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What Does Veal Taste Like? Does It Taste Like Beef?

Veal can be a delicious, tender, and flavorful addition to any dinner menu. But what does veal taste like exactly? If you’ve never tried veal before or want to explore this culinary delight further, read on.

In today’s article, we will discuss everything there is to know about this kind of meat. Not only that, we’ll answer the questions and compare veal to beef and lamb.

cooked veal served on the plate with vegetables

What Is Veal Meat?

Veal is a lean meat that comes from a young calf. It has a fine grain and a velvety texture.

The meat has a very mild flavor and is most commonly enjoyed as a steak, cutlet, roast, or in dishes such as veal parmesan. Veal can also be ground into mince for making burgers and sausages.

While veal is higher in fat, calories, and cholesterol than other types of beef, it is also a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

In some cultures, veal is considered a delicacy and served for special occasions. It is especially popular in Mediterranean, Italian, and French cuisines.

According to the USDA, you should cook veal chops till it reaches an internal temperature of 145F. Then the agency also advises letting the veal rest for 3 minutes before chopping and eating.

Ground veal meat, on the other hand, should be thoroughly cooked until it reaches 160F.

Types Of Veal Meat

There are different types of veal, and each differs according to the age of the calf, meat color, and texture.

Bob Veal

The youngest type of veal is Bob veal, also called baby veal. This type of veal comes from calves that can be as young as 2 days.

The animal weighs about 150 pounds upon slaughter, and the meat is pale pink in color.

White Veal

White veal is also called special-fed, formula-fed, or milk-fed veal. The calves have a special diet containing vitamins and minerals to produce white veal.

The meat can be ivory or creamy pink and comes from calves ranging from 18-20 weeks old.

Red Veal

This kind of veal is also known as non-formula fed or grain-fed. Calves with ages ranging from 22 to 26 weeks old produce red veal.

These animals eat hay and grain, so their meat has fat and a noticeable marbling. As the name implies, the meat from these calves has a darker red hue.

Rose Veal

Rose veal, also called young beef in the US, comes from 35-week-old calves. The meat is a rosy pink, hence the name. These calves are free to roam and allowed to feed in green pastures.

Plus, these calves also feed on the milk of their mother. Because of these conditions, the rose veal is tastier but tougher than the white veal.

What Does Veal Taste Like?

When cooked properly, veal is tender, juicy, and tasty. The taste of veal differs per kind, as well. For instance, Bob veal has the most delicate flavor among the more mature veal types.

A common misconception is that veal tastes like beef because they come from the same animal. In contrast, veal has a mild and neutral flavor.

Veal also comes with a hint of sweetness, making it an excellent pair for either heavy or light seasonings.

This red meat can take flavor well due to its subtle taste. It is versatile; you can season veal with good old salt and pepper. Or, you can use stronger spices and herbs like garlic, onions, thyme, and basil. Either way, you’ll get a tasty meal.

Veal vs. Beef

Even when veal comes from cows, it does not have the exact flavor as beef. Unlike beef, veal does not have an intense taste.

One of the biggest differences between veal and beef is that veal has a paler color than beef.

Younger cows’ meat is softer, less chewy, and easier to digest than mature ones. This characteristic makes veal more appealing to many. And this difference plays a big role in why veal is much more expensive than beef.

When it comes to nutrition, veal is more nutrient-dense compared to beef.

Veal Vs. Lamb

Lamb is gamey, and its flavor is more intense when compared to veal.

Lamb meat, like veal, comes from a young animal. Veal is to beef, as lamb is to mutton.

This meat comes from a young sheep less than a year old. As a result, lamb has a similar milder flavor and a more tender texture than meat from a mature sheep.

However, since veal and lamb come from different animals, there is a difference in taste.

If you want something mild, you are better off with veal. For a stronger, gamey flavor, lamb is your best bet.

Veal Vs. Pork

While veal is widely regarded as a luxury meat, pork has historically been more affordable. Both meats can be cooked in many different ways, but there are distinct differences between them.

When it comes to texture and flavor, veal has mild flavor and much more tender than pork. It has a slightly sweet, delicate flavor that is often enhanced by marinades and spices. Pork has its own distinct flavor, but it tends to be more gamey due to the presence of fat content.

Nutritional benefits of veal meat

Veal is nutrient-dense meat. It is an excellent source of protein.

It has niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, and zinc. On top of that, veal contains choline and selenium. You’ll also get some phosphorus and potassium when you eat veal.

Veal Cooking Techniques

Cooking techniques for veal can vary depending on the cut of meat.

One popular option is to pan-fry veal steaks, which can be done in a large skillet with some oil or butter over medium-high heat. You should season the veal with salt and pepper before cooking it in the hot skillet for about 4 minutes per side, or until it’s cooked to your liking.

Another way to prepare veal is to roast it in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and rub the veal with olive oil, salt, and pepper before placing it on a baking sheet in the heated oven. Roast the veal until it’s cooked to your desired doneness.

For a more flavorful option, you can use a marinade to prepare veal. Combine oil, lemon juice, herbs, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir everything together to create the marinade. Place the veal in the marinade and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but up to 8 hours. Then, cook the veal using any of the suggested methods above.

Finally, you can also braise veal by slowly cooking it over low heat with a liquid such as broth or wine. To do this, season the veal and brown it in a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, pour your liquid of choice into the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low before cooking the veal until it’s tender.

Does Veal Taste Better Than Beef?

Veal has a less aggressive flavor compared to beef. Because of its subtle taste, veal is more versatile than beef. But whether veal is better than beef is a matter of personal preference. For people who don’t like strong flavors, veal tastes better than beef. On the other hand, if you want your meat intense, then beef tastes better than veal.

What Is Special About Veal?

The special thing about veal is that it comes from younger cows. Because these cows have only lived for a short time, their muscles are not as tough. As a result, veal is tender, mild, and versatile.

What Meat Is Veal Similar To?

Veal is often compared to chicken because of its subtle flavor. But veal is also compared to beef because they come from the same animal. Veal is a paler, more tender, and significantly milder version of beef.

Does Veal Taste Gamey?

No, veal does not taste gamey. Unlike venison and lamb, veal has a mild flavor and is easier to cook.


So, what does veal taste like? Veal has a mild beefy taste along with hints of sweetness. It’s easy to chew and, of course, easier to digest than beef.

One of the best things about veal is that it can take on any flavor. It tastes well with simple seasonings. But at the same time, you can use strong spices with it and expect it to taste just as great. Veal is a versatile meat, and you’ll enjoy cooking with it. Try a roast veal recipe today, and see for yourself.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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