Free Range Eggs

How to Tell if Eggs are Good or Bad

Are my eggs still good? For a fresh food, eggs have a surprisingly long shelf life; the USDA considers them safe to eat for 45 days after processing. There's also a simple test to determine an egg's relative freshness.

By Nellie's Kindness Crew

An illustration of the water test for egg freshness, or how to tell if eggs are still fresh. | An illustration of the water test for egg freshness, or how to tell if eggs are still fresh. |

Like all fresh foods, eggs don't last forever. But thanks to their shells, they're rather resilient. Even though the mandated USDA washing and processing of eggs actually reduces their oxygen barrier, shortening their freshness cycle, they still come with a relatively robust time allowance: eggs can be consumed 45 days from the time of processing (which is usually just a few days after being laid). But if you’re still wondering how to tell if eggs are good or bad, read on.

How to tell if eggs are still good

The best way to know if an egg is still good is to go by the date code on the package that it came in. However, if you have an egg and are unsure about that date, another way to test it is to place it in a bowl or glass filled with cold water.

How to tell Egg.Drop animation frames.V2

The water test for egg freshness

First, fill a bowl or glass with about four inches of cold water and gently place your egg(s) inside.


Very fresh eggs will sink to the bottom and lay on their sides. If an egg stays at the bottom but stands on its small end, it's still acceptable to eat; just not quite as fresh. These "more mature" eggs are no less nutritious than a fresher egg, and most people are unlikely to notice a difference in taste. Two bonuses: 1. They'll peel without sticking to the white when hard boiled and 2. The egg whites are easier to whip into meringue when making desserts.


Any eggs that are too old to eat and should be discarded will float to the surface. Once enough oxygen has had time to permeate the shell, it forms an air pocket large enough to keep the egg afloat in water.

How to tell if eggs have gone bad

Along with the water test, there are a few more quick ways to tell if an egg is good or bad.


If you crack open an egg and immediately notice a pungent smell, it's probably safest to toss the egg. When eggs develop cracks during handling and transportation, bacteria has a chance to enter through the shell and can cause some pretty stinky odors to develop inside the egg. On the other hand, fresh eggs tend to have little to no noticeable odor.


After you've cracked open an egg, look at the inside of the shell for black or brown spots, which can indicate mold. On the contrary, dark brown or red specks (blood spots) floating in the egg white or clinging to the yolk are not an indication of spoilage and are completely safe to eat or remove with a spoon.

Egg white consistency

As eggs sit in your fridge, a small amount of air slowly seeps through the shells over time, creating that air pocket you may have noticed when peeling a hard-boiled egg. This can cause the egg white to become watery. Although runny eggs aren't necessarily unsafe to eat, if you're unsure of the expiration date and notice that the egg whites are particularly loose, it's probably best to get a new carton.


BarbaraSeptember 21, 2023

Thank u very much for that helpful information


Hi Barbara, we're truly always happy to ensure folks have positive eggsperiences however we can!

Arcie LasleySeptember 18, 2023

Arcie 9/3/23 I’m quite elderly and heard this years ago, and thought it to be the(Wives tale)! Then tried it but still doubted.thank you for confirming so now no doubt. I’ve had Your eggs before in the past but can’t find now as I have moved and living with my daughter.Excellant eggs! Testing is fun too. I’ll be teaching anyone I can get to watch. Thank You


Hi Arcie, thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. We're glad you've enjoyed our eggs. If you'd like help finding a store that sells our eggs near you, feel free to send us an email to [email protected]!

Linda BroadheadSeptember 09, 2023

It’s interesting that you mention eggs from the fridge. When we buy eggs in the Uk they are never in the fridge so I keep them in a cupboard. Many people I know now keep eggs in the cupboard. Is the water test still ok for these?


Hi Linda, the water test should work just fine for eggs regardless of whether they're stored in the fridge or the cupboard!

