Do Darker Yolks Mean More Nutritious Eggs? Not Really, Says USDA.

Do Darker Yolks Mean More Nutritious Eggs? Not Really, Says USDA.

Elizabeth Licata
Jun 6, 2018
(Image credit: Jaral Lertjamekorn/Shutterstock)

I am such a sucker for a good egg. There's nothing like cracking open an egg and seeing its huge, round, orange-gold yolk — just ready to be cooked sunny-side up or turned into omelets, or even something like a tajarin pasta, which is a Piedmont pasta made of flour and like 40 egg yolks. (As you can see, I get a little carried away when I see a good egg.)

I'm so obsessed with eggs that I've considered trying to raise chickens myself, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now. So, I've been up and down the aisles of my farmers market trying to figure out which vendor, exactly, has the biggest, freshest eggs with the darkest, most beautifully orange yolks.

Darker egg yolks always feel richer, more indulgent, and just better than eggs with pale yellow yolks, right? They seem more healthful, too. But according to TODAY, darker egg yolks are not actually more nutritious. They just look different because of the hen's diet.

According to the USDA, egg nutrition is basically the same, regardless of yolk color. Eggs have the same amount of protein and fat and contain the same vitamins and minerals. Some research suggests that eggs from pasture-raised chickens might be more nutritious and have more Omega-3 fatty acids than standard commercial eggs, but pasture-raised eggs come in a variety of yolk colors, and yellow is not actually less nutritious than orange. A pasture-raised hen that eats a lot of corn or wheat might have eggs with pale yellow yolks, while an orange egg yolk just means the hen was eating more yellow or red foods, and the carotenoids turned the yolks a different color.

Still, a lot of people say they think eggs with darker yolks taste richer or more flavorful than eggs with yellow yolks, even if the nutritional profile is the same.

What do you think? Does egg yolk color make a difference in flavor?

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