Rabbit is a great protein source for a survival situation. Wild rabbits are found in most parts of the country, while domestic rabbits are easy to raise in just about any situation.
Rabbit is a mild-tasting, light-colored meat similar to chicken. You can cook rabbit with any recipe that works for chicken, but it’s best if you use a rabbit recipe. We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to cook rabbit here.
Note that these sources all give directions for cutting the rabbit into parts. That may or may not be necessary – check the recipe before you cut up the rabbit. Some require pieces, while others use the rabbit whole.
The basic steps to butchering a rabbit are:
- Stun the rabbit by hitting it in the head with a blunt, heavy object.
- Slit its throat, and let the blood drain (save the blood if you are cooking jugged hare).
- Remove the skin. If you are careful, you’ll have a skin that can be tanned and used for other projects.
- Remove the head and feet.
- Gut the rabbit.
- Wash the carcass.
- Cut up the rabbit if the recipe calls for it.
Rabbit starvation is the name given to a condition that occurs in people who eat nothing but rabbit meat for an extended period. Rabbit is extremely lean, and a diet built on rabbit meat is deficient in fat.
If you only eat rabbit for a long time, you will start to experience symptoms like diarrhea, headache, fatigue, low blood pressure, and gnawing hunger. Cooking your rabbit with added fat will fight this problem and keep you strong and healthy.
Since rabbit is so lean, it dries out easily when cooked. Most rabbit recipes use added liquid or fat to prevent over-drying the meat. The method that adds the most liquid is stewing. Let’s start there.
Stewing is a popular method to cook rabbit because it doesn’t dry out. No matter how hard you cook the rabbit, every bite of stew is moist because it includes broth. Stews are good for older rabbits because they make the meat more tender.
This rabbit stew uses Dijon mustard and white wine. It’s another French-style recipe with a great savory flavor.
Lime, ginger, and red pepper flakes give this stew a spicy kick. It’s a great warm-up for chilly winter days.
Here, rabbit is paired with mushrooms and butter for a classic fall dish. It’s a savory winter warmer that really fills you up.
Fried Rabbit Recipes
Since rabbit is an ultra-lean meat, frying is a great way to keep it moist and add a little fat back to the dish. It’s one of the most popular ways to cook rabbit.
Frying is particularly good for young rabbits because they are the most tender. Older rabbits benefit from slower cooking methods like roasting or braising.
This recipe uses a Dijon mustard marinade on the rabbit, which gives it a French twist. It’s a delicious way to enjoy rabbits.
This recipe uses boneless rabbit thighs to fry up for sandwiches. The results are similar to a fast-food chicken sandwich, but made from rabbit. Make sure to add a couple of pickles to your sandwich for the most authentic flavor!
Using buttermilk to batter food for frying is a southern tradition. This recipe punches up the batter with paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne peppers.
Braising is a cooking technique that uses low, moist heat and long cooking times. It is intermediate between roasting and stewing. Braising is good for rabbit because the moisture keeps the meat from drying out. These recipes work equally well in a dutch oven or a crock pot.
Rabbit is paired with mushrooms again in this braise. It’s a savory dish with a rich, deep flavor that works well with older rabbits.
This simple recipe uses lemon juice and chicken broth to create a tangy sauce for the rabbit. It’s good with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.
Using beer instead of water or stock gives this recipe an extra kick. It also includes carrots and potatoes, making it a true one-pot dish.
Fricassee is a cooking technique that is midway between braising and sautéing. Little or no liquid is added to the recipe, but the cooking technique creates liquid that braises the rabbit. Because of the extra liquid, fricassees are a popular way to cook rabbit.
Milk is used to create a white sauce for the rabbit in this recipe. Hot pepper sauce and lemon juice kive it a hot, tangy kick.
Onions, mushrooms, and bacon add depth of flavor here. The sauce is made from white wine for a bright, zesty flavor.
Heavy cream and mushrooms make this dish a creamy, savory delight. It is a great meal for a cold, blustery day.
Rabbit Pie and Pastry
Pot pie is a traditional way to keep rabbit moist, and add a little body to the meal. These delicious dishes take a little more work for the crust, but they are worth it.
This rabbit pot pie uses pancetta to bring out the savory flavor of the rabbit. You can always use bacon if pancetta is in short supply. Bacon and pancetta are the same cut of pork, but you slightly different curing processes.