Lisa GombasJuly 31, 2023

Thanks for sharing your knowledge because my date on egg carton is 7/10/23 but I’m told the numbers on carton represent packed date but two different numbers not sure. Lyk if my eggs sink or float


Hi Lisa, on most cartons, that date is the use by date, not the date they're packed on. We hope this clarification helps!

Kevin. July 06, 2023

Thanks for your advice, it's time for a new pack, have a nice weekend. 👍


We're happy to help Kevin! Feel free to reach out with any future questions.

Philip Lape June 14, 2023

I put a little water in my sink to wash my fresh eggs before cooking them. After boiling them there's always a little liquid around the outside when I peel them.


Hi Philip, we love fresh hard boiled eggs, thanks for letting us know about your experience! Feel free to reach out directly if you have any questions.

Gloria May 11, 2023

Very interesting/never knew


Let us know if you try it, Gloria!

Sheryl GerberdingMay 06, 2023

If I hard-boil eggs that expire April 11th or April 23rd.... (Today is May 5th) and they "pass" the float test (stand up, but touch the bottom of the glass bowl) How long are they good for?!! I use them on salads & eat them just as an hard boiled egg? Thank You!!! Your website is amazing!


Thank you for reaching out, unfortunately we cannot recommend consuming our eggs past the use by date. However, if you're comfortable with doing the at home freshness test, we do recommend using it on raw eggs before hard boiling.

Virginia E MillerMay 02, 2023

I tried the egg floating test and it works...I had 3 eggs out of 2 dozen that floated and when I cracked them they had not completely rotted yet but we're well on their way and the yoke and whites was all brownish and ran together..thanks


Hi Virginia, we're so glad to read that our blog was helpful! We always want our consumers to be fully informed when it comes to egg/food safety!

SilvApril 14, 2023

Thank you . Very helpful .


Hi Silvia, we're thankful to be able to provide this important information to you!

Dan CappelMarch 28, 2023



We're so happy to help, Dan!

George E WellsMarch 04, 2023

Thank you very much. Very helpful


Hi George, don't mention it! We're always happy to provide helpful tips and info!

Victoria H. BakerMarch 01, 2023

thank you!


We're always happy to help, Victoria!

Steve SteinerFebruary 24, 2023

Thank you for this valuable information.


We're always glad to provide helpful information, Steve!

PatFebruary 23, 2023

Thank you it has been very helpful.


We're happy to help, Pat!

Rosemary February 19, 2023

When boiling farm fresh eggs the tiny end was touching the bottom of the pan and the fat end was up straight. The yolk was at the top end when peeled. Are these eggs fresh.


Great question Rosemary! As long as the egg is touching the bottom(even if it's standing up), it's still good to eat. The freshest eggs will lie flat on the bottom, but as long as the egg isn't floating, that egg is still safe to consume.

Jason Wilson February 18, 2023

Good information. Thank you for your time and experience


Hi Jason! We're so glad to hear that you're finding this blog helpful.

john BosworthFebruary 13, 2023

Very good


Hi John, we're so glad that you've found this blog useful!

malisiana February 09, 2023

people around the world I have bad news! If you don't check your eggs now. You will have bad eggs sitting around!


This old trick really does work!

Norma fortenberryFebruary 09, 2023

Thanks for the info, I had already been told something similar but this helped let me know I had been told correct.


Hi Norma, We are glad to hear it!

Clifford KiddFebruary 05, 2023

This was very helpful to me


Hi Clifford, we're so glad to hear this. We're always happy to answer questions or provide helpful tips!

Cynthia Seamon February 03, 2023

I was just about to throw away a whole carton of eggs and decided to look online for testing your eggs for freshness. I was able to save 11 out of 12 off my eggs. Thank you for your cost savings information!


Hi Cynthia, we're so happy to hear that our tips helped save the day!

Joyce MooreJanuary 31, 2023

Thank you so much for the info. With the rising cost of eggs this is good to know. This will help my sister in Colorado where eggs are hard to find, and when you can find them they are up to $10.00 a dozen or more. Thank you


Hi Joyce, we truly understand how important this information is more than ever with inflation and the rising cost of egg prices. We're happy to be able to provide helpful tips!

