How to Cook Rabbit In Wine Sauce

A rabbit might seem like an uncommon meal to most, as it’s not the most day-to-day meal you can imagine.

When we think of rabbits as a meal, a lot of folks think of medieval times when a rabbit was caught in the wild and cooked over a fire. It’s interesting how today, such a common meal from the past has become a symbol of fine dining in the present.

However, in places such as Italy or France, it’s quite common to eat rabbits, sometimes even as common as eating chicken!

If you’ve never had a go at cooking rabbit, it might seem like a rather intimidating task.

Rabbit meat is actually very tasty whether you’re making braised rabbit, rabbit stew, roasted rabbit, or rabbit ragu, your rabbit recipe can be delicious and full of flavor.

I have found rabbit tastes great with Worcestershire sauce. My favorite rabbit recipe uses the rabbit piece (not whole) and is listed below. Serve with mashed potato and red wine. Yum!

How To Cook Rabbit in Wine Sauce

Cooking rabbit in wine sauce is a delicious and sophisticated dish that may seem intimidating at first, but with the right guidance, you’ll be able to successfully prepare this culinary delight. An exquisite combination of tender rabbit meat and a rich, flavorful wine sauce, this dish will surely impress your guests and elevate your cooking skills. By following the steps explained in this article, you can confidently create a memorable meal that’s both visually appealing and palate-pleasing.

To begin, it’s essential to choose the right ingredients for both the rabbit and the wine sauce. Opt for a fresh, succulent rabbit from a reputable butcher, as the quality of the meat plays a significant role in the overall taste of the dish. When selecting the wine, a bold, full-bodied red such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Burgundy will complement the rabbit’s flavor and create a truly divine sauce.

Having gathered your main ingredients, the next step is to properly eliminate any gaminess in the rabbit meat. Through techniques such as marinating and seasoning, you will ensure that your dish has the perfect balance of flavors. By paying attention to detail and using the best ingredients, you are well-prepared to make this delicious rabbit in wine sauce dish your own masterpiece.

How do you cook rabbit? What ingredients and flavoring work well with it? Is it just like cooking chicken? No need to worry, we have the answers to all those questions and more!

In fact, we’re going to show you one of our favorite rabbit recipes: pan-roasted in wine sauce, and we’ll help you get everything ready beforehand to ensure it goes smoothly.

We’ll also give you all the important tips that will help you become a rabbit cooking pro in no time! So, let’s get started!

Preparing to cook rabbit in wine sauce:

Before you start cooking the rabbit, you need to prepare the ingredients and equipment, so that everything is ready and the process is easier!

Defrosting The Rabbit

When buying a whole rabbit, it will either be fresh or frozen. Firstly, you need to choose between these two options:

Fresh rabbit:
This isn’t as common, unless you go to a market, buy directly from a farm, go to a butcher’s, or you’ve killed the rabbit yourself.

However, it’s a great option to go fresh and it will save you from having to defrost it! The problem is, you should eat it that very same day to avoid it going off.

Frozen rabbit:
This is the most common option and the most likely for you to choose. It will be easier to find, and the likelihood is that it will also be slightly cheaper. It also means that you can store the rabbit until you’re ready to cook it. However, you will have to defrost it!

If you’ve bought a frozen rabbit, the first step is to defrost it properly. This can be done by leaving it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. However, make sure to place it in a deep large plate or bowl, as the rabbit releases quite a lot of liquid when defrosting!

Pan Needed For Cooking The Rabbit:

As for the utensils you will use for cooking the rabbit, it’s important that you have an appropriate pan.

It should ideally be around 12 inches big so that there is enough room between the rabbit pieces to allow for proper caramelization, which will give you that delicious result you’re aiming for!

Plus, the rabbit pieces will take up quite some space, especially considering they make up a whole rabbit!

As the pan will also go into the oven, it’s best if you use a cast iron skillet with handles on either side, to make it easier on you when managing the pan and moving it into the oven.

Cutting The Whole Rabbit Into Pieces:

Apart from preparing all the ingredients needed, you also need to further prepare the rabbit. Once it has been properly defrosted, you need to cut it up into pieces for cooking.

