What Does Dove Taste Like?
Real-Life Experience!

Want to try a dove but don’t know what it tastes like? Some say it’s like geese, some find it chewy, while some even compare it to a wild berry!

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David A. Swanson

June 27, 2021

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What’s This Post About?

Most people imagine a calm, gentle bird with a magnificent aura when they think about the dove. Sure, this is precisely what the dove may signify to some people, but it can also indicate something entirely different for others. Some people love hunting and eating doves!

Dove hunting might be more complicated than you think. Regardless, the quest will be well worth the effort. Doves, despite their small size, can provide a well-balanced and healthy supper.

Mourning doves are similar to ducks or geese in flavor. This is because they are migratory birds. The meat of such birds is dark, as well as ripped and lean. Some individuals detest the taste of the dove because it reminds them of the liver.

a mourning dove

Dove As a Food

While it isn’t the most widely consumed food, a consumer often resonates dove meat’s taste with a variety of things.

Dove flesh is sometimes contrasted to the taste of wild fruit. It has a relatively moderate flavor and is also fine-grained. Because it has such a strong flavor, it manages to outshine the taste of the other migrating birds. They sometimes even have a duck-like flavor.

The birds’ migratory activities help them become a better meal. All of those lengthy trips work out the legs and breasts. The breasts likewise are not white flesh, and they are firm and flavorful.

Dove meat is typically red meat. Dove flesh, despite its leanness, may be pretty tough, with a unique, rich taste that some may find gamy.

mourning dove on grass

Some people also dislike dove meat because it seems to be bland and dry. Overcooking might be one of the reasons behind this. The meat may be undesirable to eat and has to be cooked more. As a result, the meat loses all of its nutrition, flavor, and moisture.

Real Experiences

For someone who has never tasted dove and needs an honest review, it is best to take it from people with real experiences.

Here are some of the reviews that people gave related to dove consumption that you may resonate with. Remember that it also depends on how well you cook it.

  • “It is not like chicken or turkey, and I’m not sure what else to compare it to. A bit chewy, but not to the point of turning you off meat”.

  • “More delicious than pheasant, but not quite as juicy as a duck”.

  • “It has a strong flavor”.

  • “Since it is tender and well grained, the meat has a silky texture”.

  • “I spread mayonnaise and then rolled it in bacon, then broiled it to get rid of the wild/liver taste.”

dove ruffled feathers

Problems With Dove Meat

Dove meat can be considered tough, but it will be good if you handle it correctly. 3 things need to be taken care of while preparing dove meat.

  1. The meat is tough

  2. The meat is lean

  3. Flavor considered gamey

When preparing doves, those three elements should be taken into account. Realizing that you can’t cook doves the same way you prepare chicken will go a long way toward ensuring a decent result.

mature dove birds

Lack of Moisture

The first issue you’ll have with dove meat is that it doesn’t have enough moisture. As a result, you’ll generally wind up with a dry product.

If you look up any cookbook worth its salt, you’ll find that it has a remedy to this dilemma. However, if you’re eating dove meat for the very first time or testing on your own, you might not be mindful of this.


Bacon is included in the majority of dove dishes. During the cooking process, they'll want you to wrap the breast with bacon.

mourning dove perched

By dipping the breasts in marinade, you may prevent them from becoming dry. Some people, however, may submerge the breasts in a mixture of salt and water in the ratio of 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water for many hours.

This is an essential step because it enables the dove’s pores to shut and retain moisture effectively. This will also reduce their gamey flavor.

Tough Meat

Long cooking durations can dry out meat that is already dry. Experts debone the breasts to reduce the cooking time, divide them in half, and cook each piece separately.


Cook for shorter periods. It's important to realize that cooking for extended periods simply means sucking out more moisture.

Gamey Flavor

You may season and flavor your dove meat in a variety of ways. There are various techniques to improve the flavor of dove meat; the majority of them are simple. Onions, jalapenos, marinades, and other such alternatives will undoubtedly enhance the flavor of dove meat.

preparing meat

Dove may be prepared in various ways; the most common of which is grilling and frying. Soaking the meat in the salt solution locks in moisture and helps subside the gamey flavor.

Dove As Nutritional Value

A dove has protein as much as a cow does. This is why it's preferred over chicken!

That’s correct; each 100-gram piece of beef provides 18.8 grams of protein. Each 100-gram serving of dove meat has 17.5 grams of protein. Protein is a necessary component of bodily tissue and aids in the maintenance of a healthy metabolism.

Vitamins, proteins, and minerals abound in dove flesh. It’s reported to have a smooth texture that pairs nicely with a variety of sides, like bacon and cream cheese, to name a few.

weighing scale

Did You Know?

Mourning doves have 19.47 grams of protein, 1.56 grams of fat, 79.9 milligrams of cholesterol, and 123 calories in three ounces.

Because dove meat is available in various markets, its nutritional benefits and flavor appeal to a broader audience than other meats.

Another mineral that protects against muscular discomfort, heart disease, and potentially cancer is selenium. It also lowers the chance of developing arthritis.

