Quail eggs are rapidly gaining traction in cooking as a tiny and cute alternative to chicken eggs.

They taste remarkably like chicken eggs but are small — typically just one-third the size of a standard chicken egg. They have cream-colored shells with brown splotches and deep-yellow yolks.

For their size, they are packed with nutrients, but there are some precautions to take when dealing with them, especially if you are pregnant or have an egg allergy.

This article reviews everything you need to know about quail eggs.

Quail eggs are small, so three to four of them roughly equate to the serving size of one chicken egg.

One quail egg (9 grams) contains (1):

  • Calories: 14
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Choline: 4% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin: 6% of the DV
  • Folate: 2% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid: 3% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 2% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 6% of the DV
  • Iron: 2% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 2% of the DV
  • Selenium: 5% of the DV

For being so small, these eggs are surprisingly rich in nutrients.

A single quail egg provides a significant chunk of your daily vitamin B12, selenium, riboflavin, and choline needs, along with some iron — all in a serving that contains only 14 calories.

Selenium and riboflavin are important nutrients that help your body break down the food you eat and transform it into energy. Selenium also helps ensure healthy thyroid function (2, 3).

Meanwhile, vitamin B12 and iron promote healthy nervous system function and help maintain optimal energy levels through their roles in red blood cell formation (4, 5).

In addition, choline is vital to helping your body make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that sends messages from your nervous system to your muscles (6).

Summary

One quail egg contains only 14 calories but is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and choline.

Quail eggs are rich in nutrients and full of health-promoting antioxidants that may help reverse cellular damage and treat allergy symptoms (7).

One 7-day study in 77 people with allergic rhinitis found symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and runny nose improved within 1 hour of taking a quail egg antioxidant and zinc supplement. However, it’s unclear if the egg compounds alone were responsible for the benefits (8).

Plus, a mouse study found that quail egg yolk alleviated symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis, a severe inflammatory condition caused by food allergies (9).

Quail eggs are also being studied as a potential treatment for salmonella infection, as the eggs contain unique anti-salmonella antibodies (10).

Although these findings are promising, more research in humans is needed.

Summary

Quail eggs contain antioxidants that may help treat symptoms of allergic rhinitis and eosinophilic esophagitis. They’re also being studied as a potential treatment for salmonella food poisoning. Still, more research is needed.

Most quail eggs are unpasteurized, meaning they have not been heated to kill harmful bacteria that may reside on the shell.

Because of this, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should avoid quail eggs or ensure that they’re completely cooked with no runny or gelatinous yolk before eating them.

In addition, if you’re allergic to chicken eggs, you may also be allergic to quail eggs. You should practice extreme caution if you want to test your tolerance for quail eggs and only do so under the supervision of a medical professional (11).

It’s also possible to be allergic to quail eggs even if you don’t have a chicken egg allergy. If you have any concerns, you should discuss them with your healthcare provider (12).

Summary

Most quail eggs are unpasteurized, so pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should only eat them if they have been fully cooked. Some people may also be allergic to quail eggs.

Quail eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs at about one-third their size.

However, for their size, quail eggs have large yolks. Because many of the nutrients in eggs are found in the yolk, some people claim that quail eggs are more nutrient-dense than chicken eggs, meaning they contain more nutrients when compared by weight.

This table compares the amounts of select nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of quail and chicken eggs, respectively (1, 13):

Quail eggChicken egg
Calories158148
Fat11 grams10 grams
Protein13 grams12 grams
Choline48% of the DV61% of the DV
Riboflavin61% of the DV32% of the DV
Vitamin B1266% of the DV43% of the DV
Iron20% of the DV9% of the DV

While there are a few minor differences in the amounts of some other nutrients, the most significant differences are seen in the nutrients listed in the table above.

Quail eggs contain more fat and protein by weight, double the iron and riboflavin, and about one-third more vitamin B12 than chicken eggs. On the other hand, chicken eggs contain more choline.

Quail eggs are also more difficult to find and more expensive. Because of their size, you’ll need more of them than you would chicken eggs if you want to use them as a protein source — thus adding to the expense.

Quail eggs are healthy, but not far superior to chicken eggs nutritionally. It’s up to you if you choose to add them to your diet.

Summary

Quail eggs are smaller than chicken eggs but contain more fat, protein, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 by weight. However, they’re also more expensive and harder to find than chicken eggs.

Quail eggs can be prepared in many of the same ways that chicken eggs can, although the cooking time is significantly shorter due to their smaller size.

In Japan, quail eggs are considered a delicacy and used — often raw — in sushi. Other Asian countries like South Korea and Indonesia regularly use quail eggs as a snack or accompaniment to other dishes.

In South American countries, the eggs are used as a topping for foods like hot dogs and hamburgers.

One easy way for you to try these eggs is to hard-boil them. They can be eaten as a snack, added to salads, or chopped for a unique take on egg salad.

Here’s what you need to make hard-boiled quail eggs:

  • 12 quail eggs
  • water

Here are the steps involved:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Carefully add the eggs to the pot.
  3. Reduce heat to a moderate boil and cook them for 3–4 minutes.
  4. To peel, crack the shell by lightly rolling the egg across a flat surface, applying slight pressure. Starting from the bottom, peel the shell and inner membrane off.

Hard-boiled quail eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for 3–5 days.

Summary

You can use quail eggs similarly to how you’d use chicken eggs. However, they have a much shorter cooking time because of their small size.

Quail eggs are an unexpected alternative to chicken eggs.

They are tiny but packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

However, they are more expensive than chicken eggs. Also, most of these eggs are unpasteurized, so pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should only eat them if they have been fully cooked.

Quail eggs are a healthy and delicious way to mix up the protein sources in your diet.