Oh, how I LOVE grilled quail…

I first had grilled quail a few years ago at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival at Marco Canora’s booth (his restaurant Hearth NYC is awesome by the way!), and ever since I’ve been hooked. If you’re looking to try something new in the grilling department, then give quail a try.

What does Quail Taste Like?

It has a richer flavor than chicken, and one quail is about the same serving size as a large chicken breast. Think of Quail like dark meat chicken – if you love dark meat then you will love Quail. I find quail must tastier than chicken. It is hard to find fresh, so look for it in the freezer section and if you can find it boneless, even better! I butterflied these little birds to they would lay flat on the grill- one quail is the perfect serving size per person.

grilled quail

Rosemary and lemon pair perfectly together- this seasoning paste is great for any poultry dish.

Rosemary lemon is my favorite flavor combo and it perfectly complements these tasty little birds that grill up a perfect golden brown. Make a simple herb seasoning paste, slather it under and over the skin and let it marinate for at least an hour to absorb the flavors.

Grilled Quail is a quick cook that is followed by dining pleasure! Trust me when I tell you that once you’ve had grilled Quail you will wonder what took you so long! I paired mine with skillet smashed sweet potatoes and an arugula salad. 

Butterfly the quail so it will lay flay on the grill and then add the seasoning paste underneath and over the skin and let it marinate for at least an hour.

Butterfly the quail so it will lay flat on the grill and then add the seasoning paste underneath and over the skin and let it marinate for at least an hour.


rosemary lemon grilled quail


How Long to Grill Quail

Quail is a small bird, you will simply butterfly it so it lays flat and it will cook very quickly one you put it on the grill. When you purchase quail, it will most likely come already spatchcocked, but in the case it is not, cut out the backbone and take the palm of your hand to flatten the quail so it lays flat on the grill. 

When wondering how long to grill quail, as with any protein, Temp, NEVER time, should be your guide. Use an internal temp thermometer like the Thermapen or the Thermopop to monitor the internal temp of your quail. Once you’ve hit an internal temp of 165 internal degrees. Once you pull it off the grill it will continue to cook. Let it rest under foil for 10 minuetes before serving.

If you are looking for more tasty recipes that will wow your friends and family, check out my Chicken and Poultry Page for more grilling inspiration! And if you do try this recipe, tag me on the gram or leave a comment below! Have you tried grilling quail before? What are your thoughts?

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Rosemary Lemon Grilled Quail

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Robyn
  • Yield: serves 4


Grilled Quail is a delicious dark meat bird that is quick to grill. This rosemary lemon seasoning paste is the perfect marinade to accentuate the tasty rich flavor of quail.


  • 4 quail, butterflied (spatchcocked- ie, cut the backbone out so they will late flat on the grill)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper


Cut the backbone of the quail in half so you can spread the birds flat on the grill. Next, combine the next ingredients with an immersion blender to form a seasoning paste. Using your index finger, gently separate the skin from the muscle, being careful not to tear the skin. Now, slather the seasoning paste generously under and over the skin of the quail. Let the quail marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before grilling.

Prepare your grill for 350 degrees, direct heat (ie, over the coals/gas). Oil your grill grates with canola or vegetable oil so your quail will not stick to the grill grates- don't forget this step, Very Important! Grill the quail for 6-8 minutes PER SIDE or until an internal read thermometer reads 170 degrees. Remove the quail and let rest under foil for 10 minutes.

Pair with your favorite sides! This recipe is perfect for date night or having friends over- the quail are so pretty on the plate and they grill up in no time!

*Affiliate links have been used in this post. If you purchase anything on the links, the site may make a small commission to help keep delivering great content to you!*


Did you enjoy this recipe?  Try these other delicious ideas!

Big Green Egg Smoked Chicken

Chinese 5 Spice Duck