All About Duck Eggs

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means as an Amazon Associate I may receive a small percentage from qualifying purchases if you make a purchase using the links, at no additional cost to you*

Duck eggs are highly prized by bakers and gourmet chefs alike, but how are duck eggs different than your standard chicken egg?

For starters, duck eggs are big.  Different breeds of both chickens & ducks lay different size eggs, but generally speaking, ducks eggs are about 50% larger than “medium” grade chicken eggs.  In the above picture, you see the duck egg at the bottom against the standard USDA weight categories for chicken eggs.  Pee Wee eggs (laid by my little bantam Mille Fleur D’Uccle) weigh in at just 1.10 ounces.  Small eggs weigh 1.55 ounces.  Medium are 1.70 ounces.  Large eggs are around 2 ounces (this is the size egg called for in most recipes).  Extra large eggs weigh in around 2.3 ounces and Jumbos at around 2.5 ounces.   The duck egg in the picture weighed in at 3.4 ounces, but I have had some weighing in at close to 4 ounces!  Just like chicken eggs, duck egg shells can come in a range of colors varying from white, brown, cream, blue, grey and even black!

When you crack open a duck egg, the first thing you will notice is that the shell is significantly thicker than a chicken egg.  The white of a duck egg is nearly transparent where chicken eggs usually have a light yellowish hue.  The duck egg white is firmer with more structure than a chicken egg white.  This firm white is part of the reason chefs love cooking with duck eggs.   The egg white (or albumen) helps baked goods, like cakes, rise higher with a light, fluffy texture. Cookies turn out moist & chewy. The firmer albumen can help bind ingredients & improve texture in gluten free recipes. The other reasons chefs love duck eggs lies in the yolk.  Much larger than a chicken yolk, they also have a much higher fat content which lends a rich taste to dishes.  Duck eggs are divine in homemade ice cream and stellar in custard fillings for pastries.

How do they differ nutritionally?

Duck eggs & chicken eggs have very similar nutritional profiles and many of the differences are simply due to the larger size of the duck egg.  Duck eggs are notably higher in both fat & cholesterol compared to chicken eggs.  This is partly due to the difference in the bird’s diets.  Ducks tend to favor eating high protein bugs, snails, and slugs over plant matter.  Each duck egg has about 600 milligrams of cholesterol which is about twice the recommended daily intake level, so duck eggs should not be an everyday indulgence, especially for those who struggle with their cholesterol levels.  The fat content of duck eggs is much higher, but that isn’t necessary a bad thing.  The fat is monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats) and contains a much higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids (72 mg vs 37 mg in chicken eggs), an essential cellular building block that many people struggle to get enough of in their diets.
Duck egg are significantly higher in:
protein (9 g. vs 5 g. for chicken eggs)
iron (2.7 mg. vs 0.9 mg. for chicken eggs)
vitamin A (472 IU vs 244 IU for chicken eggs)
folate (56 mcg. vs 23 mcg. for chicken eggs)
choline (184 mg. vs 126 mg. in chicken eggs)

Another really interesting duck egg nutrition fact is that because duck egg whites contain a different type of protein than chicken eggs, often times people that are allergic to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs with no problems (as always run this by your doctor before experimenting though).

How do they taste?

Duck eggs and chicken eggs taste pretty much the same.  If you scramble them up mixed together you certainly won’t notice a difference.  If you were to scramble them up side by side and taste each separately……you will still find they taste similar.  The duck egg has a slightly stronger “egg” flavor thanks to it’s larger yolk vs white ratio, and also because of the duck’s higher protein diet (assuming the ducks were allowed to free range and eat bugs).  Duck eggs also have a creamier, richer texture due to the higher fat content.

How to cook with duck eggs

Cooking with duck eggs is a little bit different than cooking with chicken eggs.  Scrambling them up is going to be the same, and they are great when added to a frittata or omelet. But if you are frying or hard boiling them, a little extra care is needed.  Duck eggs have a lower water content than chicken eggs so overcooking them can give them a rubbery texture.

For great hard boiled duck eggs, place the eggs in a pot of cold, salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 12 minutes.  Carefully remove the eggs & place in a bowl of ice water until cool.

Baking with duck eggs might also require a little playing around with the recipe.  I usually just sub out one chicken egg for one duck egg, but every recipe is different.  If your recipe calls for multiple eggs, an easy substitution is to use 2 duck eggs for every 3 chicken eggs.  If you have an extra sensitive recipe, you can also measure out the whites & yolks.  A standard large egg would be the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of yolk and 2 tablespoons of white.

