Pan Fried Dove Recipe: A Delicious Appetizer

Well, I call this pan-fried dove recipe an appetizer, but I like to dine on it as a meal with a salad! These awesome bites of delicious dove are outrageously satisfying. The only problem that I have with this dish is that I can’t stop eating!

Fried Dove Appetizer Recipe - Mouthwatering! A meal in itself!
Fried Dove Recipe as an Appetizer – Mouthwatering! A meal in itself!

Why Cook with Dove Meat?

Dove are interesting little birds. They have little fat and dark meat. The meat is nice and tender, but is best if eaten rare or very slowly braised. Most of the hunters that I know like to grill the dove, which I also love to do, but often I like to entertain using dove and it can be awkward eating them while walking around holding a plate at a party.

I am developing dove recipes that call for deboned dove or the breast meat of the dove. Please note that I don’t throw away the wings; I use them to make an awesome broth for sauces that I love to use over the dove.

I am sharing this particular recipe because it’s very straightforward and everyone always loves them. I haven’t made them yet where they weren’t gone within minutes…no matter how many that I prepared.

How to Pan Fry Dove

You can serve these fried dove bites with just about any kind of sauce. A variety of sauces makes for an extra fun get-together. Since this appetizer is so very easy, you can spend a little time developing a few sauces to use. The sauce changes the entire flavor profile of the dish. You can even make a relish to put over it for an extra fancy sit-down appetizer.

The sky is the limit! Just make it a point to prepare these tasty prizes, whatever you do. It is an experience that you don’t want to miss.

Watch this video to see how to debone a dove.

Fried Dove Appetizer Recipe - Mouthwatering! A meal in itself!

Stacy Lyn’s Pan Fried Dove Appetizer

These delicious bites of pan-fried dove are outrageously satisfying.
5 from 4 votes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 4


  • 12 Dove
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • peanut oil for frying


  • Remove the breast meat from the dove. Place buttermilk onto a shallow bowl. In another shallow dish combine flour, paprika, salt, and pepper. Dredge the dove breasts into the buttermilk and then into the flour mixture until just coated.
  • Pour about 1/4 inch peanut oil into the bottom of a cast iron skillet and bring to 350 degrees. Fry the dove breasts in batches for about 2 minutes turning once during frying. Remove the dove to a platter and serve with your favorite dipping sauce or my favorite, plum jelly!
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  2. Lou Arcangeli says:

    Dear Stacy,
    Thanks for a great video!
    I have cleaned doves the way you demonstrated in this video for years, separating the meat from the keel bone by hand, but unless I only have a few to clean I usually hold the whole bird with the wings pulled back, gently separate the skin from the breast, use a wide blade chef’s knife and make a slice along the keel bone and then gently push (not cut) with the blade down and away from the center of the breast, including the tiny tender in the breast filet. This is a fast way to clean the birds and there are fewer feathers flying around.

    You are right- fileting the breasts into these morsels allows the meat to cook faster and with much more consistent results. I have been served whole dove breasts that were either burned on the outer edges or uncooked next to the breast bone. Also, given that dove are hunted with shotguns, this method gives me the opportunity to more closely inspect and remove pellets from the finished filets. On a particularly large filet from older birds or from ring necked doves, I give the filet a solid smack with the flat side of the knife against the cutting board to make a more even cooking surface. When cooked as you describe, dove really lives up to your description as the “filet mignon of the sky”!

    Lou Arcangeli
    (PS: I appreciate that you usually leave the cleaning of wild game to Scott Leysath, but thought you would consider this technique next September.)

    1. Thanks Lou! Maybe I should do some of the cleaning on the next episode!! I do have some of that on my Youtube Channel. I love the tips you left in the comments and will be giving those a try!! Thanks again, and please keep the tips and comments coming!

  3. Eric Shuping says:

    Excellent recipe. I added a little cumin as well because I’m from Texas and we put it in everything. A lot easier than wrapping them up in bacon with jalapeno and onion. They turned into appetizers because my wife and kids were eating them as soon as they cooled off a bit.

    I’ve been cleaning my dove like that for a while. I always hated guessing if they were done, and hated it even more when I got some raw meat by the breast bone.

    1. Amen Eric. It’s horrible to find that you didn’t cook them all the way through. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. Great video, I’ve also done this fried dove thing a while. I usually half each side of the breast and call them Fahita (Dove) Bites and no one knows they are eating dove till I tell them. I change up the batter recipe as well on occasion, Cajun is one of my favorites, and if my wife has recently cooked bacon, I will fry them in the bacon grease. To Die For!

    1. That sounds amazing Greg! Wow. I’ll have to try that!!

  5. Lorin Levine-Janovich says:

    Dove season is right around the corner for us. We have blocked off the opening day followed by two more days. Lovey dove, here we come!

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