Egg Yolk Color Chart

Food color is an essential sensory factor that triggers our appetite and helps us perceive the food as delicious and packed with health benefits. However, some food is not that vibrant looking but full of nutrition, such as eggs.

Here the egg yolk is the game changer, and people often notice its color to have an idea of the quality of the eggs. So, is the color of the yolk a vital factor in telling us about the quality of the food? Let’s find out!!

Eggs are easy to consume, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper, and you have a delicious yet healthy breakfast on your plate, ready in 5 minutes.

Pastured eggs are higher in nutritional value compared to the eggs that you get from the local grocery store.

Commercial farms provide their chickens with supplements and a wide range of other beneficial foods such as carrot tops, algae, marigold flowers, etc.

The hen’s diet determines the egg yolk color. Farm fresh egg yolk color is a light orange or golden egg because of its high omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin content compared to lighter yolks.

Findings like these have convinced people to switch to farm-produced eggs from free-range chickens who can forage and thus have a healthier diet.

On the other hand, caged chickens have access to a limited number of nutrients they can transfer to their eggs because of their restricted diet.

egg yolk colors chart

Chicken Egg Yolk Color

Egg yolks are full of nutritional value and rich in vitamins and fatty acids, which are not present in egg whites.

You must have heard the phrase, “You are what you eat” well, for the chickens, you can say they lay what they eat. If the chickens are given a nutrition-packed diet, they will lay eggs with rich yolk color. 

Researchers found that light orange or golden yellow egg yolks have more vitamin and omega-3 fatty acids than pale-colored yolks. Healthy hens can process the nutrients they consume and pass some crucial nutrients to their eggs.

A single egg pack can give you a whopping 43 grams of protein, so it’s always a good idea to stock up on good-quality eggs. Let’s look at the different colors of egg yolks and their health benefits.

Yolk colorsReason
Yellow Yolk Given commercial diet 
Less xanthophyll given in diet
Less Omega-3, fatty acids and other nutritious hence the pale color.
Mid-Orange or goldenGiven a combination of commercial and varied diet
More xanthophyll in diet
More nutrients than pale yellow
More Omega-3, fatty acids and other nutritious hence a darker color
Deep orangeGiven varied diet along with supplements
More xanthophyll in diet
More nutrients than pale yellow and orange yolks
More Omega-3, fatty acids and other nutritious hence a darker color
RedGiven special diet rich in red bell pepper, annatto seeds along with supplements
More xanthophyll in diet
Most nutritional value
More Omega-3, fatty acids and other nutritious hence a dark color
White Caused by a diet rich in grains called Sorghum
High nutritional content Rich in Omega-3, fatty acids and vitamins
Yellow yolks with reddish whitesReddish white shows remains of embryo 
Nutritious including omega-3, fatty acids and other vitamins  are present
BrownCaused by feed rich in brown pigments
Have high nutritional value then a commercial egg
GreenGiven varied diet consisting mainly of naturally occurring plants
Green color is due to the diet consists of plants 
Yellow with red spots on the whiteBlood spot caused by a small rupture in hen’s blood vessel as she was laying egg
It can also be generic or due to stress
The blood spot may taste a little off
You can also fish out the red spot before consuming the egg
Yellow with red spotsBlood spot caused by a small rupture in hen’s blood vessel as she was laying egg
It can also be generic or due to stress
The blood spot may taste a little off
You can also fish out the red spot before consuming the egg
Double or multi yolksSuch egg are from young and highly productive hens Two ovulations take place simultaneously causing the egg to have double yolks
Three eggs ovulate at the same time causing the egg to have 3 yolks
More nutritional benefits than a single egg
Yellow egg yolks with pinkish egg whitesThe egg has been spoiled
Not safe for consumption
Yellow with brown spotsBrown spots are meat spots
Brown spot caused by a small rupture in hen’s blood vessel as she was laying egg
Nutritious including omega-3, fatty acids and other vitamins
Spread Out yellow yolkYolk may look weird and spreading out
May be caused by the present of harmful microbes or bacteria
Should be tossed in the bin right away!

Pale Yellow Yolks

Chicken that is fed a commercial diet loaded with soy, wheat, barley, white cornmeal, and corn. Since they are consuming less pigmented food and xanthophylls, this tends to lighten the color of egg yolks.

Mid-Orange Or Golden Yolks

Hens, with a diet rich in supplements from greens, xanthophylls, and alfalfa, lays eggs with a slightly dark yolk. The eggs you buy from the grocery store are likely to be of a lighter shade of orange.

Deep Orange Yolks

Chickens allowed to rear freely can pick up various foods full of nutrients. The egg yolks’ orange pigmentation usually results from accumulating foods such as cantaloupe and carrots. Due to this reason, many pasture-raised chickens have deep orange yolks.

Red Egg Yolks

You are lucky if an egg yolk is reddish because it’s incredibly nutritious. Chickens that are given lots of dark pepper or annatto seeds to feed on are most likely to have red yolks.

Chicken egg yolk color is directly associated with its quality. A dark yolk color indicates more nutritional benefits you are likely to get from it. Consult the egg yolk coloring chart below to find out about the different yolk colors and the quality of their feed.

Bad Egg Yolk

A lousy egg yolk color is likely pink, green, or iridescent. Such eggs may be contaminated by Pseudomonas bacteria and are not safe for consumption.

Also, if the white is watery, the egg may be too old and not fit to eat. A foul odor from the egg or black or green spots inside the egg also indicates a rotten egg.

Hard Boiled Egg Yolk Color

A hard-boiled egg can make you feel better if you are feeling a little under the weather. A hard-boiled egg always has a golden yolk if it’s boiled for the right time, which is 5 to 10 minutes.

The yolk may turn grey, green, or blue if you cook your egg for more than 10 minutes. The Gray egg yolk color of a boiled egg may not look appetizing, but it’s safe to eat.

The gray compound is Iron Sulfide, which results from a reaction between the Iron in the yolk and Hydrogen Sulfide from egg whites.


Discolored egg yolk safe to eat

If you notice discolored egg yolk or a red or green spot in your egg yolk, it may be an indication of bacterial growth hence it should not be consumed. Some people think red yolk is not safe to eat. It’s not true as red yolk has the highest nutritional value.

How do you know if an egg is bad after boiling

If a gray or green ring appears in the yolk of a boiled egg this may indicate its rottenness. A foul smell is also a good indication whether an egg is fit to eat. Moreover, if you notice any abnormal spots in your egg or if your white is too mastery you should avoid consuming the egg.

Are dark orange egg yolks safe to eat

Pale yellow, mid-orange, golden, dark orange and red colored yolks are all safe to eat. However, it is crucial to make sure the egg shell is not cracked which may have contaminated the egg yolks regardless of its color.


You may have noticed many celebrity chefs use eggs with a deep yolk color as it has more nutritional benefits and thus taste better.

The deep orange yolks are more flavorful than the lighter ones. This boost of flavors may give an extra kick to your scrambled eggs, baked casseroles, and other egg-made delicacies.

So, if you ever had any doubts about why free-range eggs should be bought, now you have several incentives to help you decide. You can even consider raising your chickens to have an unlimited supply of eggs for your meals.