Quail Legs Sous-Vide: The Perfect Cocktail Snack

Quail legs are a perfect snack to serve at a party. When they are cooked right (sous-vide first to make them tender and then finished under the broiler to enhance the flavor and add some crisp) they are unbelievably delicious, like an improved version of chicken. You can suck the meat right off the bones. No sauce needed, just salt and pepper and perhaps a little bit of thyme. Sauce would only distract from the wonderful flavor. This is how good simple food can be. Not all recipes have to take a long time or be a lot of work. It reminds me of a post that Stéphane of My French Heaven did on preparing something with only salt and olive oil.

I made 3 kilos of the quail legs (about 120 legs), so I was very happy that I could buy them as quail legs and not as quails… They vanished quickly at the party because everyone liked them. No-one dared ask for ketchup. Here’s what I did…


quail legs, washed and dried with paper towels

salt and freshly ground black pepper

fresh thyme (optional)

extra virgin olive oil


Season the quail legs with salt and pepper on both sides.

Vacuum seal, with some fresh thyme if you like.

This was the first job for my new immersion circulator, as this amount of quail legs did not fit into my regular sous-vide cooker. I got the immersion circulator to be able to cook sous-vide at two different temperatures at the same time, to use a larger container as in this case, or to take it with me more easily.

Cook sous-vide at 60ºC/140ºF for 6-8 hours.

Take them out of the sous-vide pouch and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with olive oil. At this point you can refrigerate them until it is time to serve them.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the quail legs on a ribbed baking sheet.

Broil for a couple of minutes (at the position closest to the broiler) then turn over and broil for another couple of minutes on the other side.

Allow to cool briefly before serving. Serve as is. Refuse to serve this to anyone asking for ketchup!


One of my favorite cooking techniques is smoking followed by sous-vide. Brisket cooked that way has the texture of a tender perfectly cooked medium-rare steak and a very interesting deep smoky flavor.


10 thoughts on “Quail Legs Sous-Vide: The Perfect Cocktail Snack

    1. Many Dutch like to prepare inferior (i.e. cheap!) meat and then smother it in all kinds of sauces or marinades, including ketchup, to mask the taste. We do like ketchup, but we don’t eat it as much as Americans.


    1. Thanks, Kathryn. Many restaurants/diners I’ve been to in the US have ketchup on the table as a standard condiment to be used on anything. Here it is pretty common to use inferior meat and then put some kind of sauce (not just ketchup but worse) to mask the taste. I always use good meat and people are surprised how good it tastes without sauce.

      Liked by 1 person

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