Quail Eggs Vs Chicken Eggs – What’s The Difference?
Quail eggs are becoming increasingly popular and have moved from fine-dining kitchens to your everyday foodie home! But what exactly are they? Other than obviously coming from quails!
How do quail eggs compare to regular chicken eggs? That’s an eggcellent question (sorry! We just had to throw in one egg pun). But, it is a very good question. Are these eggs worth the hype?
What’s the difference between quail eggs and chicken eggs? Quail eggs and chicken eggs basically taste the same, have the same texture, and can be prepared and cooked in virtually all the same ways. The biggest difference and what makes quail eggs so “special” is their size. Quail eggs are much smaller and much more visually interesting.
Today, we will be looking at every difference between quail eggs and good old chicken eggs.
We will not only discuss their physical characteristics, but also look at how they are prepared, how they work in cooking, where you can use them, and even compare their nutritional content!
Eggcited yet? Sorry, last one, we promise!
What Is A Quail Egg?
Quail eggs are laid by quails, a small type of game bird that belongs as part of the pheasant family.
There are over 15 species of quails, the most common being a European quail (also called a common quail). This specific quail is what is most commonly used to produce quail eggs.
You may be able to find quail eggs from specific species; however, it is very hard and will also cost a pretty penny.
The quail eggs you find in store will most likely (if at all) be labeled as European quail eggs or simply quail eggs. You may be able to find Japanese quail eggs which are increasing in popularity.
Characteristics Of Quail Eggs
Eggs produced by quails are naturally very small (considering the bird itself is small in stature as well).
The eggs are on average about 35mm in length and 27mm in diameter. Unlike chicken eggs, the quail egg industry hasn’t yet reached a point where eggs are classified into sizes.
At this point in time, when a recipe calls for a quail egg, it usually means any quail egg of any shape or size.
The eggs range in color but usually are some shade of white, brown, and even grey. All quail eggs are speckled which makes them instantly and easily recognizable.
When it comes to the taste and the texture of quail eggs, they are pretty much the same as regular chicken eggs.
In their raw form, they consist of egg yolk and egg whites that can be used in a similar way to regular chicken eggs.
When cooked, the yolk and egg white solidify and are eaten in the same way. What is noticeably different is again, the size of the eggs. Because they are smaller, people generally consume lots more quail eggs in one sitting.
Preparing Quail Eggs
Luckily, quail eggs work in pretty much the same way regular chicken eggs do, they are just much tinier. There is however one thing that makes them harder to use, and that is their very tiny and very fragile shell.
Now, obviously, if you are planning on boiling the eggs, you don’t have to worry too much about the shell cracking and breaking into tiny pieces.
However, if you want to only use the inside to make fried eggs or in a recipe, you will have to take extra care when cracking them open.
We have found that the best way to crack a quail egg without it breaking apart completely is to use a sharp and serrated knife and gently “saw” along the side of the shell.
This will help you get a clean cut and prevent any tiny shell pieces from landing in the eggs.
You can also get tiny quail egg scissors that apply pressure to one point that allows you to make a clean break or slice. These scissors are also sometimes called pigeon egg scissors (another type of tiny egg).
Quail Eggs Cooking Techniques
Quail eggs are surprisingly versatile, but again, their size is what limits their use quite drastically. Everything you can do with regular eggs you can do with quail eggs, you are just going to need a lot more of them!
When looking at ways of using quail eggs as-is, you can boil them, pan-fry them, make scrambled quail eggs, and even poach them.
And, like with chicken eggs, you can also control the degree to which they cook. If you want to make soft poached quail eggs, just poach them for a shorter amount of time. The same goes for soft, medium, or hard-boiled eggs.
Not cooking them at all is also an extremely popular way these tiny eggs are used—even more popular than raw chicken eggs.
This is because, for once, their size counts in their favor. They make excellent additions to tiny steak tartars or with sushi as there is a smaller chance of salmonella being present in the eggs themselves.
You can also make pickled eggs which involve you placing boiled quail eggs inside a vinegar solution and allowing them to cure for a couple of days. This is considered a delicacy in some countries.
And then last, but not least, quail eggs can also be used in the pastry kitchen. You can whip the egg whites for cakes, batters, or to make meringue. You can use the egg yolk as part of egg wash to help give more color to pastries and crusts.
And, you can incorporate whole quail eggs into recipes to act as the enriching and binding ingredients.
Quail Eggs Nutrition
Nutrition, especially when it comes to a protein source like eggs, is very important and a great way to determine whether these tiny eggs have a place in your diet.
Naturally, it is difficult to compare one tiny quail egg to one (much larger) chicken egg. So, the best way to do that is to compare the nutritional information based on an equal amount of each by weight.
We have included a chart below to better show how quail eggs stack up against regular chicken eggs.
First, quail eggs are slightly higher in calories compared to chicken eggs. And, to keep it short and not so boring, they are basically higher in everything compared to chicken eggs.
This includes being slightly higher in protein content, fat, cholesterol, vitamins, and minerals.
They are definitely more nutritious options, but with the changes almost being minute, the only way you will be able to make a long-term difference is if you consume quail eggs instead of chicken eggs exclusively.
