How to cook Quail

What is Quail?

Many game birds are thought to only be served at high end restaurants. Of these, one in particular that usually comes to people’s minds is quail. This is a small and delicate bird that we often see on cooking shows as well. However, Quail is in fact easily accessible for home cooks simply by going to their local butcher or an online butchers. Due to this availability, we thought we’d put together this guide on how to cook quail at home.

Quails are small birds that have a round body and small pointed wings that are part of the pheasant family. There are a wide range of Quail species, with the most common in the UK being the European Quail. They grow to just 16-18cm in length and weigh between 75-135g. As such, you typically see multiple whole Quails per serving. Quail is a game meat that’s often compared to chicken except with a gamier taste more akin to duck breast.

Cooking methods for Quail

Quail is a very delicate meat and as such, it is important that gets treated with care when cooking. This also means that certain cooking methods might be inappropriate or too skill intensive. Due to the small size of the bird, Quail is very easy to overcook. The following cooking methods have therefore been selected because they are effective at locking in moisture and highlighting the unique flavour of the Quail.

Pan searing

Probably the quickest and most straight forward method for cooking Quail, pan searing is effective at achieving a crispy skin. Preheat a pan or cast iron skillet on medium and add some oil or butter. It should only take a few minutes to cook through. You can also bast the bird with some herbs and extra butter in much the same way you would a steak towards the end of the cook time.


Grilling on high heat gives the Quail a lovely smoky flavour dimension. Here, marinating the bird beforehand can be a good way to impart more flavour and protect the delicate flesh during cooking. It should only take a few minutes each side.


Roasting Quail in the oven can see excellent results. Simply set the oven to 200°C (400°F), rub the bird with oil and seasonings, then roast for 15-20 minutes. To be extra safe, check that the internal temperature reads around 75°C (165°F).

Game meats delivered to your door

Game meats such as Quail, Venison, and Duck are considered to be extra special and not available in most supermarkets. Or at least not high quality game meat. The Village Butchers works with local farmers to make sure you can really taste the unique flavour of game meats. We believe everyone should have the option to enjoy meats like Quail, which are so quintessentially British. If you have any questions about our online butchers UK services, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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