This should be a lot easier than you might think, especially because rabbit bones are a lot thinner than chicken bones, making them easier to cut. For this, you will need a cutting board of your choice and a large knife.

You lay the whole rabbit flat on the cutting board, and you’re going to cut it into four different parts:

Back legs (which will then be separated so that each leg is an individual piece)
Front legs (which will then be separated so that each leg is an individual piece)
Half of the rabbit bust
The other half of the rabbit bust

It shouldn’t take too long, and once you have the pieces nicely cut up, you’ll be ready to proceed to the actual cooking stage.

How to cook rabbit in Wine Sauce: a step by step guide:

Once you have all the ingredients ready, and the rabbit is nicely cut up into pieces, you’re ready to start cooking! This is a basic recipe for you to follow, to ensure you get excellent and delicious results.

However, in time, you should be able to add your own unique modifications to create a recipe that works specifically for your taste! 

Here is the step by step guide on how to cook rabbit in wine sauce: 

  • In preparation, preheat a pan and add oil to create a nonstick surface. We recommend you use regular cooking oil, preferably sunflower oil as it has a higher heating point and will work best with this recipe. 
  • Once the pan is heated, add the pieces of rabbit. Sear them for around 5 minutes for each side, until they become brown. It’s tempting to rush this step but be patient and make sure that each side is properly browned! 
  • While you are searing the rabbit, add the seasoning of your choice for flavoring. Salt and pepper are the basic go-to, but you can add other seasonings on top such as garlic. 
  • Next, turn down the heat to medium, and season some more. (You want as much flavor as possible!) Now it’s time to add the white wine, which will caramelize the rabbit juices and provide the rabbit with a delicious finish. 
  • Leave the rabbit sit in the pan until all the wine has evaporated. There should now be a syrupy substance left over in the pan. 
  • Next, add some chicken stock into the pan. 
  • Meanwhile, you should have preheated the oven to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the chicken stock has dissolved, place the pan in the oven. 
  • Roast the rabbit in the oven for 30 minutes. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, to ensure it’s done: it should reach 140 degrees fahrenheit. 
  • Before serving, leave the rabbit to rest for some time. This will allow it to keep cooking on the inside. Check again with the meat thermometer, and when it has reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it is ready to serve! 
  • Add some fresh thyme and some more seasoning, and enjoy your meal!

How to Cook Rabbit in Wine Sauce

An easy recipe for pan roasting a whole rabbit in wine sauce for delicious results!
5 from 57 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 146 kcal


  • Large Pan
  • Oven
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Kitchen Tools for Cooking


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 1.5 lb rabbit defrosted and cut up
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  •  sea salt
  • pepper
  • fresh thyme


  • Add oil to the pan and pre-heat. Make sure you’re using regular cooking oil: either sunflower or olive oil. Preferably you will use sunflower oil, as it has a higher heating point.
  • Add the pieces of rabbit and sear them for around 5 minutes per side, until they’re well-browned. Don’t try to rush this step, rabbit takes its time and it’s worth the patience!
  • While searing the rabbit, add the seasoning of your choice. (We recommend salt and pepper). You could also add other extra ingredients, such as chopped garlic for extra flavoring.
  • Once the rabbit is seared, turn the what down to medium and season again. Then it’s time to add the white wine! Deglaze with the wine, this will get all the caramelized juices and add a great flavoring.
  • Leave it to sit until the wine has evaporated. This will leave you with a syrupy substance in the pan. Now you add the chicken stock into the pan.
  • Take the pan and place it into an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Let the rabbit roast in the oven for around 30 minutes. Once it has reached an internal temperature of around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it is done.
  • Let the rabbit rest for a while before serving. It will keep cooking on the inside and should reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Serve with a pinch of fresh thyme on top and enjoy!


Calories: 146kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 17gFat: 4gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 68mgPotassium: 335mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 2.6mg
Keyword How to Cook Rabbit in Wine Sauce, Rabbit in Wine Sauce
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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