Duck

If You Like Chicken Eggs, You'll Love These Duck Egg Recipes

February 13, 2021
Photo by Melina Hammer

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52's very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.


Duck eggs are a special delight. Sometimes I am lucky enough to gather a few from my neighbor’s birds. Other occasions, I score a half or full dozen at my local food co-op, or at the farmers market here in the Hudson Valley. However I find duck eggs, I covet them.

Most often I incorporate this ingredient into special occasions, whether as skillet egg dishes for our Catbird Cottage B&B guests, or added in to especially luscious baked goods. Living at the intersection of various farms and homesteads here upstate, I am fortunate to have relatively easy access to these wonderful eggs.

Wherever you live, duck eggs will likely be pricier than chicken eggs, in part because they’re not as widely available. Expect to pay $6 to $12 per dozen. Farmers markets are the best places to find them, but these days an increasing number of specialty markets, food co-ops, and higher end grocery stores stock them too. I have even seen them at good butcher shops. Ask around.

If you haven’t tried them before, many characteristics make them unique. Duck eggs are more muscular than chicken eggs: The whites have less water content, which gives them more body and substance. The yolks are creamier and substantially larger, sitting tall like golden orbs, inviting all kinds of magic-to-come.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I’m highly reactive to chicken eggs (reaction is like an extreme case of food poisoning), but a nutritionist suggested I try duck eggs and they’ve been a great replacement. They’re also rich and wonderful in baking. Only trick is locating them at the grocer since ducks are apparently pickier layers than chickens (and aren’t fond of cold weather). Thankfully I’ve found a couple local farmers that sell them.”
— emgoh
Comment

Because duck eggs also contain more fat and protein, they are an excellent choice for baking. That means fluffier cakes, higher loft to meringues, more structure to breads, and more sumptuous, silky custards. To substitute duck eggs in baking recipes, experiment by trying two for every three chicken eggs to account for their size difference.

Duck eggs also stay fresher longer, in part due to their thicker shells. The theory is, since ducks are aquatic birds, the eggs need to survive both water and mud, depending on where they are laid. This also means there is a small learning curve to cracking them successfully. Just give an egg a good thwack on your counter surface to blunt the shell, and you should be able to free the egg intact.

Now you can put it toward tomatoey spaghetti. Or turn it into the creamiest crème brûlée of your life. Sky's the limit!


Put Those Duck Eggs to Good Use

Have you cooked or baked with duck eggs before? Tell us what you made in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Roberta
    Roberta
  • Deb Howe Allen
    Deb Howe Allen
  • Elizabeth Detrich
    Elizabeth Detrich
  • Rachel Phipps
    Rachel Phipps
  • GSG214
    GSG214
When she's not writing, cooking, styling, and shooting her forthcoming cookbook - out Spring 2022 with Ten Speed Press - Melina makes food look its best for the New York Times, Eating Well, Edible, and other folks who are passionate about real food. She grows heirloom+native plants and forages wild foods at her Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. There, Melina prepares curated menus to guests seeking community, amidst the robust flavors of the seasons.

26 Comments

Roberta February 19, 2021
Ahhhhh......reading this article brings back memories of my four gorgeous girls - Peking ducks! They laid fantastic eggs, often 2 lays/day, and many double yolkers! The eggs were great for all uses and NO we never found them to be ‘gamey’. This may have to do with the fact that they ate copious amounts of fresh fruit & veggies as well as high protein duck pellets plus the benefits of free ranging during the day. I must say my garden never looked better, not a weed in sight nor snail or slug! My usually straggly lemongrass thrived - no dead leaves. My citrus (8 varieties) all did extremely well thanks to the natural fertiliser fed to them of an evening when the duck pond was emptied. Eggs were gifted to family, friends & neighbours & occasionally made it on to the menu at our local cafe. We raised our girls from 6 days old for near a year till a neighbour complained about the noise. Yes they are noisy and the slightest late night disturbance would set them off. Sadly living in the middle of Sydney (even though we had a generous yard) we were no longer allowed to keep them. Fortunately a beautiful private girls school with an attached farm were happy to take them on, now they’re living the life & are very happy! We still visit them and take them their favourite treat (thawed peas). Unfortunately though no more eggs (the school covets them for their food technology classes).
I had excellent results using duck eggs in both savoury and sweet dishes. One thing I will definitely say about substituting duck eggs for chicken eggs is to weigh them! Chicken eggs weigh roughly 50gms whereas I’ve had some duck eggs weigh over 140gms!
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 19, 2021
What a sweet tale you recount. One day we hope to have birds - not sure if we have enough of a water source to keep ducks. But I do love them! You are tempting me with those comments about the garden beds though :)
Sorry you could not keep them. Very happy you found a good home though, and that you can visit them to this day.
 
