Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: 5 Key Differences Explained

Written by Hannah Ward
Published: February 24, 2022
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When it comes to eggs, your mind probably instantly jumps to chicken eggs because that’s what we’re used to seeing and using all the time.  But what about duck eggs?  Have you ever thought about giving them a try?  Or maybe wondered how they compare against chicken eggs?  Join us as we discover all of the key differences between duck eggs vs chicken eggs!

Comparing Chicken Eggs vs Duck Eggs

The most notable differences between duck and chicken eggs are the size and eggshells.

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When we think about eggs most people probably just assume that an egg is an egg, regardless of size.  However, there are quite a few differences (both obvious and subtle) between eggs – whether they be chicken, duck, quail, turkey, or even goose eggs.  Although size is the most obvious one, there are still important differences such as flavor and nutritional values to consider.  In fact, it’s surprising just how different eggs can be, and what effect those differences can have.  After all, you probably wouldn’t realize that even recipes might need to be different if you’re using duck eggs instead of chicken eggs.

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Check out the chart below to learn a few of the main differences between them.

Chicken EggsDuck Eggs
WeightAround 2.5 ouncesAround 3.5 ounces
Shell ColorWhite, brown, blueVaried colors – white, grey, light green, brown, blue, black, speckled
Shell StrengthEasy to crackThicker and tough to crack
Egg WhiteSlightly yellowCompletely clear
FlavorTypical egg flavorGamey, although yolks creamier
NutritionFat – 0.17 ounces
Cholesterol – 285mg
Calories – 80
Protein – 0.25 ounces
Fat – 0.33 ounces
Cholesterol – 660mg
Calories – 130
Protein – 0.31 ounces

The 5 Key Differences Between Duck Eggs and Chicken Eggs

The key differences between duck eggs and chicken eggs are in their size, shell, egg white, flavor, and nutrition. Duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs. While the shells of chicken eggs are one colour, duck eggshells are usually variegated. for the egg whites, ducks have clearer egg whites than chickens. What about the flavor and nutrition? You will learn more about those in this post.

Let’s dive deeper into the key differences between duck eggs and chicken eggs.

Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: Size

Turkey Egg vs Chicken Egg - Turkey Egg
Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs and can have a speckled appearance or be a variety of colors

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The most obvious difference between duck eggs and chicken eggs is size.  It’s easy to see that duck eggs are the larger of the two, and it shows when we compare their weight too.  Duck eggs generally weigh around 3.5 ounces, while an average-sized chicken egg is around 2.5 ounces.  That size difference also carries over into the yolks too.  However, while duck eggs are just less than 50% heavier in weight, their yolks are much larger.  In fact, the yolk in a duck egg is around twice the size of the yolk in a chicken egg!

Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: Egg Shell

Another noticeable difference between duck eggs vs chicken eggs is the color of their shells.  While chicken eggs are mostly brown or white, there is much more variation in the color of duck eggs.  Duck eggs are often speckled in appearance and can be white, brown, grey, light green, blue, or even black.

Additionally, duck eggs have much tougher shells.  While chicken eggs are fairly easy to crack open, much more force is needed to crack a duck egg open as their shells are much thicker.  As ducks usually lay their eggs near water, the egg shell is thicker to protect the egg from mud and water.  Incredibly, this thicker shell also means that the egg stays fresher for longer, therefore increasing the shelf life of the egg.

Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: Egg White

When we crack open an egg it consists of yolk and the egg white, which is also known as the albumen.  The egg white in chicken eggs has a slightly yellow tinge to it, but in duck eggs, it’s completely clear.  We’re so used to chicken eggs that most of the time we probably don’t notice the colour of the egg white, but if we crack open a duck egg then it’s really easy to see the difference.

Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: Flavor

Turkey Egg vs Chicken Egg - Chicken Egg
Chicken eggs have a less intense flavor than duck eggs.

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Compared to chicken eggs, duck eggs tend to have a more intense flavor which is often described as being “gamey”. Depending on the species of duck and how they are raised, some duck eggs can even taste fishy or swampy.  This is because the duck’s diet influences the flavor of the egg.  Although the diet of chickens also influences the taste of their eggs, it is more apparent with ducks because of their habitat and the greater range of food that they eat when they are foraging.  However, although you might think that they don’t sound particularly appetizing, the yolks themselves have a much creamier taste than chicken eggs.

Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: Nutrition

As we’ve already explained how duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs and weigh more, the same is true for their nutrition. Duck eggs are more nutritious than chicken eggs.  Basically, the larger eggs (unsurprisingly) have more of everything in them.  That’s more calories, fat, and protein.  Duck eggs contain 0.33 ounces of fat compared to 0.17 in chicken eggs and 0.31 ounces of protein compared to 0.25.  They also contain 130 calories while chicken eggs only contain 80.  However, duck eggs also contain higher amounts of vitamins than chicken eggs. For more about different types of eggs eaten by humans, check out these articles comparing chicken eggs to quail and turkey eggs.

Cooking with Duck Eggs

As the majority of the world’s population typically cooks with chicken eggs, we won’t cover the logistics of cooking with them. But in cooking with duck eggs vs chicken eggs, you’d need to remember that the ratio in size is 3:2. So if cooking an omelet, for example, two duck eggs would be the equivalent of a three egg omelet when you make one with chicken eggs. If you cook duck eggs in classic ways, such as scrambling, frying, poaching, or hard-boiling, the cook time will need to be adjusted–duck eggs will take a bit longer to cook. And as we discussed, duck eggs contain a higher fat content. If you are using them for baking purposes, this could affect your recipes, so alterations may be in order.

Certain cultures favor duck eggs in their cuisines, such as Asian and French. In Chinese Asian cuisine, pickling or brining duck eggs is a popular practice. Another widely prepared dish is a Chinese salted duck egg. There’s also a type of Southeast Asian street food that Western cultures find bizarre–balut. In this dish, a fertilized bird egg is incubated for weeks, then steamed and eaten. When the shell is cracked open, folks will feast on an undeveloped chick. While this may seem highly unappealing, if you can get past what it looks like, balut is said to be highly flavorful and delicious!

For French cuisine, you may encounter a poached or fried duck egg alongside salmon, ham, potatoes, or asparagus. Another dish you could try is Oeufs en cocotte (baked duck eggs).


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Duck Eggs vs Chicken eggs- Duck Eggs
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About the Author

I have been writing professionally for several years with a focus on animals and wildlife. I love spending time in the outdoors and when not writing I can be found on the farm surrounded by horses, dogs, sheep, and pigs.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How do you cook duck eggs?

Duck eggs can be cooked exactly the same way as chicken eggs.  They can be boiled, fried, scrambled, poached, or cooked in any other way that we cook chicken eggs.  However, as they are larger they often take a little longer to cook.

Can you bake with duck eggs?

Yes, it is entirely possible to bake with duck eggs but the results might not be exactly the same as with chicken eggs.  As they are larger the general rule of thumb is that two duck eggs are similar to using three chicken eggs.  However, as they have bigger yolks and different fat content to chicken eggs the recipe might need to be adjusted slightly to account for this.  Cakes are generally the most difficult recipes to make using duck eggs, although if you can perfect the recipe then the extra egg white often creates a fluffier and lighter cake.

Can you eat duck eggs if you’re allergic to chicken eggs?

Duck eggs contain slightly different proteins to chicken eggs which means that people who are allergic to chicken eggs are not always allergic to duck eggs.  However, it might still be risky to try.

Are duck eggs more expensive than chicken eggs?

Yes, duck eggs are usually more expensive than chicken eggs.  This is because they are larger and not as readily available as chicken eggs.

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