9 Foods That Really Do “Taste Like Chicken”
Saying something "tastes like chicken" is a bit of a cliché for a palatable food, but in the case of these foods, it's the truth. Taste is somewhat subjective, of course, but here are some foods—some a little quirky!—that chefs agree do, in fact, taste like chicken.
Alligator (and crocodile!)
“That looks tasty!” is probably not what crosses your mind when you see these menacing-looking, spiny creatures. But not only is alligator meat very edible, it actually—you guessed it—tastes like chicken! Alligator and crocodile meat is popular everywhere from the American South to the Outback. If you’re not sure which is which, find out exactly what the difference is between alligators and crocodiles. A similarity, though, is that, for both of them, “the meat is similar [to chicken] in color and texture,” according to Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos, senior culinary advisor at Healthy Meals Supreme. He admits that the meat does have a “mossy/gamey flavor” that may ruin the chicken-y illusion, but if the meat is “properly marinated,” you won’t taste that. If the meat is overcooked, it will develop a rubbery flavor, but “seasoned well and quickly grilled, it will certainly resemble chicken,” he says.
This is a French delicacy, one that you’d probably think would be either incredibly nuanced in taste…or completely disgusting. So it might be quite surprising to learn that they actually have a chicken-like flavor! According to social media food and travel influencer Luisa Ruocco, frog legs “are much smaller than chicken legs, and…the tiny bones are a chore to get around, but what little meat you do get tastes a lot like chicken.” Frog legs might actually be tasty, but you won’t believe these other bizarre foods that are popular throughout the world.
And you thought alligator was unusual! “I really enjoy fried rattlesnake,” Guggenmos told RD.com. Canned rattlesnake, a common sight at some exotic meat stores, is pretty comparable to, of all things, fried chicken! “[When it’s] battered like fried chicken, one really could be fooled in believing [rattlesnake] to be chicken, especially when the pieces of meat are cut to resemble chicken breast,” Guggenmos says. Who knows, maybe you could even swap it in in this fried chicken recipe that’s been viewed over 200,000 times.
You knew there had to be at least one other bird on this list! This small game bird can be found throughout North America, and its meat can also mimic that of a chicken. But this one might not be uncanny like some of these others. Quail “is similar to…a very young chicken in texture and moisture, but unless marinated and seasoned well it will maintain a gamey flavor profile,” Guggenmos explains.
Cornish game hen
It’s less exciting than alligator, sure, but if you need something that’s easy to find that makes a great chicken substitute, Claudia Sidoti, Principal Chef and Head of Recipe Development at HelloFresh, recommends trying a Cornish game hen. She says it’s easy to swap for a whole roasted chicken, especially since there are so many ways you could be cooking chicken wrong,
Seitan vegan chicken
Vegan meat substitutes can be very hit or miss, but it’s pretty telling that this one actually calls itself “seitan chicken.” It’s a product made from wheat gluten and is generally considered to have a more convincing “meaty” texture than other alternatives like tofu or tempeh. It has a mild taste comparable to chicken, and if you season it like your favorite chicken dish, it makes a convincing substitute!
Rabbit meat may not be hugely popular in the United States, but if you can get on board with it, and find it, Guggenmos says that it makes a surprisingly good chicken substitute, especially in stews. “Properly marinated and prepared, this meat resembles chicken in flavor and texture,” he says. “When cooked in a stew, it’s about as close as it gets to chicken.” Guggenmos does make it clear that he is talking about domesticated, not wild, rabbit; they’re actually separate species. If you’ve got no desire to curb your chicken consumption, make sure you know exactly how to tell when chicken is done cooking.
Swordfish is a bit more mainstream if still a seriously intimidating-looking animal. While this tasty meat is usually sold as steaks, Sidoti says it’s actually pretty similar to chicken! “[Swordfish] has many similarities to a chicken breast when marinated and grilled or pan-seared,” she told Reader’s Digest. “The mild taste, tender texture, and meatiness make it a great alternative to chicken breast.”
Hen of the Woods mushrooms
Seeing “Hen of the Woods” might make you think that this is another type of bird, but it’s actually not meat at all! It’s a mushroom. If you’ve seen those big clusters of mushrooms at the base of trees, those are often Hen of the Woods mushrooms! And, yes, they taste comparable to chicken—don’t knock it till you try it! “They look funky, but they’re a unique plant-based [chicken] alternative that lends a little texture and an umami note to dishes,” says Ellie Golemb, chef at Ghost Vegan. “You can find them dried year-round, and they plump up deliciously when rehydrated with a little vegetable stock.” If you can get on board with these somewhat funky foods, you need to check out the one food you should try from every state.