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How to Cook Rabbit and Rabbit Recipes

Updated on September 01, 2016
Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon has been cooking since childhood. He loves above all to take fresh ingredients and combine them in tasty and hopefully original ways.

Rabbit and lamb slowly stewed with an assortment of root vegetables is just one of the rabbit recipes featured on this page
Rabbit and lamb slowly stewed with an assortment of root vegetables is just one of the rabbit recipes featured on this page
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 300g stewed rabbit meat
Calories 517
Calories from Fat90
% Daily Value *
Fat 10 g15%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 99 g198%
Cholesterol 368 mg123%
Sodium 135 mg6%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Rabbit as a Foodstuff

Rabbit is one of the leanest meats you can eat. It is leaner even than chicken, which although good news in terms of fat content, does mean that rabbit has to be cooked long and slow if it is not going to be served tough, dry and unpalatable. There are three recipe ideas featured on this page, all of which take several hours to prepare from start to finish but more than repay your patience by ensuring your rabbit meat is served tasty and tender. A lot of the cooking time is also hands-off, allowing you to get on with other things as your rabbit slowly cooks to perfection.

Do note also that the rabbits in the following recipes are wild rabbits and slightly fattier, farmed rabbits will not require quite the same length of time to cook.

Rabbit and mutton pie is one of the very first recipes many people will think of for rabbit
Rabbit and mutton pie is one of the very first recipes many people will think of for rabbit

How to Clean and Skin a Rabbit

The rabbits featured in the recipes on this page were all bought from a local butcher's shop, already cleaned, skinned and frozen. This takes a great deal of work out of the process of preparing rabbits for cooking but it is essential to know they must be defrosted in full before they are cooked and the steps below should be adhered to in all instances.

If on the other hand you have shot the rabbit yourself or have been given one uncleaned, you will need to know how to undertake the process of skinning it, cleaning it and otherwise preparing it for the pot. The short video below (around three minutes) details this process very effectively from start to finish.

How to Defrost and Clean a Frozen Rabbit for Cooking

A cleaned rabbit ready to be prepared for cooking
A cleaned rabbit ready to be prepared for cooking
  1. Take the rabbit from the freezer and remove all packaging. If the packaging is stuck to the rabbit, don't worry: you can partly defrost the rabbit and it will easily peel free.
  2. Lay the rabbit in a large, deep dish and place the dish on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination. Leave to defrost for twenty-four hours, not forgetting to remove the wrapping after a few hours, where applicable.
  3. When the rabbit is defrosted, lay the dish in your sink and run cold water in to it. Wash the rabbit, taking care to remove any remaining traces of fur or loose bits of skin.
  4. Lay plenty of kitchen paper on a chopping board and sit the rabbit on top. Pat the top dry with more kitchen paper.
  5. Discard the kitchen paper and the rabbit is now ready for the next stage of the particular recipe's preparation.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Frozen and wrapped rabbitDefrosted rabbitWashing rabbit in cold waterDrying washed rabbit before it is prepared for cooking
Frozen and wrapped rabbit
Frozen and wrapped rabbit
Defrosted rabbit
Defrosted rabbit
Washing rabbit in cold water
Washing rabbit in cold water
Drying washed rabbit before it is prepared for cooking
Drying washed rabbit before it is prepared for cooking

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How to Chop a Rabbit in to Portions for Cooking

Rabbit cut in to seven manageable portions for cooking
Rabbit cut in to seven manageable portions for cooking

There are any number of ways in which it is possible to chop and/or prepare a rabbit for cooking. The following method, however, is not only perfectly suited to the relevant recipes on this page, it is incredibly quick and easy to do. A sharp, sturdy knife can be used for this job but a Chinese style cleaver makes the process even easier.

  1. Begin by removing the forelegs. They are attached to the main body only by flesh, muscle and sinew, no bone. Simply ease them away from the body one at a time and cut them free.
  2. The hind legs are where you will find most of the meat on a rabbit and they should be removed next. Holding one leg at a time, cut through the flesh all around where the leg joins the body to expose the ball joint. Simply bend back in the opposite from natural direction and the leg will pop free.
  3. The rib cage and upper body of the rabbit contains virtually no meat but should still be included in many recipes to help flavour the stock. Chop this off as the next step.
  4. The saddle of the rabbit should now be chopped in half across the way and the procedure is complete.

