Can You Eat Eggshells for Calcium?

Last updated: May 3, 2024

Eating eggshells may not sound very appealing, but they are rich in calcium. This article explains whether eggshells are edible, and how we can best prepare and consume them!

Most of us eat eggs regularly and then throw out the eggshells, not realizing that there’s actually quite some nutrition hidden in those shells.

This article delves into the surprisingly unexplored world of eggshells as a food source. I’ll be cracking the mystery wide open: Can they really be consumed? And if they are edible, how on earth do we go about it?

Yes, Eggshells Are Edible

Let’s get straight to the point and address the million-dollar question: Can we eat eggshells?

Many people don’t realize this (including myself up until a few years ago), but egg shells are indeed suitable for human consumption.

But eggshells should only be eaten if they are correctly processed and prepared, and that means cleaning them, crushing them into a powdered form, and then storing that powder.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend eating them straight after peeling an egg. In the rest of this article, I will explain how to do all that processing.

Benefits of Eating Eggshells

So, why would you consider eating eggshells? Can’t we just toss them in the bin like most people do?

Sure you can, but then you may be missing out on some nutritional goodness!

Egg Shells for Calcium

Eggshells are primarily made of calcium carbonate, a substance that’s not only edible but can be beneficial to us as a nutrient.


In fact, about 95% of an eggshell’s dry weight is calcium carbonate, which is a lot. The makeup of eggs shells is actually very similar to our bones and teeth, so it’s no surprise that calcium promotes bone health.

According to this study, egg shells are a great source of natural calcium. The shells of a half egg can provide you with the recommended daily calcium intake. The study also reveals that the best way to consume and digest egg shells is in a powdered form.

Eggs in carton
Eggs in carton

And according to this NCBI study, the natural calcium in egg shells can have positive effects on bone density and can even help prevent and treat osteoporosis.

This makes eggshells an excellent alternative for calcium supplements, but only if your average daily calcium intake is too low. So, let’s have a look at how we can prepare and eat eggshells.

How to Prepare Eggshells?

When eating eggshells, it’s essential that they are properly cleaned and free from any bacteria. Luckily it’s not all that complicated or time-consuming to prepare eggshells for consumption.

This is the process I usually follow:

  1. Boil (organic) egg shells for around 5 minutes to properly clean the shells and remove bacteria.
    Important: Don’t remove the membrane, as this part of the shell is nutrient-rich.
  2. Let the shells dry for a bit.
  3. Bake the dry eggshells in the oven for around 10 minutes at 180 degrees to further wipe out any remaining bacteria.
    Note: You can skip this step if you’re confident the shells have been cleaned enough after boiling. The oven will make the shells crunchier, making the grinding easier.
  4. Grind the shells in a coffee grinder until you have a nice powder substance.
  5. You can then store the powder in a container and use it whenever you want to!

You can also choose to skip the coffee grinder and throw the shells straight into a blender if you want to mix them with fruits and veggies for a nice smoothie.

This holds especially true if you have a high-quality blender in your kitchen. They can do a great job at crushing things.

How to Consume Powdered Eggshells?

So once you’ve cleaned and crushed egg shells into a powder, what do you do with them? Well, there are many ways to eat eggshells!

One of my favorite ways to consume crushed eggshell powder is by adding some to my smoothies, as it’s a quick and easy way to get some extra calcium in.

On average, it’s just one tablespoon per week which is enough for me. Don’t forget that eggshells are 95% calcium, as you don’t want to overdo it.

Peeled eggs with shells on table
Peeled eggs with shells on table

Another thing you can try is spreading a little bit of eggshell powder over a pizza. You won’t even notice it! Similarly, you can add some to your pasta as it won’t affect the flavor of your dish at all.

You can also simply add a small tablespoon to a glass of water or orange juice and drink it for a quick and easy calcium supplement.

Other Uses for Eggshells

Besides eating them, there are many other useful things you can do with eggshells. Here are some more tips to put eggshells to good use.

1. Use for Compost

If you produce compost at home, the calcium and minerals in egg shells can make compost a lot richer. Better than throwing them away!

2. Dry Skin Treatment

The membrane in egg shells is believed to treat dry skin very well. Simply place the membrane on the skin where it feels dry and leave it there until the membrane dries out. It’s also supposed to help with healing minor skin cuts.

3. Feed Them to Chickens

Chickens need calcium too, so you can certainly feed them egg shells to increase their calcium intake. So if you keep chickens at home, consider feeding them some eggshells. Make sure they’re adequately crushed before feeding.

What to do with egg shells

4. Natural Pest Control in Your Garden

Not sure if this is an old wives’ tale, but apparently, eggshells are not very popular with garden pests. Sprinkle egg shells around plants and keep these unwelcome visitors away from your plants.

5. Grow Healthier Tomatoes

Add a handful of crushed egg shells to the soil before planting tomato plants and let it slowly dissolve. This will add much-needed calcium to the soil, benefiting your plants.

6. Feed Them to Birds

Crushed and baked egg shells can be eaten by birds too, as a calcium supplement. Simply place a small amount in a bird feeder, and they will appreciate it. Just make sure the shells are crushed into tiny little pieces.

Egg shells in bird feeder

7. Make Your Coffee Taste Sweeter

Believe it or not, eggshells can actually make your coffee taste a lot sweeter! If you add crushed egg shells to your ground coffee before brewing, then this will reduce the bitterness of the coffee. This may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

Final Thoughts

The key to eating eggshells and other calcium-rich foods is moderation. Egg shells are extremely rich in calcium, so it’s important not to overdo it, as too much calcium can be harmful.