Examples of Dove Dishes

When cooking dove, you have to do justice to it. If a bird is hunted just for the sake of food and doesn’t do much in quantity, it should compensate in taste! Here are some recipes that you may make at home.

Jalapeno Dove Poppers

delicious food

These snacks have grown in popularity in recent years since the recipe covers everything needed to prepare dove to perfection.

  1. Prepare the grill by preheating it.

  2. Dove breasts should be rinsed and dried.

  3. Jalapenos should be cut in half lengthwise.

  4. Fill each jalapeno’s open cavity with cream cheese. Half a dove breast goes on top, then half a piece of bacon is wrapped around it and secured with a water-soaked toothpick.


Poppers should be grilled over medium-high heat until the bacon is crisp.

Easy Sautéed Quail

delicious food served

  1. Milk should be soaked with 1 teaspoon of salt deboned oak breasts.
  2. Cook wild rice following package guidelines.
  3. Take the dove out of the milk. Roll in flour and season with black pepper and paprika.
  4. Fry rapidly till golden brown in butter.
  5. Dove must be removed. Half of the drippings should be poured away.
  6. In the same skillet, sauté the onion and green pepper.
  7. Replace the dove on top of the onion and pepper in the pan.
  8. Pour in the wine and the soup.
  9. Cook for 20 minutes with the lid on.


You can serve this on a rice bed.

Dove Hunting

Seasons and species for dove hunting vary depending on where you reside in the United States. They are available 365 days a year, providing a diverse range of circumstances and experiences.

The pleasure and food may be endless, from the classic mourning dove to the invasive Eurasian collared dove’s year-round season.

Mourning doves are somewhat bigger than Eurasian-collared doves, and they can be caught throughout the year. Its flesh is likewise more in amount than that of other doves due to its larger size.

One of the primary reasons why shooters have traditionally loved shooting Eurasian-collared doves is because of this.

The first day of dove hunting season in parts of Texas, which allows hunters to practice their shooting abilities by using these critters as targets, was Sept 01, 2020. Given the tiny size of the typical dove, which weighs around 4 ounces, they are rarely killed for food, though.

bird hunting

Did You Know?

One dove's edible part is equal to ten big shrimps, one chicken leg, and two chicken wings

Note that the mourning dove is a smaller form of the pigeon, being just 11 to 13 inches long. They can be challenging to catch. When you add in the fact that they can fly at rates of up to 40 miles per hour, you’ve got yourself a challenging hunt ahead of you.

Can You Eat Dove Eggs?

dove eggs

Dove eggs are safe to consume. These creatures are not only delicious, but their eggs provide a wealth of nutrients and minerals to people and any other species that consume them. In comparison to chicken eggs, these eggs are tiny; thus, they’re considered a bite-sized snack.

Their eggs are very healthy for humans. Potassium, protein, calcium, and vitamin A are just a few of the nutrients included in dove eggs. When compared to a chicken egg, dove eggs are relatively tiny. As a result, preparing a meal is not rather time-consuming.

On the plus side, they are a healthier option than chicken eggs since they contain less fat. People’s real-life experiences have also revealed that their egg white is clearer and rubberier when cooked than chicken eggs.

Humans have been eating these eggs for millennia and consider them a delicacy. To prepare dinner, you’ll need a lot of eggs, but they’re worth it. Housecats, corvids, grackles, and rat snakes are among the animals that consume dove eggs.

Should You Eat Dove?

Dove hunting is completely unjustified. Doves, in reality, are highly useful to the ecosystem and assist farmers by feasting on weed seeds, which is a vital service that can be the natural approach to the pesticides that contaminate our landscapes regularly.

Neither is the bird considered overpopulated, nor do they harm the commercial agriculture activities.

hunted dove

People may have been hunting and consuming these birds for a long time, but does that justify the activity? Even if it tastes delicious and can be prepared into a luxurious meal, is it needed?

It is essential to consider that doves are birds that mate for life. Killing one leads to the destruction of an entire pair.

Since September happens to be the breeding and hunting season, many doves that are hunted may be tending to their brood at the time. The birds that are shot but aren’t found lie helpless until they fall victim to the hands of a predator.


Doves, despite their small size, can provide a well-balanced and nourishing meal. The flavor of the bird, though, isn’t quite like that of a chicken or even turkey.

Grilling the meat with a bit of side and spices is the finest method to prepare it. Dove meat also contains a lot of nutrients and minerals that are beneficial to one’s fitness.

Furthermore, because of its dryness, overcooking the flesh might result in an unusual flavor. This is an essential factor to think about when cooking dinner. With so many advantages and a delicious taste, it’s worth trying at least once.

Now that you know all about Dove meat, read this post to find out if you can eat pigeons.

Can you Eat Pigeons? Is it even Legal? Is it Safe?

If you're contemplating whether you could consume pigeon meat as a source of protein, the answer is yes! Keep reading to find out more.

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By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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David A. Swanson Picture

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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