Photos by Donna

Photos by Donna

The guy I buy arugula from at our market has a neighbor who raises quail and he brings a few dozen of the eggs each week to sell for his neighbor. I got a batch of each not too long ago (he grows lettuce under plastic well into December).  I’ve scarcely touched quail eggs.  A couple times in culinary school (garde manger, quail egg and caviar pizza). But they were not something I thought much about.  That’s changed.

If they’re available to you (I’m told you can often find them at Asian markets) they’re a lot of fun, special because of their size, and easy to work with.

Fried quail egg on arugula, bacon, English muffin croutons and Hollandaise

Fried quail egg on arugula, bacon, English muffin croutons and Hollandaise

They make an impressive canapé.  This is a take on eggs Benedict: arugula sautéed with shallot, bacon, English muffin croutons, topped with a little fried quail egg with fleur de sel, served on a spoon, one bite.  So good.  I could have eaten ten of these. It would be an easy first bite or canapé for a party.  Have everything cooked and warm except for the eggs.  Lay out yours spoons.  One person puts together the spoon appareil, the setup, while you sauté the eggs very gently over low heat in a little butter.

But really, you could simply serve these on toast points with a little butter, salt and pepper and they’d be delicious. If you’re doing a lot of them, poach them, shock them and reheat as needed (which is how Keller did it at the French Laundry, just reheated in a little butter, threw in some brunoised bell pepper for color).

The Hollandaise deserves special note.  I needed just a little a couple ounces.  How was I to find a recipe for just a little bit of Hollandaise?  Ah ah!  I didn’t need one because I had my trusty iPhone in my pocket with the awesome new Ratio app (IMHO)  I simply went to “Fat-based sauces,” tapped “Hollandaise,” typed in “.5 ounces yolk,” et voila! 2.5 ounces butter, and .5 ounces of liquid (I actually did make a little reduction but you could just use lemon juice), .5 ounces yolk.  Worked like a charm, though with a single small yolk, it was tricky to cook without overcooking so little yolk.  (I could have plugged in 2 ounces of butter, which would have recommended .4 ounces of yolk, which I could change to grams, about 11, but I would have needed a really tiny pan and even tinier whisk.)

When working with quail eggs, it helps to crack the eggs into a ramekin first to make the cooking more orderly, but you could crack them right into the pan.

Quail eggs have a lovely flavor, a little richer than chicken eggs.  You could hard boil them for a nifty garnish, but they’re a pain to peel, especially if they’re fresh.  You could scramble them, but that kind of takes the fun out of the way they look. Their size is what’s special.  I also made this same dish with two eggs on a half an English muffin, perfect light breakfast or fun starter course.

This egg measured 1-3/8ths inches high.

This egg measured 1-3/8ths inches high.

I’m told by a facebook friend that each bird lays identically patterned eggs.  Can this be true?  Also, I’d love to hear other ideas for putting these cool little eggs to use.


41 Wonderful responses to “Fun with Quail Eggs”

  • kerrie

    Would they be good in ceme Brulee? I have a friend that swears by a quail egg creme brulee she had in paris. Is the tast distinct enough that it would warrent making them into something like that?

  • amy

    I love “playing” with quails eggs. Plus, personally for me, they’re perfect snack size…I prefer them over regular boiled chicken eggs.

  • Wilma de Soto

    @Kerrie That’s a great question. I wonder what the ratio would be for a Quail Egg Pound Cake; especially since they are so rich.

  • Wilma de Soto

    @Kerrie That’s a great question. I wonder what the ratio would be for a Quail Egg Pound Cake; especially since they are so rich.

  • Jessamyn

    I’ve seen quail eggs done on a cobb salad – instead of slicing the egg, leaving it whole. I’m playing with a pickled veggies and non-leafy greens cuckoo’s nest salad. Two hard boiled quail eggs in a ‘nest’ with 1 pickled pearl onion. The nest made of takuan, black radish, rhubarb, and flat strips of zucchini (the flat cheese cutters work wonders, I’ve done noodles in a gluten free lasagna doing this) or cucumber. Pickled threads (using a channel knife) of english cuke. Still playing with the flavour profile. Only needs a tad salt and maybe a sherry reduction drizzle for ‘dressing’.

  • Josh Schwartz

    Deviled quail eggs are great for amuse bouche or as an hors d’oeuvre at parties. Especially if they they are garnished with a bit of Benton’s bacon.

  • The Little Teochew

    I love quails’ eggs! We get them very easily and cheaply here in Singapore, and I am always adding them into stews and soups for a one-dish meal. Great photos!!

