How do duck eggs compare to chicken eggs? Well they're surprisingly similar - just a bit larger and higher in fat.

We've raised ducks alongside our chickens for more than fifteen years. Ducks are a lot of fun to raise, but what we love best about them is their eggs. 

In case you have never eaten duck eggs, but you're curious to try them, here's what you should know about cooking and baking with them. And if you're a baker, you might want to think about raising some ducks of your own.

woman smiling with duck egg

All about Duck Eggs

Like chickens, ducks lay an egg almost every day.  And like chicken eggs, duck eggs have a shell, a white (or albumen) and a yolk.

Turns out, duck eggs are pretty similar to chicken eggs.  But there are some real benefits to duck eggs compared to chicken eggs.

ducks in grass

Ducks Lay Almost Every Day

Like chickens, ducks will lay an egg almost every day. Our ducks actually outlay our chickens year after year,  usually laying right through the winter with no added coop light, and laying pretty well for 5 or 6 years, compared to the 2 or 3 years that chickens generally are at peak laying production.

Ducks lay their eggs just before sunrise and will make their own nest in a corner of their house or coop in the bedding  straw or shavings.  

Duck eggs don't come in the wide variety of colors that chicken eggs do, but they can be white, cream-colored, pale bluish-green or charcoal gray depending in the breed.

Cooking and Baking with Duck Eggs

Duck Eggs are Larger than Chicken Eggs

Now here's where you need to pay attention if you're planning on using duck eggs in recipes. 

Duck eggs are much larger than chicken eggs - about 30% larger to be precise. Our duck eggs usually weigh in right around 3 ounces, which is considerably heavier than even jumbo chicken eggs.  

Since a normal large chicken egg called for in most recipes weighs 2 ounces, you can substitute 2 duck eggs for each 3 chicken eggs a recipe calls for. 

Alternatively, you can lightly whisk your duck eggs and then weigh out 2 ounces for each egg you need.

Duck Eggs have Larger Yolks

The yolks are also larger, comparatively, compared to the whites. Duck eggs have about a 15% higher yolk-to-white ratio than a chicken egg.

That's a duck egg on the top in the photo below and a chicken egg beneath it.

duck eggs in bowls

Duck Eggs are Alkaline

Duck eggs are considered to be an alkaline-producing food and one of the few that leave your body more alkaline. Conversely, chicken eggs are an acidic food making your body more acid.

The alkaline makeup of duck eggs is of great benefit to cancer patients as cancer cells do not thrive in an alkaline environment. So some physicians apparently recommend duck eggs to cancer patients. (Talk to your physician about this in more detail if you have any questions.)

Also, people who are allergic to chicken eggs can often eat duck eggs without any problem - and vice versa - because duck eggs contain completely different proteins than chicken eggs.

duck eggs in shirt tail

Duck Eggs are Better for Baking

Duck eggs contain slightly less water - and more fat - which makes them superior for baking. They make cakes and breads rise better. They make mayonnaise, custards and puddings richer.

Duck eggs can be a bit more difficult to whip for meringues, but a pinch of baking soda or a few drops of lemon juice can help make nice stiff peaks.

whisk with egg whites

Duck Eggs can be Scrambled, Fried, Poached and Hard-Cooked As Well

On the flip side, because of their low water content, they cook faster than chicken eggs and overcooking them makes them rubbery. 

Because duck eggs are so easy to overcook, some people don't like them when they're fried or scrambled. But we do eat them both ways. I'm just careful to cook them over very low heat and only until the whites are just set. 

You can steam duck eggs to hard cook them just like you would a chicken egg, but since they are so much later, I find that it takes about 20 minutes for a yolk to cook through.

Duck Eggs Do Tend to Taste a bit "Eggier"

I do find that duck eggs do have a bit stronger "egg" taste than chicken eggs. If you find them too strong for your liking, try pairing them with a strong cheese such as Swiss, Bleu, or sharp Cheddar in  an omelet or scrambled. Or try adding some fragrant herbs or spices when you're cooking the duck eggs.

I don't ever notice that my baked goods taste any different when I use duck eggs, however, so no worries about that.

I also think that the overall taste of your duck eggs will depend on your duck's overall diet, but in general, because of their higher fat and lipid content, duck eggs will taste creamier and richer than chicken eggs.  

woman holding duck egg in kitchen

How to Substitute Duck Eggs for Chicken Eggs in Recipes

Despite the rule of thumb 2/3 ratio with 2 duck eggs equaling 3 chicken eggs in volume, I honestly tend to just use our duck eggs in a one-to-one ratio in recipes that call for chicken eggs. I try and save our smallest duck eggs for baking.

But as I mentioned above, you can lightly whisk the duck eggs and measure out:

  • 2 ounces for each egg the recipe calls for, or
  • 3 tablespoons for each egg the recipes calls for

Duck Eggs Stay Fresher Longer

Duck eggs stay fresher longer than chicken eggs due to having thicker shells and membranes. Unwashed, a duck egg will last week and weeks out on the counter and will last for several months refrigerated.

Duck eggs tend to be a bit dirtier when you collect them than chicken eggs, due to the fact that ducks lay their eggs on the ground in nests they create out of nesting material on the floor of the coop - or sometimes even just lay their eggs outside in the grass.

So I normally do have to rinse my duck eggs off before refrigerating them. 

Duck Eggs are More Nutritious

As for nutrition, duck eggs have larger yolks, thicker whites, and ounce for ounce they contain more calcium, Vitamins A, B-12, and D and more Omega-3 fatty acids than chicken eggs. 

Interestingly, they contain about the same amount of protein as a chicken egg.

One duck egg contains about 130 calories, half of which are fat calories.  Comparatively, a chicken egg has about 70 calories.

Neither duck or chicken eggs contain any Vitamin C.  

Compared to chicken eggs, ounce for ounce, duck eggs contain:

  • 500% more Vitamin B12
  • 150% more Niacin
  • 100% more Omega-3s
  • 60% more Potassium
  • 40% more Magnesium
  • 30% more Vitamin E
And one duck egg delivers almost a full day's serving of cholesterol.  However, there are studies that show that dietary cholesterol doesn't have as much of an impact on a person's cholesterol level as previously thought. 

But again, consult with your doctor if you're unsure about how many eggs you should be eating.

Overall, the large, rich duck eggs make a nice contrast  in color, size, taste and composition to our chicken eggs and  I feel blessed to have both provided by our backyard flock.

cardboard carton of duck eggs

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