Stimulation of gastrointestinal taste receptors affects eating behaviour. Intraduodenal infusion of tastants leads to increased satiation and reduced food intake, whereas intraileal infusion of tastants does not affect eating behaviour. Currently, it is unknown whether oral- or intragastric administration of tastants induces a larger effect on eating behaviour. This study investigated the effects of oral- and/or intragastric administration of quinine on food intake, appetite sensations and heart rate variability (HRV). In a blinded randomised crossover trial, thirty-two healthy volunteers participated in four interventions with a 1-week washout: oral placebo and intragastric placebo (OPGP), oral quinine and intragastric placebo (OQGP), oral placebo and intragastric quinine (OPGQ) and oral quinine and intragastric quinine (OQGQ). On test days, 150 min after a standardised breakfast, subjects ingested a capsule containing quinine or placebo and were sham-fed a mixture of quinine or placebo orally. At 50 min after intervention, subjects received an ad libitum meal to measure food intake. Visual analogue scales for appetite sensations were collected, and HRV measurements were performed at regular intervals. Oral and/or intragastric delivery of the bitter tastant quinine did not affect food intake (OPGP: 3273·6 (sem 131·8) kJ, OQGP: 3072·7 (sem 132·2) kJ, OPGQ: 3289·0 (sem 132·6) kJ and OQGQ: 3204·1 (sem 133·1) kJ, P = 0·069). Desire to eat and hunger decreased after OQGP and OPGQ compared with OPGP (P < 0·001 and P < 0·05, respectively), whereas satiation, fullness and HRV did not differ between interventions. In conclusion, sole oral sham feeding with and sole intragastric delivery of quinine decreased desire to eat and hunger, without affecting food intake, satiation, fullness or HRV.