Egg Yolk Color. Pale Yellow to Deep Orange. Egg Yolk Color Meaning

Eggs are among the most popular superfoods among all people, rich and poor. Highly delicious, eggs are the cheapest source of animal protein to man.

They are also versatile. There are so many ways to prepare to meet your expectations. The yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg. It contains calories, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Most people associate egg yolks with deep orange, but they have a range of colors, including pale yellow and light orange.

Besides the myriad of colors seen in eggshells, egg yolks also come in different shades. The color of the egg yolk can change from pale yellow to a deep orange hue.

Do you wonder why such egg yolks are much darker than others?

We will break down why these colors are different, why the color range, and what that means pertaining to nutrition and flavor.

What determines the color of the yolk?

The color of egg yolks comes from carotenoids.

Carotenoids are plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables yellow, orange and red hues. Plants such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, and Vietnamese gac fruit have a lot of carotenoids. 

They are also found in green plants. Carotenoids are responsible for the absorption of sunlight and protection against sun damage.

This is the reason we see trees turn shades of orange and yellow during Autumn as the green chlorophyll disappears.

Why is my egg yolk dark orange or Pale Yellow?

So what determines the yolk color, and is one better than the other.

Different reasons can cause the yolk to have a pale yellow or dark orange color. However, the yolk color does not affect the flavor of the egg though different colors have varied concentrations of micronutrients.

The egg yolk color is determined by the diet of the chicken and the compounds in these foods.

The Common colors found in egg yolk

  1. Dark Orange

Dark orange egg yolks are mostly common from pasture-raised hens.

The color is caused by the well-balanced and healthy diet where pasture-raised hens roam outside in the pasture where they supplement their diet with fresh grass and things like worms, spiders, betties, and grasshoppers.

These diets contain carotenoids responsible for the red and orange color in living organisms and are the reason for the dark orange color in yolks.

However, it’s not necessarily for a hen to produce eggs that have dark orange yolks because any hen with access to nutritious food can lay such an egg.

  1. Mid orange to yellow

Hens that feed on a vegetarian diet are likely to have colored egg yolks.

Such diets usually include foods that contain xanthophyll, such as corn, beans, and alfalfa.

The pigment is responsible for the yellow color in plants and animals hence the yellow color effect on the yolk.

It is the most common color in egg yolk.

  1. Pale yellow

Pale yellow yolks are common in hens that feed on foods with low xanthophyll levels, including white cornmeal, barley, or wheat.

In some cases, the egg yolk may even be white!

Are pale egg yolks safe to eat?

When your chicken feed is on alfalfa or yellow corn, the eggs are likely to be medium-yellow.

However, if they eat barley or wheat, they produce yolks lighter in color.

A diet with little or no color, such as cornmeal, leads to pale and nearly white yolks.

Eggs with pale egg yolks are safe to eat. Despite the shade, they have almost the same nutrition as eggs with darker yolks.

Egg yolks with a strong orange color.

Where to buy eggs with orange yolks

Ideally, you want an egg yolk that is dark a color and vibrant orange. Such yolks are common in pasture-raised hens that enjoy a balanced diet consisting of worms, grasshoppers, and fresh grass. Their diet contains high carotenoid concentration, which results in the rich orange color.

If you are looking for eggs with egg yolks, look for a homesteader or farmer who is raising their chickens on pasture.

Why is my egg yolk dark orange?

Now that we know a little forethought on what your chicken can make darker yolks, here is a list of the foods you can feed your backyard chicken to get eggs with the darker color yolk.

  • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli leaves, and leaf lettuce
  • Vegetables that are orange in color include squash, pumpkins, carrots, and pumpkins
  • Orange or yellow flowers such as buttercups, marigolds, and goldenrod
  • Red vegetables and fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and beets

Are eggs with darker yolks better?

Chicken that lay dark orange yolks is an indication that your hens are healthy and happy. Though there is no link between the yolk color and the nutrition content, one looks better on your plate than the other.

Are dark orange egg yolks safe to eat?

The color of the yolk should not deter you from enjoying your eggs. Whether it’s orange, yellow, or even pale, as long as the eggs are fresh, you do not have to worry because they are safe to eat.

What does the color of the egg yolk say about the health of your chicken?

Hens that feed on nutritious foods not only make eggs with dark color yolks, but the size of the eggs is also bigger;

Darker yolks are richer in Vitamin C, A, and omega fats.

Though the macronutrients with dark-colored and pale yolks are the same, we must also account for the egg size. Large eggs contain more nutrients because they have more albumin and yolk concentration.

What is the nutrition value for different colored egg yolks?

The nutrition value for eggs is the same regardless of the color of the yolk. The only difference is that darker colored egg yolks are likely to have a higher Vitamin D and omega-three content in the eggs because of diet differences. However, the critical thing to note is that whichever type of egg, you should not skip eating the yolk because it carries the most nutrients in an egg.


There are several chicken feeds and diets you can give your chicken. You only need to remember that your chicken will lay what you feed them.

So the bottom line is that providing your chicken is a nutritious and well-balanced diet is not only good for your eggs, but you will also enjoy vibrant colored egg yolk.

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About James

I grew up on a small farm. My parents used to grow food and keep animals for our sustenance. They would sell the surplus to make an extra coin to supplement the income from their jobs. I am taking the same path. I have over 40 chickens for eggs and meat. I also grow vegetables in my backyard. follow me on Twitter

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