What Does Pheasant Taste Like? All You Need To Know

Pheasant is a medium-sized species of bird – it’s a game bird, to be exact. While its origins can be traced back to Britain and Asia, it has also existed in the USA for about 200 years now.

As a low-flying bird, pheasant is quite easy to catch – that’s why it’s a favorite among hunters. The colorful ones are actually the males, while the females are mostly colored brown.

As a type of food, pheasant can be categorized as poultry – yes, like chickens. And yes, it does, taste like chicken to some people. Still, some people would object to the thought of pheasants tasting like chicken.

In this article, I will do my best to describe to you how pheasant tastes like.


Pheasant Taste Vs. Other Birds and Poultry

 Pheasants have been compared to other bird species (in taste) such as the following:

  • Chicken (of course)
  • Turkey
  • Quail
  • Duck

Pheasant Vs. Chicken

Needless to say, people always want to compare pheasants with chickens first. Well, pheasants can indeed taste like chicken (if they’re raised like farmed chickens). If cooked using chicken recipes, they can also pass up as chicken. When raw, however, pheasant meat can be anywhere from dark to pinkish white (chicken meat is white).



Pheasant Vs. Turkey

Most people are already familiar with the taste of turkey – especially if you live in the US. It’s always served during Thanksgiving – so, you already know that it tastes good. Compared to pheasants, turkeys have finer meat structure. As for the taste, they have “some” similarities, but pheasants are more flavorful and they carry a nuttier taste.

Pheasant Vs. Quail

Quail is another favorite among hunters and even non-hunters can appreciate its taste. If you know the taste of quail, you can use it as the basis for knowing how a pheasant tastes like. Just know that pheasants carry a gamier taste than quails.

Pheasant Recipe

Pheasant Recipe

Pheasant Vs. Duck

Not too many people appreciate the taste of ducks – unless it’s prepared and cooked in China. Ducks can taste good if prepared well, and can taste unpleasant if not prepared well. In general, therefore, pheasants are more appealing in taste than ducks.

Note: Pheasants carry an overall mild taste when compared to other game birds.

Pheasant Meat

Pheasant meat is generally darker than chicken meat, especially when it’s a wild pheasant. Farm-raised pheasants can have lighter color of meat (pinkish white, almost like chicken meat).

Remember these things about pheasant meat:

Pheasant Recipe

Pheasant Recipe

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    Pheasant meat is usually lean – especially if they’re caught in the wild. You see, pheasants are very active birds and can run at 45 miles per hour (that’s quite fast). They also have good senses of sight and hearing, that’s why they can be a bit challenging to hunt. It is also for this reason why wild pheasants have little to no fat.
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    Cooked pheasants can carry a variety of tastes. As with other dishes, its taste will depend on the method of cooking used. The seasonings (Amazon) and sauces used will greatly affect the outcome of a dish as well.
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    Overcooked pheasants are not appetizing – and some people may not be able to eat the dish at all. You see, pheasant meat can become dry and chalk-like when overdone.

Things That Affect a Pheasant’s Taste

Like I said, pheasants don’t really taste the same all the time. Here are some of the things that will alter its taste:

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    Source – Wild pheasants taste very differently from farm-raised pheasants. Keep these things in mind:
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    Wild pheasants eat the things that are found in the wild (which can include insects) – their food is absorbed into their systems and affects the taste of their flesh.
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    Farm-raised pheasants are fed chicken feeds – that’s why their meat can carry the same flavors as chickens.
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    Wild pheasants live active lives as they hunt for their own food. As game birds, they also need to escape predators and hunters.
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    Farmed pheasants are kept in a contained area and have limited space for their activities.
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    Wild pheasants have gamier tastes than farmed-raised pheasants.
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    Hanging time – As part of its preparation, freshly killed pheasants need to be hanged before cooking. This has an effect on its overall flavor as those that are hanged longer will be more flavorful.
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    Cooking Method – Like chicken (or other types of meat, for that matter) food will taste differently when cooked in different ways.

Preparing and Hanging Pheasant

Pheasant Recipe

Pheasant Recipe

Preparing pheasant requires that you hang it for some time. In fact, if you skip this step, you will not be able to enjoy the flavor of pheasant as it should be enjoyed. Remember these points when hanging pheasants:

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    The length of time that you hang a pheasant will affect the flavor of its meat. Aside from having a stronger flavor, the meat will also be more tender when cooked.
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    Wild pheasants that are newly killed can be hanged up to 9 days (or more).
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    Farm-raised pheasants can be hanged for only 3 days as their meats are not that tough and flavorful, to begin with.
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    Pheasants should be hanged in temperatures of about 50 degrees. If its higher than that, you are already exposing the meat to bacteria.
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    Internal organs of hanged pheasants should never be eaten. It’s safe to assume that these have all gone bad during the hanging process.
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    Before cooking a pheasant that has been hanged (for a number of days), check to see if it’s still good to eat. If it’s already rotten and has a really bad smell, just get rid of it.

How to Cook Pheasant

Here are some of the methods of cooking that you can employ when preparing a pheasant dish:

  • Roasted
  • Grilled
  • Fried
  • Baked


You can also cook a pheasant dish in a slow cooker. Basically, you can cook pheasant as you would cook chicken.

Pheasant Recipe

Pheasant Recipe

Health Benefits​​​​ of Eating Pheasants

If you enjoy eating pheasant, you will be glad to know that it has nutritional benefits such as:

  • Protein
  • B Vitamins
  • Iron
  • Potassium

Also, if you are watching your weight, remember the following:

  • A serving of pheasant (without skin) has about 133 calories.
  • A serving of pheasant (with skin) has about 180 calories.

And if you have some health issues, remember that:

  • Pheasant has 0 carbs.
  • Pheasants carry cholesterol, especially if you eat it with the skin on.

Bonus Pheasant Trivia

You will find these things interesting:

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    Some people hang (and age) their pheasants until there are maggots in the flesh. This results in a very gamey tasting pheasant dish.
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    Commercially sold pheasants are aged in chillers.
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    Female pheasants have more meat on the breast area.
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    Male pheasants are gamier in taste compared to the females.
Pheasant Recipe

Pheasant Recipe


Q: Do pheasants taste good?

Q: Is pheasant good for you?

Q: Why are pheasants popular as game birds?

Top 3 Pheasant Recipes

Try these 3 pheasant recipes and see how you like them.

Recipe # 1 – Roasted Pheasant

This roasted pheasant recipe calls for a tasty marinating sauce that will give your pheasant a really wonderful taste. You will need a lot of herbs and spices for this (whatever is available) and you can use a mixture of wine, lemon juice and orange juice as the base. For this particular recipe, the pheasant is also stuffed with apples and oranges.

To give the bird a nice color, you need to fry it for a few minutes first. To complete the cooking process, pop it in the oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and let it cook for about 2 hours.

Recipe #2 – Creamy Pheasant and Mushroom

For this recipe, you only need pheasant breasts cut into cubes. The procedure calls for frying the chunks of breasts along with some onion, garlic and mushrooms. It is finished off by adding cream for the sauce.

Recipe #3 – Smoked Pheasant

Here’s a very easy way to cook your pheasant. In this recipe, you need to marinate the bird in a brine overnight. The brine is really simple, it only calls for the following ingredients:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar

The next day, drain the pheasant and pat it dry before cooking it. When it’s all dried up, rub it with seasoning and set the smoker (Amazon) to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the pheasant for about 1 ½ hours.

Appreciating the Taste of Pheasant

So, what does pheasant taste like?

To wrap up everything I just told you in this article, I would have to say that pheasants taste somewhat like chicken – but their meat tastes a lot gamier. Take special notice on the importance of the source, as wild pheasants are more flavorful (gamier) than farm-raised (bland) birds.

If you are really curious about its taste, I say go ahead and try it out. Those who have already tasted it say that it’s good – so, that’s a good sign, right?

Well, let me know how you like it (once you try it). I will surely be waiting for your feedback. Also, don’t forget to share this post with your friends who are also curious about pheasants.

Lita Watson

Hi there! I’m Lita, and I’m absolutely in love with cooking blogs. I’m a beginner in cooking and i try my best to make it quick and easy. Even though, it’s not always quick and easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so i keep learning and blogging about quick and easy ways to create delicious and yummy foods for my two kids and a wonderful husband.

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