How to Cook Quail Eggs

Learn the secrets to boiling quail eggs and cooking them perfectly every time! This post will walk you through the proper technique for cooking the eggs, as well as peeling them for various recipes.

Love quail eggs? Try Quail Eggs Appetizer, Pickled Quail Eggs.

A plastic container of quail eggs on a marble surface

What are quail eggs?

Quail eggs are the eggs of quails, a small game bird. They are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, while, in many other parts, like in Brazil, where I’m from, they’re pretty common and less exotic.

Their shells are pretty and speckled, and they’re about a third of the size of chicken eggs. While quail eggs have bigger yolks, we can say that about 3-4 quail eggs is roughly the equivalent of 1 chicken egg, give or take.

But, what’s so special about quail eggs? Well, for tiny little eggs they’re impressively full of nutrients and antioxidants. You can read more on the benefits of quail eggs on this healthline post.

Why I love quail eggs

Oi, gente!

I love quail eggs so much! They are tiny and cute, delicious and full of nutrients, and to me, they’re also oh-so rich in childhood memories.

I’ll never forget my brothers standing in front of the fridge and cracking several whole RAW quail eggs straight into their mouths so they’d grow stronger. Oofff…. That was a thing back in the ’80s (thanks, Arnold – Schwarzenegger, that is) and I must admit, even I’ve done that.

That said, I no longer subscribe to this way of eating them because there are so many other (and quite honestly, better) ways to enjoy these cute little thangs.

Like, the quail egg appetizer, called ovo de codorna com molho rose in Portuguese, which is a quintessential appetizer that reminds me of Brazil. It is such an easy finger food to make at home.

They’re nothing but hard boiled quail eggs with a dipping sauce… almost like deviled eggs, but backwards. They are (or at least they were) served at all kinds of parties and gatherings… even formal ones, like quiceañeras festas de quinze anos.

My mom also made marinated quail eggs and kept that jar of eggs in the fridge for as long as I can remember. They’re so good!

Anyway, they’re eggs, so… the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can prepare. You can even use them to top your Brazilian Hot Dogs! Yea… it’s a thing!

But, before we prepare anything, we have to learn how to cook quail eggs perfectly so we can use them in these dishes whenever we want.

Ingredients and tools:

A hand holds a speckled quail egg in its palm

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  • Quail eggs
  • Vinegar — white vinegar is my go-to for this. You just need a splash!

Here are some tools you’ll need to make these eggs, too:

Where to buy quail eggs:

  • Some grocery stores, like some Whole Foods locations, Sprouts sometimes has them, and in Texas, I’ve seen them at Central Market, too.
  • Farmers markets
  • Online — D’Artagnan foods, Amazon and even Etsy!

How to Cook Quail Eggs:

Cooking quail eggs is just like hard boiling chicken eggs… or any other eggs. The cooking time changes because they’re so much smaller, so, these tiny eggs cook much faster.

To cook them, place the eggs in a small saucepan, and cover them with cold water.

I recommend you also add a splash of vinegar, especially when cooking quail eggs, because it helps the whites set faster and the shells come off easier later.

Then, just cook them uncovered over low heat until the water boils.

Quail eggs in an ice bath in a bowl after boiling

When the water begins boiling, set a timer for 3-4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for another 2 minutes.

Why do we do this? The residual heat will continue to cook the eggs gently.

After these 2 minutes, remove the eggs from the hot water with a slotted spoon and shock them in an ice water bath.

The ice bath will prevent the eggs from overcooking. But, it also helps in peeling, as the shock from hot to cold shrinks the egg inside of the shell, helping you remove it easily.

How to make soft boiled quail eggs:

If you want soft boiled quail eggs, follow the same method as detailed above… but the time will change.

Boil the eggs for 2-2.5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for 2 minutes before the ice bath.

How to peel cooked quail eggs:

Speckled eggs in a bowl next to a peeled and halved hard boiled egg on marble

Peeling quail eggs is a royal PITA, to be perfectly honest. Not because it’s hard, but because they’re so tiny and their shell is much thinner than that of a chicken egg. But it needs to be done…

Because the quail eggs are very delicate, we want to work gently so we keep them looking cute.

To peel the eggs, gently roll them on the counter to crack the skin.

You’ll notice the skin is very, very thin… to remove the skin, just pinch the bottom of the cracked shell where there’s typically an air pocket, and start from there.

It’s best way to do this under cold running water, as well, to help the membrane come off with the shell.

Peeled quail eggs in a decorative white bowl

How to store quail eggs:

Once peeled, store the hard boiled eggs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Other Quail Eggs recipes to Try:

Peeled quail eggs in a decorative white bowl
5 from 77 votes

How to Cook Quail Eggs

Learn the secrets to boiling quail eggs and cooking them perfectly every time! This post will walk you through the proper technique for cooking the eggs, as well as peeling them for various recipes.
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Author: Aline Shaw


  • 30 Quail eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar


  • Place the quail eggs in a small saucepan.
  • Cover them with cold water and add the vinegar and stir.
  • Bring the water to a boil over low heat.
  • When the water begins boiling, set a timer for 4 minutes.
  • After 4 minutes, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water another 2 minutes. (Set a timer!)
  • In the meantime, add about 10 ice cubes to a bowl and cover them with cool water to prepare the ice water bath. Set it aside.
  • After 2 minutes, remove the eggs from the hot water and shock them the ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
  • Once cooled, peel gently.

Bom Apetite!!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!


    How to peel: Roll the eggs on the countertop to crack the skin. Pinch the bottom of the cracked shell (there will be an air pocket here) under cold running water and gently remove the membrane and shell together.
    How to store: Keep hard boiled quail eggs in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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    1. 5 stars
      I’m a big fan of the quail egg. I love to eat them whenever I can, but when I first tried cooking them myself, I was so frustrated. The shells were so hard to peel off that I ended up making a huge mess. This recipe was so helpful! I learned that there are different ways you can cook your quail eggs and processes that must be followed to achieve a perfectly boiled quail egg.

    2. 5 stars
      Incredibly insightful and easy to follow tutorial. My mother-in-law loves quail eggs. I made them for her with this recipe and she approved! Thank you!

    3. 5 stars
      Mine turned out perfectly using this method. Not overcooked and not underdone! I’m notoriously horrible at boiling eggs so I was nervous with the smaller size of these but it worked out great!

    4. 5 stars
      These were almost too cute to eat! I remembered having these lime and salted quail eggs when I was travelling through South America and they were fantastic for hikes as little protein bites! Now I make them at home and feel nostalgic enjoying them, thank you for that.

    5 from 77 votes (73 ratings without comment)

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