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Hard-boiled eggs last about a week if they are kept in their shells, and should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking, says the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. If they are peeled and then stored, they will stay fresh for only a few days in the fridge, says Hilary Shallo Thesmar, a spokesperson for the Egg Nutrition Center.
Hard-boiled eggs are more susceptible to spoilage than fresh because the cooking process removes a naturally occurring waxy protective layer called the cuticle from their shells. The cuticle coats freshly laid eggs, and much of it is washed off when the eggs are graded and packed, says Thesmar. When the eggs are boiled, the water removes the rest. This leaves open pores in the shells for bacteria to enter and contaminate the eggs more easily.
The FSIS also has some urgent warnings for Easter egg hunters: Do not eat cracked hard-boiled eggs! Do not let your hunt exceed two hours! And refrigerate your found eggs and eat them within seven days!
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
Rubbery whites, dry yolks turning gray around the outside: Poorly cooked hard-boiled eggs are a sad, sad thing. This easy recipe (hint: you need a timer) turns out perfect results every time. All you need is a little determination and a lot of vigilance. Get our Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs recipe.
Deviled Eggs with Tarragon
A classic with an aromatic twist. Finely chopped fresh tarragon combines with zesty Dijon mustard in perfectly hard-boiled and halved eggs. Serve these at a picnic or as a casually elegant buffet nibble. Get our Deviled Eggs with Tarragon recipe.
This exuberant méridional French salad incorporates a lot of ingredients into a sunny whole. Quartered hard-boiled eggs—if only because they play such a prominent role visually—are the really essential thing about a good Niçoise. Get our Niçoise Salad recipe.
Sriracha Deviled Eggs
Dijon, Sriracha hot sauce, and lime juice give these deviled eggs an insane amount of verve and fire. You need to start with perfectly hard-boiled eggs, and make sure you plan to make lots—these disappear faster than you’d think possible. Get our Sriracha Deviled Eggs recipe.