Introduction: How to Eat Cicada. Get Prepared for Great Famine!

Picture of How to Eat Cicada. Get Prepared for Great Famine!

I always dreamed of eating cicada.


Environmentally Friendly. Unlike common livestock, which need huge amount of grains or grass to produce meat, cicada feeds on a little bit of tree saps due to the fact that insects are heterotherm (do not used energy to maintain body temperature). Endotherms (mammals and birds) convert large portion of their energy to produce heat in order to maintain body temperature at 37C or 42C respectively.

Ruminants such as cows produce large amount of methane gas, which is 21 times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. And a cow can produce up to 130 gallons of methane a day according to Los Angels Time ("Killer Cow Emission" Opinion 10/15/2007).


If people start eating cicadas at once due to the needs for food or simply their good taste, you might drive them to extinction. They feed on tree sap while in under ground for several years (3~17). After they emerged from the ground, they last for up to a month. Fortunately, for now they are plenty.

Step 1: Materials and Methods

Materials Required

1. Some passion to eat cicada. If you can't find it, it can be substituted with great hunger or curiosity.

2. Bug catching net.

3. Vegetable oil and frying pan.

4. Salt and pepper.

Step 2: Catch Them!

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It is easier to catch cicadas in relatively urban area where you can find not so tall trees (those in new parks).

Step 3: Get Ready for Cooking.

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Take off wings from cicada. Oh, yes they scream!

Step 4: Fry Alive!

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Heat your frying pan with vegetable oil.
Put the cicada in while they are alive.

Cook well, until they are crispy.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Snack!

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Put some salt and pepper.



BtheBike (author)2015-02-06

lol, this post is still kickin =)

grgbpm (author)2015-02-04


kedwa30, The reason humans should cook them is because most insects carry salmonella so killing the insect also kills the majority of germs

BtheBike (author)2010-12-17

the other day I saw canned water bugs for sale at the asian market. I was super tempted. I've always said the same about the historic "Famine" . Why the heck didn't people just eat the locust ?

teatimest (author)BtheBike2010-12-17

That's so true. And grass hoppers are good. I will look for water bugs in Chinese store.

BtheBike (author)teatimest2010-12-17

I've seen them sold frozen ,canned in brine or sauce, and made into paste. Sometimes called 'water scorpions' or giant water bug . There is a flying variety
here in the NW with a fierce bite. They get pretty big ,so a few can make a whole meal.
Some much for famine , eh ? =)

VagsmaCutter (author)BtheBike2011-05-30

If I'm not mistaken that is a toe biter.

BtheBike (author)VagsmaCutter2011-05-30

Yes. Yet another colloquial name for them buggers . It may surprise you to know how many bugs and bug parts the fda allows in our food. We eat way more of em than we may know . =D

VagsmaCutter (author)BtheBike2011-06-01

Oh, I know all about that and I still eat peanut butter (it's packed with buggy goodness). Probably because it doesn't taste like toes. But, who knows, maybe toe biters taste like peanut butter and less like, "That's not toe cheese." than I think they do.

teatimest (author)BtheBike2011-05-31

It bites your toes? That must hurt a lot.

BtheBike (author)teatimest2011-05-31

not sure why they get that particular label since waterbugs jump and fly. They inject digestive fluid through a sharp mouth probe like . So one can assume that being injected with acid will hurt like the Dickens .

I guess they don't really bite . Maybe cause they're the size of a big toe ?

VagsmaCutter (author)BtheBike2011-06-01

Maybe they taste cheesy like a toe and since they're bite size you get toe biter. That one looks a bit bigger than bite sized though.

BtheBike (author)BtheBike2010-12-17

yikes! sorry that picture is downright scary . Then again ,so are giant lobsters and big crabs.

teatimest (author)BtheBike2010-12-17

Wow, that is a big bug. and wonder how it tastes like...

BtheBike (author)teatimest2010-12-18

a youtube friend have a great channel . the describes how stuff like this tastes and feels. thaipulsedotcom on youtube . Future Protein = )

VagsmaCutter (author)2011-05-30

No offense and I'll probably be forced by famine to eat my words but, I think I would probably barf first and then I'd probably eat the barf before any of the cicadas. Good to know it can be done although hopefully not by me.

kedwa30 (author)2011-02-14

Great instructible. I have a pet mouse and when I put a roach in his cage he will catch it and start eating it from the abdomen first while it is still alive. I was just wondering if there is a reason why we would need to cook the insects since my pet mouse and cats etc. have no problems eating them alive?
Wouldn't you get the benefits of their enzymes and more nutrition by not cooking them since cooking will reduce vitamins?
I know there is a danger of salmonella from raw chicken, but would the insect be sterilized on the outside when euthanizing it in ethanol?
Is ethanol edible or would it need to be evaporated before eating?
Thanks for the great 'