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How to Test the Freshness of an Egg

Test egg freshness using a bowl of water and our handy chart!

By: Abigail Wilkins, Editor,
Updated December 30, 2022
How to Test the Freshness of an Egg

The last thing you would want to find out after cooking for hours in the kitchen is that the eggs you used in your meal are actually bad. Or, the opposite can be a problem too: you threw out eggs that were still good!

It is oftentimes hard to remember when exactly you purchased that carton of eggs in your refrigerator, so try performing this easy kitchen trick to test your eggs out before things go too far.

If you are wondering how to see if eggs are good, simply plop an egg into a cup of water, and leave it for a couple of minutes. After the time has elapsed, compare where your egg rests in the water with this handy egg freshness chart, and see if the egg should be tossed or not.

Note: If you're looking to clean out your refrigerator or pantry and need some tips on best by, sell by, and expiration dates, check out this guide

How to Test Egg Freshness

  1. Fill a glass or bowl with water. 

  2. Add the eggs you want to test. You can either check one at a time in a glass of water, or test several at once if you are using a bowl.

  3. Eggs that are very fresh will lay on their sides, or horizontally. 

  4. Eggs that are not as fresh (but still safe to eat!) will stand up on one end, or vertically. These eggs should be eaten soon. 

  5. Any eggs that float, should be discarded. In other words, if the eggs are no longer touching the bottom of the glass or bowl, they are no longer safe to eat.

Why Does This Method Work?

Inside the large end of an egg, there is an air cell. Over time, the air cell gets larger as the egg ages, which is why older eggs float!

Eggshells are very porous – they have lots of small holes that allow air or liquid to pass through – and become even more porous over time. Air enters the egg through the shell, which increases the size of the air cell.

This is a reliable method to use because, while the "Best By" date is a helpful estimate, there are other factors can impact the actual freshness and shelf life of the eggs. The most common issue is improper refrigeration while the eggs are transferred from farm to store.

Slow Cooker Recipes with Eggs

Now that you've determined whether or not the eggs are safe to eat, it's time to cook with them!

Slow Hard "Boiled" Eggs

These hard "boiled" eggs are made without water!

Slow Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs

This method of hard boiling uses just enough water to cover the eggs in your slow cooker.

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I love this post! After so many years of buying eggs I had no idea they ever went bad until just recently, I overheard a woman in the grocery store tell her husband to check the expiration date. I'm printing this out and hanging it in my I'll never have to worry about whether my eggs are really fresh or not.

Great tips! I have completely ruined recipes before by dropping in a spoiled egg THE WORST! I think that I will try the floating test in conjunction with a tip that my Grandma taught me. She said that you should ALWAYS crack each and every egg in a separate bowl from your other ingredients. Not only is that a good idea because an egg might be bad, but it also makes sure you can pick out any stray eggshells that might have dropped in. It's definitely a good idea to be aware of the freshness of ALL of your cooking ingredients to ensure the best possible result.

bonniebaker: The idea is that if your egg is floating to the top of a glass and doesn't sink, it's likely too old and should be tossed. Hope this helps! Editor, AllFreeSlowCookerRecipes

This chart is good in theory but does not explain what the different number of days represents. Is it the actual age of the egg, the number of days that it is still okay to use, or what? Maybe I am missing something here but an explanation would be beneficial. Thank you for the chart but I need answers, please.


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