Quail eggs are a popular traditional food in Asia. During my travels around China and Japan after college, I found eggs from these small game birds readily available in both supermarkets and small specialty grocers.
It is no surprise, then, that these tiny speckled eggs are most easily found in Asian supermarkets in the United States.
Quail vs Goose, Chicken and Duck Eggs
As you can see from the picture above, eggs from quail are tiny! It takes 3-4 to equal the size of a large chicken egg.
Hence, if you are following the traditional practice of feeding egg yolk to babies transitioning to solid food (fantastic brain food!), a quail soft boiled egg is the perfect size!
Check out the picture below that compares the size difference of quail versus chicken eggs. Try frying up these “Mickey Mouse eggs” made with one chicken egg and two quail eggs. Serving them this way helps young children with the transition to something different than they are used to.
What Do Quail Eggs Taste Like?
Quail eggs are mild in flavor, particularly in comparison to highly nutritious goose eggs, the richest eggs of all.
In a blindfold taste test, I honestly don’t think you could tell the difference between quail and chicken eggs!
Thus, if your family enjoys eggs in general, they will readily accept the addition of tiny speckled eggs to the menu.
Benefits of Eggs from Quail
One of the biggest benefits of raising quail for eggs is that the birds mature and start laying eggs within about 8 weeks!
This compares to about 20-24 weeks for chickens and 20-30 weeks for ducks. Geese typically start laying the spring after they hatch, so it can be many months before egg production begins. Sometimes, young geese will lay a few eggs in the fall, but this is the rare exception.
As food, eggs from these small game birds offer similar benefits to other types of eggs. Of course, what the quail are eating impacts significantly on the nutritional aspects of their eggs. More on this below.
Quail Egg Nutrition
The chart below compares the nutritional information for quail, goose, duck and chicken eggs.
Note that calorie for calorie, eggs from these small game birds are higher in protein than other varieties.
In total fat, they are about equivalent to duck eggs. They are slightly lower in fat per calorie than goose eggs and slightly higher than chicken eggs.
Vitamin and mineral content is similar to other eggs as well taking into consideration their tiny size.
Nutritionally speaking, there is no reason not to incorporate quail eggs into your family’s diet, as they compare well in overall nourishment potential to other types.
|Quail Egg||Goose Egg||Duck Egg||Chicken Egg|
|Carbs||0||2 g||1 g||<1 g|
|Protein||1.2||19.5 g||9 g||6 g|
|Total Fat||1||20 g||9.6 g||4.8 g|
|Saturated||0.3||5 g||2.6 g||1.6 g|
|Cholesterol||75||1227 mg||619 mg||213 mg|
What Do Quail Eat?
In the wild, quail love to eat insects, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and other available plants.
Unfortunately, when domesticated for meat or egg production, quail are subject to the same abuses from commercial feed as poultry birds.
In fact, all types of standard feeds for game birds work quite well for quail. (1)
This would involve the inclusion of genetically modified grains and soy. Hence, asking quail egg producers what their birds are eating is a very important question.
This is of particular importance if you are choosing quail due to chicken egg allergy concerns.
Ideally, you want to source from quail that are eating as close to a wild diet as possible. And yes, free-ranging quail can be accomplished despite their small size. (2)
Where to Find Quail Eggs for Sale
If you don’t live near a city with ethnic grocers and want to enjoy these tiny speckled eggs for yourself, no worries! The growing popularity of fresh eggs means that all varieties are becoming more widely available.
Increasing numbers of people are choosing to raise small flocks of backyard birds for fun as well as for food. When outdoor space is very limited, quail make a great choice.
In a nearby town to my community, a prominent sign out by the road proclaims “fresh quail eggs for sale”.
If you live and shop in an urban area, they are very easy to find at your local Asian grocer….probably raised in California! Sometimes, quail egg cartons contain spaces for 10 rather than 12 eggs.You can try buying them online too, but they are less expensive when you buy locally.
Ask around in your community as well. They may be more readily available from small local farms or homesteaders than you might think.
I know that when I started looking for them, suddenly roadside signs seemed to appear everywhere!
Best Quail Egg Recipes
These traditionally-inspired breakfast egg recipes work well by substituting quail for chicken eggs. Note that you will need to use 2-3 times as many eggs due to their tiny size!
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.