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How To Tell If Eggs Are Bad

When it comes to cooking and baking, eggs are a staple ingredient. They add richness, texture, and flavor to countless recipes.

But have you ever wondered how to tell if eggs are bad? As an experienced home cook with a passion for sharing my knowledge, I’ve encountered my fair share of questionable eggs.

In this article, we’ll explore the signs of spoiled eggs, learn how to check egg freshness, discuss the identifying characteristics of bad eggs, and discover what to look for in expired eggs.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to ensure your eggs are fresh and safe for consumption.

How to tell if eggs are bad


To tell if eggs are bad, check for a foul odor, such as a strong, rotten smell. Additionally, examine the appearance of cloudy or watery egg whites, discolored yolks, or unusual spots. Lastly, pay attention to the texture – watery or slimy egg whites and flattened or excessively runny yolks can indicate spoilage.

One eggs with the top cracked off and yolk still in the egg along with other whole white eggs behind.

Knowing how to tell if eggs are bad is essential for any home cook or baker. Eggs are a versatile ingredient used in countless recipes, but using spoiled eggs can lead to unpleasant flavors and even foodborne illnesses.

By recognizing the signs of spoilage, you can ensure the eggs you use are fresh, safe, and of the highest quality.

We will explore the key indicators of spoiled eggs, including their odor, appearance, and texture. Understanding these signs will empower you to make informed decisions when it comes to selecting and using eggs in your culinary creations.


The first and most apparent sign of a spoiled egg is its strong, sulfurous smell. When you crack open a fresh egg, it should have a neutral or slightly earthy scent.

However, if your egg emits a distinct, unpleasant odor that resembles the smell of rotten or spoiled food, it’s a clear indication of spoilage.

The foul smell is often a result of the breakdown of proteins in the egg as bacteria multiply and release gases like hydrogen sulfide.

Trust your sense of smell and rely on your instincts. If you detect this off-putting odor when cracking an egg, it’s best to discard it immediately.

Using a spoiled egg can not only negatively impact the taste and quality of your dishes but also pose a risk to your health.


Fresh eggs are characterized by their clear, jelly-like egg white that holds together well when cracked and a vibrant, centered yolk with a rich yellow or orange hue.

On the other hand, spoiled eggs may display visual changes that are easy to spot. Keep an eye out for cloudy or watery egg whites, which indicate a loss of freshness.

Discolored yolks can vary in shades, from pinkish or greenish tones to the presence of grey or black spots, suggesting bacterial contamination or age.

Checking both the appearance and smell of an egg is key to ensuring you are using fresh and safe ingredients in your cooking endeavors.


Changes in texture can also indicate if an egg is spoiled. When you crack open a fresh egg, the white part should be clear and slightly thick.

If the egg is bad, the white might be watery or slimy. The yolk, which is usually round and firm in a fresh egg, can become flat or runny in a spoiled one.

Paying attention to these texture changes can help you decide whether an egg is safe to eat or should be thrown away to avoid any potential problems.

Foul OdorIf the egg emits a strong, unpleasant odor similar to rotten or spoiled food, it is likely bad.Discard the egg
Change in AppearanceLook for cloudy or watery egg whites, discolored yolks, or unusual spots, indicating spoilage.Do not consume
Unusual TextureWatery or slimy egg whites and flattened or excessively runny yolks can be signs of a bad egg.Dispose of the egg

If you find you have more eggs than you can eat before they go bad, you can freeze them! Learn how to freeze eggs and use them later in recipes rather than having them go to waster!

How to check egg freshness

To determine the freshness of an egg, you can perform a simple float test. Fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg in it.

If the egg sinks and rests horizontally at the bottom, it’s fresh and safe to use. On the other hand, if it stands upright at the bottom or floats to the surface, it’s no longer fresh and should be discarded.

In addition to the float test, you can examine the eggshell for any cracks or leaks. A cracked shell can introduce bacteria into the egg, increasing the chances of spoilage.

Simply run your fingers over the shell’s surface and feel for any irregularities. Fresh eggs have a smooth and slightly matte shell, while older eggs may feel rough or grainy.

It is important to know how to store eggs properly in order to maintain freshness as well.

How to identify bad eggs

Identifying bad eggs goes beyond just checking for freshness. One of the most important factors to consider is the expiration date.

Eggs typically have a shelf life of 3-5 weeks from the pack date. Always check the date on the carton before purchasing or using eggs to ensure they are within the recommended period.

Furthermore, visually inspect the eggs for any cracks or broken shells. Cracked or broken eggs should be avoided as they are susceptible to bacterial contamination, which can lead to spoilage.

Additionally, trust your senses when assessing the quality of an egg. If an egg emits an off-putting odor, looks odd, or has an unusual texture, it’s better to be safe than sorry and discard it.

Learn more egg tips on my website like how to tell if an egg is boiled or how to cook hard boil an egg.

Frequently asked questions about how to tell if eggs are bad

The shelf life of eggs can vary depending on factors like storage conditions and whether they are raw or hard-boiled. In general, raw eggs can last for about 3-5 weeks in the refrigerator. However, it’s always a good idea to check the expiration date on the carton for more precise information.

It’s generally recommended to follow the expiration date on the egg carton as a guideline for freshness. However, if the eggs have been stored properly and show no signs of spoilage, such as a strong odor or unusual appearance, they may still be safe to eat a few days after the expiration date. When in doubt, it’s best to use your judgment and consider the signs of spoilage.

Yes, you can assess an egg’s freshness by its appearance. A fresh egg will have clear, slightly thick egg whites and a vibrant, centered yolk. In contrast, a bad egg may have cloudy or watery egg whites and discolored yolks, ranging from pinkish or greenish hues to grey or black spots.


Ensuring the freshness of eggs is essential for both the taste and safety of your dishes.

By familiarizing yourself with the signs of spoiled eggs, learning how to check egg freshness, and understanding the characteristics of bad and expired eggs, you can confidently make informed decisions when it comes to using eggs in your recipes.

Remember, when in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discard any eggs that show signs of spoilage.

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