How long do boiled eggs last?

Updated April 17, 2017

Boiled eggs can be tricky to make, because undercooked or old eggs can pose great health risks. Even if an egg has been cooked, that does not mean it is safe, especially if it has not been properly prepared or refrigerated.

Time Frame

Hard-boiled eggs should be kept in their shells and refrigerated within two hours of being cooked. The eggs should be used or eaten within a week.

Why Boiled Eggs Spoil Faster

Hard-boiled eggs spoil faster than fresh eggs because the boiling process causes the protective coating on the egg's shell to be washed away. This causes pores to open in the shell, invisible to the human eye, but still dangerous because they allow germs and bacteria to enter into the egg.

Easter Eggs

Often people decorate eggs for Easter by dyeing or decorating them. Depending on how the egg is prepared and decorated, they may be safe to eat. When dyeing eggs, use an edible dye and make sure to refrigerate eggs within two hours and to eat them within a week. For some egg decorations, the egg yolk is blown out of the shell. In this case, be sure to use eggs that have been refrigerated and have no cracks. Use caution not to get any raw egg into your mouth when removing the yolks. Refrigerate contents of eggs and use within two to three days.


Eggs are particularly susceptible to carrying salmonella, because eggs are laid from the same passageway that carries excrement from the chicken. Therefore, the salmonella can be on the outside of the egg, so it is important to make sure the egg shells are clean and to wash your hands after handling eggs. All eggs bought at the grocery store are sanitised prior to leaving the processing plant. The eggs can also be contaminated on the inside due to bacteria within the hen's ovaries or if fecal matter gets into the pores in the egg shell after it has been laid. Cooking eggs properly is important in avoiding salmonella bacteria.

How to Boil Eggs

Gently place eggs in a single layer a saucepan with enough cold water to cover the eggs. The water should be about 1 inch above the tops of the eggs. Bring the water and eggs just to a boil. As soon as the water begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat and cover with the lid. Set a timer for 17 minutes for large eggs and 20 minutes for jumbo eggs. After the allotted time, carefully drain water from the eggs. To stop the cooking, transfer eggs into a bowl of cold water or ice cubes. Let them cool in the cold water for about 10 minutes. This will also make the eggs easier to peel

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About the Author

Katrina Solano began writing freelance in 2009. Her articles can be found on various websites. She works at a publishing company in Massachusetts and enjoys writing, shopping and trying new restaurants in her spare time. Solano graduated from Merrimack College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in communications.