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Is It Safe To Eat Overcooked Boiled Eggs?

Quick Answer: It is safe to eat overcooked boiled eggs? Overcooking eggs may bring on a gray or green color to the white on the outside of the yolk, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating it. If the eggs were fresh and not old and you have overcooked them, then they are perfectly fine to consume.

In this quick guide we take a look at what happens when you overcook an egg, and how long to actually cook one for.

So, let’s get to it!

Is It Safe to Eat Overcooked Boiled Eggs

Can You Eat An Overcooked Egg?

It isn’t difficult to overcook a hard boiled egg, in fact the majority of us have done it. It is common to think that if you leave the egg longer, at least you know it will be hard boiled.

Well, yeah, if you leave it bouncing about in the boiling water for half an hour, it most certainly is going to harden… and harden… and harden.

There is a fear of not boiling the eggs hard for too long. Perhaps a minute or two more of cooking just to be on the safe side? Afterall, you don’t want to remove it prematurely and have a runny yolk – that also happens.

However, once you boil them for so long, you might notice that the white of the egg has taken on its own colors of gray or green, yet that yolk is still wonderfully orange or yellow.

Whether you decide to eat it or throw it away, you might be wondering if overcooking eggs means that they are not safe to eat anymore.

Fortunately, they absolutely are safe to eat. If you already eat these colored eggs, then you are likely aware that nothing has happened since eating a gray or green colored egg.

So long as the eggs are fresh and healthy, then they are fine to consume.

Even so, you might want to think about how to boil an egg properly so you can create a tasty hard boiled egg every time without the unsightly color!

Luckily, we tell you how to do just that later in this article (skip to the bottom if you want to find out how right now). 

What Are The Downsides To Overcooking An Egg?

Whilst eating an overcooked boiled egg will not harm your health – phew – it can spoil something else: the overall texture and flavor. This means that the hard boiled egg is far from enjoyable, and can impact the enjoyment of eating it.


First off, let’s talk about that egg-like smell. The sulfur of an egg is much more noticeable when it has been overcooked.

This can be quite unpleasant during the eating process, and even put some people off, so be aware of this if you are serving boiled eggs to guests.


The general taste isn’t as nice either, likely similar to that of the sulfer smell. To disguise this, add a dipping sauce or place on some seasoning. Hopefully this can help!

Most of the time this won’t happen however, unless you leave it for so long that it loses all of what makes a boiled egg so good to eat. So be mindful of how long you are cooking the egg, and try not to forget that you are doing so. 


The texture is one of the biggies when it comes to the differences if you overcook an egg. It can become rubber-like if left for a while to boil.

Just leaving it a couple of minutes over shouldn’t change the texture much, but leaving it longer and longer and you will have a chewy egg.

It isn’t just the white of the egg that becomes ruined either. The yolk can turn to chalk and lose its fluffiness. This means that it is quite dry, and you might need a glass of water alongside eating the boiled egg. 

Digestion Rate

Unsurprisingly, there are people who struggle to digest an overcooked boiled egg very well. There is a possibility that it all comes down to the protein changes of the egg when it is overcooked. 

This can cause the texture of the egg to become even harder, therefore making it difficult for some people to digest it properly. The body might have trouble trying to break the proteins in the egg down, or at least take longer to do so. 


As we stated before, overcooking an egg can add extra colors onto the surface of the white. Sometimes it can be gray, other times it can be green, or maybe even both. It doesn’t look very nice, though it won’t harm you at all. 

Is It Safe to Eat Overcooked Boiled Eggs (1)

Why Is There Green On A Hard Boiled Egg?

When you have peeled a boiled egg, you have probably seen the green on the white many times. Fortunately, it is harmless and will do nothing to make you ill. 

In fact, the green on the egg is basically just a buildup of both sulfur and iron. They both react with the surface of the egg and cause a greenish color to surround the egg yolk. 

But, what about if you see this color around the yolk and you haven’t overcooked the egg? Well, that happens too and is a result of there being plenty of iron within the water you have used to boil the egg.

Whilst it might look off putting, as long as you haven’t overcooked the egg, you can enjoy both its taste and texture without any problems. However, if you notice this on an overcooked egg, you might not enjoy the egg at all. 

How Long Should You Boil An Egg For?

When you boil an egg, you should be looking to only take around 9 minutes, or 12 if you want the center of the egg to be extra firm.

If you don’t recognize these numbers because they are higher up the scale, then you will want to bring it back down.

If you boil your eggs for longer, then there is a good chance that you are overcooking them. Whilst this won’t do anything to harm you, it does ruin the overall quality of the egg. It is also likely to make them harder and not taste as nice.

Once you boil the egg for much less, you will notice the difference when you come to eat that boiled egg, so give it a try.

What Is The Correct Way To Hard Boil An Egg?

As we stated above, you will want to boil your eggs for around 9 to 12 minutes depending on how firm you would like the center of them to be.

If it helps, buy a timer or use your phone so you do not accidentally overcook them by guessing how long it has been – or you forget them!

One of the most common ways to cook an egg is as follows:

Step 1: Place Eggs In Cold Water

A very common way of starting the process of boiling eggs is by placing them into some cold water. You can do this by putting them into the pan on the stove, but make sure it is switched off at this point.

Let them sit for a minute or two before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Turn Up The Heat

Once you are ready, turn on the stove high and bring the water to a boil. Don’t leave the eggs to do their own thing. Keeping an eye on them is important to ensure you are not overcooking them. 

Step 3: Turn Off The Heat

Once the water starts to boil and bubble, turn off the heat and place a lid onto the saucepan to cover the eggs. As soon as you do so, set a timer for either 9 or 12 minutes.

When it comes to the 4 minute mark, the center will be gooey and soft, perfect for dipping. At around 9 and 12 minutes, the center of the egg will be cooked and ready to eat.

So, depending on the kind of egg you are after, take them out after a few minutes, or opt for the full amount. However, you need to also vary the timings due to the size of the eggs. 

Obviously, the smaller egg will need less time in the hot water, and vice versa for a bigger egg. 

Step 4: Remove The Eggs

Once the time has passed for the size of eggs and how runny or firm you want them to be, remove them using a ladle and put them straight into a bowl of cold water. 

Doing so will completely stop the cooking process. This makes sure that they will not overcook as they cannot cook any more.

If you do take them out and leave them on a plate, then they will cook further and become overcooked. 

Most of the methods for boiling eggs require putting them in cold water at the end, so doing so you may find that they turn out much better in both texture and taste. 

Jess Smith