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A cleaver is the ideal tool for chopping a rabbit in to cooking portionsThe legs should firstly be removed when chopping a rabbit in to portions
A cleaver is the ideal tool for chopping a rabbit in to cooking portions
A cleaver is the ideal tool for chopping a rabbit in to cooking portions
The legs should firstly be removed when chopping a rabbit in to portions
The legs should firstly be removed when chopping a rabbit in to portions

Rabbit and Pork Pie with Bell Peppers Recipe

Rabbit and pork pie with bell peppers and mushrooms is served with mashed potatoes and Chantenay carrots
Rabbit and pork pie with bell peppers and mushrooms is served with mashed potatoes and Chantenay carrots

Rabbit pie is one of the most popular ways of preparing and serving rabbit. While rabbit and mutton or lamb pie may be more popular, this recipe for rabbit and pork pie with the unusual addition of bell peppers proved to be delicious. If you can't get pork ribs, try using pork chops with the bone in, or even at a push, pork belly, as the fat is the vital component to help keep the rabbit moist.

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 1 hour 30 min
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Ready in: 5 hours 30 min
  • Yields: Four servings

Ingredients

  • 1 whole rabbit, prepared as above
  • 4 tbsp plain/all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling pastry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3oz butter, plus extra for mash and carrots
  • ½ lb king sized pork ribs, or similarly fatty pork with bone in
  • 1 large carrot, washed, topped, tailed and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 pints fresh chicken stock
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 2 closed cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ lb puff pastry
  • 4 large starchy, floury potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 12 Chantenay carrots
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro
  • Beaten egg for glazing pastry

How to Make a Rabbit Pie - Stage One

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rabbit pieces are tossed in seasoned flourRabbit pieces are browned and sealed in butterPork for rabbit piePork is browned and sealed in butterVegetables are sauteed in butterRabbit and pork is re-added to pot with vegetablesChicken stock is added to cover rabbit and porkRabbit and pork pieces are removed from potFlesh is picked in clumps from cooled rabbit bonesBell peppers and mushrooms for rabbit pie
Rabbit pieces are tossed in seasoned flour
Rabbit pieces are tossed in seasoned flour
Rabbit pieces are browned and sealed in butter
Rabbit pieces are browned and sealed in butter
Pork for rabbit pie
Pork for rabbit pie
Pork is browned and sealed in butter
Pork is browned and sealed in butter
Vegetables are sauteed in butter
Vegetables are sauteed in butter
Rabbit and pork is re-added to pot with vegetables
Rabbit and pork is re-added to pot with vegetables
Chicken stock is added to cover rabbit and pork
Chicken stock is added to cover rabbit and pork
Rabbit and pork pieces are removed from pot
Rabbit and pork pieces are removed from pot
Flesh is picked in clumps from cooled rabbit bones
Flesh is picked in clumps from cooled rabbit bones
Bell peppers and mushrooms for rabbit pie
Bell peppers and mushrooms for rabbit pie
  1. Put the butter in to a large stew pot and on to a gentle heat to melt. Put the flour in to a large bowl and season.
  2. Put the rabbit portions in to the flour. With your weaker hand, tilt the bowl and fold the pieces through the flour with a wooden spoon, just as if you were baking. Stop when the rabbit pieces are evenly coated with the flour.
  3. The rabbit pieces will have to be browned in two batches - unless you have a very large stew pot - as they must be laid in to the pot in a single layer. Use cooking tongs to lift the pieces one at a time, shake off the excess flour and lay them carefully in the pot. Cook for two minutes, turn and cook for two minutes more. Remove temporarily to a deep holding plate.
  4. Brown the pork in the same way and remove to the plate with the rabbit pieces.
  5. Add the vegetables to the pot and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add the herbs before returning the rabbit and pork to the pot and season. Pour in the chicken stock and - if necessary - add enough boiling water to ensure the rabbit is completely covered. Bring to a simmer, add the lid and simmer as gently as possible for three hours.
  6. Turn off the heat. Use a large slotted spoon to remove the rabbit and pork to a deep plate and cover for an hour to cool.
  7. Put your oven on to preheat to 220C/450F. Use your hands to pick the rabbit meat from the bones in clumps and lay in a separate bowl. Take your time doing this as and be gentle, as there are a lot of small bones in a rabbit which you do not want included in your pie. If using wild rabbits, also be on the lookout for leadshot. Do the same with the pork.

