Should You Store Hard-Boiled Eggs With Or Without The Shell?

Summertime is the quintessential picnic season which means lots of families will gather together at parks and backyards to enjoy seasonal staples like burgers, watermelon, and the beloved egg salad. But, as the temperature outside increases, keeping your food fresh and free from bacteria is essential in avoiding the dreaded chance of food poisoning.

Eggs are a versatile staple that, when hard-boiled, can be made into a variety of dishes. While there are many methods out there to create that perfect hard-boiled egg, knowing how to store it properly after cooking is just as important. Small things can go wrong when preparing hard-boiling eggs that any home cook should be aware of, such as overcooking. If once boiled, your eggs appear to have a green ring where the yolk meets the white, a chemical reaction that produces hydrogen sulfide has occurred as a result of heat mixed with the iron in the product (via Science ABC).

While overcooked eggs are safe to eat, this reaction produces an awful smell, so it's essential to know the correct ways to store eggs to prevent any risk of food-borne illness. To that end, how should you store your eggs after cooking? Should you peel them first or leave them as-is?

The safe way to store hard-boiled eggs

According to the FDA, cooked eggs can be stored for up to one week in a refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and left out after cooking for a maximum of two hours. However, eggs are prone to Salmonella, a harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning if not refrigerated correctly, so always air on the side of caution if your next summer barbecue includes this staple ingredient on the menu.

When it comes to peeling or not peeling, keep the shell on your hard-boiled eggs until they're ready to be eaten. The shell provides a protective layer against bacteria and other foods affecting the overall taste of your eggs (via Glad). Something you probably didn't know that may be helpful when prepping your next egg salad is to wait until your hard-boiled eggs are three to four days old before peeling and using them in a dish. Glad says older cooked eggs also peel easier, saving you frustration over broken whites.

Once cooked eggs are added to a recipe, the FDA recommends using the prepared dish within three to four days. Now that you know the best and safest way to store them, if you find yourself with leftovers, try some easy ways to use those hard-boiled eggs before they go bad to get the most out of your food.