I love adding small doses of crushed egg shells to my smoothie recipes instead of taking calcium supplements. Egg shells provide natural calcium, so re-using egg shells that I would otherwise throw in the bin is a logical choice.

However, if your average daily calcium intake is already sufficient, there really is not much need to add crushed or powdered eggshells to your diet.


Can you eat egg shells for calcium?

Donna Harrison

My name is Donna Harrison, and I created this blog because I am passionate about discovering new foods and learning everything about them. I am also a bit of a smoothie fanatic, and I try to document all my favorite smoothies and other recipes here on Healthy Food Tribe, in addition to recommendations and reviews of my favorite kitchen tools.

  1. I don’t have a stove but I have a small egg cooker that you plug in. Do you think that would still be enough to destroy bacteria? Could I boil some water and let them sit in that water for a while in a bowl?

  2. When I discovered that vinegar softens eggshells, I started just making pickled eggs without bothering to peel them after hard boiling. Just throw ’em in a jar full of vinegar and spices to taste, and store them in the fridge. It takes a couple days for the shells to soften. After a week or so they’ll be perfectly rubbery, and you don’t really notice that they’re there. Garlic dill is my preferred combo – but you can do it with any of your favorite spices.

    No baking, no peeling, no grinding, no sharp edges, lots of flavor!

    • I do something similar with lemon. After eating an egg, or two, I put the shells, roughly broken by fingers, in a glass and squeeze in two or three lemons. After a few hours (depending how much lemon juice you put in), I mix and filter. Then I drink all of it. The lemon will not be sour anymore. You will see the calcium on the base of the glass, and the water on top. Your method with vinegar, I guess, can be useless if you only eat the egg, because the calcium will go into the vinegar. You need to consume that (almost neutralized, depending on the amount) vinegar, in order to get the calcium.

  3. When using shells from previously hard boiled eggs, Do I still need to boil the shells again after I have peeled them? Or can I go straight to baking them?

  4. Hi, must they be boiled first or can somebody just wash them in clean warm water? What is the purpose of hard boiling? Won’t it destroy all the nutrients?

    • I personally wouldn’t take the risk of not boiling Joyce, even if it destroys some of the nutrients. Perhaps just boil for 2 or 3 minutes instead of 5 minutes what I usually do.

  5. Have been consuming egg shells for calcium for three years. My yearly blood test calcium score increased each year. I was looking for an alternative to calcium supplements and I’m thrilled with egg shells. My daughter gave me a new coffee grinder last Christmas to grind my shells. Actually, a new batch is in the oven now haha.

  6. Great reading. My first batch grew a little mould after being in a jar at room temperature for about a month, they were boiled, oven dried and ground via coffee grinder. Considering putting some of the next batch in the freezer.

    • Hi Brenda, as far as I know egg shells can’t reverse tooth decay, probably best to ask your dentist about how to deal with this problem. Vitamin D does help with calcium absorption but it would only make sense to take vitamin D supplements if you’re deficient.

      • As an added point to vitamin D supplementation. One should add vitamin K2 as well because this vitamin helps the body absorb the calcium into bone and teeth where it’s needed. Otherwise, it has been shown in studies that calcium will be absorbed into soft tissue where it is not needed. (*) Hardening of the arteries is an example. Very little is needed. If you already eat a very healthy diet including green leafy vegetables then you’re probably good to go.

        Really enjoy everything you share on your blog, Donna.


  7. My question is, the “organic” eggs, why should or does it have to be organic eggs? Could regular store bought eggs work?

    • Hi Sophia, doesn’t necessarily need to be organic, it’s just that I have a general preference for organic foods, and in the case of eggs, they should ideally be free range.

      • The requirements for labeling eggs as free range are practically meaningless. Omega-3 eggs are the best nutritionally because they actually require feeding the hens a healthier diet. Organic and free range mean very very little for eggs and chicken, unlike produce or beef.

    • The chemical of eggshell is calcium carbonate. It is organic no mater if the chicken is free range feed organic feed or if the chick is raised in a factory setting. The calcium carbonate in the egg originally comes from oyster shells in the first place, that is as organic as organic can be.

  8. I actually rinse my raw eggs (which I use in my smoothies) in vinegar and water for approx. 15 minutes. Then I rinse and dry them off and put back into the carton and back in to the fridge. Wham, one egg goes directly into my NutriBullet. You never know the egg shells are in the smoothie. I have been doing this for approx. one year now and still alive.

  9. Wow, this article is interesting, it makes eggshells worth trying. I never thought eggshells could improve coffee taste. I will definitely give it a try.

  10. I have a peanut butter jar, and I put my egg shell powder in there, it is now almost full. I put the egg shells in my blender to pulverize the egg shells into a fine powder. I do believe there is 10-18 egg holder carton egg shells in this jar right now. I started doing it just this year because I don’t like wasting anything. I cleaned the eggshells very well before I put them in the blender to pulverize them. I first let them dry and then I put them in a ziploc bag a gallon size and crush them up really good letting them dry even more before pulverizing. I hope you all enjoyed reading my process, it works for me.

    • No, you should dry the washed eggshell in a toaster oven at 220 deg for about 15 min until extremely dehydrated. Grind in a coffee grinder and sore at room temp. It is sourced from oyster shells and does not need refrigeration.

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