How to Make a Rabbit Pie - Stage Two

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rabbit, pork and vegetables for pieRabbit and pork pie filling is added to pie dishPastry is fitted and crimped over pie fillingRabbit pie is glazed and ready for the ovenTops are removed from carrots for cookingRabbit and pork pie is removed from the oven and restedButter and coriander is added to the drained carrotsPie is cut open for servingA slotted spoon is used to plate rabbit pie fillingA piece of pastry is laid on top of the rabbit and pork pie filling
Rabbit, pork and vegetables for pie
Rabbit, pork and vegetables for pie
Rabbit and pork pie filling is added to pie dish
Rabbit and pork pie filling is added to pie dish
Pastry is fitted and crimped over pie filling
Pastry is fitted and crimped over pie filling
Rabbit pie is glazed and ready for the oven
Rabbit pie is glazed and ready for the oven
Tops are removed from carrots for cooking
Tops are removed from carrots for cooking
Rabbit and pork pie is removed from the oven and rested
Rabbit and pork pie is removed from the oven and rested
Butter and coriander is added to the drained carrots
Butter and coriander is added to the drained carrots
Pie is cut open for serving
Pie is cut open for serving
A slotted spoon is used to plate rabbit pie filling
A slotted spoon is used to plate rabbit pie filling
A piece of pastry is laid on top of the rabbit and pork pie filling
A piece of pastry is laid on top of the rabbit and pork pie filling
  1. Mix the meat with the bell peppers and mushrooms. Lay in a 10" by 7" pie dish and ladle in enough stock from the pot to half cover.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a rectangle about 11" by 8". Carefully lay on the pie dish and crimp around the edges.
  3. Glaze the pie with the beaten egg and cut a steam vent in the centre. Put the pie in to the preheated oven for thirty-five to forty minutes, until the pastry is beautifully risen and golden.
  4. When the pie has been on for twenty minutes, add the chopped potatoes to a pot with plenty cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for twenty minutes or so until soft.
  5. Just before the pie is ready, add the Chantenay carrots to a pot of salted water and bring to a simmer for fifteen minutes.
  6. Remove the pie from the oven and set aside to rest. When the potatoes are ready, drain through a colander and return to the empty pot to steam and dry out for five minutes. Add a little butter and mash with a hand masher. Drain the carrots and return to the pot with some butter and the chopped coriander/cilantro.
  7. Quarter the pie crust and lift carefully with a spatula to a holding plate. Divide the rabbit and vegetables between four serving plates with a slotted spoon. Lay the pastry on top before adding the carrots and mash.

Roast Rabbit Saddle with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Roast rabbit saddle is plucked from the bones and served with mushroom cream sauce, roast potatoes and broccoli
Roast rabbit saddle is plucked from the bones and served with mushroom cream sauce, roast potatoes and broccoli

Roasting rabbit is the riskiest and probably least recommended way of cooking it. Opinions vary hugely as to how it should be achieved to best effect and many recipes will leave the rabbit incredibly dry and tough. This rabbit portion was roasted only as a means of using up the saddle of the rabbit from which the legs were made in to a rabbit stew to serve one person. It did work well but it is vital to monitor the rabbit in the latter stages of cooking and catch it just when the meat is at its most tender. A mere ten minutes either way can spell disaster. It is recommended therefore that if you are cooking rabbit for the first time - and especially if you are to be tasting it for the first time! - don't roast it. Go for the stew/pie instead.

Note that the bacon used in this recipe is regular bacon in the USA and what is known as smoked streaky bacon in the UK. Standard British back bacon is not suitable for using in this dish as it is not fatty enough and does not provide the required moistening juices.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 3 hours

Ready in: 3 hours 15 min

Yields: One serving


Ingredients

  • 1 whole rabbit saddle
  • 2oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing cooking dish
  • 6 slices of bacon (smoked streaky bacon)
  • Black pepper
  • 5 baby new potatoes, or as desired
  • Salt
  • ½ small head of broccoli, broken in to florets
  • 3 tbsp double/heavy cream
  • 2 small closed cup mushrooms, sliced

