The Easiest, No-Fail Way to Tell If Eggs Are Still Good

Forget trying to decipher the date. This test is a quick and easy way to see if those eggs in your refrigerator are still safe to use in recipes. (Psst: Grandma loves this trick!)

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When you buy your eggs at the grocery store, you can be certain they’re fresh—or at least, fresh enough to use.

But it’s different if you store them in another container like this one or buy them from a local farmer. As time goes on, do you remember exactly when you bought them? How long have they been in the fridge, anyway? If eggs could talk, here’s what they’d tell you.

How can you tell if eggs are good?

The good news is that badly spoiled eggs are easy to detect as soon as you crack them open. The bad news is, there’s a lot of territory between “off” and “strong smell of sulfur”—you don’t want to have to count on your nose if your health is on the line.

The great news is that there’s a way to tell whether your eggs are usable or not, without having to break the shell (which is the only thing standing between you and that rotten egg smell). Home cooks have been using this low-tech method for how to tell if eggs are still good for generations. It’s as easy as pouring a glass of water. Psst—did you know that eggs could go bad faster if you store them in this part of your fridge?

Do the float test

Bad eggs, you see, float. It has to do with the way moisture evaporates through the shell as eggs age—as that moisture decreases, the air bubble inside the shell grows. One way to test this is to hold the egg to your ear and shake it; if you hear the egg sloshing around, that’s a bad sign. But if you gently place the egg in a glass or bowl of water, that’s how to tell if eggs are still good using the float test—it’s as simple as that. And, you can get not only a “usable or not?” answer, but also a gauge of how fresh the egg is. Here’s the psychology behind boiling the perfect egg.

The air bubble will be at the narrow end of the egg—you can tell how fresh your egg is by how it settles in the water.

  • If the egg lies horizontally, it’s at its freshest.
  • If the narrow end of the egg tilts upward, the egg is still usable, but not quite as fresh. An egg that tilts would be good to use for meringue (yes, older eggs do make better meringue!).
  • If the egg stands upright (but is still at the bottom of the container), it’s past its peak, but is still safe—use these eggs for baking or hard-boiling.
  • If the egg floats? Get rid of it!

Simple as that. Quick, easy and it’s kind of fun, knowing you’re using the same trick grandmothers around the world used, too! Now, you may know how to tell if eggs are still good, but unfortunately, these 10 foods in your fridge are probably already expired.

Originally Published on Taste of Home

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Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer, editor and enthusiastic home baker who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.