Paula MurryJanuary 29, 2023

Thank you for sharing this valuable information. So helpful.


Hi Paula, we are very happy to help!

Barbara Gayle Reeves January 22, 2023

Thank you!!



HollyJanuary 22, 2023

We have "free -range" chickens now that their coop was destroyed in a storm. So now we find eggs in the most odd places lol and having your article to confirm safety and how to tell if they have been in their "surprise" spot for to long. I despise wasting so it wonderful to know that little water trick. One less item of rising cost being out on the list of non grocery store goodies in our home. Thanks so much! ⚜️Holly⚜️


Hi Holly, We are happy to hear that you found this post to be informational! All the best to you!

Tressa Lusk January 01, 2023

Thank you!


Hi Tressa, we're so glad that you found this article helpful!

Warren P WaldripDecember 11, 2022

Great information on the eggs, thank you for sharing this information and explaining everything to us.


Hi Warren, we're happy to help! We're glad to know that you found this article useful. If you ever need any questions answered that you simply can't seem to find on our website, feel free to reach out to us: [email protected]

Myrl GOSADecember 10, 2022



It is our absolute pleasure, we're glad you enjoyed this!

Lelia CulpepperNovember 18, 2022

Great information! Thanks. We found 20 eggs in the yard and were going to discard them all. Now I can tell if they're edible or not.


Hi Lelia, we're so glad to be able to provide these helpful tips!

Triple R RanchNovember 13, 2022

The float test was very helpful! I have two dozen homegrown eggs that were given to me with no freshness dates. I also have four Nellies Eggs that sunk immediately and were delicious when fried Thank you for your help!


Hi friends! We're always happy to help!

Chasitys HammNovember 12, 2022

Thank you very helpful also an experiment exciting for kids to learn!


Thanks! We think it's just as important for kids to know this stuff.

Eli the almighty November 07, 2022

5 stars this helped me so much


Hi Eli, we're so happy to see this! Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] if you ever need any questions answered that you can't find the answer to on our website!

cheryl deloachNovember 07, 2022

This is very helpful 🙂! Thank you!


Hi Cheryl, we're so happy to offer helpful tips and info!

MOctober 22, 2022

Thank you for your help and info


Hello M! We're so glad to be of help!

Monica October 11, 2022

Thank you for your egg tips. I always do the water bowl test and I was taught in Home-Ec when Home-Ec was an actual class (1967-omg!) that an egg has three main parts, now I think it’s four BUT when you crack an egg over a pan with no other eggs in the pan, the yolk should be high and firm, the white part should be firm and gelatinous and a little bit (I don’t know what it’s called) but it’s clear and a very small amount and it will be a little runny…..UNlike the white. If the egg runs all over the pan and the yoke is not as firm as it should be, I toss it. So Nellie do these old school practices still exist? Thank You So Much!


Hi Monica, thank you for reaching out. We generally say that a yolk that is high and 'dome shaped' when cracking tends to be a fresher egg. Sometimes we have eggs that come from older hens which can be a bit more waterier in nature, so using yolk alone would not always be accurate. Please let us know if we can answer any additional questions for you!

Lavella October 09, 2022

Thank you for the tip on keeping eggs from turning green when scrambled.We have a function that we cook lots of scrambled eggs and sometime they would be green.Do you have to use stainless steel pans to keep this from happening? And the 🍋 juice we will be trying. Thank you again.Lavella [email protected]


Hello Lavella, using stainless steel pans, low cooking temperature, cooking in small batches, and serving as soon as possible after cooking will help to preventing your eggs from turning green. Just remember to grease or butter your pans before putting in the eggs. Please let us know if we can answer any other questions for you!