How to Roast a Rabbit Saddle

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fresh rabbit saddleRubbing butter on rabbit saddleWrapping rabbit saddle in baconRabbit saddle wrapped in baconRabbit saddle ready for roastingTinfoil covers rabbit saddle for roastingRoast rabbit saddle removed from the ovenRabbit saddle meat picked from the bones with baconPreparing mushroom cream sauceRoast rabbit saddle meat is plated with roast potatoes and broccoli
Fresh rabbit saddle
Fresh rabbit saddle
Rubbing butter on rabbit saddle
Rubbing butter on rabbit saddle
Wrapping rabbit saddle in bacon
Wrapping rabbit saddle in bacon
Rabbit saddle wrapped in bacon
Rabbit saddle wrapped in bacon
Rabbit saddle ready for roasting
Rabbit saddle ready for roasting
Tinfoil covers rabbit saddle for roasting
Tinfoil covers rabbit saddle for roasting
Roast rabbit saddle removed from the oven
Roast rabbit saddle removed from the oven
Rabbit saddle meat picked from the bones with bacon
Rabbit saddle meat picked from the bones with bacon
Preparing mushroom cream sauce
Preparing mushroom cream sauce
Roast rabbit saddle meat is plated with roast potatoes and broccoli
Roast rabbit saddle meat is plated with roast potatoes and broccoli
  1. Put your oven on to 150C/300F. Wash the rabbit saddle and pat it dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Lay six slices of bacon (smoked streaky bacon) side by side on a chopping board. Rub the butter over the top of the rabbit saddle with your hands. Season with black pepper only as all the salt required will come from the bacon. Lay the saddle top side down in the centre of the bacon strips. Carefully wrap the bacon strips around the rabbit.
  3. Lightly grease a deep ovenproof dish with butter. Sit the rabbit in the dish backbone side up and cover with tinfoil.
  4. Put it in the oven for two hours.
  5. Put the potatoes, skin on, in to a pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour. Drain, return to the pot, cover and leave to cool.
  6. After the two hours are up, remove the rabbit from the oven and carefully lift off the tinfoil. Use a metal skewer to test for tenderness. If necessary, re-cover and return to the oven for ten more minutes and test again. The rabbit saddle in this instance took two hours and twenty minutes.
  7. Sit the rabbit aside to rest for half an hour.
  8. The broccoli florets should be added to boiling salted water and simmered for ten minutes before being drained.
  9. Peel the skin from the potatoes with your fingers and deep fry in hot oil for five or six minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
  10. Peel the bacon from the rabbit saddle and pick the flesh from the bones in clumps.
  11. Pour the cream in to a small saucepan and put it on a gentle heat. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and plenty black pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes.
  12. While the sauce is simmering, plate the rabbit, bacon, potatoes and broccoli. Pour the hot sauce over the rabbit immediately before service.

Rabbit, Lamb and Root Vegetable Stew Recipe

Rabbit and lamb slowly stewed to tender perfection with a selection of root vegetables
Rabbit and lamb slowly stewed to tender perfection with a selection of root vegetables

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 4 hours

Ready in: 4 hours 30 min

Yields: Two generous portions

Ingredients

  • 1 whole rabbit, portioned as described above
  • 4 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3oz butter
  • ½ lb diced shoulder of lamb
  • 1 stick of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 small carrots, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 6 small shallots, peeled
  • 3 pints fresh chicken stock
  • 1 small Swede turnip/rutabaga, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 large starchy/floury potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 10" very fresh French baguette, sliced
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley to garnish

How to Make Rabbit Stew - Stage One

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rabbit chopped in to portionsRabbit pieces are added to seasoned flourRabbit pieces turned in seasoned flourBrowning rabbit pieces in butterLamb shoulderLamb pieces are tossed in flourBrowned rabbit and lamb piecesVegetables for stewing rabbitChopped vegetables for stewSauteeing vegetables
Rabbit chopped in to portions
Rabbit chopped in to portions
Rabbit pieces are added to seasoned flour
Rabbit pieces are added to seasoned flour
Rabbit pieces turned in seasoned flour
Rabbit pieces turned in seasoned flour
Browning rabbit pieces in butter
Browning rabbit pieces in butter
Lamb shoulder
Lamb shoulder
Lamb pieces are tossed in flour
Lamb pieces are tossed in flour
Browned rabbit and lamb pieces
Browned rabbit and lamb pieces
Vegetables for stewing rabbit
Vegetables for stewing rabbit
Chopped vegetables for stew
Chopped vegetables for stew
Sauteeing vegetables
Sauteeing vegetables
  1. Put the flour in a large bowl and season. Add the rabbit pieces and stir carefully through the flour to coat evenly.
  2. Melt the butter in a large stew pot and add the rabbit pieces in two batches to brown for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.
  3. Toss the lamb pieces in the flour and again brown and seal evenly in the butter. Add to the plate with the rabbit.
  4. Put the celery, carrots and shallots in to the pot and sautee for a couple of minutes.

