How Long Can Hard-Boiled Eggs Be Left Unrefrigerated?

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You can prepare a large batch of hard-boiled eggs to add to salads, use as snacks or grab as an easy breakfast for the week. Eggs are perishable, though, and don't last indefinitely without degrading in taste and food safety. You can't just leave them out on the counter, or in an Easter basket, for hours and consume them without the potential for illness.


The Food and Drug Administration believes that as many as 142,000 people fall ill each year due to salmonella poisoning stemming from eggs not prepared and stored correctly.

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Standard Recommendation

Once you've cooked hard-boiled eggs, leave them out for no more than 2 hours without refrigeration. On a hot day, this time period is just an hour. The eggs keep in the refrigerator for a week.


Preparing the Egg

Ensure that the egg is fully cooked before you deem it hard-boiled. The yolk and white should be firm. To make hard-boiled eggs, place them in a pot and add enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, cover the eggs and turn off the heat. A batch of small eggs will then sit in the hot water for about 9 minutes to cook while extra-large eggs need as long as 15 minutes to be completely done.


Transporting Eggs

If you're bringing hard-boiled eggs to a picnic or use them as a snack, place them in an insulated cooler. Ensure there's enough ice or ice packs included to keep the eggs cold. When you drive, put the cooler in the passenger seat next to you -- not in the steamy trunk. Eggs in lunch boxes can be paired with a frozen drink box or pouch to keep them cool.


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