The Reason Emu Eggs Are So Expensive

Have you ever eaten an emu egg? If you ate an entire one by yourself, you must have been pretty hungry since an emu egg has the same volume as a dozen or more chicken eggs. You must have been flush with cash, too, as these eggs are also pretty darn pricey. Highland Farm sells its emu eggs over the internet for $45 apiece, while Abbott Family Farm charges $50 when the eggs are in season. Wow, even at their recent peak prices, a dozen chicken eggs were never this expensive.

Why must emu eggs cost so much? Well, it's likely that scarcity plays a part in it. As of 2017, there were only about 11,500 emus in the U.S., while there are over half a billion chickens. Another factor may be that emus are typically used for meat or oil rather than kept as egg layers, which could also limit the number of eggs available for sale. What's more, emus only average about 30 eggs per season, with the fertilized ones meant for hatching being more valuable (about $100) than the unfertilized ones sold as food. 

If an emu farmer takes the time and trouble to hatch these fertilized eggs, the chicks are worth about $1000 at one week old, while adult emus can cost $10,000 or more depending on age and fertility. With the living birds representing such a substantial investment, it's no wonder that the eggs, even the unfertilized ones, may be seen as a rare delicacy.

Where to find emu eggs and how to use them

Let's say you've just won the lottery or landed a sweet deal with Food Network and you want to stock your fridge with emu eggs à la Geoffrey Zakarian. How and where do you buy them? We've already mentioned a few online farms that sell them and a Google search will bring up others, although there doesn't seem to be any one-stop Emu Eggs-R-Us clearinghouse. If you're lucky, you may be able to find the eggs at a farmer's market or even Whole Foods. At either place, the price may be slightly cheaper — a 2022 Reddit post shows eggs at a local market priced at a mere $35, while in 2019 Whole Foods sold them for $19.99. Bear in mind, though, that emu eggs are only available in season, which generally extends from November through March.

What, though, should you do with this eggs-travagant ingredient once you've posted emu egg selfies all over Instagram? The simplest thing would be to make an emu egg scramble or omelet. The eggs are not dissimilar to chicken or duck eggs in flavor but are said to be richer and fluffier. You could also fry or poach the eggs, although Food & Wine doesn't recommend hard-boiling them as they can take 90 minutes to cook and may have a bitter, sulfurous flavor. Too bad, since a giant deviled egg would make for a pretty impressive appetizer.