Can You Eat Iguana Meat? Benefits, Nutrition & Taste

Can You Eat Iguana Meat

If you love experimenting with new food flavors, you might have got suggested to give iguana meat a try. The idea may have weirded you out at first and compelled you to search more about it.

The ratio of iguana eaters is increasing dramatically, and there are strong reasons behind it. Let’s find out why people eat iguana meat, and should you take this risk?

Yes, you can eat iguana meat, and it is safe for consumption. It won’t cause you any sickness unless it is uncooked and not fresh. In the latter case, there is a high chance the meat has harmful microbes lurking inside it. Iguana meat has many health benefits and tastes and looks similar to chicken. You can combine it with other edibles according to your liking and enjoy the results.

When you decide to eat something unique like iguana meat, it requires research and planning. One wrong move can put your health in danger, and you cannot let that happen. To make things easy for you, we have discussed all your queries in-depth and in detail here.

Is It Safe To Eat Iguana Meat?

Iguana meat has been a part of the food tradition of Mexico and Central America and is quite popular. Many iguana eaters refer to it as the chicken of the trees because it tastes similar to chicken. It is also a rich source of protein, adding another reason why it is famous in Mexican cuisines.

As far as safety is concerned, iguana meat is edible and causes no harm to health. It is a good supplier of protein and gives an instant energy boost. So, if you want to try it out for the first time, you don’t have to worry about it making you extremely sick.

However, ensure to have iguana meat from trusted and well-reputed places. The flesh itself is not dangerous, but cleanliness and freshness are crucial. So, buying it from an untrusted source has a high chance of being old and not fresh.

Also, always opt for properly cooked iguana meat. If it is raw or undercooked, it can lead to stomach-related illnesses. So, if the iguana meat fulfills these three conditions, then it is safe for you to eat.

What Does Iguana Meat Taste Like?

Many people consider the taste of iguana meat to resemble regular chicken meat. But, it is much leaner and contains more protein than poultry. Some also refer to it as a cross between chicken and pork in texture and appearance.

The taste is flavorful but can sometimes feel a little dry because of less fat content. However, when paired with herbs and spices, the meat flavor is enhanced, and you will find it just like regular meat varieties.

There is very little meat in iguana, and the tail is where you find the highest amount of meat with a bit on the legs. They appear as white meat when cooked and pair well with various ingredients. You can have it fried, in curry, soups, and salads. It all depends upon your personal preference.

Cooking And Preparing Iguana Meat: Here’s How

While it might be a unique experience to eat iguana meat, there are certain food safety precautions that you require to follow. First and foremost, always go for fresh and good quality meat, and you cannot compromise in this area. Nothing is more important than health, so make sure to inspect the iguana meat before cooking.

When you are finally ready to prepare an iguana dish, properly clean it, removing the skin. Afterward, cut the meat into small pieces removing all unwanted parts. You can then continue cooking it the same way as a sliced or diced raw chicken.

If you don’t want to remove the skin, you can boil it directly in salted water for twenty to thirty minutes. Once it boils, you can then roast or stew the meat. Whichever method you opt, make sure the reptile meat cooks well to avoid any risk to the health.

What Are Different Ways Of Eating Iguana Meat?

Like other meat types, the range of iguana meat is endless, and you can eat it in many different ways. Usually, de-boned iguana meat goes well as a central ingredient in soups, stews, and gumbos. You may witness people adding immature iguana eggs to soups and stews.

When it comes to cooking, you can fry them, roast them, boil them, skewer them and even deep fry them. If you find the taste somewhat bland, you can add seasoning and spices to elevate the flavors.

The simplest way is to fry the iguana meat and munch on the crispy bite. You can also steam iguana meat and serve it with beans, rice, bananas, etc. which creates a wholesome and delicious meal. Another method is to cook the meat on a grill or barbecue it and enjoy it at a small family gathering. It is up to you how you like it, but food safety should always be your priority.

Is Eating Iguana Meat Good For The Health?

Although mild in flavor, iguana meat is more nutritious than chicken and a rich source of protein. The fat content is comparatively low, making it an ideal meat variety for maintaining good overall health. Studies show that iguana meat provides a higher supply of minerals than chicken and beef. These include calcium, magnesium, iron phosphorous, and zinc.

However, you must be aware that the iguana is listed among endangered species due to excessive hunting and eating in Mexico. So, consuming this exotic animal one time might be alright, but avoid eating it regularly. It will help in curbing the decrease in the iguana population.

Can You Get Sick From Eating Iguana Meat?

According to the University of Florida, there is no problem if you consume iguana meat. But, there are certain aspects that you need to consider to avoid any unwanted situation. Firstly, the iguana meat must come from a well-known and standardized place. It helps to ensure that it is free from bacteria and safe for you.

Secondly, avoid eating meat raw or undercooked. It might contain harmful pathogens that can cause diseases and make you sick. A thoroughly cleaned and cooked iguana meat is almost as normal and tasty as your regular meat varieties.


As a final verdict, it is safe to eat iguana meat, and you can pair it up with ingredients of your choice. Always check that it fulfills all the requirements enlisted by the food and health authorities. If you are not careful about the source and the state of the flesh, it can prove harmful to your body.

As a well-known Mexican delicacy, the rate of iguana meat consumption has increased a lot. So, it is not an ideal option to eat it often as the reptile is already less in number. You can have it one time if you are curious. But, avoid making it a part of the routine.

Iguana meat tastes very much like chicken, but the nutritional value is higher in the former. It has many essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your health. Besides, it also tastes delicious, and you can cook them in many different styles.

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Tauseeq is the principal creator of He loves cooking and wants to help others overcome kitchen challenges through practical advice and solutions.

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