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Lemon Rosemary Roasted Quail

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Lemon rosemary roasted quail has big flavor and only takes 12-15 minutes in the oven. This recipe will help you to cook a tender and delicious meal from the small birds.

Spatchcocked lemon rosemary roasted quail served with roasted green beans and rice.

If you are looking for a new way to enjoy quail, you are in the right place. This simple preparation lends a lot of flavor without a lot of effort.

Whether you raise quail, hunt them, or buy them, the little birds are great addition to your meal rotation. Everyone can have their own bird, which is always fun.

Ingredients for roasted quail including quail, lemon, oil, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Plus it makes serving them easy as there is no carving to be done. Just give everyone a quail and dig in!

My parents raise quail, so we have had the great pleasure of getting to try different quail egg recipes over the years. We have also gotten to try several preparations for the birds themselves.

Usually they end up on the grill, which is a great way to cook them. Quail really do great with high heat and low cook times.

And honestly, this recipe could easily be adapted to be done on the grill. Keep the marinade the same, but just toss them on a hot grill for a few minutes.

But this time, I thought it would be fun to spatchcock and roast them. We all agreed that the lemon and rosemary complimented the meat perfectly and this is our new favorite preparation.

Spatchcocking Quail

In order to help the birds cook evenly and quickly, we spatchcocked the quail. Luckily, it is really very easy to do.

Because the birds are so small, you can do it with a couple of snips and some kitchen scissors. Hold the bird breast side down and cut up the backbone.

Close up of flat quail with lemon and rosemary on it, ready to eat.

You can cut on either side and remove it completely if you want, but I just cut right down the middle to make it fast and easy. A quick snip of the wishbone completes the job.

Then just place the bird breast side up on the cutting board and push down. Then it is ready for the next step, which in this case would be the marinade.

The Marinade

Allowing your meat to soak in a marinade for a bit before cooking it is such a great way to add flavor. This simple marinade comes together in just a few minutes and makes all the difference in the way the quail taste.

Just zest and juice a lemon. Then stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and some oil.

Baking dish filled with raw quail coated in lemon and rosemary marinade mixture.

Either mix them all together in a gallon plastic bag or shallow dish large enough to hold all of the quail. Then add the spatchcocked quail and make sure they get full contact with the tasty mixture.

If you have time, rearrange the birds a couple of times during the marinating process to make sure no parts are untouched. Otherwise, just refrigerate them in the mixture for at least an hour but up to 8.

Roasting the Birds

Quail are best cooked in high heat for a short period of time. Take them out of the refrigerator to let them start coming to room temperature as you preheat the oven to 475F.

Place the meat breast side up on a rimmed baking pan. I went ahead and tossed some fresh green beans in some extra marinade and put them on the pan as well, but that is totally optional.

All it will take is 12-15 minutes in the hot oven and they will be ready to go. Quail can be eaten with a little pink left in the breast, so they are done when the middle of the breast is about 150F on a meat thermometer.

If that makes you nervous, you can take the breasts to 160F. But because quail are lean, overcooking it can easily make it tough and dried out.

More Dinner Ideas

We also like bacon wrapped roasted quail with soy sauce and brown sugar. The sweet and sour preparation is perfect with the bacon.

BBQ quail is another great way to enjoy the game birds. It’s a wonderful way to make them on the grill.

If chicken is more your thing, try lemon grilled chicken. It uses yogurt, lemon juice and oregano to make the juiciest chicken you’ve ever had!

Did you make this great recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!

Spatchcocked lemon rosemary roasted quail served with roasted green beans and rice.

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Quail

Lemon rosemary roasted quail has big flavor and only takes 12-15 minutes in the oven. This recipe will help you to cook a tender and delicious meal from the small birds.
4.93 from 13 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinners
Cuisine American
Servings 5 Servings
Calories 276 kcal


  • 5 Quail
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Spatchcock the quail by cutting down the backbone and pressing them flat.
    5 Quail
  • Zest and juice the lemon. Combine the lemon zest and juice with the oil and seasonings.
    1 lemon, 3 Tablespoon cooking oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Coat the prepared quail in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 8 hours.
  • Pull the quail out of the refrigerator and place breast side up on a rimmed baking pan. Allow to come to room temperature as the oven preheats to 475°F.
  • Roast for 12-15 minutes or until the breast meat registers 150-160°F.


I like to toss some green beans or another veggie on the sheet pan with the quail and let them all roast together. 



Serving: 1QuailCalories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 22gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 257mgFiber: 1g
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Recipe Rating

Andrea Nine

Monday 19th of September 2022

Oh what a great company meal! I would wow my guest with this one! I bet it is so flavorful!


Monday 19th of September 2022

It really is!