An improved method for the recovery of xanthophylls from corn gluten is provided. More specifically, a method for the recovery of xanthophylls from corn gluten whereby relatively dry corn gluten is extracted with an organic alcohol followed by a saponification reaction to convert xanthophyll esters to xanthophylls is described. Using this method, xanthophylls can be recovered from corn gluten in higher yields, greater efficiencies, and higher purity as to compared to prior art methods. Moreover, the xanthophyll product recovered in this method is a crystalline, powdery solid ideally suited for use in food products and pharmaceuticals. This material is especially suited for use in poultry feeds to provide the desired, healthy yellow color or hue in broiler and egg yolks.