What Does Horse Taste Like?

Most people want to know what horse meat tastes like mostly out of curiosity. Some parts of the world do eat horse meat, but Americans think of horses as a majestic, powerful animal not fit to eat. In fact, when traces of horse meat are found in restaurant or frozen food, it’s often cause for quality concern.

So is the cause for concern the taste? What does horse meat taste like?

Horse meat is relatively sweet compared to other animal meats. Eaters say that horse tastes more rich than beef. Few to none reported that it tastes bad at all.

What meats does horse taste like? Why?

Horse meat tastes a little sweeter in part because horses tend to offer lean meat. They use their muscles a bit more than most animals, and their muscles are less fatty as a result.

Some triers or horse meat say they can’t tell the difference especially well, and some even ordered it off a menu at a foreign restaurant without realizing they were eating horse meat. 

The general claim is that horse meat is slightly richer and sweeter than beef. To give a good example using two common meats, some claim it tastes like a cross between venison from deer and beef. Venison is known for being rich, slightly sweet, and lean.

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Horse meat can be more gamey, depending on what it ate. Gamey literally means that the meat tastes natural, with hints of grass, nuts, and whatever the horse eats off the ground.

What is the texture of horse meat?

The texture of horse meat is also similar to beef – to the point again where some have a hard time noticing the difference.

While one might expert horse meat to be a bit tougher and chewier than cow beef, it’s not quite that. Of course, overcooking or preparing horse meat in specific ways can make it tougher, but it doesn’t come that way naturally.

What does horse meat look like?

You might not be surprised to learn that horse meat does look like beef. The coloring and potentially marbling is very similar to beef.

Horse meat also carries a similar distinction to other meats like beef in that older horses tend to produce a more dark red meat. Younger houses who are harvested or hunted tend to produce a lighter colored, potentially pink meat.

So no, horse does not have any particular distinct look that makes it look different next to beef. The exception to this is higher fat beef which has more fat around the edges. The leanness of horse meat might make a visual difference here.

How is horse meat served?

Remember the more popular beef? You’ll find horse meat served and available like ground beef, patties, and other ways similar to ground beef.

One story seen had a customer ordering a burger at a European restaurant and not realizing they had ordered a horse meat burger. They ate it anyway, not knowing it was horse meat rather than their preferred beef burger.

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Like chicken and beef, horse meat has a friend in sausage, in part because it’s easily ground and mixed with spices and vegetables.

Soup is a good place to put horse meat. Soup or stew can also help you disguise the taste of horse meat for people who might otherwise detect the difference easier.

Is horse meat healthy?

Horse meat has less fat than regular beef and significantly more protein. 

Vitamin B and iron are also quite present in horse meat, and are good for overall health including blood and muscle building. Vitamin B assists with brain health, cell restoration, and your metabolism.

Want less cholesterol per serving? Horse meat is good for that. You’ll need less horse meat, will gain less bad cholesterol, and will still be full.

Horse meat will also fill you up faster since it has more protein.

Why is eating horse meat frowned upon?

There are a couple reasons why horse meat is not often eaten in America. First, people think it tastes bad when that’s not necessarily true.

Religion is part of the disconnect. While the bible makes no mention specifically of horse meat, Pope Gregory III said in 723 that eating horse meat would result in a serious near starvation punishment.

On another level, horses are considered beautiful, if not idealized creatures that most people would rather look at than cook and eat. Children and adults point out horses with a bit more curiosity and zeal than they do cows, which are eaten on a regular basis.

Historically, people a lot of horse meat during the two World Wars. Other meats were rationed for overseas soldiers and because of production issues. Horse became a great balance of a low price with a high protein diet that Americans desired – and in some cases, needed.

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Can I find horse meat anywhere?

Finding horse meat might be a little difficult, but it’s not the hardest meat to find. Some butchers prepare meat from horses. You can buy horse meat readily online. 

This is a more recent development as the slaughtering of horses for meat was illegal in the United States until 2011. Even though horse meat is now legal to produce in the US, some activist groups make it more difficult to produce without problems.


Horse meat, believe it or not, actually tastes pretty good. Expect a savory test like beef, with the leanness of other wilder meats. 

Many people do not eat horse meat for religious reasons, and because the horse itself is a rather attractive, revered animal. People would rather look at horses than consider turning them into a meal.

Head to a butcher shop! If you want to learn the real taste of butcher meat, you’ll have to go and try it with your next meat based meal.