June 18, 2024
This comprehensive guide explores how to tell if an egg is good using a variety of methods. From checking the expiration date to doing the water test, this article provides home cooks with the tools they need to ensure the eggs they use in their cooking are fresh, safe, and delicious.


It’s happened to all of us. We’re ready to cook up a delicious breakfast dish, but we’re not sure if the eggs we have are still good. Knowing how to tell if an egg is good or bad is an essential skill for every home cook. A bad egg can ruin a dish and even make you sick. This guide will explore how to tell if an egg is good using a variety of methods.

Look at the Expiration Date

The easiest and most obvious way to tell if an egg is good is to check the expiration date. Most eggs sold in stores have an expiration date printed on the carton. It’s essential to check the expiration date before using the eggs, as expired eggs can make you sick.

To locate the expiration date, look for a three-digit code printed on the side of the carton. The first digit represents the day of the year the eggs were packed, and the next two digits indicate the year. For example, “365 20” would mean the eggs were packed on the 365th day of 2020. Eggs are typically good for four to five weeks after they are packed.

Check for Cracks

Cracked eggs are not safe to consume. Bacteria can easily enter an egg through a crack in the shell, which can cause food poisoning. That’s why it’s important to check each egg for cracks before using it.

To check for cracks, gently place the egg on a flat surface, and examine it closely. Look for any visible cracks or lines on the shell. If you notice any, discard the egg. It’s also important to be aware of hairline cracks, which can be difficult to see but can still allow bacteria to enter the egg.

Do the Water Test

The water test is a simple way to test the freshness of an egg. It works by measuring the size of the air cell inside the egg, which grows as the egg gets older.

To perform the water test, fill a bowl with cold water and gently place the egg in the water. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom of the bowl and lay flat on its side. As an egg gets older, the air cell inside it grows, causing it to tilt upright or even float. If the egg stands upright in the water or floats, it’s likely not fresh and should be discarded.

Check the Yolk and White

The yolk and white can also give you clues about the freshness of an egg. A fresh egg will have a tight, round yolk that sits high up in the white. The white will also be thick and not spread out too much.

To visually inspect the yolk and white, crack the egg into a bowl. If the yolk is flat and the white is runny, the egg is likely not fresh. Additionally, if the white spreads out too much, it’s also a sign that the egg is not fresh.

Smell the Egg

The smell of an egg can also indicate whether it’s good or bad. A fresh egg should not have a strong smell at all, while a bad egg will have a strong sulfuric odor.

To properly smell an egg, crack it open and take a whiff. If you detect any foul or sulfuric odors, discard the egg immediately.

Observe the Shell

The appearance of the eggshell can also give you clues about the freshness of an egg. A fresh egg will have a smooth, uncracked shell.

On the other hand, if you notice any discoloration, rough spots, or cracks on the shell, it’s likely that the egg is not fresh.

Store Eggs Properly

Properly storing eggs is essential for maintaining their freshness and safety. Eggs should be stored in their carton and kept in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below.

It’s also important to avoid storing eggs in the refrigerator door, as this area is subject to temperature fluctuations. Instead, store eggs on a shelf in the main part of the refrigerator.


In conclusion, knowing how to tell if an egg is good is an essential skill for every home cook. By following these tips, you can ensure that the eggs you use in your cooking are fresh, safe, and delicious.

Remember to always check the expiration date, look for cracks, do the water test, check the yolk and white, smell the egg, observe the shell, and store eggs properly. With these tools in your arsenal, you’ll never have to worry about using bad eggs again.

Closing Remarks

By using these techniques, you can easily tell if an egg is good or bad. Knowing how to do so is an important part of keeping yourself and your family safe and healthy. Always be sure to follow safe food handling practices when working with eggs and other foods.

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