Tender Squirrel Stew

Light and fresh, this stew recipe features tender, fall of the bone squirrel meat. A couple easy steps make this the best Tender Squirrel Stew Recipe to make!

Bowl of light and fresh squirrel stew recipe

The Best Squirrel Stew Recipe

Surprisingly the line “tastes like chicken” is true to describe this light squirrel stew or soup packed with vegetables.

Onions, bacon, garlic, cream of mushroom soup, tomatoes and lima beans blend together nicely. These flavors make a perfect fall or cool weather meal which is when squirrel hunting season is open.

The quarters or around the top of each leg is where the meat comes from on squirrels. This meat is made tender by soaking in a salt water solution, draining and then soaking in a vinegar water solution. These steps help start to break down the proteins and other tissues around the meat to make everything more tender.

We have neighbors that love hunting for wild game which is typically all-natural, organically raised meat. These neighbors took responsibility to procure and prepare the fresh, never frozen meat to cook.

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I’ve shared many times before, as a farmer I’m a big fan of commercially raised beef, pork, chicken and turkey because corn fed tastes so good. But this was a great opportunity to experience something new!

The best stew recipe to make squirrel meat tender and juicy

These neighbors were the first to sample. With the first bite Randy’s face lit up and he expressed a surprise reaction at how tender the meat is. He tried to make squirrel before but said it was dry and tough as shoe leather.

A friend’s mom generously shared this special squirrel recipe with me as a a bit of a joke. As a life long learner that’s always up for a new experience I gladly took the challenge!

How to Make Squirrel Tender

There are two easy but very important steps in this recipe to make the squirrel meat fall off the bone tender.

Brining meat in salt water helps flavor the meat from the inside out and also help begin to denature or break down the proteins in meat. This is a form of tenderization.

The next key step is to soak the squirrel meat in a vinegar water solution. Acid in the vinegar helps to weaken collagen (stuff that connects muscles and bones together) and weaken protein (the meat). This is another form of tenderization.

Squirrel baking in a light stew

A salt water brine is made by mixing 1/2 cup of table salt and 4 quarts of water. Soak a clean and thoroughly washed squirrel in salt water for 1 – 2 hours.

Rinse the salt water off and let stand in vinegar water for another 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 4 quarts of water.

Ensure whole or disjointed squirrels are fully submerged in each solution and stored in the refrigerator while soaking.

What Does Squirrel Meat Taste Like?

When using simple tenderizing methods squirrel meat truly tastes like lean, dark meat chicken.

There was not a detectable gamey flavor in the squirrels that I prepared.

Tips & Tricks

  • Rabbit may be prepared the same way
  • Be sure to allow the full amount of soaking time in both salt water and vinegar water to make meat tender
  • Meat may be sprinkled with seasoned tenderizer if desired
  • Meat may be doubled, but additional vegetables may not be needed if you prefer a meatier meal
  • Use a knife or kitchen shears to chop meat into quarters before serving

How to Make Squirrel Stew

These details are to be used once a hunter has provided clean meat. Here is a good article on how to cut up a squirrel and the prep work involved.

Clean and wash squirrels thoroughly. Disjoint if desired, I use whole squirrels with the heads removed. Submerge in a salt water solution that has 1/4 cup of iodized or table salt dissolved in 2 quarts of water. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Rinse.

Stir together 1/4 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water. Submerge meat, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 1/2 hours.

Rinse and dry. Brown squirrels in butter over medium high heat for about 3 – 5 minutes per side.

Browning squirrel meat in butter in a skillet

Place in greased large casserole dish or roasting pan. Pour cooking oil over meat. Sprinkle salt, pepper and minced garlic over squirrel.

Chop a thick slice of bacon into pieces and lay on top of squirrel.

Bacon on browned squirrel meat

Add sliced onions to the pan. Cover with a lid or foil and bake at 350°F for 1 1/2 hours.

Uncover and add a can of diluted cream of mushroom soup.

Squirrel meat in a light cream of mushroom soup gravy

Add a package of frozen lima beans and 1 can of diced tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes chopped.

Easy stew to bake squirrel meat in to be very tender

Bake for another 30 – 25 minutes until the beans are tender.

Meat should be very tender and easy to pull off the bone with one or two forks. Some may prefer to pick up the pieces and eat like chicken wings.

Serve warm and enjoy!

More Great Recipes to Complete the Meal

Our family’s famous Rich & Moist Chocolate Cake is perfect for special occasions and everyday.

Devil’s Food Cookies start with a box of cake mix to make an easy and delicious cookie!

Easy Pumpkin Carrot Cake is another easy cake that features fall flavors.

Printable Squirrel Recipe

Bowl of squirrel stew with tomatoes, onions, lima beans and mushroom gravy

Tender Squirrel Stew

Servings 4 servings
Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life
Light and fresh, this stew recipe features tender, fall of the bone squirrel meat. A couple easy steps make this the best Tender Squirrel Stew Recipe to make!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Soaking / Tenderizing Time 3 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes


  • 2 squirrels
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 slice bacon cut-up
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 10 ounces cream of mushroom soup diluted
  • 12 ounces frozen baby lima beans
  • 14 ouces diced tomatoes


  • Clean and wash squirrels thoroughly. Prepare salt water solution by dissolving 1/4 cup of iodized table salt in 2 quarts of water. Disjoint and let stand covered in salt water bath for 1 to 1/2 hours covered in the refrigerator.
  • Rinse and let stand in vinegar water for 1 hour. 1/4 cup white vinegar and 2 quarts of water.
  • Rinse and dry. Melt butter over medium high heat in a skillet and brown squirrels on all sides.
  • Coat a large casserole dish or roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour vegetable oil over and then coat with salt, pepper and minced garlic.
  • Lay pieces of bacon on meat then cover with sliced onions. Cover baking dish and bake at 350°F for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Uncover and add can of diluted cream of mushroom soup, frozen baby lima beans and tomatoes. Bake an additional 30 minutes or more until beans are tender.


Calories: 397kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 35gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1082mgPotassium: 961mgFiber: 6gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 465IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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