How to Make Rabbit Stew - Stage Two

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rabbit and lamb re-added to stew potPotatoes and Swede turnip/rutabagaPotatoes and Swede peeled and choppedPotatoes and turnip added to stewCooked rabbit and lamb removed from stewFrench baguetteFrench bread is sliced to serveRabbit and lamb stew is ladled in to serving dishStew is garnished and served with the breadA single serving of rabbit, lamb and root vegetable stew
Rabbit and lamb re-added to stew pot
Rabbit and lamb re-added to stew pot
Potatoes and Swede turnip/rutabaga
Potatoes and Swede turnip/rutabaga
Potatoes and Swede peeled and chopped
Potatoes and Swede peeled and chopped
Potatoes and turnip added to stew
Potatoes and turnip added to stew
Cooked rabbit and lamb removed from stew
Cooked rabbit and lamb removed from stew
French baguette
French baguette
French bread is sliced to serve
French bread is sliced to serve
Rabbit and lamb stew is ladled in to serving dish
Rabbit and lamb stew is ladled in to serving dish
Stew is garnished and served with the bread
Stew is garnished and served with the bread
A single serving of rabbit, lamb and root vegetable stew
A single serving of rabbit, lamb and root vegetable stew
  1. Re-add the rabbit and lamb to the pot. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to boiling point. Put the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to achieve as gentle a simmer as possible for three hours.
  2. Carefully lift all the pieces of rabbit and lamb from the pot with a large slotted spoon to a plate. Cover and leave for half an hour to cool.
  3. Immediately after the rabbit and lamb is removed from the pot, the potatoes and Swede turnip/rutabaga should be added. Bring back to a simmer and cook uncovered for forty-five minutes.
  4. When the rabbit and lamb has been resting for the half hour, the meat should carefully be plucked from the bones of the rabbit by hand. Try to keep it in fairly large pieces but do be sure to get rid of any small bones.
  5. When the vegetables have been simmering for forty-five minutes, turn off the heat under the pot. Put the rabbit and lamb back in to the stew and stir well. Leave for ten minutes for the meat to come back up in temperature in the residual heat.
  6. Ladle the stew in to a large serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley. Take to the table with the freshly sliced bread.

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4.8 stars from 4 ratings of these rabbit recipes

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    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, CyclingFitness. I'll keep your secret! Rabbit is genuinely a meat I have loved since childhood so I can relate to your problem. Hope you continue to get the chance to enjoy this beautiful meat. Cheers for visiting and leaving your comment. Enjoy your rabbit :)

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Sunshine265, I know this is a huge problem with many people and I'm sorry. I've always come across this issue with eating rabbit. I wish your Cupcake well and hope you enjoy the company of your pet for a very long time to come. Thank you for commenting upon what I am sure must be a very sensitive issue for you.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Wesman and thanks. Rabbit is something I haven't seen on display in shops/stores here since I was a child but I am lucky in that I have a local butcher who orders them in for me especially. I go in and order them and he calls me a few days later to tell me they have been delivered. I used to go after them as a very young boy with sometimes ferrets, sometimes the gun but I haven't done that in years. A wee tip for you if you go for them yourself in your back yard: clean them outside and even then try to avoid piercing the inner belly cavity. The stink is unbelievable if your knife slips! :)

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, NornsMercy. Well, you're one up on me because I have never eaten bear. I would love to try it but not sure when I may get the opportunity. I hope you get the chance to enjoy rabbit. So many people say it tastes like chicken - no, it doesn't! It tastes like rabbit... :) Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Great hub with some fantastic recipes to try out!

      I'm unofficially not supposed to eat Rabbit as my sister in law is rabbit mad but I love it as a meat. But what she doesn't know won't hurt her!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent details and recipes, but as an owner of a bunny named Cupcake, there is no way I would ever eat rabbit. Ever. Your presentation is awesome though.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thanks for the very well done page!

      I've never seen rabbit meat in any store....but I sure see them in my yard and pasture! I would absolutely eat rabbit should the times get hard.

    • NornsMercy profile image

      Chace 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I've eaten bear but never rabbit. Boy, do these pictures make me want to try it, though! Voted up, useful and awesome.

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