Shared on:

Homestead Blog Hop


22 comments

  1. Joan Timmons says:

    Our duck use to lay eggs In her house, now all of the sudden she’s laying them out in her pen, & in the yard when we let her out… I don’t understand why the change?? Any ideas? She is a Muscovy & by herself, my husband built her like a condo, she has a good size pen , well protected with a pool.

    • Liz says:

      Ducks unfortunately are notorious for just laying eggs where ever they please. You can try keeping her confined to her pen for a bit until she gets back in the habit of using her nest, make her nesting area as comfy and inviting as possible, but sometimes they just like to make their space

      • Beckett says:

        I have found this to be true also. I use hay, and have discovered the ducks waiting in line for the community nest to lay their eggs. I have a broody Orpington. ?

      • mike says:

        My ducks like to hide or even bury thier eggs in some leaves or where i won’t think to look. Every day with ducks is like an easter egg hunt. Also a good thing to make with duck eggs is homade pasta. Duck egg pasta is the bomb diggity

        • Liz says:

          My ducks are also constantly hiding their eggs – it’s very frustrating! I haven’t tried duck egg pasta, I bet it’s amazing!!

  2. theresa susano says:

    I have ducks i have a small duck i found a tiny egg but befor large eg i have. Two f e male one tiny and other is little large

    • Liz says:

      It’s very common for ducks and chickens to lay smaller eggs when they first start laying. They often get larger as the bird matures. Sometimes the early eggs are even yolkless

  3. John says:

    My four Jumbo Pekin duck just recently started laying and I get tree or four very day. Because it’s winter in Minnesota, sometimes the eggs freeze and expand and end up cracking. The eggs are still whole but they have a crack along the side. How long will they be safe to eat if they’ve been cracked?

    • Liz says:

      I would not recommend eating any cracked eggs. As soon as the shell is broken, you have lost the barrier keeping the bacteria out. Even if your nest boxes were pristine I wouldn’t recommend it. Try collecting eggs multiple times a day during the winter. When I find cracked eggs I usually toss them in the compost pile.

  4. Verna says:

    My ducks free range. I will be planting flower seeds soon & was wondering if I should move my 3 ducks to an area that won’t be planted until my plants are tall enough where the ducks won’t damage the plants?

    • Liz says:

      Definitely move them. Ducks won’t generally uproot established plants, but they love digging around for bugs (especially in freshly turned soil), and that could disturb young plants or seeds that are trying to get established

  5. Judy E Schmidt says:

    I have a little black duck that I inherited from the neighbors. Never saw her laying eggs
    Until I was doing yard work one day and found a clutch of about 20 eggs. I collected them and discarded them. But she soon had another one started. we have no male, so no babies, but she is persistent. We finally got her 2 fertil chicken eggs she hatched successfully. I’m waiting to see what is going to happen when she tries to teach them to swim.

    • Liz says:

      awww cute! I love watching one species raising another,so sweet. Be careful though because she is going to try and teach them to swim, and chicks don’t swim

  6. Penny says:

    Hi – I have had chickens for a few years and they are all hens, so no worries about eggs being fertilized.
    Now we have two ducks, one male and one female. She just started laying eggs this past week. At what point is it not safe to eat the eggs?

    • Liz says:

      It is completely fine to eat fertilized eggs. As long as you are collecting the eggs every day there is no chance for the egg to begin developing. It takes about 12 hours of incubating for the signal for development to begin. The key here is incubating, as in your duck would need to decide to hatch eggs and sit on her nest constantly. You could leave a fertilized egg out in the nest box for a month and development will never even begin unless the mother duck is sitting on it nearly all the time (they do take short breaks to eat & relieve themselves). Even if you forgot to collect eggs for a day, and even if your duck was sitting on the nest, it takes about 3 days of incubation for you to be able to see with the naked eye signs of development (the first signs are veins beginning to grow out from the center). So you can feel perfectly fine about eating her eggs, they won’t taste or look any different than non fertile eggs. I have an article on fertile vs non fertile chicken eggs, but ducks are pretty similar. The only difference is ducks take even longer to develop. You can read it here: https://thecapecoop.com/fertilized-vs-non-fertilized-eggs/

      • Penny says:

        Hi Liz, thank you so much for the explanation! We do take the eggs in every day, so we should be okay then. We inherited these ducks and thought they were both female. Surprise!!
        Thanks again for the quick response and the link.

        –Penny

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.