What Does Iguana Taste Like?

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What Does Iguana Taste Like?

Iguana meat is considered to be exotic in many regions around the world, but its demand is steadily increasing every year in countries like Mexico, and recently, the USA too.

What does iguana meat taste like? Iguana meat is described as having an aroma like fish, the texture of chicken, and the color of red meat. Many people compare its flavor to pork and chicken and since it’s a very lean meat with little to no fat, there are many uses for it in a wide variety of recipes.

Read below to learn more about why the demand for iguanas is increasing and the characteristics of this exotic meat.

Why Hunt Iguana?

Iguanas are arboreal reptiles that are found in Central and South America.

They are typically large, green reptiles with scaly skin and long tails. They roam freely around farmlands and are even considered to be an invasive species – which is one of the reasons why they are hunted today.

If you are wondering why we eat them then the answer can be traced to cultural practices and norms. Humans have adapted to their environment since the dawn of time.

It is widely accepted that food was once a scarce commodity which is why people used to eat whatever they could hunt to survive.

While this practice is no longer continued due to the industrialization of food and the domestication of farm animals, there are still a few cultures in the world that consume exotic meat for nutrition, especially if it is available in abundance. 

Iguanas, for example, are a species of reptiles that frequently reproduce and can be found in abundance in Central and South America.

It is believed that the practice of eating iguana is primarily because of two reasons:

  1. The first reason is that iguana meat has been a delicacy in certain cultures for generations and the habit of eating them has been passed down through generations and has become a norm. 
  1. The second reason is that iguanas are considered an invasive species and can be a threat to crops which is why they are hunted and consumed as part of cultural and agricultural practices.

Iguanas are herbivores that enjoy eating plants and fruit.

So, it is believed that the practice of eating them might have begun with ancient farmers who would hunt them to protect their crops – and consume them to supplement the lack of protein in their diet. 

Characteristics of Iguana Meat

Iguana meat has varying characteristics and, since it’s an exotic meat, everyone has a different way of describing it.

However, there are a few common traits of this type of meat:


Iguana meat is said to taste like a cross between chicken and pork. Some find the flavor to be a bit gamey but because the meat has little to no fat, it has the consistency and mouthfeel of chicken.

Due to its familiar flavor, iguana meat can be consumed in several ways.

Usually, in the same way as pork and chicken.

When cooked, the meat takes on a milder flavor that will vary depending on how it is cooked and the types of condiments used to prepare it.


Iguana meat looks like red meat and has an aroma that is said to resemble seafood.

The meat itself is soft to the touch, just like chicken meat, and it usually has a smooth texture.

Even when cooked, the meat retains its smoothness and delivers a mouthfeel that is somewhat similar to chicken thigh meat.

It is important to note that some people have even compared iguana meat to rabbit meat – but as is common with most exotic meat, the exact flavor and texture of the meat may vary depending on who you ask.


Iguana eat is highly versatile and thanks to its low-fat and high-protein content, it can be prepared in several ways.

It can be roasted, fried, pan-fried, baked, or boiled. It is usually prepared in the same way as chicken and can even be substituted for chicken in many dishes. 

There are even specialty restaurants in North America that serve iguana meat as a replacement for chicken and you can find several dishes that feature it, like popcorn (fried) iguana meat, iguana steak, and iguana stew.

Related Questions 

Iguana meat may be considered exotic but its demand is slowly growing in countries around the world. Now that you know what it tastes like, here are some related questions:

Can I buy iguana meat from the supermarket?

Iguana meat is not readily available in supermarkets. In the USA, iguana meat is regulated by the FDA and is required to be screened for parasites and bacteria. We don’t recommend that you buy unregulated iguana meat as it can be contaminated. 

Is iguana meat stored in the same way as chicken?

Iguana meat is just like any other meat product which means that it will need to be stored in the same way as beef, poultry, or fish. The meat is highly susceptible to spoilage and if it is not cooked through, it can cause digestive problems. 

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