Duck Eggs


I was ecstatic when I spied several duck eggs at my suki at the FTI Saturday market. She confirmed they were fresh, but apologized that she only had 10 left. I took all of them, and at PHP10 each, they cost less than the really pricey organic chicken eggs. You can take one guess what I had in mind, but before I got cracking in the kitchen, I figured I should look up duck eggs to try and understand how different they might be from chicken eggs. Duck eggs are physically bigger than most chicken eggs, and have a noticeable “heft” to them. Their less ivory white shells (they actually look a bit dirty white, literally and figuratively) are also thicker/harder than chicken eggs. The yolks are humongous relative to the whites and they are an incredible shade of orange, reminiscent of the finest organic chicken eggs I have come across. Duck eggs apparently have a stronger flavor when cooked and taste tested up against a chicken egg, but when part of a baked good, for example, the taste issue seems to be irrelevant. What they do have is nearly TWICE the number of calories as a chicken egg and nearly TWICE the amount of fat grams and finally, a whopping nearly THRICE the amount of cholesterol as a chicken egg!!!


Egads, no wonder folks wax poetic about duck eggs in leche flan! And while I thought I had already nailed a pretty good recipe here, it just so happens that I managed to get duck eggs, carabao’s milk, and dayap all at the same time so of course I was going to try yet another version of leche flan in the near future… :)


I took a photo of the duck eggs with some large chicken eggs and a few quail’s eggs in the basket just so you can see the difference. Unfortunately, the lighting or the photo or the photographer didn’t quite capture the distinctions between the duck and chicken eggs… but in the flesh, they are very obvious.


As for the yolks, the pale one is a chicken egg, the others are duck eggs. See the difference?

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42 Responses

  1. THis will make a very good vivid orange color leche plan… I can still remember the last leche flan that I make based on your recipe on fresh milk. It is the best that we have every had so far.

  2. The never ending quest for perfect leche flan – carabao milk was ruled in and now duck eggs??? Whatever the outcome of your interesting kitchen experiment, I still love my duck eggs balut, penoy and itlog the maalat!

  3. Oh, this is really strange…DADD-F and I were just e-mailing each other this morning about DUCK EGGS!…how I was able to buy duck eggs….whoa! and your post just now…DUCK EGGS!

    Onie…if you want to try duck eggs for leche flan or itlog na maalat…the nearest source to us is in Maple Ridge and Cloverdale! I am going again to get all of them…12 dozens. So if any of you here…Keiko, Pinky, Onie would like some, just give me a shout! Make some itlog na maaalat, Onie…I bought at the Pinoy store and was disappointed. It looked and tasted like hard boiled egg…not the nagmamantika yolks! I know I can buy them at Asian stores wrapped in mud but they are sooooooooo salty beyond belief!

  4. BettyQ: You make our own itlog na maalat from scratch? If yes, can you share your ingredients/procedures/secrets. Thanks in advance.

  5. betty q, you are so so much amazing…even duck eggs?!?

    i have a local supplier of duck eggs here, sobrang masarap. PROMISE not too salty you can even make it papak!!! yummy talaga

  6. My brother makes the salted duck eggs by boiling them and letting them sit in a very salty brine solution for a week or two I think. But I have never done it myself. And WOE to you if you do it wrong and the eggs go bad, that is a SERIOUS week on the toilet. :)

  7. I have done the reverse, soak the raw eggs in a very salty brine solution for a week or two in a dark place and then boil it …

  8. My mother was from Pateros – she used to make the traditional bibingkang galapong only with duck eggs – she would special order them from her suki at the market – duck eggs made the bibingka batter rich, with a natural deep yellow color, no artificial food coloring needed. Looking fwd to the duck egg chronicles next :) Thanks!

  9. Artisan, I definitely think that would yield a wonderfully rich ensaimada. Isagarch, oops, maybe I got that wrong, maybe he does soak in brine then cooks… Laura, OMG, bibingka with duck eggs… I need MORE duck eggs!!!

