Air Fryer Quail

Crispy, juicy quail cooked to perfection in your air fryer? Yes please! Quail may be tiny, but these little birds are packed full of rich, savory flavor that pairs perfectly with the hot air crispiness from an air fryer.

air fryer quail

This easy air fried quail recipe delivers tender, moist meat encased in a wonderfully crispy skin, no deep frying required. With just a simple dry rub of oregano, black pepper, smoked paprika and smoked salt, you can have delicious air fried quail on the dinner table in under 30 minutes.

Served alongside some classic starchy sides, this recipe makes for a sophisticated meal that looks and tastes gourmet, but couldn’t be simpler to whip up any night of the week. Keep reading to get all my tips and tricks for cooking quail in the air fryer!

💖 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Quick to Make- quail cooks quickly and evenly in the air fryer. The high heat crisps up the skin while keeping the meat incredibly moist and tender. You’ll have perfectly cooked quail in just 12-15 minutes without any fuss.

quail air fryer

So Tasty!– the smoky and aromatic spice blend permeates the meat beautifully. The smoked paprika lends a wonderful barbecue-like flavor, while the oregano and black pepper provide a nice kick. Every bite packs a punch that will leave your tastebuds singing.

Healthy– Another reason you’ll enjoy this recipe is that air frying requires barely any added fat or oil. By simply spraying the quails with a touch of oil, you slash calories without sacrificing texture or taste. This makes it a healthier cooking method while still delivering big, bold flavors.

✨ Recipe Ingredients

For this quail in air fryer recipe you will need:

  • 3 Quails
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • Oil Spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon Smoked Salt

👨‍🍳 How To Make

Easily make the perfect air fried quail:

Step 1

Add all the spices to a small bowl and mix them together.

Step 2

Cover the quails with the seasoning mixture. You can stuff the inside of them with some as well.

Step 3

Place the quails in the air fryer and cook for 12-15 minutes at 400F (200C). You can spray them with oil to prevent them from drying out and for added crispiness.

Step 4

Remove from the air fryer, and let them cool for at least 10 minutes. Then, serve with your favorite side dish or dipping sauce! Enjoy this amazing air fryer whole quail recipe!

quail in air fryer

💡Tips

1. Brine the Quail First

Soaking the quail in a saltwater brine before cooking helps ensure it stays moist and flavorful. Make a simple brine by mixing 1 quart water, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/4 cup sugar.

Submerge the quail in the brine for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. Rinse and pat dry before seasoning. The salt will penetrate deep into the meat, seasoning it from the inside out.

2. Cut Slits to Help Seasoning Penetrate

Use a sharp knife to make a few shallow slits in the flesh of the quail before rubbing on the seasoning. This allows the seasoning mix to really work its way into the meat, amplifying the flavor. Slits also allow heat to penetrate inside more quickly and evenly.

air fried quail

3. Experiment with Different Spice Mixes

While this quail air fryer recipe calls for oregano, black pepper, smoked paprika, and smoked salt, feel free to experiment with different spice mixes.

You can add cumin, coriander, garlic powder, or even a touch of cinnamon for a unique flavor twist. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and get creative with your spice blends!

4. Serve with a Fresh Salad

The air fried quail makes for a delicious main dish, but you can also consider serving them alongside a fresh salad.

A simple mixed green salad with a vinaigrette dressing or a cucumber and tomato salad with a yogurt dressing would make excellent accompaniments.

The light and refreshing flavors of the salad will complement the smoky and savory flavors of the quails perfectly.

cooking quail in air fryer

5. Let It Rest Before Serving

As with all poultry and meats, allow the cooked quail to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat. Slice into it too soon and the juices will spill out onto the cutting board instead of staying rich within the meat.

Variations

1. Quail Fajitas- Slice the cooked quail meat and sauté with onions, peppers, and fajita seasoning. Stuff into warm tortillas with desired toppings like guacamole, salsa, cheese, etc.

2. Quail Parmesan- Top the air fried quails with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil and broil for 2-3 minutes until hot and bubbly.

3. Quail Stir Fry- Slice the cooked quail meat and stir fry with vegetables like carrots, broccoli, peppers, snap peas, etc. Toss with a teriyaki or sweet and sour sauce. Serve over rice.

4. Buffalo Quail Wings- Toss the cooked quail pieces in buffalo wing sauce. Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping.

5. Quail Salad Sandwiches- Chop or shred the quail meat and mix with mayo, celery, onion, relish, etc. Spoon onto bread or rolls to make flavorful salad sandwiches.

6. Quail Tacos– Warm corn or flour tortillas on a hot skillet. Fill with shredded quail, pico de gallo, avocado, lettuce, cheese and your favorite taco toppings. Squeeze lime juice on top.

Storage

The cooked quail can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to let them reach room temperature before serving if chilled.

air fryer quail recipes

To freeze, allow cooked quail to completely cool, then wrap tightly in aluminum foil or place in freezer bags removing as much air as possible. Properly stored frozen quail will last for 2-3 months.