  • Kate in the NW

    They do have lovely flavor – and although it ruins the “cuteness factor”, I do sometimes scramble them. I use an ice pick to poke little holes in the top and bottom, stick a toothpick in there to break the yolk, and then blow the contents of the egg out one end, leaving me the gorgeous shell. We have a bunch of them piled up in a beautiful little bowl we bought on a trip to France – a quirky and perfect kitchen decoration on the windowsill, and a constant reminder to buy and use the tasty things!

  • scott

    hard boil the quail eggs and wrap them in pork sausage and bread them, mini “scotch eggs”.

  • Mike

    Bought the App, love it.

    I’ve never cooked with quail eggs, per se, but I’ve used them several times with sushi.

    Hand rolled (temaki) california roll with real king crab. Put a half of spoon of tobikko/masago on top. Stick a finger in that to make a nest and then put the yolk of the quail egg on top in the nest.

  • tanders

    Please let me know that the rario app will also be introduced on ANDROID… the transition should be simple enough and it would be GREATly appreciated…


  • Rachel

    They would be great for smaller slices of bread made into eggs in a hole/toad in the hole/eggs in the basket/whatever your cultural moniker for that great breakfast treat of a slice of bread with a whole in the center filled with fried egg.

  • Jen


    How did you peel them?

    I’ve tried the mini Quail Deviled eggs, but I could never get the darned things peeled without mauling them.

  • Rois

    Once upon a time my Dad raised Quail and we would pickle the eggs.Pickled they are very nice with a salad.Peeling is a pain and there must be a trick to it.
    I have also had whole Quail eggs dropped into the Vietnamese style of noodle soup -Pho. The egg ends up tasting like an extra yummy poached egg.

  • Pete from DC

    At a Japanese restaurant called “Fuji Mountain” in Bryn Mawr, PA, I once requested – off the menu – “natto”: a very traditional, strong smelling, sticky fermented soybean. It came on a bed of warm rice and a raw quail egg on top. Quite delicious!

  • Robert

    Scott above mentioned mini scotch eggs. I like that idea but with a soft boiled quail egg that is then chilled before wrapping in sausage, breading, and then frying. It yields a soft runny yolk upon opening that is truly lovely.

  • Alison

    When I lived in France, I’d buy quail eggs when I did a raclette. You break the egg into the little dish and set it in its spot under the grill. (A hen’s egg is way too big for this.) It’s a nice addition to the cured meats and potatoes that normally accompany the raclette. We also ate them hard-boiled at the aperitif sometimes.

    Thanks for the tip on finding them in Asian markets!

  • caroline

    I was just thinking about quail eggs, after coming across a recipe in an old-fashioned cookbook for “Doll Cookies”. It was basically an eggless, scaled down sugar cookie dough that was measured in doll-sized cups and cut out with thimbles, a concept I found completely charming. I then started wondering if a doll could use quail eggs to bake little cakes (don’t ask my why I ponder these things– I don’t even know any children!).

  • Lissa

    Curious! I see these in the asian market but never realized they were just fresh little eggs. I guess I always thought they were some kind of pickled or fermented eggs…. I bet they would just be beautiful on pasta as a twist on carbonara or on top of an asian soup.

  • james

    I second the fact that they are a pain to peel. Used them as a nibble at a party- peeled two dozen of them. They took forever. Served them with a mix of sea salt and smoked paprika. Quite tasty. Quail eggs are also tasty broken into a bowl of hot rice with sesame seeds.

  • luis

    Too tiny to be of any interest to me. As everything is an acquired taste in my opinion. Some things are best left alone……

  • Mark from St Louis

    Just got your Ratio App for my iphone. It is great! Congratulations on that!

  • Nanci Courtney

    All eggs that are hard boiled are very easy to peel if you add a handful of salt when you put the water in the pan. I am not McGee – so I do not know why this works – but the shells of quail and chicken eggs practically fall off – they are so easy to peel.

  • bluexmas

    Koreans braise quail eggs with beef or pork, with soy based sauce. Quail egg can be replaced with chicken egg. The only problem is that takes too much time to peel.

  • Chris Huck

    Saw the post a few days ago and then walking through Gonzales Market (SoCal hispanic chain) I saw them sitting there calling my name. Looking forward to finding the perfect way to use them today. Thanks for giving me the courage to try something new!

  • Elizabeth L.

    I poached the eggs for a miniature-sized twist on Eggs Benedict: I made Ebelskiver pancakes that were stuffed with sauteed, minced back bacon. The poached egg was served alongside and the whole lot was drizzled with Hollandaise.

    I actually came up with this mini version out of necessity. It was for a Mother’s Day brunch cooking class I was teaching, and I needed to have sample sizes of the classic dish, but slicing up a large portion would be messy for 25 people. I poached most of them in advance to make the job a bit easier.