Can Eggs Be Left Out Overnight? Important Facts

While the majority of Americans keep eggs in the refrigerator, many Europeans do not. This is because officials in the majority of European nations deem egg refrigeration unnecessary. But in the United States, storing eggs at room temperature is deemed dangerous. Can eggs be left out overnight?

No, once eggs are refrigerated, they must remain refrigerated. A cold egg left at room temperature will sweat, which facilitates the migration of bacteria into the egg and promotes bacterial growth. Eggs that have been refrigerated cannot be left out for longer than two hours.

Consequently, you may question the optimal method for egg storage. This article discusses whether eggs must be refrigerated, So keep on reading to learn if you should keep the eggs refrigerated or otherwise.

Everything Revolves Around Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes foodborne illness frequently. Salmonella infections can induce nausea and diarrhea and can be fatal for elderly people, young children, and individuals with compromised immune systems. The manner in which countries treat eggs for Salmonella impacts whether they must be refrigerated.

Refrigeration Is Essential In the United States

Salmonella is primarily treated topically in the United States. Before being offered for sale, eggs are sterilized. They are washed with hot, soapy water and sprayed with a disinfectant, which eliminates any bacteria on the shell. A few other nations, notably Australia, Japan, and Scandinavia, handle eggs similarly.

This procedure is particularly effective at eliminating eggshell bacteria. However, it does nothing to eliminate bacteria that may already be present in the egg, which is frequently the cause of illness. The washing process may also destroy the egg’s cuticle, which is a thin protective coating on the eggshell.

If the cuticle is destroyed, any bacteria that come in contact with the egg after sterilization will be able to penetrate the shell more easily and contaminate the egg’s contents. Although cooling does not destroy bacteria, it lessens the likelihood of being sick by reducing the number of bacteria. 

Additionally, it prevents microorganisms from invading eggshells In the United States. However, eggs must be refrigerated for a second essential reason. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stipulates that commercially marketed eggs must be refrigerated and transported below 45 °F (7 °C) to prevent bacterial growth.

Once eggs have been refrigerated, they must be maintained cold to avoid condensation from forming on the shell if they are allowed to warm. This wetness facilitates bacterial penetration of the shell. Thus, all eggs produced commercially in the United States should be refrigerated.

Europe Does Not Require Refrigeration

Numerous European nations do not refrigerate their eggs, despite experiencing the same Salmonella crisis in the 1980s. While the United States enacted restrictions on egg washing and refrigeration, many European nations improved sanitation and vaccinated chickens against Salmonella in order to prevent infection from occurring.

After a programme in the United Kingdom immunized all egg-laying hens against the most prevalent strain of this bacterium, the number of Salmonella illnesses in the country fell to its lowest level in decades.

In addition to the cuticle, egg whites have inherent antibacterial properties that can preserve the egg for up to three weeks. In the majority of Europe, it is therefore regarded as unnecessary to refrigerate eggs.

In fact, the European Union recommends that eggs should be kept chilled, but not refrigerated, in grocery stores to avoid them from thawing and condensing during the journey home. 

Because eggs from the European Union are treated differently than those from the United States, it is acceptable to keep eggs out of the refrigerator in a large portion of Europe as long as they will be consumed shortly.

How Long Do Eggs Last?

The egg cleaning process can also remove the egg’s cuticle. The egg cuticle protects the shell’s natural pores. This helps to prevent the entry of bacteria into the egg. Without the cuticle, the egg is susceptible to bacterial infection. Refrigerating the egg immediately can prevent microorganisms from penetrating the shell pores.

Under varying settings, eggs can be preserved for varying amounts of time. Egg products should always be refrigerated or frozen to prevent spoilage. Eggs passed their expiration date are hazardous to consume.

What Is The Best Way To Store Eggs?

A person should store their eggs in the carton in which they were purchased. The carton will contain information regarding the date of packaging or the date of expiration. This can assist individuals in determining how long their eggs will remain edible. 

Always remove the shell from uncooked eggs before freezing them. The egg should then be placed in an airtight container to prevent growth of bacteria over the egg surface, this should be done to avoid food poisoning. 

How Do You Know When Eggs Are Bad?

A floating egg is not necessarily a bad egg. An individual can determine whether an egg has gone bad by cracking it open and analysing it. Eggs having a foul odour or a strange appearance should be discarded. 

Signs that an egg has gone bad include clear egg white, pink or iridescent egg white, off-colour or green egg white, and black or green spots inside the egg. Another identifier could be the rotten fishy smell that gives it away. 

Other Benefits And Drawbacks Of Refrigeration

Depending on your area, you may or may not need to refrigerate your eggs. However, you may wish to do so. Refrigeration has both advantages and disadvantages. The pros and cons of egg refrigeration are listed below.

Refrigeration Can Double The Shelf Life Of Eggs

Keeping eggs in the refrigerator is the greatest approach to prevent bacterial growth. Additionally, it keeps eggs far fresher than storing them at ambient temperature.

Eggs kept in the refrigerator will preserve their quality and freshness for at least twice as long as those kept at room temperature.

Eggs Can Acquire Odours In The Refrigerator

Eggs can absorb scents and flavours from other items stored in the refrigerator, such as freshly chopped onions. However, this can be avoided by storing eggs in their carton and foods with strong aromas in sealed containers.

Eggs Should Not Be Stored In The Refrigerator Door

Many individuals store their eggs in the refrigerator door. However, this can expose them to temperature variations every time you open your refrigerator, which can promote bacterial growth and damage the eggs’ protective membranes. Therefore, eggs should be stored on a shelf near the rear of the refrigerator.

Cold Eggs Might Not Be Optimal For Baking

Lastly, some cooks assert that eggs at room temperature are ideal for baking. As a result, some recommend bringing refrigerated eggs to room temperature before using. If this is important to you, leaving eggs at room temperature for up to two hours is deemed safe. Nonetheless, you must cook them to a safe temperature.

What Are Some Uses For Old Eggs?

An individual may find that older, hard-cooked eggs are way simpler to peel than soft-boiled eggs. This is because older eggs contain larger air cells that separate the egg’s inside from its shell. 

Nonetheless, older eggs can be used for scrambling, hard-cooking, and dishes such as casseroles and omelets. Eggs that have gone rotten might be used as compost or fertilizer.


The need for egg refrigeration is dependent on your region. Fresh, professionally produced eggs must be refrigerated in the United States to reduce the risk of food poisoning. 

In many nations throughout Europe and the rest of the world, it is acceptable to store eggs at room temperature for several weeks. If you are still uncertain, refrigeration is your safest option.

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