Thaw frozen quail overnight in the refrigerator or place foil wrapped quail under cold running water for faster thawing. Reheat gently either in the oven or air fryer before serving.

Side Dishes Ideas

Here are 5 delicious side dish ideas that would pair perfectly with the air fried quail recipe:

1. Air Fryer Mini Potatoes Crispy, golden mini potatoes roasted in the air fryer are a classic pairing with any poultry dish. The creamy, starchy potatoes balance out the rich flavors of the quail. As they absorb the spices and juices from the quail, these bite-sized spuds become an irresistible addition to every bite.

2. Air Fryer Potato Peels Don’t throw away those potato peels! Turn them into a crunchy, salty snack by tossing the peels with oil and spices and cooking them in the air fryer until browned and crispy. The potato peel “chips” add fun texture and flavors to contrast with the quail.

3. Air Fryer Greek Potatoes Roasted Greek-style potatoes caramelized with olive oil, oregano, garlic and lemon are a bright, herby pairing for the quail. The tangy potatoes cut through the richness of the poultry. Diced potatoes char to a beautiful golden brown in the dry air fryer heat.

4. Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes Crispy smashed baby potatoes make the ultimate starchy pairing for quail. Smash the small potatoes with oil, salt and pepper then roast in the air fryer until the edges get browned and crispy. The crispy exterior and fluffy interior of the potatoes complements the juicy air fryer quail perfectly.

5. Air Fryer Fingerling Potatoes– Petite fingerling potatoes are a delicious choice alongside quail. Tossed with oil and herbs de Provence, the slender fingerlings develop a beautiful crust in the air fryer. Their buttery flavor and shape mimics the tiny quails for a fun play on proportions.

FAQ

1. What is best for air frying quail?

400°F is the ideal air fryer temperature for quail. This allows the outside to get crispy and browned while the inside cooks through fully. Do not go over 400°F.

2. How do I know when the quail is fully cooked?

The quail is fully cooked when the juices run clear and the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F. The meat should not be pink when you cut into it.

quail cooked in air fryer

3. What are some recommended side dishes that pair well with this air-fried quail recipe?

Light side dishes such as a fresh salad, steamed vegetables, or a simple rice pilaf complement the richness of the quail without overpowering its flavor.

4. Do I need to use smoked paprika?

The smoked paprika adds a unique depth of flavor, but you can use regular paprika if you don’t have it on hand.

However, the taste will be slightly different. To mimic the smoky notes, you can add a touch of liquid smoke to the spice mixture.

Tender Air Fried Quail

Air frying is a great way to cook quail so it gets crispy on the outside while staying nice and juicy inside. You can marinating the quail before cooking to ensure it turns out tender and flavorful. Here are 3 simple marinade ideas to try:

Buttermilk Marinade Soaking quail in buttermilk helps break down connective tissue thanks to the lactic acid, resulting in more tender meat. Simply combine 1 cup buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of your favorite seasoning blend and let the quail marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

quail in the air fryer

Yogurt and Lime Marinade The acidic lime juice works to tenderize the quail meat while the yogurt keeps it extra moist. Whisk together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, the juice from 2 limes, 2 minced garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Marinate for 1-2 hours.

Wine Vinegar Marinade Wine vinegars like red wine, rice wine and sherry add lots of tangy flavor and tenderizing acids to a marinade. Mix 1/2 cup wine vinegar with some olive oil, diced onions and herbs. Let the quail soak for 30-60 minutes before air frying.


I hope you enjoy making these wonderfully tender and flavorful air fried quails! The air fryer helps them get crispy on the outside while keeping the meat nice and moist. Feel free to experiment with different marinades and spice combinations to put your own unique spin on this recipe.

Be sure to check the website for even more easy and delicious air fryer recipes you can make at home. Let us know how it goes and if you have any other questions in the comments below! I love connecting with our readers.

air fryer quail

Air Fryer Quail

Follow my recipe to make juicy and tender air fryer quail that will be a hit at your next dinner party! So easy and quick to make.
4.67 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer quail, quail in air fryer
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 150kcal
Cost: $15
Ingredients
  • 3 Quails
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • Oil Spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon Smoked Salt
Instructions
  • Add all the spices to a small bowl and mix them together.
  • Cover the quail birds with the seasoning mixture. You can stuff the inside of them with some as well.
  • Place the quails in the air fryer and cook for 12-15 minutes at 400F (200C). You can spray them with oil to prevent them from drying out and for added crispiness.
  • Remove from the air fryer, and let them cool for at least 10 minutes. Then, serve with your favorite side dish or dipping sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal

Photo of author

Author:

Meet William James, your go-to guru for all things air fryer! A culinary adventurer with a passion for healthier twists on classic dishes, William transformed his love for cooking and experimentation into a one-stop resource for fellow air fryer enthusiasts.

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