So many baking recipes call for eggs that are at room temperature. Some households routinely keep their eggs on the counter, not the fridge. But eggs are sold refrigerated, so they should be kept refrigerated, right?
For safe storage, yes, American eggs from the store need to be refrigerated. But there is some wiggle room.
How Long Eggs and Sit Out at Room Temp
According to the American Egg Board, you can leave eggs on the counter about 2 hours at room temperature (or 1 hour if the temperature is 90°F or hotter).
After 2 hours, you'd be safer to throw those eggs out and get a fresh dozen rather than chance it. Why? Because the temperature change can facilitate bacteria growth, and eggs are particularly susceptible to salmonella.
Luckily, the ways that you can handle and cook eggs properly are pretty easy. Make sure that you keep those eggs refrigerated below 40°F, discard any eggs that are cracked, and make sure to wash your hands an utensils that come in contact with raw eggs. And then you can enjoy your delicious breakfast taco in peace.
Why Refrigerate Eggs in the First Place
Keeping eggs in the fridge is largely unique to America. Plenty of countries sell their eggs unrefrigerated and keep them out on the counter, rather than tucked away in a refrigerated egg tray. But this is because the USDA requires American eggs to be washed and sanitized before they hit stores shelves. Unwashed eggs have a natural protective coating that helps them last longer at room temperature, but they also may have salmonella bacteria on their shells.
Fresh farm eggs that not have had their protective coating washed off can sit out at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. Do not wash the eggs until right before you use them. For longer storage, refrigerate the unwashed eggs from the get-go; they'll last in the fridge for 4-5 weeks.
A version of this article originally appeared on MyRecipes.com