.

Vinegar may affect the bloom (as does boiling), and that can lead to bacteria finding a way inside. Furthermore, vinegar can alter the taste and texture of the eggs, making them less enjoyable to eat. As such, the best recommendation is to eat your eggs within seven days of boiling them.

Final Thoughts on Eating 2 Week Old Hard Boiled Eggs

While hard boiled eggs are a convenient and nutritious food option, they do not have the shelf life that most people think they do. Hard boiled eggs last about two hours at room temperature and seven days in the refrigerator. In other words, eating two week old hard boiled eggs is not advised, as you could end up with Salmonella or something else. Eat those eggs within the timeframe and you will have no problems!