How To Tell If Your Eggs Are Off: the easy and quick way to check egg freshness

Total time: 10 Min
Difficulty: Low
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By Cookist

What do you do when you want to know if your eggs are fresh if they don’t have an expiration date stamped on them? You do the float test! The float test is one of the easiest ways to check the freshness of your eggs without breaking them. And the best of all is you don’t need any fancy equipment.

You might wonder how on earth does water determine an egg’s freshness? Well, the science behind it is pretty simple. As an egg ages, it produces more gas, which builds up in the egg. When you place the egg in the water, the egg will result in buoyancy which will cause the egg to float! The older the egg, the more gas it has inside, and the more it will float.

The Float Test


The float test is a quick and easy way to check your egg’s freshness. To do the test, you will need a bowl of water and the eggs you want to test. Put the eggs into the glass bowl one by one, and check whether any of the following happens.

The egg sinks


If the egg is very fresh, it will lay flat on the bottom of the bowl.

The egg stands on one end


If the egg doesn’t float but one of its sides lifts, it is 1 week old. If the egg doesn’t float but both sides lift up, it is 3 weeks old.

The egg floats


If the egg floats completely, it is bad and cannot be eaten.

Other ways to tell if eggs are fresh

There are other ways to check your eggs for freshness.

Check the expiration date

The easiest way to check the eggs’ freshness is to check out the expiration date on the cartons or the egg carton. Usually in the US, the eggs are labeled with a “sell by” or expiry date. If the eggs only have a sell-by date, you can reckon on about 30 days after the sell-by date for freshness.

Crack and check

If you aren’t able to check freshness without cracking the egg, then you can crack the egg open. Never crack eggs open directly into a pan, or batter when baking. Always crack them open first in a small bowl, and check if they’re off before using them in a recipe.

Candle test

Another way to test your eggs for freshness is to implement the candle test. Hold a candle or light source up to the egg and tilt. If the light shines through easily, the egg is older, as old eggs have a thinner shell.

Sniff them out

Smelling foods are an age-old way to check for freshness. Simply smell your eggs and if you smell anything off (whether they’re raw or cooked), the eggs might be off. If you’re not able to smell the egg through the shell, crack it open in a small bowl. If you smell an off-flavor, then the eggs are off.

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