These mini turnovers bring the flavor of pot pie into your hand. It adds a tangy piccalilli sauce based on vinegar and mustard for some extra bite.
Other Rabbit Recipes
These recipes don’t have a common cooking technique. Most use some kind of sauce to keep the rabbit moist and tasty.
The name of this recipe is Spanish for “rabbit on a stick.” It’s meant for roasting a rabbit over a campfire – what could be better after a hard day of hunting? It also works well for grilling a rabbit outside on a grill.
This recipe from Portugal uses mustard and an orange to maximize the flavor of a braised rabbit. The simple recipe only uses six ingredients, and has only three steps. What could be easier?
This roasted rabbit recipe uses bacon for extra flavor. It includes a French-style mustard sauce on the side for even more taste.
In contrast to the simple recipe above, the Spanish recipe uses fourteen different ingredients and requires lots of attention. It’s delicious, though, and a great way to stretch your proteins into a one-pot meal.
This Normandy-style recipe adds white beans to absorb flavor from the rabbit, and make it even more filling. Loaded with tarragon and apples, this recipe will smell as good is it tastes!
Using only the boneless loin of the rabbit gives this recipe a different feel. The loins are the two long strips of muscle that run down the back of the rabbit on either side of the spine. They can be cut out with a boning or filet knife to produce long, thin strips similar to chicken tenders.
This rabbit recipe is similar to fried rabbit, but without the crust. It includes a side dish of rosemary potatoes.
If traditional American flavors are your style, try out this oven-roasted rabbit. It’s seasoned with ketchup and Worchester sauce, similar to meat loaf.
This recipe for grilled rabbit uses beer to keep the rabbit moist. It’s a great way to cook rabbit outside over a fire.
Confit is a traditional French method for preserving meats through the winter without canning. It’s usually reserved for very fatty meats like duck and pork, but this recipe uses rabbit. It’s a good way to preserve your rabbit, or to enjoy it right away.
If you are looking for a lien alternative to hamburgers, or if you want to do something different with your rabbit, check out this recipe for bunny burgers. It adds diced pork belly to ground rabbit for a delicious rabbit hamburger.
For Italian twist on rabbit, try this linguine recipe. It uses a bright tasting white wine and lemon sauce and adds walnuts for crunch. The whole thing is served over pasta to make a filling meal.
Hunter’s stews are special rabbit recipes that use tomato, mushroom, and wine to flavor the rabbit. They are terrific winter warmers and work will with domestic or wild rabbits.
With a heavy tomato base, this Italian stew is a great winter warmer. It’s very similar to hunter’s rabbit recipes. That’s not surprising, since “cacciatore” is Italian for “hunter.”
This recipe is somewhere between a stew and a braise. It uses tomato sauce and white wine to make a French-style sauce.
This slow-braised rabbit recipe is heavy on mushrooms and light on tomatoes. It also uses red wine and beef broth for a rich sauce.
Olives and bacon give this hunter’s rabbit a salty, smoky twist. It’s great with pasta or crusty bread.
Believe it or not, hasenpfeffer is a real dish and not just a funny word for cartoons. This German-style rabbit stew uses red wine, onions, and vinegar as a base for a savory dish.
This delicious hasenpfeffer uses bacon, shallots, and garlic in addition to the standard ingredients. It’s less of a stew than a braised rabbit, but it includes the classic hasenpfeffer flavors.
This dish gets a little extra zip from sour cream in addition to the vinegar and wine. It also uses pickling spices as a marinade to add depth to the flavor.
Marinating the rabbit in a hasenpfeffer sauce then frying makes it a wonderful meal.
Jugged Hare Recipes
Jugged hare is a very old French recipe that works best with jackrabbits or older rabbits. It’s a braised recipe, which means a long, slow cook at a lower temperature – think pot roast.
If you are going to cook jugged hare, you will need to save the rabbit’s liver and some of its blood to thicken the sauce.
This recipe calls it by the French name, “civet of hare,” but it’s still jugged hare. This recipe is very traditional and takes a long time to cook, but it’s worth the effort.
There’s a very old recipe for jugged hare that starts with these words. This article takes the same approach and talks a little about hunting. It skips the use of blood as a thickener and uses corn starch instead, so it might be better for the squeamish among us.
Aaron is a hunter, fisherman and homesteader from the Cross Timbers region in the state of Texas. He enjoys spending time in the wilderness doing small game hunting, as well as on his homestead where he raises cows, pigs and lots of veggies!