Deb H. February 18, 2021
Be warned, though--some folks who can tolerate chicken eggs, cannot eat duck eggs (and vice versa)--I found out the hard way after getting extremely nauseous twice (I didn't make the connection the first time--I'm not usually that slow a learner!). I looked it up, and sure enough, it's possible to tolerate chicken eggs just fine, but have a bad reaction to duck eggs. I was very disappointed, as the yolk looked so rich and golden. Alas, it was not meant to be...
 
Elizabeth D. February 18, 2021
Oh, that sounds worrisome! I have a super sniffer, like, I can smell into the future kinda sniffer. It's not fun, if any food is the slightest bit off or too musky, I just can't stomach it.
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 19, 2021
Yes, I did read that different people's tolerances make for ok re: chicken eggs but not necessarily duck, and equally vice versa. So much to learn... Grateful I can enjoy both.
 
Elizabeth D. February 18, 2021
uh, no. I normally love Food 52's articles, but the author failed to describe the taste. A description of the texture, richness, and consistency were captured perfectly. A description of the flavor profile and taste is noticeably missing.
Duck's eggs, although richer, are decidedly musky and gamey-tasting with an after flavor.
Perhaps if you like goat's milk and goat milk cheese and enjoy that then yes? But I'm definitely not a fan.
 
emgoh February 18, 2021
After noticing a variety of friends and family try duck eggs, I’m thinking they are like cilantro. Some people think they are good and others can’t stand the flavor. I’ve purchased duck eggs from about 5-6 sources now and flavor seems to vary a bit depending on what the ducks eat. I’m glad they taste good to me since my gut can’t tolerate chicken eggs.
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 18, 2021
With my work I have to develop and taste all kinds of foods, and enjoy a wide variety of flavors and cuisine styles, and feel like I’ve developed clarity to what flavors I’m experiencing. I have not experienced “gamey,” or musky for that matter. I do think it’s a question of personal taste, and where you may source your eggs. And thankfully, tastes can change! Once, I didn’t like various foods that I relish now. We’re all on a journey...
 
Miaunow February 19, 2021
I grew up drinking goat’s milk after about 7/8 y.o. from our backyard goats and it was perfectly mild. My father fed it a wonderful diet mostly consisting of our backyard fruit and vegetable scraps, grass, etc. I’ve been hesitant to try any goat milk from regular grocery stores (the cheese doesn’t bother me tho). The ones I have tried were just too gamey. That being said, I’m sure it’s fairly the same for duck eggs. Depending on their diet, that will determine the flavor of the egg being more mild or not.
 
Rachel P. February 15, 2021
I love using duck eggs for a classic Victoria sandwich cake, their bigger yolks make a much richer but still really light sponge! (https://www.rachelphipps.com/2020/04/duck-egg-victoria-sponge-cake.html)
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 15, 2021
Yum! Sounds wonderful. With what do you layer the cake?
 
Rachel P. February 16, 2021
Always raspberry jam - either my Mum's homemade recipe or Bonne Maman (they taste identical) and a layer of buttercream - lasts a few days covered on the counter rather than traditional whipped cream which would relegate it to the fridge!
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 18, 2021
Um, wow. Would like now!
 
