Shelf life of scrambled eggs
October 27, 2007 5:37 PM   Subscribe

How long will scrambled eggs keep?

About 2 days ago I pre-prepared an omelette with ham and some veggies, and put it in the fridge. How long will this keep before I start risking food poisoning? Also bear in mind that it came out very slightly runny, so I wouldn't call this 100% cooked.

My Google-fu only shows shelf life of eggs in the shell, and other ask.mefi questions only discuss shelf life of hardboiled eggs.
posted by rolypolyman to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When it comes to eggs, the guiding principle is "when in doubt, throw them out." I think 2 days is probably too long.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:38 PM on October 27, 2007

Just cook them.
Anything that could have blinked to life over 48h will fry at 350F, (5mn in a pan, 25mn in an oven).
posted by bru at 5:45 PM on October 27, 2007

The bacteria that cause food poisoning don't have to be alive to make you sick.
posted by Good Brain at 5:48 PM on October 27, 2007

Screw the bacteria. It won't have the right taste or texture, and isn't enough work or money to stress over tossing. That's why I wouldn't eat it.
posted by whatzit at 5:51 PM on October 27, 2007

They are probably fine today, even tomorrow or the next day, from a bacteria point of view. They were dead from a taste perspective twenty minuter after you cooked them. Out they go.
posted by caddis at 5:54 PM on October 27, 2007

I am not going to fight with the North American psychosis with germs.
I am just transmitting information: I have lived in several different contexts (rich and poor) where such a question wouldn't even been asked.
So, I guess if you work for wolypolyman's health insurance company, you would like to reduce the risk to zero and throw the food away.
If you lived in the 99% other parts of the world, it would just be something in your fridge waiting to be heated and eaten.
posted by bru at 5:59 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

No food poisoning, but they will taste like shit.
posted by wv kay in ga at 6:03 PM on October 27, 2007

i can't imagine the shelf life of scrambled eggs would be meaningfully different from that of hardboiled eggs, if you already have information regarding those.

within the timeframe of a week or so, i say just reheat them when you're ready, and if they have the consistency of a rubber shoe sole, decide based on that whether or not you want to continue eating them.
posted by wreckingball at 6:23 PM on October 27, 2007

To revive your omelet so that it is both cooked and tasty, steam it instead of reheating it in a pan (will cook to rubber before it's warmed through) or oven (ok, but will dry it out.)
posted by desuetude at 6:33 PM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: Eggs are so cheap, and so sensitive to aging once cooked, that I don't think they're worth refrigerating, except maybe in a Spanish tortilla type thing. Throw it out.

The fun of omelettes is in the making.
posted by Brian James at 7:20 PM on October 27, 2007

I don't think you would find a definitive answer about scrambled eggs because it partly depends on how well they were cooked and what was added. (also: how were they stored - covered/airtight/proximity of other foods?)

Odour is still a pretty good general indicator.

Hard-boiled eggs in the shell are supposed to be fairly safe for 5 days or so.

Most food-borne illnesses come about because of foods being held for periods of say >30mins at between 4 and 55 degrees celcius (ie. left out for too long after cooking or wonky thermostat in the fridge or left out for too long after cooked food removed from fridge and before reheating to eat)

I think if they smell ok you could eat them today. I personally wouldn't keep them longer, mostly because you didn't cook them thoroughly and you mixed in other foods. Salmonella can be in fresh unbroken eggs, just by the by.
posted by peacay at 7:24 PM on October 27, 2007

Response by poster: FWIW I Googled some more and found this and it says 3-4 days. I am really sickened by the thought of throwing out good food, but I guess the risk of being laid up for a couple of days is not worth a dollar or two, especially when there's no anecdotal support here that it's safe and there was that bit of runniness. I guess I'll have to learn not to make batches like this again.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:31 PM on October 27, 2007

Response by poster: (I know commenting is a thankless job but I do want to thank you all.)
posted by rolypolyman at 7:52 PM on October 27, 2007

What about the eggs cooked into Chinese food? Will they keep past a few days? I've thrown out decent leftovers for fear of bacterial baddies infesting my fried rice.
posted by willie11 at 9:26 PM on October 27, 2007

i've kept an airtight bowl of scrambled eggs for a week before, without having any problems. as was mentioned above, they didn't taste great, and from now on i'd always recommend the cook-and-eat method, but i didn't get sick.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 9:59 PM on October 27, 2007

I think they're fine. I am ALWAYS amazed by the AskMe hyper-paranoia about food. It's insane.
posted by proj at 10:34 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Proj have you ever had serious food poisoning? I ended up in an ambulance. It'll change the way you look at food.
posted by Jahaza at 11:09 PM on October 27, 2007

willie11: "What about the eggs cooked into Chinese food? Will they keep past a few days? I've thrown out decent leftovers for fear of bacterial baddies infesting my fried rice."

I've never kept Chinese food more than a day. It just never smells appetizing to me unless it's fresh. But I don't think a few days in the fridge is going to cause harm.
posted by who squared at 12:32 AM on October 28, 2007

I trained as a microbiologist and I'd have to admit to being unconcerned by the whole egg thing. I took part in a lot of testing of raw eggs after storage for nine weeks and the hit rate was something like 1 in 200,000. I agree it's not nice if you get food poisoning but you're much more likely to get it (in my opinion) from poor fridge technique (raw meat close to cooked food) and undercooked mince or chicken. Eggs are not evil.

As for fried rice, that was more famous for Bacillus food poisoning when restaurants used to make it the night before and leave it on the shelf... (oh and sharing fries was implicated rather heavily in shigella infections but there you go...)


For goodness sake, how long does it take to make scrambled eggs? Or an omelette? Five minutes? Ten minutes tops. I would throw it based on the fact that warmed over egg only works in a tortilla. Scrambled eggs and omelettes should be served a little runny (unless you're governed by legislation) and should always be freshly prepared.

So if you eat it you'll probably be fine... but don't do it again.
posted by itsjustanalias at 4:00 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fresh-only Chinese food? Chinese food and pizza are the greatest leftover foods of our time. I eat them for days upon days upon days and then more days. That is, if I don't finish them first.

The I-left-this-uncovered-outside-in-the-heat questions I understand. The this-has-been-properly-refrigerated-for-two-days question I can not begin to comprehend. The omelette is fine.

However, I have found that no eating experience is ever good if you're worried about what you're eating. So since you're worried, toss it; eating it won't do you any good even if your health won't suffer.
posted by iguanapolitico at 3:20 PM on October 28, 2007

Blasphemy, I know but the only thing worse than re-heated Chinese food is cold/re-heated pizza. I will gag. It's not pretty. I have absolutely no qualms about tossing food--because of bacteria or it's unappetizing or whatever.
posted by who squared at 5:21 PM on October 28, 2007

« Older New Years In Chicago   |   Does learning a second language diminish your... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.