If you’re an adventurous foodie who loves eggs, you may have noticed that duck eggs are showing up on restaurant menus, at farmers markets, and even in some grocery stores.
Duck eggs are notable because they’re almost 50% larger than a large-sized hen’s egg. They have a large, golden, creamy yolk, and many people love them for their rich, extra-eggy flavor.
Their shells are also a treat for the eyes. Compared with white or brown chicken eggshells, duck eggs come in a range of colors, including pale blue, blue-green, charcoal gray, and occasionally white.
The color depends on the breed of the duck, though the shell color sometimes varies even within the same breed.
This article reviews duck eggs, including their nutrition, benefits, and any side effects you may experience from eating duck eggs.
Eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein. They supply all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build proteins. The egg yolk is rich in fat and cholesterol, as well as many vitamins and minerals (
A duck egg is slightly more nutritious than a chicken egg — partly due to its size. An average duck egg weighs about 2.5 ounces (70 grams), whereas a large chicken egg is closer to 1.8 ounces (50 grams) (
As such, you get more nutrients in one duck egg than you do in one chicken egg.
However, if you compare the two by weight, duck eggs still come out ahead. This table shows the nutritional breakdown for a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of each — about one and a half duck eggs and two chicken eggs (
|295% of the Daily Value (DV)
|141% of the DV
|90% of the DV
|23% of the DV
|52% of the DV
|45% of the DV
|24% of the DV
|28% of the DV
|21% of the DV
|10% of the DV
|17% of the DV
|9% of the DV
Duck eggs have a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Most notably, they contain nearly an entire day’s worth of vitamin B12, which is needed for red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and healthy nerve function (
Duck eggs are a bit larger than large-sized chicken eggs. They’re also an excellent source of protein, fat, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are often considered to be a perfect food because they’re extremely nutritious. In addition, they contain various compounds that may bestow other health benefits.
Duck egg yolks get their orange-yellow color from natural pigments called carotenoids. These are antioxidant compounds that may protect your cells and DNA from oxidative damage, which can lead to chronic and age-related diseases.
The major carotenoids in egg yolks are carotene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which are linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, heart disease, and some types of cancer (
The yolk is also rich in lecithin and choline. Choline is a vitamin-like nutrient that’s essential for healthy cell membranes, as well as your brain, neurotransmitters, and nervous system. Lecithin is converted to choline in your body (
Choline is especially important for brain health. A study in nearly 2,200 older adults showed that higher choline levels in the blood were linked to better brain function (
It’s also an essential nutrient during pregnancy, as choline supports healthy fetal brain development (
The white part of duck and other types of eggs is well known for being rich in proteins, but it may also protect you from infections. Researchers have identified many compounds in egg whites that have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties (
In addition to their essential nutrients, duck eggs have many other health-promoting compounds. They’re beneficial for eye and brain health, and they may protect you from infections and age-related diseases.
Despite their potential health benefits, duck eggs may not be a good choice for everyone.
Symptoms of an egg allergy can range from skin rashes to indigestion, vomiting, or diarrhea. In severe cases, a food allergy can cause anaphylaxis, which can affect your breathing and be life threatening (
The proteins in duck and chicken eggs are similar but not identical, and there are cases of people experiencing an allergic response to one type of egg but not the other. Thus, even if you have a reaction to chicken eggs, you may still be able to eat duck eggs (
Still, you should always play it safe and check with your healthcare provider before trying duck eggs if you have a known or suspected allergy to other eggs.
Egg yolks have been shown to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in some people, but they often raise HDL (good) cholesterol as well (
Some research also suggests that the choline in egg yolks may be another risk factor for heart disease.
The bacteria in your gut convert choline into a compound called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Some research has linked higher blood levels of TMAO to an increased risk of heart disease. People who eat a higher fat diet produce more TMAO (
However, it’s unclear if TMAO is a risk factor itself, or if its presence is an indicator of heart disease risk. Some foods like fish, are naturally high in TMAO, yet eating more fish is recommended as a way to reduce heart disease risk.
Food safety and, in particular, the risk of foodborne illness like salmonellosis from Salmonella bacteria is often a concern with eggs.
Salmonella infection outbreaks from eating duck eggs have occasionally been reported, including a widespread outbreak in 2010 in England and Ireland (
In parts of Thailand, high levels of heavy metals have been detected in duck eggs (
Duck eggs are popular in many places around the world, especially Asia. However, many other countries don’t have the same safety standards as those in the United States (
All processed shell eggs — as opposed to frozen, dried, or liquid egg products — sold in the United States are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which sets safety standards for shell eggs from farm to table (17).
Also, infants, children, pregnant women, older adults, and anyone with a compromised immune system is at a higher risk of contracting Salmonella, so they should avoid undercooked eggs. No one should eat raw eggs (17).
Duck eggs may not be a good choice if you have an egg allergy or are at a high risk of heart disease. The USDA regulates duck eggs and advises that you store and cook them properly to avoid foodborne illness.
You can use duck eggs in the same way that you would use chicken eggs — hard-boiled, scrambled, in an omelet, or for baking.
To hard-boil them, put them in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring them to a boil over high heat. Once they come to a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover them, and let them stand for 12 minutes. Cool them by submerging them in ice water.
Given that they’re higher in fat than chicken eggs, they add a nice richness to baked goods. They’ll also make a satisfying omelet and extra creamy scrambled eggs.
If you use them for baking or cooking, keep in mind that most recipes call for large chicken eggs. Since a duck egg is larger, you may need to adjust your recipe by using fewer duck eggs, less liquid, or more dry ingredients.
Your recipes may also have a more golden color because of their larger, deeper-colored yolk.
You can eat duck eggs the same way you would eat any other type of egg. They have a rich flavor and texture. If you want to bake with them or use them in a recipe, you may need to adjust your recipe to account for their larger size.
Duck eggs are a tasty treat that’s worth trying if you find them. You can use them as you would use chicken eggs and enjoy their richer flavor and fattier texture.
They’re larger in size and a bit more nutritious than chicken eggs. They also provide antioxidants and important compounds that may benefit your eyes and brain, as well as protect you from age-related diseases or infections.
Check with your healthcare provider before trying them if you have an egg allergy or are advised to limit eggs for other health reasons.