Can you eat alpaca? (3 Countries where you can)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat alpaca? We will discuss reasons to eat alpaca and laws that govern the killing and eating of alpaca in different countries. We will also discuss some ways to prepare and eat alpaca.

Can you eat alpaca?

You can eat alpaca meat which is sweet and tasty. Alpaca meat is lean, tender, and gives around 60 pounds of meat. 

Unlike other red meats, alpaca meat has low calories, cholesterol, and high protein. The versatility of alpaca meat means that it can replace any other kind of meat, including beef, pork, or turkey. However, the FDA jurisdiction does not include alpaca animals as meat which means there isn’t a national market for alpaca meat.

Alpaca meat cooks very well; it can take high heat because of its low-fat content. Alpaca meat yields steak, tenderloin, strip loin, rump, shoulder roll, and back strap and; best served when it is cooked medium or medium-rare.

If you choose to grill alpaca meat, you could do it over preheated coals. To pan-sear, the alpaca, use an iron skillet until the crust caramelizes. Let it bake for a few minutes before you serve.

There are different laws and legislations about killing and eating alpaca meat varying with the country:

1.Alpaca Meat in the US

Alpacas were widespread in South America before being introduced to America in 1984. 

For alpaca meat to be traded across the state, it needs to be mixed with beef or pork. The jurisdiction means that Alpaca meat is yet to gain popularity and acceptance among people as well as the law.

2.Alpaca meat in New Zealand

If you are from New Zealand, you can kill and eat alpaca for domestic purposes only. Your family is eligible to eat the meat but not allowed to sell or trade the alpaca.


In Australia, the alpaca meat market is the second largest in the world. The Australia Alpaca Association has over 1500 breeders for this exotic creature. Alpaca already have gained a reputation as gourmet meat, marketed under the name La Vianda.

Why are people turning toward alpaca as a meat source?

Alpacas are bred for their fiber. The primary contribution of alpaca is their fiber, after which they are culled. Thus, alpacas have multiple uses ranging from fiber to food. The hides are used as leather, while the organs make for pet food. 

Killing alpacas are also relatively environment-friendly. The grass to protein conversion is efficient, which means it leaves a low carbon footprint. Alpacas are known to be 25 % more efficient than cattle. Alpacas do not harm the land they are raised on, owing to their less weight and padded feet.

To make a burger of alpaca patty, it takes 25 percent lesser land and food than a beef patty would. 

Alpacas are beautiful and intelligent creatures that can also be eaten. After the fiber of alpacas is harvested and sacrificed, they would wither away. It is in the best interest and practical to make use of alpaca meat.

Where can you buy Alpaca Meat?

If you do not own a farm or know anyone who supplies alpaca meat, you can buy ground Alpaca meat. Alpaca meat usually has 3 percent of either ground beef or pork. The mixture allows FDA approval for inspection and market to the consumer. 

The ground-up alpaca is used in hamburgers, meatballs, and casseroles. You can use alpaca meat in any way you would use meat patty.

Let us look at some recipes to use Alpaca meat:

  • The neck meat of alpaca is tough and; needs to be cooked on low flame with water. You can make a broth using vegetables and use a slow cooker and cook until the meat starts to separate from the bones. 
  • Denver steaks have a strong flavor and can be made into kababs or be stir-fried. You could also cut thin slices and barbeque the steaks. 
  • To make alpaca burgers, take some fresh herbs and use ground meat. Cook the alpaca meat with garlic, flour, tomato puree, and some eggs.
  • Alpaca Stuffed Peppers are unique and delicious, where the peppers are stuffed with seasonings and meat and baked. 
  1. To make Alpaca Stuffed Peppers, cut the top and clean out the peppers.
  2. Let leeks fry in butter and add garlic, ground alpaca, crushed chili peppers, salt, and pepper. 
  3. Make sure that the alpaca meat is brown when you take it off the stove. 
  4. Stuff the peppers and top with cheese.
  5. Let it bake for 25 minutes in the oven.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat alpaca? We discussed reasons to eat alpaca and laws that govern the killing and eating of alpaca in different countries. We also discussed some ways to prepare and eat alpaca.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.