Deutsch: Wachtel / Español: Codorniz / Português: Codorna / Français: Caille / Italiano: Quaglia

Quail in the food context refers to a small game bird that is widely consumed across various cuisines around the world. It is appreciated for its delicate, sweet, and slightly gamey flavor. Quail can be prepared in numerous ways, including roasted, grilled, and fried, and is often considered a delicacy in fine dining.


Quail are small birds that are part of the pheasant family. Their meat is tender and flavorful, with a taste that is often compared to chicken but more refined. Quails are typically prepared whole due to their small size, and their eggs are also highly prized for their unique flavor and culinary uses.

The birds are either wild-caught or farm-raised, with the latter being more common in commercial cooking due to consistency in size and flavor. Quail meat is high in protein and contains important vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy choice for a lean and nutritious meal.

Application Areas

Quail is used in a variety of culinary applications:

  • Appetizers: Quail eggs are often used in gourmet starter dishes or served pickled.
  • Main Courses: Whole quails can be roasted or grilled, often stuffed with herbs or other seasonings.
  • Salads: Smoked or cooked quail meat can be sliced and added to salads for a rich, flavorful protein component.
  • Roasted or Grilled: Often served whole, either roasted or grilled with herbs and spices.
  • Stuffed: Quails can be stuffed with ingredients like wild rice, herbs, or other meats.
  • Sautéed: The breasts can be quickly sautéed and served with sauces made from wine or spirits and fruit.

Well-Known Examples

Some well-known dishes that feature quail include:

  • Roasted Quail: Often served in European and North American restaurants with a variety of accompaniments such as wild mushrooms, root vegetables, and rich sauces.
  • Quail Eggs: Used in Asian cuisines, either boiled and served with sea salt or used in sushi.
  • Stuffed Quail: In Middle Eastern cuisine, quail is commonly stuffed with rice, fruits, nuts, and spices.
  • Quail in Grape Leaves: A Mediterranean dish where quail is marinated, wrapped in grape leaves, and grilled.
  • Quail with Wild Mushrooms: A popular European dish, featuring sautéed quail with a rich mushroom sauce.
  • Southern Fried Quail: In the Southern United States, quail is often breaded and fried, served with country gravy.

Treatment and Risks

Quail, like other poultry, needs to be handled and cooked properly to avoid foodborne illnesses:

  • Proper Cooking: Quail should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.
  • Handling: Like all raw meats, quail should be handled with care. Kitchen surfaces and utensils should be sanitized after contact with raw quail to prevent cross-contamination.


Quail can be easily incorporated into gourmet meals at home with some basic recipes:

  • Simple Roasted Quail:
    • Ingredients: 4 quail, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic.
    • Method: Rub the quail with olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 15-20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  • Quail Egg Salad:
    • Ingredients: Quail eggs, mixed salad greens, vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes, and croutons.
    • Method: Boil quail eggs for about 2-3 minutes, then cool and peel. Arrange salad greens on plates, top with halved quail eggs, tomatoes, and croutons. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
  • Roasted Quail Recipe: Ingredients:

    • 4 whole quails, cleaned and patted dry
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Fresh herbs (such as thyme and rosemary)
    • Garlic, minced


    1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 200°C (approximately 400°F).
    2. Prepare Quails: Rub the quails with olive oil and season both inside and out with salt and pepper. Place herbs and a little garlic inside the cavity of each bird.
    3. Roast: Place the quails in a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked and the skin is golden brown.
    4. Rest: Let the quails rest for a few minutes after removing them from the oven before serving.
    5. Serve: Serve the quails whole or carved, with accompaniments such as roasted vegetables or a light salad.

Similar Terms

  • Poultry
  • Game birds
  • Chicken
  • Pheasant
  • Grouse


Quail is a versatile and refined food ingredient used in various dishes across global cuisines. Known for its delicate taste and nutritional value, quail provides an elegant alternative to more common poultry and enhances any meal with a touch of gourmet sophistication.


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