Wild Bird Recipe: Parmesan Pheasant Breasts with Crispy Ham

A broad view of a sunset over hills, hunting pheasant concept.

As much as we love talking about hunting education and safety, we also love discussing what to do with the wild game meat filling your freezer! 

Hunting pheasant means you likely have a freezer full of delicious bird meat. So, what do you do with it? We've found a recipe we think you'll love. We'll also talk about staying safe on your next pheasant hunt so you can bring home more birds for your family to enjoy. 

What Does Pheasant Taste Like?

If you've hunted this bird before, you already know how delicious it is. Some would say it's at the top of the list when considering the best-tasting game birds

Most hunters agree that pheasants taste like chicken but are less gamey. If you prioritize "healthy" meats in your diet, you can eat pheasants without any worries - it's a healthy meat!

Image of a hunter with a pheasantn and text Parmesan Pheasant Breast with Crispy Ham.

How Do You Cook It?

Fans of the pheasant recommend roasting it. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this game bird! Try the recipe below from The Field

Parmesan Pheasant Breasts with Crispy Ham Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 7 minutes. Servings: 4.


  • 4 pheasant breasts
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Black pepper
  • 8 slices prosciutto or air-dried ham
  • 3½ oz. grated parmesan
  • Olive oil

To start, score the underside of each pheasant breast. Use a small, sharp knife and cut a criss-cross pattern. Then, place the breasts side by side on a large chopping board. Season them with the pepper.

Next, combine the parmesan and chopped sage in a small bowl. Sprinkle this mix evenly over the pheasant. Place two slices of prosciutto on each breast, overlapping slightly. Then, drizzle with olive oil.

Cover the meat with plastic wrap. Pound it with a mallet until it is less than half an inch thick. Next, heat a nonstick frying pan on medium heat. Transfer the breasts over to the frying pan – prosciutto-side down. Drizzle the olive oil on top. 

Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Make sure the prosciutto is crispy.

Finally, serve with lemon wedges and a crisp salad or potatoes. You can serve this dish warm or chilled!

A hunter wearing black orange, hunting pheasant concept.

Prioritize Safety When Hunting Pheasant

We hope you'll try the recipe above and enjoy it!

Before you can eat fresh pheasant meat, you have to hunt it. Whenever you're in the field, it's crucial to prioritize safety. When you return home safely with a new harvest of game birds, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Before your next pheasant hunt, make sure you're safety certified. Most states require hunters to pass a hunter safety course before purchasing a license and hitting the field. Even if it's not required, taking a course through Hunter-Ed is a smart thing to do to ensure your safety and the safety of others during a hunt. 

We want you to enjoy your favorite wild game meats season after season! So, as you plan future hunts, find the course for your state and get your safety certification. 


Originally published December 29, 2015. Content updated April 4, 2023. 

Melisa Geleott

<p>Melisa grew up in Phoenix, AZ, and began bird hunting, fishing, and elk hunting in Kaibab with her father at a young age. She's always loved being outdoors and experiencing nature. She loves that she can share her passion with her fiancé and have the opportunity to show others the beauty of the outdoors. She and her fiancé started a non-profit organization in 2020 with the mission of giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Nothing is more peaceful for her than sitting in her tree stand or blind and listening to nature around her, letting go of outside distraction</p>