Rosemary and Orange Roasted Quail Recipe

This Rosemary and Orange Roasted Quail Recipe is very much a finger food – it's impossible to eat whole quail without using your hands, so keep plenty of napkins on hand. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

Citrusy from orange and lemon, aromatic from fresh herbs, and savory from cumin and onion, this roasted quail recipe is delicious

You'll want to marinate the quail for at least 8 hours, but if you can let them go a whole day, that would be even better. I marinated them the night before, flipped the bag before heading out to work the next morning, and then cooked them that night for dinner. The combination of the citrus fruit, herbs and spices was pleasantly light and fresh, but noticeable. If the weather is right, stick these birdies on the grill for a bit of char.

Serves: 2-3
Prep time: 8 hours
Cook time: 15-25 minutes


  • 6 whole quail, skin on
  • 2-3 fresh sprigs of rosemary
  • Small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
  • Grated zest of 2 medium oranges
  • Juice of 2 medium sweet oranges
  • ¼ cup of olive oil, plus extra
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ¼ cup of chardonnay
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin
  • ¼ cup of white onion, minced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, to taste


  1. To make the marinade, first remove leaves from rosemary sprigs and rub them between your fingers/palms to release their oils and then drop them into a large bowl. Do the same with the thyme sprigs (you can leave them whole if you like), and then also add to the bowl minced garlic, orange zest, orange juice, ¼ cup of olive oil, lemon juice, chardonnay, cumin, and onion. Whisk and set aside.
  2. Rosemary and Orange Roasted Quail Recipe
    You can remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs or add them to the marinade whole. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  3. Rinse quail under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt all over and inside each bird and place them inside a large zip-top bag. Give the marinade another good whisk and pour it into the bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. Massage the bag to evenly distribute the marinade all over the quail, and then refrigerate for at least 8 hours; I marinated mine for 24 hours and it was perfect. Flip the bag over occasionally.
  4. Rosemary and Orange Roasted Quail Recipe
    Marinate whole quail for a minimum of 8 hours in the refrigerator. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  5. Take quail out of the refrigerator one hour prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit – you can also grill the quail as well. Remove the quail from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Brush each bird well with olive oil, rub with paprika and a tiny dash of salt. Place them onto a rimmed cookie sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the slightly browned and just cooked through. I tied off the legs because my cookie sheet was small. Serve immediately.
  6. Rosemary and Orange Roasted Quail Recipe
    Roast the marinated quail in your oven or stick them on the grill. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

Rosemary and Orange Roasted Quail Recipe

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