  10. I have tried MM’s recommendation on fresh milk on leche flan last week and I must say that its hard to go back to the canned versions. I also have tasted duck eggs leche flan a long time ago and believe me, MM, once it hits your palate the word the will register on your brain will be “rich”. As fopr me, i still prefer the balance of the chicken eggs.

  11. MC: need freshest duck eggs you can find…wash thoroughly. and test for cracks or broken ones with pin size holes by submerging them in water. If you see bubbles from the eggs rising to the surface…don’t use them….MM, I once used duck eggs for my ensaymada…since they are humongous, I resorted to measuring the chicken eggs so i know how many duck eggs to use. HOWEVER, since they were REALLY orange in color…everyone thought I put food color in my dough!..OK. got sidetracked again! So sorry Maria Clara! Use duck eggs that have the holes for your LUMPIA WRAPPER…Then make a brine:

    In a glass GARAPON, gently pput the eggs in. Then for every cup of salt, I use 6 cups of warm water. Dissolve the salt. Then add 3 pinches of Szechuan peppercorn and 3 cuchara of whiskey or bourbon or rice wine (can be omitted if you don’t have it). PUT YOUR GARAPON IN COOL DRY PLACE…oH, THE EGGS WILL FLOAT SO YOU NEED TO WEIGH THEM DOWN . i USE A ZIP PLOCK BAG LARGE ENOUGH TO COVER THE SURFACE OF THE EGGS. fILL THE BAG WITH WATER AND CLOSE IT. Then PUT THE GARAPON IN THE GARAGE..IT IS DARK! cURE FOR ABOUT 4 TO 6 WEEKS. aFTER 25 DAYYS, TAKE 1 EGG AND SHAKE IT. iF THE YOLK IS SOLID ENOUGH YOU WILL HEAR A THUMPIMG SOUND WHEN YOU SHAKE IT. IT IS READY. tAKE 1 EGG AND BOIL IT GENTLY FOR 1/2 HOUR OR SO.

  12. In the province, we ususally receive fresh duck eggs during fiesta or other occasions and it is usually used for leche flan. Duck eggs are preferred because of the nice color :)

  13. MM, beautiful first picture of the orange duck eggs…when i scrolled down and saw the almost black and white picture of the eggs in a basket i thought something went wrong with my computer. very nice contrast. i’ve always admired your pictures!
    thank you betty q for the recipe.may i ask how many eggs do you use for this recipe pls?

  14. I remember when we made salted eggs in Home Ec class in high school. We first soaked the uncooked eggs in brine for 2 weeks and then cooked them after that soak.

    Just curious, BettyQ, why the whiskey/bourbon/rice wine?

  15. We used to raise ducks for balut and gave up when my dad couldn’t handle it anymore. Somebody buys the fresh eggs for balut and those that don’t pass the grade (shape, size), my dad makes into salted eggs using mud and salt. I miss my dad’s salted eggs! We never got around to making lots of leche flan. We don’t use them as much for cooking since we raise free-range chickens too. We enjoy eggs still warm from the hen’s coop.

  16. Betty Q, i use the same procedure with chicken eggs since fresh duck eggs are hard to find, sans the spices and alcohol, and get the same oily yolk result. I also put the eggs first in the jar and top it with a saucer and fill them with brined water all the way to the top, that way you dont have to worry about floaters, and water overfilling..I start testing them by the 20th day, gently simmering one egg in water for 30min and cool and if i don’t get the oily yolk, try again in a couple of days, once you get the right oiliness, then drain and cook the whole batch.

    I will try the peppercorns and bourbon mixture next time and also the bubble trick for the eggs, for i just normally check for cracks.

  17. Also, make sure you label the jar with the date you started brining them,,,you might get a very salty egg if you over brined them, lol.

