What Is The Difference Between A Yellow And An Orange Egg Yolk?

Akash Sehrawat

3 min read | Aug 29, 2019



There are predominantly three egg-yolk colors.  See the image below.



Image source 1https://www.wideopenpets.com/which-one-of-these-eggs-comes-from-a-healthy-chicken/


Hens lay eggs, and the product(eggs) is as healthy as its source, the hens!

The Difference Between A Yellow And An Orange Egg Yolk


If hens are pasture-raised-which means they are allowed to graze on the green pastures throughout the day, where they eat insects, worms, grass, and even weed which is their natural diet, then the yolk color will be dark orange (the one on the extreme left).


The Orange Color Is Due To The Compound Called Carotenoids.


Carotenoids are anti-oxidants, and this compound gives the egg yolk an orange color. This class of nutrients is found mainly in pasture feeds.


On the other extreme, when hens are caged, free-range, and cage-free (see chart below), basically, they spend very little time out in the pastures eating their natural diet, i.e., insects and worms.



Image source 2https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-are-cage-free-eggs-2216573


In this case, hens mostly eat a commercial feed of soy and corn! And the color of the yolk from these hens will be pale- yellow!


Because it’s way cheaper to stock up a lot of hens in cages, and even cage-free does not require a significantly large portion of land, these eggs are cheaper!




Egg Yolk Color Is Widely Regarded As A Good Indicator Of An Egg’s Health


And I strongly recommend that you should stick with the color on the extreme right-orange color. Dark orange color, however, is very tough to get. They are super-expensive, plus their availability is very limited.


One such brand I consumed for about a year was the best eggs in the United States, according to The Cornucopia Institute. 3https://www.cornucopia.org/scorecard/eggs/


Few Side Notes


Because people are willing to pay a premium for orange yolks, companies have started to add synthetics and other coloring agents in the feeds of a hen so that the color of the yolk comes out to be orange! Don’t worry!!


A Foolproof Method to procure a superior egg is to just look at the label.



As you can see in the picture, the above-the keyword on Stueve Organic eggs is ‘Pasture-Raised’ 4https://www.facebook.com/stueveorganic/ Pasture-raised eggs are also nutritionally superior to cage-free/free-range eggs and should be preferred.


In one egg-testing project by Mother Earth News in 2007, it was concluded that pasture-raised hens contain, 5https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/free-range-eggs-zmaz07onzgoe


-1/3 less cholesterol


-1/4 less saturated fat


-2/3 more vitamin A


-2 times more omega-3 fatty acids


-3 times more vitamin E


-7 times more beta carotene


To find pastured producers near you, check out your local sources. 6http://www.eatwild.com/, 7http://www.localharvest.com/


What About The Shell Of An Egg? Is A Brown Egg Superior To A White Egg?


This just depends on the breed of hens. Hens that lay brown eggs are larger in size, and they need to be fed more. Therefore, you will find brown eggs to be more expensive than white eggs!


If you are worried about whether you should have egg yolk in the first place, read my article. A common concern is that eating egg yolk raises cholesterol. I have busted this myth.


Related Articles:


Is Egg Good For Health? | How Many Eggs Can I Eat In A Day? 


5 Egg Nutrition Facts That You Should Know About



Ideal Choice 


Pasture-Raised Eggs


And you’ll find these words written on the box that the eggs come in. In most cases, the yolk you’ll get from these eggs will be orange, could be dark orange too! Very slim chances of golden-yellow or bright yellow colored but never pale-yellow.


Also, the yolk from pasture-raised hens will be firm, intact, and never runny. If hens are pasture-raised, then the feed will probably be organic, non-Gmo, and free from herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and antibiotics.


Although you cannot assume this, this fact should be mentioned on their box and/or on their website.


Secondary Choice


For most people, availability and budget (pasture-raised eggs are expensive) can be an issue.


Organic, Non-GMO


They are free from herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and antibiotics.




Hens are allowed some time in pastures, but the area is small and limited. The color of the yolk from free-range, even cage-free, may be bright yellow or even orange. It’s very, very tough to know if the company is adding coloring agents to produce orange yolk.


What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.

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About Akash Sehrawat

Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.


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