GSG214 February 14, 2021
I recently came into a steady supply of duck eggs. I’ve been using them in everything for the past 12 months at 2:3 ratio. Yesterday I made a traditional English Cream with duck eggs. I made some tart crusts with finely ground captain crunch, cinnamon and butter. I put the mixture into molds, tamped down and baked at 350 until lightly brown. Once the tarts crust were cooked I added some powdered gelatin to the Duck Egg English Cream so it would set in the molds. A few hours later, I had a dessert that resembled a reverse creme brûlée, with the sugar crunch on the bottom instead of top.
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 14, 2021
Lucky you! How did you manage to come into a steady supply? Sounds like you're having a grand ole time making delicious things over there...
 
Winifred R. February 13, 2021
Yup, have bought and used duck eggs. Since they’re larger you may want to measure their volume in a cup when baking or guestimate (if you’re go at that). You may get more egg per cake for example if the recipe calls for, say, four eggs. I’d go ahead and use the same number for custards because I like a firm custard, but baking give a bit of thought.
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 14, 2021
Yay! Yes, that's all sound advice.
 
puguppy February 13, 2021
Duck eggs are wonderful for baking. I had heard it was because there is a higher proportion of yolk to white. However, if using as a fried egg in a dish be sure to taste one first. Duck eggs are strong flavored and many people don't care for them. That strong taste does not carry through to baked goods, even custard.
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 13, 2021
Exactly. Also excellent for baking, because there is less water in duck egg whites. I have never found fried duck eggs to taste strongly (and I have made a point to eat many!). They are "extra eggy" if that makes any sense.
 
Liz S. February 14, 2021
My neighbor, just last week, gave me some duck eggs ... we do some trades :). I poached one ... actually 2, as I broke the yolk in the first. No objection to taste, but I will say that I did not finish the first egg ... very "rich" to my taste. The egg that I broke the yolk, still poached ok with just slight leak ... I guess the yolks are stronger. At any rate, for breakfast eating, I will stick to chicken eggs, but look forward to trying the duck in baking based on comments.
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 14, 2021
Do you like a good fried egg? I recommend that more than poached, as you get a really nice textural contrast. And that contributes to the flavor/eating experience. The frilly, crispy edge, contrasted by the liquid golden yolk is truly sublime! Now I want to know what you traded the eggs for... :)
 
Liz S. February 15, 2021
I am not a fried egg fan and I especially do not like crispy whites. I have tried as there are so many recipes/techniques ... poached, omelet or scramble for me :)

The trades vary ... I have an ice cream machine and my neighbor does not so often it is ice cream. Also pies ... I feel a bit guilty as both are so easy, but not everyone feels ok with pie crust I know. And the last trade was actually a laptop that drank some red wine :( ... I didn't want to mess with it, but knew that my neighbor's hub likes to do that and 2 kids now schooling from home. I am a work from home computer programmer and this laptop was due to become my backup so it is not as bad as it sounds (for me). At any rate, between us and also another neighbor we have a wide variety of skills that we share. This is in rural NW Montana and I consider myself very fortunate!
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 18, 2021
Sounds like a special relationship, one filled with many perks! Stay warm in Montana :)
 
emgoh February 13, 2021
I was just finishing a fried duck egg when I saw this post! I’m highly reactive to chicken eggs (reaction is like an extreme case of food poisoning), but a nutritionist suggested I try duck eggs and they’ve been a great replacement. They’re also rich and wonderful in baking. Only trick is locating them at the grocer since ducks are apparently pickier layers than chickens (and aren’t fond of cold weather). Thankfully I’ve found a couple local farmers that sell them.
 
Author Comment
Melina H. February 13, 2021
Well that is serendipitous. :) Try finding them at a local food co-op or farmers markets. They're not necessarily picky about laying - they lay all over the place, which makes the eggs harder to track down!!
 
SueS February 18, 2021
My daughter has that reactive reaction to duck eggs. Projectile vomiting! She did not realize it was the duck egg. Just be careful!