Quail Recipe & Nutrition - Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food (2024)

At a Glance

Quails are the smallest members of the Galliformes family, which also includes chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks. Like many members of this family, quails tend to be plump and easy prey. Although quails are not mainstream fare, humans have been breeding them for food for over ten thousand years. Quails are easy to keep in captivity, easy to cook, and have tender, flavorful flesh. Their taste is similar to, although more assertive than, chicken, and even their small, tender bones can be eaten. They are so small that even one whole bird would serve only as an appetizer for a human appetite. Like most animals, quails are rich in protein. They are also a good source of iron, vitamin B6, zinc, and vitamin B3. For those who cannot bear to eat these creatures, quails are also sometimes kept as pets, and lay tiny speckled eggs that are also edible.


Galliformes is an order of birds, many of which we eat. In this family we find chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, pheasants, and others. The pinky finger of this family, the smallest of them all, are quails.

Quails are easy birds of prey. They are small, heavy-bodied, and they don’t run very fast or fly very well. Although they have sharp beaks, they are more cute than intimidating, except maybe to a small bug or a worm. For these reasons, quails end up being lunch for many species higher on the food chain.

There are over two hundred species of quails, which vary slightly in size and appearance. Most are between five and ten ounces. Some have smooth heads, and others have a stylish cowlick of plumes.

Europeans have been breeding quails for food for over ten thousand years, and records show that the Egyptians were breeding them even before that.

For those who cannot bear to eat these creatures, quails are also sometimes kept as pets, and lay tiny speckled eggs that are also edible.


Quails are small birds. One quail would be an appropriate hors d’oeuvre, whereas at least two would be more appropriate for an entrée.

Quails have a good ratio of meat to bones, and given tenderness and small size, the bones are usually eaten as well, instead of being removed. Quails have a delicate flesh with a taste that’s similar to chicken, but more flavorful.

Nutrition Info

One 4 oz portion of cooked quail (about 113g) has 257 calories, 28.5g of protein, 16g of fat, and no carbohydrates, fiber, or sugar. Quail is a good source of iron, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), zinc, and vitamin B3 (niacin).


Quails are not typically available in most grocery stores, and may either have to be special ordered, or purchased at specialty butchers.

Quails may be sold bone-in or de-boned, fresh or frozen.

Select birds that look plump with creamy, yellowish skin with a healthy pink tinge. The skin should look moist, but not wet. Their smell should be neutral. If you come across quails that have a greyish color or smell “off”, pass them by.


Fresh quail should be prepared shortly after purchase. Store quails in a sealed package in the fridge for two to three days before cooking, or freeze them for up to six months.

Once cooked, quail can stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to three months.


Quail must be cooked before eating it. Luckily, it is easy to cook and well-suited to many different methods of preparation, such as braising, roasting, or grilling.

Oven roasted quails are simple and fast. Here’s how to do it:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub the quails with olive oil and your choice of seasoning. Arrange the birds on a roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast for about 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and baste with juices. Place back in the oven and roast for another 10 minutes or so. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and serve with juices alongside your choice of sides.

Recipe: Bulgogi Quail

Quail Recipe & Nutrition - Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food (1)

Switch up your usual dinner choice with this delicious quail recipe. Serve with a side of your choice and enjoy.


plastic bag large enough to fit 6 quail
quail, frozen or fresh
cloves garlic, minced
sesame oil
1 tbsp
fish sauce
10 dashes
ginger, fresh, grated
1 tbsp
orange, juiced
orange, zested
to taste


Prep Time:20 minutes Cook Time:15 minutes Yield:6 servings

Prep all ingredients, and along with the quail place them into the plastic bag. Gently massage the flavors in the bag into the quail. Lay the bag flat in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

To cook the quail, remove it from the fridge to sit out at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

When ready, preheat a stove top grill pan to a really high temperature.

Remove the quail from the bag and place onto a plastic cutting board. Working one at a time, with a sharp knife, split the game bird in two down the length of the spine and breast bone. Repeat this for each quail.

When ready, cook each half meat side down for about 7 minutes, to sear and brown the skin (you may need to do this in batches). Turn them over to the other side, cooking for another 5 minutes. If you have a cooking thermometer, your reading should be about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serve with the side of your choice. Enjoy!

