What Does Quail Taste Like?

Quail is a small bird that lives in the prairies and is known to rush out of the bushes and underbrush when startled, similar to the birds from the pheasant family. If you are looking for a decent bird to roast for dinner or something new for your hunting trip, read on. Once you bring it home and get it ready to cook, the next natural question is what does quail taste like? 

Quail is comparative to other types of fowl in flavor and taste including chicken, duck, geese, and pheasant. Because it is a wild bird and not farmed like domesticated ones, the flavor of their meat is often more intense and woodsy in nature. This tender and juicy meat is often deeper in flavor than regular poultry, and often carries a light tone of wild-game to it. 

Where is Quail Eaten?

Quail is eaten all over the United States and can be found in most parts of the world. Quail is a wild-game bird and legal to hunt wherever other game birds are found. Quail is often eaten during special occasions such as get-togethers and holidays.

There is a special delicacy found in quail eggs. Some like to make different recipes that use quail eggs, including pickling techniques that make them last longer. Unfortunately, pickled quail meat isn’t as tasty, so let’s look at how quail meat tastes in order to find a way to prepare it properly.

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What Does Quail Meat Taste Like?

Different from its eggs, quail meat is very similar to chicken, just more flavorful. Quail meat is comparable to other types of fowl including duck, geese, and pheasant. Quail has a wild-game taste to it that domesticated birds do not share. 

The breast meat of quail is not considered white meat like in the breast meat of chicken. The breast meat of quail is akin to duck and has more dark meat present. Quail is often thought of as a dark meat bird. 

The qualities of a dark meat are denser and more flavorful than the white meat of the same bird. In quail, this dark meat texture only serves to accentuate the wild-game flavor of the bird. The texture of quail meat changes according to how it is prepared and cooked.

Quail meat can be boiled, broiled, broasted, grilled, and or roasted, among other cooking methods. Roasted quail is one of the most popular ways to cook and enjoy fresh quail. 

How to Prepare Quail

Quail is most often hunted, cleaned, and plucked, and cooked at home. Sometimes you can find whole frozen quail in specialty stores during special occasions like holidays. Quail can be cooked in a variety of ways, some of the best including:

  • Grilled
  • Braised
  • Roasted

Quail should be fully cooked before eating to minimize the risk of consuming parasites or bacteria. Quail can be cooked in a variety of ways very similar to other domesticated bird dishes. Quail can also be used in any recipe that calls for its close relative, the pheasant. 

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How to Make a Meal from Quail

There are different ways one can enjoy quail. Often these birds are best cooked and then served whole due to their smaller size. One of the best ways to make multiple birds is to roast them in the conventional oven.

Roasted Quail:

  • Four whole quail 
  • 5 or 6 whole bay leaves
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup of water 
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • To a small cast iron dish, or regular casserole dish, place the cleaned, gutted, and thawed whole quail into the dish
  • Add water, butter, bay leaves, salt, and pepper
  • Cover with tin foil and roast for forty five minutes
  • Remove the cover and let the quail cook for another twenty to twenty-five minutes
  • Remove the quail from the oven and let rest for ten minutes before serving
  • Serve with roasted vegetables or potatoes for a fully complete meal


Quail is a wild-game bird that is found in the prairies of the United States and also can be found all over the world. Quail can be hunted or found whole and frozen in specialty stores close to special occasions like holidays. Quail meat is most similar to other fowl including chicken, duck, geese, and pheasant. 

Quail can be used in a variety of dishes and its texture and flavor can change accordingly. Plain quail meat is tender and juicy and has a bite of wild-game taste to it. This is comparable to other wild-game birds, but on the lighter side.