And, that being said, the amount of quail eggs you need to consume and the price you are going to pay for them almost isn’t worth it. We would say quail eggs are definitely more of a specialty ingredient than an everyday one.
Quail Egg Uses
So, we have already discussed some ways quail eggs can be cooked and used in cooking, but what dishes can actually be made using quail eggs? These are some traditional and very popular quail egg dishes that are a must-try!
- Kwek-kwek is a very popular quail egg dish made in the Philippines. It is made using a soft-boiled egg dipped in an orange-colored batter, which is then skewered and deep-fried.
- Serve raw quail egg over sushi (preferably raw fish like tuna or salmon).
- Scotch quail eggs
- Devilled quail eggs
- Pickled or smoked quail eggs
- Quail egg wontons
What Is A Chicken Egg?
So, obviously, everyone is more familiar with chicken eggs, but maybe we have a fact or two you may enjoy!
Chicken eggs are laid by, you guessed it, chickens! It is impossible to say exactly which type of chicken is most often used to produce chicken eggs, and it entirely depends on where you are in the world.
What we can however say, is that it is some of these breeds include white leghorns, gold lines or hybrids, Sussexes, and Plymouth Rocks.
In the United Kingdom alone, over 34 million eggs are used per day! That’s crazy, right? Some chicken breeds can produce over 300 eggs per year (per chicken).
Characteristics Of Chicken Eggs
Chicken eggs are almost always brown (or a shade of brown), but some species do produce white eggs.
Regardless, because chicken eggs are the most produced and consumed egg around the world, there are various standardized sizes available on the market.
The size is mainly determined by the breed of the chicken, the diet of the chicken, and even the living conditions.
Here are the most common chicken egg sizes you will find on the market. These weights are the minimum a dozen eggs of that size (combined) should weigh.
- Peewee eggs; 15 ounces
- Small eggs; 18 ounces
- Medium eggs; 21 ounces
- Large eggs; 24 ounces
- Extra-large eggs; 27 ounces
- Jumbo eggs; 30 ounces
When it comes to the flavor of eggs, well, we all know what eggs taste like. But, to put it into perspective, they have a slightly more eggy flavor than quail eggs, but less intense than duck eggs.
Preparing Chicken Eggs
Preparing chicken eggs is much easier compared to quail eggs. Their shell is much harder and won’t break as easily.
It also won’t shatter into a million tiny pieces, so even if you have to fish out a piece or two from a bowl, it won’t take that long.
Chicken eggs can be boiled whole with their shell still on. After being boiled, the shell can be removed and discarded.
A neat trick to peel a boiled egg is to tap the top and bottom of the egg so that it cracks, and use a tablespoon to help peel the entire shell off in one go.
You can also crack the shell using a sharp edge like a table, a corner of a bowl, or even using a knife.
We like to crack eggs by tapping two of them against each other. Only one crack at a time allowing you to work with less equipment on the table.
Using Chicken Eggs In Cooking
There are a thousand ways to cook an egg, and then you can add a thousand more! Chicken eggs arguably paved the road to any other cooking technique used for eggs.
And because they are larger, they actually have some other neat functions as well.
Some special uses for eggs are then acting as binding ingredients. This applies to when they are used to help crumb food, or when they are incorporated into batters, pastries, and other baked goodies.
Eggs also help enrich products and help add color, flavor, and nutrients that few other ingredients can compete with. And, you can easily add them to smoothies for an added protein boost!
Chicken Eggs Nutrition
As we have mentioned before, quail eggs are much more nutritious compared to chicken eggs. But, the one advantage we feel chicken eggs have over quail eggs is their size.
You require a lot less chicken egg (in number) to obtain the same amount of nutrients almost 5 quail eggs will give you.
And, chicken eggs are also more cost-friendly, making them an easy choice when you have to consider quantity.
Chicken eggs are still an excellent source of protein, fat, and vitamins, and minerals.
What’s The Difference?
Even though the differences are pretty obvious, to summarise them again, the size and appearance is the most notable difference between quail eggs and chicken eggs. Chicken eggs are about 3 times as big as a quail egg.
A large chicken egg (which is the standard for recipes) measures at 62mm in length and 43mm in diameter. This is compared to a quail egg that measures at 35mm in length and 27mm in diameter.
Chicken eggs are also some shade of brown and can also be found in white. Quail eggs are shades of brown, white, and grey with noticeable dark speckles on them.
In terms of nutrition by weight, 100 grams of quail eggs are more nutritious than 100 grams of chicken eggs. However, because quail eggs are smaller, you would need a lot more to get the same amount of nutrients.
And, because they are rarer, they cost more, ultimately making them better suited as a specialty ingredient rather than an everyday one.
Both of these eggs can be prepared in the same way, but quail eggs have more fragile shells and require care when opening.
You can buy a pigeon or quail egg scissors to help you, or use a serrated knife to cut it open without shattering the shell.
And finally, when it comes to how you use these eggs, it all comes down to whether you are willing to put in the money and effort.
Preparing a hundred quail eggs to make meringue is going to take a considerable amount of time compared to cracking a few chicken eggs.
Other than that, they are pretty much the same in texture, taste, how they function, and how they can be cooked.
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