How to Test Eggs for Freshness

Unlike many other food products that we get in the store, each egg does not come with an expiry date. Instead, a general date is written on the side of the box to show the best buy time for all of the eggs. So, yes, none of us knows for sure the content of our egg carton until we have opened not only the carton but each egg. That is one reason why we should test eggs.

Have you ever found one or more eggs contained in the carton rotten? You are not the only one who has. It is great if one realized early before adding the content to a meal. Worse, when you realize that the egg is rotten only after adding it. You may have to dispose off the whole meal as the egg would have contaminated it in the latter case.

For eggs supplied directly from the farm, there are no dates at all. This even the more necessitate why you should be able to test your egg before use. Eggs without a carton and eggs from the farm have no date on them, and you are left to be the determinant of whether they are still good or not.

Why test your eggs for freshness? 

  1. Testing your eggs for freshness helps you to avoid food poisoning, stay safe and healthy.
  2. It helps you to avoid consuming rotten eggs.
  3. It helps you to know the fresh eggs and pick them out quickly.
  4. It helps you to save costs as you avoid purchasing rotten eggs.

How to test eggs for freshness

Now, here are a couple of methods you can use to test your egg for freshness before adding its content to meals. 

1. Best before date

Although the best before isn’t for each egg, still, it is often correct and an excellent way to tell if your egg is still good. If you are still in possession of the carton, check the best before date and use it to determine if the egg will still be good or not. When the best before date has passed, be skeptical about consuming or using the egg. Let the best before date guide you when shopping for eggs. Choose eggs with a farther expiry date if you won’t be using the egg immediately.

 2. Smell 

Often, rotten eggs have a pungent sulfur smell that you can smell easily. For some rotten eggs, you perceive the smell before breaking. For others, upon breaking, you will perceive a foul smell that even you may not be able to stand. Irrespective of the cooking technique you use, the smell remains and gives an inconsumable smell.   

3. Visual test                 

Carefully looking at some eggs is all it takes to give away the fact that they are rotten. Always check your egg for crack, powdery eggshells that are damping off, or an awkward-looking shell. These signs are good indicators of whether your egg is still good or not. 

Visually inspect your egg for any sign that may seem unusual, and you might be able to tell. While the physical appearance gives away some eggs before breaking, others are gotten only after breaking.

4. Egg white test

Upon breaking your egg, also look at the content carefully. Is there an unusual coloration in the egg? Are the egg white and the yolk maintaining their standard color? Is the egg white runnier than expected? Ask all of these questions and check for them before concluding that your egg is in perfect shape. 

If you have a foil plate, you can choose to break the egg in it. A good egg will settle well, and the yolk will be clearly distinguished from the egg white. The egg white should neither have color nor should it be too thick or too watery.   

5. Float test

Another quick way to check if your egg is still fresh is by using the floating method. Get a bowl of water and place each egg in it one after the other. If your egg floated, then it could be an indication that it is rotten. 

This principle works based on the fact that rotten eggs contain more air than the usual content. As a result, they will float when placed in water. A good and fresh egg feels heavy when placed in a bowl of water and therefore sinks very quickly. 

Of course, this method is not a hundred percent accurate. Nonetheless, it is effective. 

6. Candling method 

Holding your eggs up to a light source, like a candle, is another way to tell if it is still fresh or not. To perform the test, get a candle, and check carefully for any crack you might have missed in the visual inspection. You can also use the candle to check for the air cells of the egg. Check that the air cell is not too large, as if it is, it indicates that the egg is old and may not be suitable for consumption. 

Each of these methods is not one hundred percent accurate on its own. However, some of them are trusted than others. While some tell us that the egg is old, others go on to help determine if they are consumable or not. 

At no time should you go ahead to consume an egg that visibly looks rotten and has been giving off a pungent smell. 

Tips for storing and cooking good eggs

1. Store in a refrigerator

According to USDA, the average egg stays fresh for about 3-5 weeks. However, if you want your freshly obtained egg to last for this long, you should keep it safe and store it properly. 

Store your eggs in a refrigerator without removing the carton. The carton will help keep out contact with other foods and prevent splashes from reaching the egg. USDA also advises that you should not leave eggs out of room temperature for more than 2 hours.  Read other food storage mistakes to avoid.

2. Consume according to best before date

It is advised that you consume eggs with nearer best before date early. Do not keep an egg for later if its best before date is near. Eat it and preserve others with farther dates.

3. Arrange properly 

Also, do not place your eggs in a disorderly manner that will generate heat. Keep them upright with the larger end facing up to protect the yolk.

4. Avoid hot storage conditions

If a refrigerator is not available, keep your eggs out in places with good relative humidity. Do not crowd them together or place them in a hot place. If you take them out of the refrigerator, return them as soon as possible. Didn’t know you could freeze your eggs? Check out food you can freeze to store them.  

5. Cook well

When cooking your egg using any of the methods, ensure that you cook it well. Cooking well to the right temperature saves you from salmonella and several other bacteria present in eggs. Do not consume undercooked eggs. 

6. Do not cook bad or rotten eggs

Salmonella causes food poisoning, and it is found in eggs. Consuming an egg that has been contaminated with it may lead to severe diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramp. Discard your eggs when they expire.

7. Opt for pasteurized eggs

Pasteurized eggs are pre-heated but uncooked egg which has had their bacteria subsided. If you have anyone with a low immune system, then let them consume pasteurized eggs.


How do you maintain eggs freshness?

You can maintain an egg’s freshness by storing it in a refrigerator. Also, make sure that you do not put the eggs in a hot or crowded place. Prevent contact with other food substances that might spoil the egg.

 Why test eggs for freshness?

It is necessary to test eggs for freshness not to end up consuming a bad or rotten egg. To avoid food poisoning, test your egg for freshness.

Does fresh eggs float or sink?

They sink. Fresh eggs sink while rotten floats because rotten eggs have more air components.

How do you tell egg freshness?

You can tell if an egg is fresh by inspecting it, sniffing it to check the smell, and through the float test or the candling test.

How do you know which egg is fresh?

You can know which egg is fresh when you test for freshness. A fresh egg will look good, and the egg white will not be too watery. Also, it will not give off a pungent smell.  

How long will a fresh egg last?

When appropriately refrigerated, a fresh egg will last for about 3 to 5 weeks. 


Eggs are good sources of protein. However, consuming them when they are bad and rotten has more disadvantages than advantages to offer. When they are bad, they have lost their nutritional value and would do no one any good to eat them. Rather than be beneficial, they would also cause more harm. 

To obtain the necessary nutritional advantages, ensure that you buy and consume fresh eggs. If you are not sure of their freshness, use any of the methods above to confirm.