  18. Iya: I put 1 dozen eggs in the garapon…easier for me to remember how many eggs I brined…sometimes, I have as what Connie C. would say…SENIOR MOMENTS!!! That brine is plenty for 12 eggs.

    Oh, MC, Angela and Iya…use the coarse or pickling salt. Cool the brine before adding it into the garapon. This is not too salty. I find the ratio of 1 cup salt to 1 litre water a bit salty for me. If you use that ratio, then 21 days of brining the eggs is good enough. But if you want the red oily one, try the ratio of salt to water that I use. I think you will be happy with the results. Who knows, MC ..maybe you can supply the salted eggs for the lady up the hill for her BIBINGKA SOUFFLE!….hahahahaha

    Angela…an old PO-PO said that somehow it makes the yolks darker. …don’t ask me how…some old Chinese Po-Pos also add tea bags! I thought it was for taste…Oh, another trick, Ted…make a pin size hole on the eggs before gently boiling it…maybe to release the sulfur so the whites won’t have that greenish tinge?

    Happy Brining!

    Oh, Ted …source for duck eggs…try CHINATOWN. I found mine on Craigslist (farm and garden category). But I do know that there are a lot of farmlands around where I live. I hope you find them!!!! If you lived closeby, I will send them to you! I know, maybe I will make them for you and mail them! How’s that! I don’t think it will spoil since it is salted! I wonder if it will pass customs?!?

  19. Hey, Ted…if you are using chicken eggs…try to find the DOUBLE YOLK ones …for double the goodness of oily yolks!

    A poultry farmer told me once that double yolk eggs are produced by the hens that are just starting to lay eggs. As they [the hens] mature, they lay single yolk eggs….just a bit of info!

  20. Betty Q, I recently bought a tray of eggs from S&R and was stunned to find ALL of them had double yolks. My lola used to say that double-yolk eggs were produced by “ginulat na inahin” – as in ginugulat ang mga manok. Can you imagine if that were true – all those poor nervous animals. Not to mention the poultry farm workers playing “eeeetttt…… bulaga!” all day with the chickens!

  21. That is a good one, Michelle!!!!…wait till I tell that to the poultry farmer next time I see him. I just got duck eggs and chicken eggs from him today….He will be hysterical!

    Oh, Angela…I finally figured out what the shioktong is for. i was making a brine for the duck eggs I just bought and in the glass measuring cup I used to pour the brine in the garapon, there were streaks of the salt that has evaporated as it sat on the counter. Then in another glasss, I transfered some of the brine to another container since it was overflowing …that other glass had the saline solution with the sherry (did not have whiskey on hand) but it had no streaks of salt when itr evaporated. So I think the Chinese Po-PO’s logic is kind of “iffy”. My theory is the alcohol prevents the formation of salt crystals when the eggs are cured.

  22. Betty Q, i found a free range chicken and duck farm in my area through Craigslist today, thanks for the tip. Although they have me call a week ahead to get a dozen or so, they only produce 3-4 doz a week of duck eggs @ $4/doz, and it’s really organic fed, they are a small family operation.

  23. This is now making me laugh, when i was a kid, our maid always buys and drinks sioktong and i know it was some kind of alcoholic beverage, i’m just now made aware that “si-hok-tong” is the brand name, and it’s actually rice wine,,,just like anong brand ng “frigidaire” nyo,,hahaha

  24. Good for you, Ted! and that’s reasonably priced , too. …costs the same here CDN$5.00/dozen and can’t get them any fresher than these eggs and organic as well!!!! Now, that you have broadcasted your source, maybe you need to put a STANDING ORDER with them! That’s what I did so I can make itlog na maalat every two weeks so my siblings and friends will have a steady supply hanggang magsawa sila!

