Food & Recipes

What’s Really The Difference Between White And Brown Eggs?

We've always wondered!

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Sure, this question has been raised since the beginning of time, but that question leads to more questions, like:

What color was the egg?

Today’s grocery stores have all kinds of eggs for us to buy: organic, non-GMO, cage-free, and eggs grown inside a bus. Grocery stores also know that we judge eggs by the color of their shell, even though we all know it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Photo by nan palmero
Photo by nan palmero
Photo by nan palmero

Most grocery stores provide two different-colored eggs: brown and white. So, what’s the difference between these two eggs?

Simple answer: It’s all in the genes. Chickens with white feathers and white earlobes lay white eggs, and chickens with red or brown feathers and red earlobes lay brown eggs, according to a recent New York Times interview with Tro V. Bui, a fellow in animal science at Cornell University.

The more complicated answer: Their color is (sort of) the only difference between brown and white eggs.

They taste the same. Both are nutritional. And one shell is not harder than the other. If you find a soft shell, you found an egg laid by an older chicken. Whether the egg was white or brown would have no effect on that.

But, you might be asking yourself, why are brown eggs more expensive?

The reason brown eggs are expensive has to do with farmers’ costs. You see, reddish-brown-feathered chickens are larger, on average, than white-feathered chickens. The larger the bird, the more feed it needs to sustain itself. As all mothers of boys know, grocery shopping for larger appetites can be expensive, which is why the cost of more feed is offset at the grocery store, making brown eggs more expensive that white eggs.

Speaking of feed, if you’re worried about the quality of your eggs, worry about the quality of the feed the chickens eat. The type of feed affects both the nutritional value and the yolk color of your egg.

Next time you’re in a grocery store or a farmer’s market, remind yourself that it’s the inside of the egg that counts and don’t judge an egg by its shell. But if you’re looking for a third-party candidate because you’re not voting for either party in the Brown v. White debate, you can look to a different breed of chicken called Easter egg chicken.

Why are they called Easter egg chickens? They lay blue eggs.

Photo by normanack
Photo by normanack
Photo by normanack

Feature image by Soapydishwater/Flickr.