How to Tell If Eggs Are Fresh

Diana Rattray

If you aren't sure how fresh your eggs are, here's an easy way to test them.

What You Need

  • 1 egg (or more)
  • bowl, saucepan, or another deep container
  • water to cover

Here's How

  • Fill a deep bowl or pan with enough cold tap water to cover an egg.
  • Place the egg in the water.
  • If the egg lies on its side on the bottom, the air cell within is small and it's very fresh.
  • If the egg stands up and bobs on the bottom, the air cell is larger and it isn't quite as fresh.
  • If the egg floats on the surface, it is bad and should be discarded.

Other Telltale Signs an Egg is Bad

  • A very fresh egg out of the shell will have an overall thick white which doesn't spread much and the yolk will stand up. If the egg white is quite thin and spreads, it is probably past its peak.
  • A flattened yolk or one that breaks very easily is an indication that the egg is old.
  • The white of a very fresh egg will be cloudy. A clear egg white means an older egg, but not necessarily a bad egg. 
  • Grade AA eggs are the highest grade available. They cost more than other grades but may be a good choice because of their high quality and longer shelf life.
  • Pasteurized eggs are eggs which have been immersed in a temperature-controlled water bath for a specified length of time in order to destroy all bacteria without cooking the egg. Pasteurized eggs can be used in recipes which call for raw eggs.


  • Store eggs in the refrigerator small end down in their original carton.
  • Eggs which are a week or so old are easier to peel than very fresh eggs when cooked in the shell.

See Also