Compared to chicken eggs, duck eggs are a less popular food, yet surprisingly nutritious. Duck eggs are rich in protein, fats and cholesterol, have no dietary fiber and only 1.45 g of carbohydrates. They have an energetic value of 185 kcal per 100 g and are a valuable source of essential nutrients. Vitamins and minerals in duck eggs include vitamin A, B vitamins, especially important amounts of vitamins B12, folate, thiamine and riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Considering their nutritional value, duck eggs are an overall healthy food and good for you in limited amounts, as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet.
What do duck eggs look like? Duck eggs are oval-shaped and considerably larger than chicken eggs. On average, one duck egg weighs 70 g, compared to one chicken egg which weighs about 50 g. Depending on the species, duck eggs may lay white, cream-colored to light green eggs with a harder shell than that of chicken eggs. Compared to chicken eggs, duck eggs have a higher yolk-egg white ratio which accounts for the higher protein and especially fat content as well as higher energetic value.
What do duck eggs taste like? Considering they have more egg yolk than chicken eggs and that egg yolk is where most of the fat is stored, duck eggs taste differently from chicken eggs. More exactly, they have a richer flavor profile and can be described as having a fattier taste. Some people prefer duck to chicken eggs because of their more particular flavor. They are also said to have a longer shelf life of up to 6 weeks, if refrigerated properly. However, duck and all eggs are best eaten as fresh as possible and always thoroughly cooked.
What are the health benefits of duck eggs?
Based on their nutritional value, duck eggs provide the following health benefits:
1) Rich source of protein. 100 g of duck egg contains 12.81 g of protein, almost 25% of the recommended daily intake for an average person on a 2,000 kcal diet. In other words, a lot. Protein is valuable for building muscle mass and helping repair damaged muscles as well as contributes to strong, beautiful hair. The amino acids in protein also help synthesize neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood, appetite and sleep. Both the egg white and yolk in duck eggs contain protein.
2) Rich in fat, cholesterol and calories. The number one reason why most people avoid duck eggs is because they have more fat, cholesterol and calories than chicken and quail eggs.
– 100 g of duck egg has 13.77 g of fat, out of which 884 mg are cholesterol and 185 kcal.
– 1 duck egg (70 g) has 9.64 g of fat, out of which 619 g are cholesterol and 130 kcal.
One duck egg has almost double the fat, cholesterol and calories of a chicken egg, most of which are located in the egg yolk.
However, as long as you eat duck eggs in moderation and have an overall balanced and varied diet, the intake of fat, cholesterol and calories from them should not reflect badly on your healthy (read more about how many eggs you should eat per week). If, on the other hand, you are suffering from obesity and associated diseases and conditions (high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, diabetes etc.), then it might be best to first talk to your doctor and revisit your diet and only introduce duck eggs in your eating regimen after having excluded all unhealthy sources of fat, cholesterol and high-calorie foods. Because the human body needs fats, cholesterol and calories to stay alive and be healthy, but it’s just as important to get them from healthy food sources and in moderate amounts.
3) Excellent brain food. The fats, cholesterol and protein in duck eggs serve as nourishment for the brain and promote brain and nervous system health. Eating duck eggs can help restore focus, support memory and learning and reduce and prevent brain fog. Moreover, duck eggs contain rich amounts of cholesterol and vitamin B12 which protect the integrity of the myelin sheath surrounding the tail of nerve cells. Without fats in general, especially cholesterol, and vitamin B12, the protective myelin coating could lose its integrity over time and leave nerve cells without insulation. The degradation of the myelin sheath represents a risk factor for degenerative nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis.
4) Source of vitamins A, D and zinc. Eating duck eggs contributes to a stronger immune system, faster healing, better eyesight, healthier skin and stronger nails.
Duck eggs contain the following:
– 194 mcg of vitamin A/100 g (an average adult requires 900 mcg of vitamin A a day).
– 1.7 mcg of vitamin D/100 g (the recommended daily intake is 20 mcg of vitamin D daily).
– 1.4 mg of zinc (the RDI is currently 11 mg of zinc a day).
5) Rich in B vitamins, boost energy levels. Eating duck eggs provides not only calories to boost energy levels, but also important amounts of vitamins B1 (0.156 mg), B2 (0.404 mg), B3 (0.200 mg), B6 (0.250 mg), B9 or folate (80 mcg) and B12 (5.40 mcg). B vitamins contribute to digestive health, helping synthesize nutrients from food, supporting healthy gut bacteria populations and helping the body synthesize other vitamins and neurotransmitters in the brain. So eating duck eggs is good for digestion and the brain as well as energy metabolism.
6) Provide good amounts of iron. 100 g of duck eggs contains 3.85 mg of iron, out of the 18 mg recommended daily value. Iron helps transport oxygen in the blood to muscle tissues, providing vitality and a sense of good health and well being. Because of their good iron content, duck eggs are a valuable food source for anemia sufferers, of course, provided intake is limited.
7) Important source of phosphorus. With 220 mg of phosphorus/100 g (almost 25% of RDI), duck eggs are good for bone strength. Phosphorus not only makes up bones, but also triggers the processes required to dissolve then remake bone, processes that ensure a strong and healthy bone structure.
8) Help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. The fats in duck eggs are essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K, with benefits for vision, immune system function, skin and blood. Duck eggs further contain low amounts of sodium (146 mg/100 g), potassium (222 mg/100 g), magnesium, calcium and vitamin E.
See our eggs page to find out more about the nutritional properties, health benefits and side effects of different egg varieties.
How to cook duck eggs
You can make soft-boiled, hard-boiled, baked, fried, scrambled or poached duck eggs and they will taste great. But the most popular duck egg recipes include:
1) Red salted duck egg (or simple salted duck egg). What are red salted duck eggs? They are preserved duck eggs, soaked in brine to give them a salty or briny flavor. How to make red salted eggs? Clay, salt and water are mixed until you get a smooth, thick paste. Duck eggs are then covered in the mixture and left to cure at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or more. At the end of the curing period, they are usually boiled. In some countries, they are dyed red to tell them apart from fresh duck eggs.
2) Century egg. In Chinese cuisine, duck and other eggs are preserved in a paste of clay, quicklime, wood ash, salt, calcium oxide and rice hulls for up to several months. The resulting product is a dark-colored, briny and strong-tasting egg. The egg white becomes brown-colored, while the yolk dark green to grayish-black.
3) Balut. It is a popular street food in Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and all over South Asia. Duck and sometimes other eggs are incubated and after 9 days or more, boiled and served as food. The eggs are eaten out of the shell.
Duck eggs are a healthy, nourishing food and an important source of vitamins and minerals. Although particularly rich in fats, cholesterol and calories, they remain a healthy food option when eaten infrequently, as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet. Duck eggs stand out as an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12 and iron and make a wonderful food for the brain, are satiating and energizing. However, remember to always cook duck and all eggs thoroughly because eating raw or undercooked eggs of any sorts can lead to bacterial infections such as Salmonella or Escherichia coli.