How to Cook Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are just as tasty and versatile as farm-fresh chicken eggs, but need to be cooked differently to maximize their flavor.

| December 2012

Ducks are wonderful creatures that add value and resilience to any garden, plant scientist Carol Deppe writes. In her practical and thorough book The Resilient Gardener (Chelsea Green Publishing 2012), Deppe explains the joy of raising ducks for self-reliant food production and garden pest control. Fresh duck eggs from your resilient garden flock are healthy additions to breakfast, baking and sauces. Learn how to cook duck eggs to increase the resilience and independence of your garden-grown goods with this excerpt from “The Laying Flock,” a chapter of The Resilient Gardener. 

Buy this book from the GRIT store: The Resilient Gardener.

Most people don’t know how to cook duck eggs. Even some duck raisers and authors of duck books speak of leathery or hard whites or fishy or off flavors, or of using duck eggs for baking only, or of mixing them with chicken eggs—all signs of improper feeding of laying ducks or of cooking the eggs wrong. To have great duck egg dishes we need to start with prime duck eggs, then respect their uniqueness. To get prime duck eggs we avoid feed that contains fish meal or forage areas where ducks eat too much fish. To respect the uniqueness of duck eggs, we cook duck eggs like duck eggs, not like chicken eggs. Properly cooked free-range duck eggs taste just like free-range chicken eggs, only more so. Duck eggs are a little richer and have a more intense flavor.

Duck eggs need to be cooked more gently than chicken eggs. Anything you can do with a chicken egg, you can do just as well with a duck egg once you modify the cooking methods appropriately. However, there are some things that you can do much better with duck eggs than chicken eggs. I think egg-drop soup was invented by people who had laying ducks, not chickens. Chicken eggs don’t have enough flavor to taste like much when dripped into a simmering soup. Only duck eggs have enough flavor to make a great egg-vegetable hash. And the extra richness and succulence of the duck egg makes it supreme for hard-cooked eggs served plain with just a little salt and pepper.

Correcting recipes for egg size. Unless stated otherwise, large chicken eggs are the standard in cooking. If you use an equal number of jumbo or super-jumbo eggs, you’ll have way too much egg, too much protein, and too much fluid in the recipe. Generally, I go by volume of eggs instead of number. A large chicken egg is equivalent to about 0.2 cups by volume.

Baking. Use duck eggs just like chicken eggs.

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