  25. Wow!! I used to make red eggs when I was younger but didnt know you need to put “syoktong”…it’s only now that I realized that’s rice wine!! I want to try that. I always thought you use only duck eggs which are harder to find. Thanks for the chicken egg tip Ted!!
    Brought back memories of my pet ducks who we allowed to roam and who would hide their eggs…so it was hide and seek where the eggs are. But their favorite place was under the bushes…so I later became good at finding them and straight into the kitchen they went. They are also more “malansa” than chicken eggs..di ba?
    My problem with making red eggs was the color after you had done them,what do you do to color the outside like the commercial red eggs? Or do you just let them be—sometimes the eggshells looked stained even brownish. Is that why they color them?

  26. To MM and betty q, thanks so much for sharing your recipes. I will now get the ingredients for the latest leche flan recipe, after not making leche flan in years.I used to do leche flan the only way I knew -with evap milk/condensed milk, then use “katsa” to strain, etc. I also want to try making itlog na pula because lately,the ones I buy from the supermarkets are not as good as before – not oily,too salty, sometimes red (just coloring, right?), sometimes plain.I have now started to put some system into my folders for easy recipe retrieval.The first recipe I tried from MM was the mango jam, and further experimented with whatever fruits I have from the garden. The best was the sininguelas jam which was a hit but I only managed to come up to equivalent to 2 cups of jam.It will soon be sinueguelas time in a few months, and I am eager to try again. That was soo funny,michelle h.

  27. Marisse: I think duck eggs are the choice eggs to use since the yolks are much bigger …more yummy stuff to eat and maybe more oily (?), too since MM said it has a higher fat content than chicken eggs.

    Maybe it’s a Pinoy thing…the red colored ones kasi the ones sold in Asian stores here are either wrapped in black mud/clay or just plain ones in cartons and packaged in 6’s. Could it be they color them to differentiate them from the balut or fresh duck eggs?

  28. Thanks bettyq.I’ve not made red eggs in a long time. Want to do that again. I will look for duck eggs.Wish me luck bettyq. I’ve always wondered why red. I was always in a dilemma when I used to make them as they looked “different” with the stined color when I wanted to give them away. The ones they sell here are red,and the ones with mud/clay are the century egg.
    Will try that bettyq.Your recipe now in my 2nd “ntbk”.
    Wala sa topic. MM also want to tell you that my vanilla infusion (from your vanilla pod post) is now two months I started dec 14,and the entire liquid is now brown. Wheeeee. I’m sometimes tempted to open and smell–but I will wait for June 14. Will let you know.

  29. Marisse: does your daughter send you BB box? Ask her if she can buy the vanilla beans on E-bay …they have organic ones. I bought mine for only $22/pound Grade A Madagascar vnilla beans. So I bought 2 pounds and gave me 1/2 pound extra for free! So next time, if you want to make more vanilla extract like “neverending”….leave SOME of your finished vanilla extract in the bottle and pour your next bottle of Rum or Vodka to jumpstart your next bottle of vanilla. Each time you use a vanilla pod (seeds)in your baking,throw the spent pod in the bottle.

  30. I will visit Salcedo Market again to get my vanilla pods when the vanilla is nearly done and will embark on a bigger batch for infusion. If I start in June,I can have a batch for giving away in December,diba? Thanks bettyq!!

  31. Hi Marketman,
    It is quite possible that orange color of duck egg yolks stems from the carotenoids (e.g. lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene) that the duck had consumed and then deposited in the yolk. In that respect, the duck egg above is healthier than the pale chicken egg. With respect to organic chicken eggs, the orange color is an indicator that the hen was consuming a lot of carotene-rich food like leaves. In that case, the orange color is also an indicator of the presence of other fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamin K1 and K2. Maybe the same is true of the duck eggs.

  32. I am selling Duck Egg for 6 pesos – 7 pesos on Big Size. I have my own Duck Egg Farm. Also selling Salted Egg – contact me at 0922-7799077 and 0916-3388988. Location is in Pulilan Bulacan or Pickup at Fairview Quezon City.

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