Sue MacmillanOctober 08, 2022

Wow! This is amazing! So much information! I have a question I don't see here though and hope you can help please. One of the 6 egg whites I separated and used to make a meringue (still cooking), had a mottled yolk. Will the meringue still be safe to eat? There was no smell. Hope you can help. Thank you.


Hello Sue, sometimes a mottled yolk can happen if the eggs are stored in temperatures that may be too cold. This could have happened at the farm or at the distribution location before the eggs were at the cooler at the store. Regardless of what happened, we are happy to look into the issue if you wouldn't mind sending us a message to: [email protected] Thanks!

Sara BarlowOctober 05, 2022

Thank you This is helping to reduce wastage in the house. It's good to know i can test eggs that are listed as past their best before


Hi Sara, we're so glad that you found this information useful! Thank you for the kind message.

Celso October 02, 2022

Hi, thank you for the Tips about Egg condition. I may have some questions that i did not read from your post! What is the condition of the Egg once it is opened and the Egg Yolk is already mixed to the Egg white?it's not anymore Whole Egg Yolk floating in the Egg white? Is it still safe to eat? Thank you for your response.


Hello Celso, thank you for the question. Sometimes the yolk mixing with the white (a more watery appearance) may mean the egg is older or from an older hen. Without knowing specifics, it would be hard to judge for egg safety, but feel free to reach out to us if we can answer any specific questions for you!

BettyDriver McCaaSeptember 18, 2022

Thank you !


We're happy to help Betty!

Sharon BurkettSeptember 15, 2022

Thank you for the info.... making meatloaf and the LAST THING I WANT ARE BAD EGGS MIXED IN!!!!!!!!


Hi Sharon, it's our pleasure to provide helpful tips! The last thing we want is for anyone to eat a bad egg! Save us a slice of that meatloaf! :)

Donnie53 September 14, 2022

Best way to boil eggs


We're so glad to hear that this has worked well for you!

Mary Jane ReidSeptember 11, 2022

My eggs are not floating but they're not laying on the bottom of the Pan there's like end on end on end is that still good?


Hi Mary Jane! As long as they are touching the bottom, they are still good to eat. If you have any follow-up questions, please feel free to reach out to us: [email protected]

EllenSeptember 09, 2022

Thanks for the information. I buy your eggs all of the time.


Hi Ellen, you're very welcome! It is our pleasure to share helpful tips! Thank you for supporting our family farms!

penny mccrarySeptember 08, 2022

thank for the tip on how to tell if eggs are good or bad


We're always happy to share helpful tips! Thanks for commenting, Penny!

RobSeptember 06, 2022

Eggs are tasty


We sure do agree Rob!

Tamara PetersSeptember 03, 2022

Thank you for for letting me know about if eggs are bad or good


We're so glad to help Tamara!

Carol Beavert August 18, 2022

Thank you. For the information


Hi Carol! We're so glad that you found this article useful, and we're always happy to egg-ucate people!

Michelle CallahanAugust 10, 2022

Thank you all for your comments, I raise chickens and sell my eggs at our local Farmers Market. I like to be able to let our customers know how to see what eggs are good and eggs are bad. Learning new things every day is a plus. Thank you again everyone. Have a Blessed Day.


Hello Michelle, we're so glad to hear that the information you found was helpful. Thank you for providing eggs to local families and for making a difference in your community!

Very good information because my eggs have been in ice Box about 3 or 4 weeks and I wasn't sure if they were fresh or not I put them in the water but they all sunk to the bottom thank you so much have a blessed dayJuly 23, 2022

Very good information because my eggs have been in ice Box about 3 or 4 weeks and I wasn't sure if they were fresh or not I put them in the water but they all sunk to the bottom thank you so much have a blessed


We're happy to help!

Steve Alice springsJuly 10, 2022

I was away for two weeks and my backyard chooks laid eight eggs and the house sitter did not pick them up. Used your site to remind me that floating eggs are not good and the submerged ones are ok. Did nt realise that air can get through the shell which is what causes them to float. Thankyou.


