How Long Do Hard-Boiled Eggs Last?

Last one’s a rotten egg! But how long can you leave them sitting out, exactly?

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We love making hard-boiled eggs in advance for snacks or salads. And if you make too many, there are plenty of creative ways to use them, like in deviled eggs and kid-friendly English muffin egg pizzas. But we find ourselves wondering about how long they last.

After all, there's a reason why the phrase "smells like rotten eggs" is associated with a pesky, sour odor—the overwhelming stench of sulfur and spoiled eggs is not a pretty one. But do we have to rely on a stinky smell to indicate when they've gone bad? Here's everything you need to know about how to store and safely consume hard-boiled eggs.

The Shelf Life of Hard-Boiled Eggs

Refrigerated Eggs

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, if refrigerated, hard-boiled eggs last for exactly one week, peeled or unpeeled. Not bad, right? It's safe to cook a batch of hard-boiled eggs during your weekly meal prep.

Dishes that are made with hard-boiled eggs (like egg salad toast) can safely last three to four days if covered in the refrigerator. It is not recommended to freeze hard-boiled eggs, as the texture will take a turn for the worse. If you're purchasing a pre-made salad that is topped with hard-boiled eggs, check the packing date (not the sell-by date) to tell when the eggs were likely prepared.

Unrefrigerated Eggs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend eating eggs that have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours. So, don't wait too long to dig into your aunt's deviled eggs.

As mentioned earlier, a foul smell will give away a hard-boiled egg gone bad. But you might have to crack the shell to catch a whiff. If it does smell off, toss it immediately. A hard-boiled egg past its prime is vulnerable to salmonella bacteria, and eating one can lead to a foodborne illness with symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

How to Store Hard-Boiled Eggs So They Last

Store hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator, obviously—but only once they've cooled. Place them in a bowl of ice water to bring them to a cool temperature if you're in a hurry. Use a middle shelf and not the refrigerator door, where the temperature can fluctuate with all the openings and closings.


Always store hard-boiled eggs in a sealed, airtight container for maximum protection. Without its peel, a hard-boiled egg is more likely to dry out. Lining the container with a damp paper towel can help the eggs retain moisture.


Unpeeled hard-boiled eggs are less likely to lose moisture and deteriorate, but they still need to be stored in an airtight container. This will keep out any odors from the other food in the fridge and protect them from bacteria.

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