They say if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Does that also apply to boiled eggs? We answer your questions—and the ones you hadn’t thought of asking.
So you boiled eggs some time ago, only to discover later that they were undercooked? Now you’re wondering if you can boil them again so they’re cooked the way you like them.
To make a long answer short, yes. You can reboil eggs as long as their shells are still intact and they were cooled and placed in the refrigerator immediately after cooking.
The rest of this article will explain why and equip you with everything you need to know before doing it.
It Comes Down to Food Safety
If you store cooked eggs in the temperature range between fridge temperature and tongue-scaling water, you are exposing them to what food safety experts have dubbed the danger zone.
The “danger zone,” in case you’re coming across this term for the first time, is the temperature range from 40°F to 140°F (4.4°C to 60°C), where disease-causing bacteria multiply most rapidly—doubling in number roughly every 20 minutes.
That’s fine if you plan to eat them within 1 to 2 hours, the maximum amount of time food can be stored safely according to the USDA. But less so if you let them sit out for longer and only then reboil and eat them. In such a case, you risk food poisoning.
(Food poisoning is not something to be taken lightly. According to the CDC, 48 million Americans contract food poisoning each year, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Stay safe by handling, cooking, and storing your food safely.)
So, from a food safety perspective, you can reboil eggs only if you ran them under cold water immediately after boiling them and stored them in the fridge with their shells fully intact.
I assume the reason you want to reboil the eggs is that they were too soft. Know that soft-boiled eggs will keep for 2 days in the fridge. After that time, you should throw them away as you cannot verify whether they are still safe to eat.
How to Reboil Eggs Properly
Now that you know what not to do, let’s talk about what you should do to reboil your eggs properly.
- Place the eggs in the bottom of a saucepan or small pot and cover them with water.
- Place the pan on the stovetop, cover it with the lid, and bring the water to a full boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for a few minutes to the desired level of doneness.
- Drain the water or fish out the eggs and run them under cold water immediately.
- Eat the eggs or store them in the fridge. Do not leave them out on the kitchen countertop or dining table for more than 1 to 2 hours.
An article on AskUSDA, the federal agency’s database of consumer questions and answers, states that leftover food is safe to eat for 3 to 4 days after reheating.
How to Tell If a Reboiled Egg Is Done
I know what you’re thinking now… how can you possibly tell if a boiled egg is done without breaking the shell because, then, you can’t boil it a third time?
The good news is that there is a way, and it’s easier than you probably think. Sarra Sedghi of Allrecipes recommends giving reboiled eggs a quick spin on the countertop to see if they’re done or not.
If the eggs spin quickly and smoothly, Sedghi says, that’s how you know that they’re hard-boiled. However, if they wobble and spin only briefly, they are still somewhat runny inside. Cook them for another 1 to 3 minutes.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Do This
Never—okay, just in case you were skimming through this, let me repeat that, NEVER—microwave unpeeled boiled eggs.
As Consumer Reports‘ Haniya Rae explains, eggs can explode in the microwave or in your hands, even after you take them out. Rae reports on a test of 100 microwaved eggs in which 28 exploded inside the appliance or after removal.
The eggshell retains the steam that comes out of the eggs until it can’t. Wherever that explosion happens, the result ain’t pretty.
Yes, you can reboil eggs. But only if their shells are still intact and you ran them under cold water and stored them in the fridge immediately after cooking. And remember that soft-boiled eggs stay good for up to 2 days when refrigerated.