We're so glad to help, Steve!

Marta LuisJuly 08, 2022

Excellent information. Thank you very much to teaching us to understand if the egg is good to eat or not.


We're so glad to help, Marta!

Aurobindo July 06, 2022

Just realized I had left 6 dozen eggs in the car overnight. As I was cracking the first dozen to pour down the sink, family came to rescue with your article. Tested them all and they all sank to the bottom, I was delighted. I am now hard boiling the eggs. Can hard boiled eggs be frozen? Thanks for the informative article.


Hi there, we're so glad to hear that our article saved the day! So, to answer your question: you can freeze hard-boiled eggs, sort of. You can absolutely freeze hard-boiled yolks after separating them from the whites with a slotted spoon. Unfortunately, whole hard-boiled eggs and/or hard-boiled egg whites become tough and watery when frozen. We hope this helps! Feel free to reach out to us with any other questions or concerns!: [email protected]

HelenJuly 06, 2022

thank you ! I don't cook much but when i do i make sure all expiration dates are ok. but i didn't feel like going out to store, so i did the water test. the eggs went to bottom and stood on the small end, i used them and didn't get sick ! didn't smell anthing either.expiration date was 4 day past. my friend said that i wouldn't miss the smell . so thank you. i won't take chances but i wanted to save some money, and trip to store


Hi Helen, we're so glad to hear that our tips were helpful to you!

Elaine June 20, 2022

Thanks that was helpful


We're so glad it was helpful, Elaine. Thank you for the feedback!

Gavin DavisJune 08, 2022

I have eggs in my fridge 3 months past the “best if used by” date on the side. and they passed all the test. I’m still hesitant to eat probably not going to


Thanks for sharing your experience Gavin. While we don't recommend consuming eggs after the date, we are happy to provide this information so our consumers can make the decision for themselves. Thank you for choosing free range!

Linda Davenport May 21, 2022

Thank you!! Good to know.sometimes I get stuck on stupid. lol. Thanks again.


Hi Linda! We're so glad to help. Please don't hesitate to reach out if we may assist in the future!

Mark MacomberMay 19, 2022

Excellent content


Hi Mark, We are glad you like it!

Kay D.May 08, 2022

This is one of those things- I'm sure that my great-nan (Or gran or whatever you use) taught me how to 'check' eggs, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember the rule! Thank you, so much, for reminding me. A Google search strongly implied that I was an idiot, so I much prefer your site!


Hi Kay, we're so glad to hear that our website was helpful!

Margaret May 07, 2022

My eggs were just passed best before date so I did the water test and was fine so I made a Victoria sponge. Thank you for the tips


We're glad these tips were helpful for you Margaret!

David SolomonMay 04, 2022

Thanks from ole country Boi that forgot his teaching 😃


We're glad we could help bring those memories back, David!

PatriciaApril 27, 2022

Thank you. At 63 I learned a thing or two about cackle berries.


We're glad to hear the information was helpful, Patricia!

Christine obergApril 24, 2022

Thank you😉


You're welcome, Christine!

BertieApril 19, 2022

Thank you very much for that valuable info it was exceptionally helpful. GOD BLESS


Thank you Bertie. We're so glad this information was helpful. Thank you for choosing free range!

Sharon NgapoJanuary 23, 2022

Thank u for the information ;how to tell bad egg to a fresh egg. My chickens are free range they often change egg laying places esp after eggs have been gathered. Finding the new nest becomes a problem and usually it's found 3 or 4 weeks later loaded with your egg tests are used regularly...


Hi Sharon, we are always happy to pass along helpful tips to other flocks!

Thomas Crotty January 21, 2022

Thank you for being out there with this information. I’m sure you guys have saved many a bad day.


Hi Thomas, we're always eggscited to make someone's day better!

Brenda J Acker January 18, 2022

I love all the information on telling if eggs are fresh or not fresh thank you so much


We're so happy you enjoyed the information, Brenda! Thank you for the feedback.

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