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I am so thankful I discovered duck eggs. They’re one of my favorite chicken egg substitutions for baking and cooking. Ever since I realized my son was sensitive to eggs, I try to make sure I have them on hand so he can also enjoy what everyone else is eating. They taste as great in an omelet as they do in a cake.
If you or a family member has a severe egg allergy, check with your doctor to see what part of the chicken egg you’re allergic to. Chicken egg whites are often the culprit, as they contain the protein part of the egg, like casein in milk and gluten in wheat. The protein in duck and chicken eggs is similar but a little different, so you might not have an allergic reaction to them. You might be able to try duck eggs as a substitute.
However, some people do have allergies or intolerances to egg yolks. In that case, they might not be a good fit.
All About Duck Eggs
While they aren’t an everyday food (yet) in the States, they account for about 30% of the eggs consumed in most Asian countries.
Duck eggs come from various duck breeds, some of which are raised for their meat. There are a lot of different breeds in addition to the mallards and white ones you see.
The eggs are typically an off-white color, but some breeds lay a light blue or gray egg. This makes them the perfect palettes for naturally-dyed Easter Eggs.
Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs
Because they are larger, you only need two duck eggs for every three chicken eggs. So, they go a long way!
Here are the major differences between duck vs. chicken eggs.
Are larger (they’re a tad bigger than jumbo chicken eggs) Have a larger yolk compared to the whitesAre higher fatAre a better source of omega-3 fatty acidsHave thicker shells (but not too hard to crack) Have a longer shelf life (likely due to the thicker eggshells)Are lower in water contentHave a rich, creamy flavor and texture
I’ve noticed way more twin eggs with two yolks in them, but that might just be one of our ducks. It always gets my kids excited, though.
Duck Egg Health Benefits
While chicken and duck eggs are similar in the nutrients they provide, there are some unique health benefits you get from duck eggs.
According to an Asian study, duck eggs are higher in amino acids than chicken. A 2015 study showed that the peptides unique to duck eggs help the body absorb more calcium in the gut. That’s a great advantage because calcium supplements might do more harm than good. If you’re avoiding dairy, they are an excellent food to include to make sure you get enough calcium.
Next time you’re looking to include more antioxidants in your diet, consider buying some duck eggs. According to a study published in 2014 in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications Journal, the whites were higher in antioxidant capacity than vitamin C. Antioxidants are a powerful tool for combating disease and staying healthy.
Duck eggs are a great vegetarian source of protein. One egg delivers 18% of the protein recommended daily value.
According to the USDA nutrition database, here’s how duck eggs vs. chicken eggs compare per egg with a 70 g duck egg and a 61 g chicken egg:
Duck EggsChicken EggsEnergy (calories)156 kcal90.9 kcalProtein8.4 g6.09 gTotal lipid (fat)13 g6.71 gCalcium, Ca 42 mg40.3 mgPotassium, K146 mg80.5 mgSelenium, Se23.7 µg14.3Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.251 mg0.229 mgVitamin B6 (pyridoxine)0.181 mg0.082 mgFolate, total39.2 µg22 µgCholine, total 138 mg135 mgVitamin B122.82 µg0.464 µgVitamin A144 µg98.2 µgVitamin E1.34 mg0.701 mgVitamin D1.12 µg1.1 µgFatty acids, total saturated3.54 g2.03 gFatty acids, total monounsaturated5.73 g2.71 gFatty acids, total polyunsaturated2.02 g1.48 gCholesterol580 mg169 mg
Even though the duck egg is only 9 grams larger than the chicken egg, it packs a punch with its nutritional value. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium.
You may have noticed that duck eggs are much higher in cholesterol than chicken eggs. Maybe you’ve avoided eating them for that reason. However, the traditional advice of avoiding high-cholesterol foods to prevent heart disease is outdated. In fact, nearly 30% of our cell membranes is cholesterol.
While previous versions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans included advice to keep dietary cholesterol to no more than 300 mg per day, the 2015-2020 version doesn’t even mention limiting cholesterol in food.
In fact, scientists reviewed egg consumption and the effects on cardiometabolic risk factors in 2018. The conclusions, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, were that it was safe to consume up to 12 chicken eggs per week. That would translate into a little more than one duck egg per day without any issues.
That said, if you are trying to limit cholesterol but want the benefits of the peptides in the whites, just don’t eat all the yolks. You can freeze the yolks for later and enjoy the antioxidants and protein in the whites.
Duck eggs are also right in omega fatty acids, which are healthy fats. It’s important to keep a good balance between our omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
However, just like with chicken eggs, you’ll want to find a farmer who raises the ducks well. A factory-farmed duck egg will not have the same nutrition as a duck that gets to live outside, so make sure to research the source. They should feed them non-GMO feed and allow them space to fly and roam.
A pasture-raised duck has access to green leaves, worms, slugs, insects, and even frogs. You are what you eat! So are ducks and the eggs they lay. The nutrition they get is reflected in their eggs.
What Do Duck Eggs Taste Like?
The taste of duck eggs is slightly richer and creamier than chicken eggs. The texture is also thicker, as they have less water than chicken eggs. That’s because their whites take up less volume in comparison to the yolks. They are sought after by professional bakers and pastry chefs for their density and richness, which comes through in the final product.
What Color Are Duck Eggs?
On the inside, you might notice that the yolks are a deeper orange-ish yellow, which indicates their nutrient density. The whites look similar to chicken eggs.
How to Cook Duck Eggs
How do you use duck eggs? You can use them in all the same ways you’d use chicken or other types of eggs, whether that’s scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, whipped into a meringue, or simply used as a baking ingredient. They make excellent custard… and homemade ice cream!
One thing to keep in mind when using duck eggs is that they have a lower water content, so they are easier to burn. Keep close when you are frying or scrambling them.
For paleo, keto, and carnivore diets, duck eggs add some variety to your protein sources. As a great low-carb, high-fat protein source, they can help with weight loss efforts.
What to Make With Duck Eggs
Many recipes turn out better with duck eggs instead of chicken. The richness impacts the flavor of the final product.
Here are a few recipes to try with them:
You can even use them in fried rice, stir-fries, and other Asian cuisines (including pickled eggs!):
Whenever I bake with them, the recipes turn out light and fluffy:
Just be sure to cook the whites completely (as you would with chicken eggs) so you avoid salmonella.
How to Hard Boil Duck Eggs
Hard boiling is a good way to easily get these eggs in your diet. To hard-boil them, put a few in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Then place the pan (uncovered) over high heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and let them stand, covered, for 12 minutes. Then transfer them to an ice bath to cool.
From there, you can make deviled eggs with the two recipes linked above.
Duck Eggs Near Me
It can be hard to know where to find duck eggs because they aren’t necessarily in grocery stores year-round. Because ducks lay eggs in the spring, that’s the most common time to find them.
When in season, they are readily available at larger farmers’ markets and health food stores. You can always call ahead or email stores and markets near you to see if they are available. The benefit of getting them from a local farmer is that you know they haven’t been dipped in a petrochemical wax to preserve them like often happens with larger stores.
If you’re lucky enough to have a Whole Foods nearby, they may be in stock there. You may also find them at Asian markets or grocery stores since they are popular in Asian cooking.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Tim Jackson. He is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Orthopedic Rehabilitation, and a Functional Medicine provider. He holds a B.S. Degree in Health Science and Chemistry from Wake Forest University. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Have you tried duck eggs yet? What recipes will you use them in?
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