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Related Foods

  • Bison

  • Ham

  • Cod

  • Duck

Quail Recipe & Nutrition - Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food (2024)


What not to feed quail? ›

Know that some types of foods can be toxic to quail.

This includes avocado, caffeine, chocolate, grape seeds, meat, parsley, rhubarb, the stems and leaves of tomato plants, salty foods and treats, uncooked potatoes, and most citrus fruits.

Is quail a healthy meat? ›

Quail is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, iron and macronutrients such as calcium, phosphor, zinc and more. Here are a few prominent health benefits: it contains a host of vitamins, including Vitamin A, D, K and B. Quail eggs and meat are rich in selenium, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

What is the best feed for quail? ›

Because quail grow so quickly, they benefit from high protein feed initially. You can use regular chicken layer feed, but we recommend a higher protein. Layer feed is 16-18% protein. We use a turkey starter feed with 28% protein.

Is quail more nutritious than chicken? ›

Quail Vs Chicken

Compared to eating chicken, eating quail is better for you because quail meat is higher in vitamin C and iron. Quail gives you vitamin A whereas chicken does not. And quail also gives you more minerals and amino acids than chicken meat.

What is a quail's favorite food? ›

Grass seeds are another important element of a quail's diet, with Johnsongrass and Plains bristlegrass being a couple of their favorites. Desirable seeds should be “hard, slick” as opposed to “fluffy, chaffy” seeds.

Why can't you eat quail for 30 days? ›

A persistent myth holds that it is impossible to eat quail every day for a month. This has been the subject of a number of proposition bets; however, it has been achieved on several occasions. This "every-day-for-a-month" estimation may have been derived from a Biblical passage about quail.

Does quail meat raise blood pressure? ›

But, Quail meat (particularly Japanese quail meat) is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and control cholesterol levels. This also makes Quail meat an ideal choice for people with heart diseases.

What does quail taste like? ›

However, while quail and chickens are similar, they do have some differences. Most importantly, you shouldn't expect quail to taste exactly like chicken. Many people consider quail to have a much gamier taste than chicken. It is often referred to as tasting like a mix between chicken and duck.

Is apple cider vinegar good for quail? ›

Quail benefit from ACV similar to chickens. ACV reduces harmful bacteria in their gut and give quail an immunity boost.

Can quail eat cracked corn? ›

Whole corn is a favorite of Wild Turkeys and ducks, while cracked corn will attract doves, quail, and sparrows. To attract these birds, try mixing cracked corn with millet and feeding a scoopful on the ground or a platform feeder.

How long do quail live? ›

Small twigs, grass stems, leaves and feathers line the nest. Average life expectancy for a wild quail is 1.5 years although on occasion they may live for up to four years. Mature birds average eleven inches long and weigh from 5.1 to 6.5 ounces (160 to 200 grams.)

What are the disadvantages of quail meat? ›

A high intake of protein is not suitable for your health. Always seek advice from a physician if you want to consume Quail meat frequently. Quail meat should not be consumed by those who suffer from knee joint discomfort or joint pain, also known as inflammation of the knee.

Is quail a superfood? ›

Quail eggs are among the most nutritious foods you can get in your supermarket, providing virtually all the vitamins and minerals you need. It's no wonder people call them a “superfood!” But beyond their health benefits, they also taste amazing.

What type of quail is best to eat? ›

Bobwhite Quail are an excellent option for sport, hunting, and dog training. They take longer to mature than their counterpart the Coturnix Quail. Once mature, both types of quail are great for meat and eggs.

What is the natural predator to quail? ›

Cooper's hawks often are responsible for much of the avian induced mortality. Other hawk species (e.g. sharp shinned, red-tailed, red-shouldered, broad-winged, and marsh hawks) and owls occasionally eat quail, especially when quail are abundant.

Is bread bad for quail? ›

DO NOT FEED BREAD – bread is often the first kind of food humans give to birds. However, birds receive very little nutrition from bread and may die from a diet high on bread as this can cause malnutrition, especially in the winter when there is little other food available.

Can quail eat uncooked rice? ›

It is just fine to feed wild birds uncooked rice.

Is lettuce good for quails? ›

Things that quail eat include pasta, cake, rice, sweetcorn and lettuce. Basically, if they don't like it they won't eat it so you will quickly learn their dislikes and likes.

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