7 Easy Tricks To Find Out If Eggs Are Good To Eat Past Expiration Date

Medically reviewed by Jess Wharton, RN Jess Wharton Jess WhartonRN facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years
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Imagine kicking off the day with eggs fried in butter/ghee and a hot cup of coffee. This perfect start to your day can go awfully wrong if you crack open a rotten egg! To solve this problem, egg boxes are stamped with their expiration date, so you can discard them in a timely manner. But, did you know that about 5 billion eggs get wasted per year (1)? A lot of eggs remain fresh past their expiration date. So, how can you prevent world food shortage without having to smell the foul odor of a rotten egg? Simple. Use the following tricks to check if the eggs are good. These methods are surprisingly accurate. Read on!

7 Simple Tricks To Tell If Eggs Are Good Or Bad

1. The Float Test

The Float Test

The float test is one of the best ways to check if eggs are fresh and can be eaten. All you have to do is fill a bowl with water and gently place the eggs in it. If they sink to the bottom, the eggs are fresh. If the eggs are a few days old but still good to eat, they will stand upright at the bottom in one corner of the bowl. If the eggs float, you need to discard them.

This test is accurate because egg shell is porous and allows air to pass into the eggs. Old eggs get more time to allow air inside and, thus, float in water.

It is best to hard boil eggs that are a few weeks old as their shells tend to come off more quickly than fresh eggs. You can fry or scramble the eggs that are fresh and sink to the bottom of the bowl.

2. Light Test

Hold the eggs against a bright source of light, like a candle (this test is also known as the candle test) or a reading light. You will be able to see the air pocket in the rounded side of the egg. If the air pocket is thinner than 3.175 mm, the eggs are fresh and can be eaten. But, if the air pocket is big, and the yolk is darker, the egg is not fresh, and you need to discard it.

This method might need a little practice. So, if you are not sure if the eggs can be eaten, confirm with the floating test.

3. Sniff Test

The sniff test is one of the oldest methods of checking if eggs are still fresh and can be eaten. All you have to do is sniff the egg to check if has a sulfur smell. If you can’t smell anything but are still not convinced, crack open the egg in a plate and sniff it. If it has an odd smell, discard the egg. If not, you may fry or scramble it.

Wash the plate with hot water and soap after doing this test.

4. Shake Test

Shaking an egg can also help you determine if it is good to eat. Hold the egg close to your ear and shake it. If you hear a swoosh-swoosh sound and feel something moving inside the egg, it is not fresh. Discard it. If you don’t hear anything, the egg is fresh, and you can consume it.

5. Visual Inspection

Visual Inspection
Image: Shutterstock

Bad eggs have few visible signs. Check for cracks and slimy or powdery deposits on the egg shell. Cracked and slimy shells indicate the presence of bacteria, and powdery deposits indicate mold growth. Crack open the egg and check for any green, pink, blue, or black discoloration in the egg white. If you do, discard the egg. You may also check if the egg yolk has become a little runny. If it has, do a sniff test. If it does not smell odd, you can use the egg.

6. Plate Test

Another classic way to find out if the egg is fresh is to crack it open on a plate and check the shape of the yolk at the eye-level. The yolk of an old egg will spread out, but the yolk of a fresh egg will hold its dome-like shape. To know if you can still use the old egg, do the sniff and visual tests. If there’s nothing off-putting about the egg, you can consume it.

7. Check The “Sell By” Date

Check The “Sell By” Date
Image: Shutterstock

Not the expiration date. The “sell by” date will tell you if you must discard or keep the eggs. Eggs remain fresh up to 21-30 days past the “sell by” date. Just make sure you store the eggs in the refrigerator after the “sell by” has passed.

On the other hand, the “expiration date” tells us if the eggs are less than fresh, and you can do any one of the tests mentioned above to find out if you can consume them.

If none of this information is available, check for the “pack date.” This can get a little difficult to decipher as it’s written in the Julian date format. This means that the date will be written as 001 001 for 1st January.

Those were the seven easy ways to check if eggs have gone bad. You must be wondering, what can you do with eggs that are on the verge of expiring? Well, I suggest you do the following.

What To Do With Eggs That Will Expire Soon?

The eggs that are going to expire soon can be pickled and eaten with salad. Hard boil the eggs and leave them in a jar of beet brine to get lovely, purple pickled eggs!

But, how can you store eggs to keep them fresh as long as possible? Check out the tips on storing eggs below.

Tips To Store Eggs

Tips To Store Eggs
Image: Shutterstock
  • Store Eggs In The Refrigerator

The cool temperature of the refrigerator will prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Keep the eggs in the middle compartment, not in the body of the refrigerator.

  • Keep The Eggs In The Carton

Storing the eggs in the carton will keep them protected and fresh for a longer time.

  • Do Not Wash The Eggs

Washing eggs days before using them can remove their ‘bloom’ i.e., the layer that protects the eggs from bacteria. Wash the eggs just before using them.

It is clear that eggs can be consumed past the “sell by” date or “expiration date.” In this era of food shortage, you must value food no matter what the cost. By doing a quick and simple egg test, you can take a small step toward making this world a better place. Use good storing methods and make sure that the egg can still be eaten as infected eggs may cause food poisoning. Here’s to better health and sustainability. Cheers!


  1. The State of America’s Wasted Food & Opportunities To Make A Difference” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.
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Jess Wharton
Jess WhartonAdvanced Dip Nutrition & HPN
Jess Wharton is Registered Nutritionist based in Auckland, New Zealand. She works with clients around the world to help them reach their health and wellness goals. She believes that food is medicine and proper nutrition is healing and essential for well-being and quality of life.

Read full bio of Jess Wharton
Charushila Biswas
Charushila BiswasHealth & Wellness Writer
Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 6 years, she has authored more than 400 articles on diet, lifestyle, exercises, healthy food, and fitness equipment. She strives to inform, educate, and motivate her readers via authentic, straightforward, and fact-checked information.

Read full bio of Charushila Biswas
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