It’s Sunday morning. After a leisurely brunch with family or friends, you find yourself with a surplus of scrambled eggs.
As you survey the fluffy remnants on your plate, you wonder: is it safe to stash the leftover scrambled eggs in the fridge for later? Should you refrigerate them right away, or is it wiser to bid farewell and toss them in the compost pile?
Seeking clarity, you reach for your phone, open the browser, and find yourself here with us. Welcome, and rest assured that you will be scrambling for answers no more!
Join us as we explore the intricacies of storing scrambled eggs. Along the way, we’ll shed light on the shelf life of this dish and help you navigate you through the maze of food safety guidelines so that your mornings remain deliciously worry-free.
How Long Do Scrambled Eggs Last?
Exactly how long scrambled eggs last depends on two factors:
- Whether the eggs they are raw or cooked;
- Whether the eggs are left out, refrigerated, or frozen.
As a general rule of thumb, raw eggs spoil faster than cooked eggs and cold storage extends the eggs’ shelf life.
|Food Item||Storage Method||Shelf Life|
|Raw scrambled eggs||Left out at room temperature||Up to 2 hours (1 hour on warm days)|
|Raw scrambled eggs||Refrigerated at 40°F (4.4°C) or below||Up to 24 hours|
|Raw scrambled eggs||Frozen at 0°F (-18°C) or below||Indefinitely, but up to 1 year for best quality|
|Cooked scrambled eggs||Left out at room temperature||Up to 2 hours (1 hour on warm days)|
|Cooked scrambled eggs||Refrigerated at 40°F (4.4°C) or below||3 to 4 days|
|Cooked scrambled eggs||Frozen at 0°F (-18°C) or below||Indefinitely, but up to 1 year for best quality|
How Long Do Raw Scrambled Eggs Last?
When properly refrigerated, which means at a temperature of 40°F (4.4°C) or below, in a covered container and in the coldest part of the refrigerator, raw scrambled eggs should be used up within 24 hours.1USDA (2019, November 4). Shell Eggs from Farm to Table. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/eggs/shell-eggs-farm-table2USDA (2015, August 10). Egg Products and Food Safety. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/eggs/egg-products-and-food-safety
Cook or refrigerate raw scrambled eggs immediately after beating them, but never let them sit out at room temperature for more than 1 to 2 hours.3(2022, May 10). What You Need to Know About Egg Safety. US Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/what-you-need-know-about-egg-safety
This means that if you’re not planning to cook the beaten eggs immediately, you should transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the back of the lower shelves in your fridge, where it’s coldest.
Raw eggs can harbor the disease-causing bacteria called Salmonella, which multiplies the fastest in warm environments.4(2023, March 8). Salmonella and Eggs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/salmonella-and-eggs.html Refrigeration plays a crucial role in slowing down bacterial growth and keeping the presence of harmful bacteria at safe levels.
How Long Do Cooked Scrambled Eggs Last?
Left out, cooked eggs keep for 2 hours (1 hour if the outside temperature is 90°F/32.2°C or higher).5USDA (2023, March 24). What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out? AskUSDA. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-is-the-2-Hour-Rule-with-leaving-food-out
When refrigerated, cooked eggs can be safely stored for a period of 3 to 4 days.6USDA (2020, July 31). Leftovers and Food Safety. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/leftovers-and-food-safety
Stick to this recommended time window and avoid keeping cooked eggs for longer. The bacteria that cause for food poisoning are not visible to the naked eye, so even if the eggs appear and smell fine, they can just as well sicken you.
Cooked eggs are subject to the same food safety guidelines as all other cooked foods.
Serve and eat scrambled eggs immediately after cooking. Do not let cooked egg dishes sit out in the skillet, on the countertop, or on the dining table for more than 1 to 2 hours, or they may turn into a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and make you sick.
Leftover scrambled eggs should be cooled in shallow containers and refrigerated for later eating. After the eggs have sufficiently cooled, cover the container with a lid or tightly seal it with plastic wrap before placing it in the refrigerator.
How Long Can Scrambled Eggs Sit Out?
Don’t keep scrambled eggs, regardless of whether they are raw or cooked, out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. On warm days, when the outside temperature is 90°F (32.2°C) or higher, this time window gets reduced to just 1 hour.
Scrambled eggs create an ideal environment for bacterial growth—they have moisture, nutrients, and, when left unrefrigerated at room temperature, warmth. When exposed to temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F (4.4°C to 60°C), the bacteria present on scrambled eggs can multiply rapidly, doubling their count approximately every 20 minutes.7Messing, L. (2015, April 26). Food Danger Zone. MSU Extension. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/food_danger_zone
In as little as 60 minutes, a seemingly harmless population of 200 bacteria on scrambled eggs has the potential to multiply into a staggering 1,600, presenting a significant risk of causing a severe case of foodborne illness.
This rapid bacterial proliferation underscores the importance of proper handling, storage, and timely consumption of scrambled eggs to safeguard against the potential dangers of foodborne pathogens.
Can You Freeze Raw Scrambled Eggs?
Absolutely! You can freeze raw scrambled eggs.
To do so, simply pour the scrambled egg mixture into a shallow container, ensuring the lid is tightly closed. Don’t forget to label the container with the date for easy reference. Once properly packaged, you can safely store the container in the freezer for future use.
While freezing pauses bacterial activity and replication. However, the quality and taste of frozen eggs will deteriorate over time in the freezer.
While frozen eggs can remain safe to eat indefinitely as long as the freezer maintains a temperature of 0°F (-18°C), it’s a good idea to use them up within 1 year for the best taste and texture.8USDA (2023, March 24). Can I freeze egg yolks? AskUSDA. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Can-I-freeze-egg-yolks
Can You Freeze Cooked Scrambled Eggs?
Yes, you can freeze cooked scrambled eggs.
If you find yourself with leftover cooked scrambled eggs that you won’t be eating within the recommended 3 to 4 days, freezing them is your best option. Freezing cooked scrambled eggs helps extend their shelf life and prevents food waste.
To freeze cooked scrambled eggs, cool them completely before transferring them to a suitable freezer-safe container or freezer bags. Divide the eggs into serving-sized portions into several shallow containers so that they are easy to thaw out and use in the future.
Also, ensure that the container or bags are tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn and maintain the eggs’ best quality.
Raw scrambled eggs keep for up to 2 hours at room temperature, up to 24 hours in the refrigerator, and preserve their best quality for up to 1 year in the freezer.
Cooked scrambled eggs, on the other hand, stay good for up to 2 hours at room temperature, 3 to 4 days in the fridge, and keep their best quality for up to 1 year in the freezer.You've voted for this post