February 28, 2024
Learn how to identify a good egg and avoid ruining your dish. This article covers the main methods for spotting a good egg, including the float test, shake test, egg yolk test, examining the shell, and smelling the egg.

How to Tell If an Egg Is Good

Have you ever been uncertain about whether to use an egg in your recipe or throw it away? It can be challenging to identify bad eggs, especially if you don’t know what to look for. However, using the wrong egg can ruin your dish and put your health at risk. In this article, we explore the main methods for identifying a good egg.

The Importance of Knowing If an Egg Is Good

Whether you are baking or cooking, eggs are a staple ingredient in many recipes. Using bad eggs can make your food smell and taste off and elevate your risk of bacterial infection.

Common Problems When Identifying Bad Eggs

Unfortunately, certain problems may arise when trying to identify the best eggs. Sometimes, bad eggs look just like good eggs, while other times, you may not be sure if an egg is bad from its smell.

Main Methods for Identifying a Good Egg

There are several reliable methods you can use to determine whether an egg is still fresh enough to eat.


The first step in identifying a good egg is to examine its appearance. You can tell a lot about an egg by merely looking at its shell.

Smooth and Uncracked Shell

A good egg should have a smooth and uncracked shell. When you hold the egg up to the light, it should have a consistent color and free of dark spots. Also, there should be no visible cracks or defects in the shell.

Float Test

The float test is an excellent method for identifying the freshness of an egg.

Test Method Explained

To perform this test, you need a glass of water. Drop the egg gently into the water.

Interpretation of Results

A fresh egg sinks to the bottom of the glass and lays on its side. An egg that is a few days old will also sink, but it will tilt slightly upright. An egg that is starting to go bad will stand on one end, and if the egg floats at the top, it is bad. The membrane inside the shell regulates the buoyancy, and as the egg ages, the air sac in the shell increases, contributing to the buoyancy.

Shake Test

The shake test involves listening to the sound an egg makes when you shake it.

Test Method Explained

Hold the egg close to your ear and shake it gently.

Interpretation of Results

If the egg is fresh, you won’t hear any sound. If it’s a few days old, you might hear a small movement inside. However, if the egg is bad, you will hear a lot of sloshing or making lots of noise.

The Egg Yolk Test

You can also determine whether an egg is good by observing its yolk.

Test Method Explained

Crack the egg open onto a flat surface and observe the egg yolk.

Interpretation of Results

A fresh egg yolk should be thick, sturdy, and upright. If the yolk is flattened, runny, and spread out, it is an indication of a bad egg.


Your sense of smell is another excellent tool for identifying bad eggs.

Test Method Explained

Give the egg a whiff and use your nose to detect freshness.

Interpretation of Results

A fresh egg should have a neutral odor. If it has an unpleasant smell, a sour smell, or a musty odor, it is an indication of a bad egg.

Sell-by Date

The sell-by date printed on the egg carton is a useful tool for determining freshness.

Test Method Explained

Check the sell-by date on the package and look for the date within 28-30 days of packaging.

Interpretation of Results

Eggs have a shelf life of around four to five weeks. Fresh eggs expire after this timeline. It would be best if you do not consume eggs that are past their sell-by date.



If you enjoy cooking with eggs, knowing how to identify a good egg is essential. You can identify a good egg by examining its appearance, performing the float test, shake test, egg yolk test, and sniffing it. You can also go by the sell-by date found on the packaging.

Take-Home Message

Using bad eggs can ruin a recipe and put your health at risk. By knowing how to identify a good egg, you can feel more confident when cooking and ensure your food tastes great every time.

Reinforcing the Importance of Being Able to Identify Good Eggs

Identifying good eggs is a critical skill for any cook or baker. Using the wrong eggs can be disastrous, leading to poor-quality food and even illness. By using the methods and information provided in this article, you can always be sure that the eggs you use are good and safe to eat.

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