UAB Medicine News


Easter Egg Safety: Timing is Everything

Hard Boiled Eggs
If you are planning to use leftover Easter eggs in any recipes for your Sunday dinner, then you probably already know that it’s not safe to consume any that were used in an Easter egg hunt. But hard-boiled eggs actually call for more stringent food safety measures than simply keeping them off the lawn.

Even if they’ve been resting in a basket on the dining room table as a decoration and no one has handled them, those eggs may not be safe to eat, depending on how long they’ve been at room temperature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends disposing of hard-boiled eggs left at room temperature for longer than two hours. This two-hour guideline applies to freshly cooked eggs as well as chilled hard-boiled eggs taken from the refrigerator.

Because they are cooked, hard-boiled eggs actually are more susceptible to bacterial contamination than raw eggs are, as the cooking process damages a protective layer on the shell of the egg. Keep hard-boiled eggs safe by refrigerating them immediately after cooking them, and eat refrigerated eggs within one week. If you think that salmonella contamination is rare these days, bear in mind that about 140,000 cases of foodborne illness caused by eggs are reported each year.

Once you’ve eliminated the possibility of getting an unwelcome surprise from the Easter Bunny, try these recipes for putting leftover hard-boiled eggs to good use.


Open-Face Egg Salad


4 large hard-boiled eggs

2 thin slices pancetta (about 2 ounces)

3 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tsp. chopped fresh dill or chives, plus more for garnish

½ teaspoon lemon zest

Salt to taste

Ground pepper and/or cayenne to taste

2-3 leaves of Boston or iceberg lettuce


Cook pancetta in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. Peel the eggs and mash them in a medium bowl.

Mix in mayonnaise, dill (or chives), lemon zest, salt, pepper and the pancetta. Top lettuce leaf and ½ cup egg salad. Garnish with dill and chives. Serve with sesame crackers or dark-toasted wheat bread.


Chunky Tangy Potato Salad


2 lbs. small new potatoes

Kosher salt


4 large hard-boiled eggs

3 tbsp. sour cream

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 dill pickles

½ cup fresh dill


Place the potatoes in a large, wide pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

Peel and roughly chop eggs. In large bowl, whisk sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Slice potatoes in half (or quarter if large). Combine potatoes with dressing and gently toss. Fold eggs, pickles, and dill.

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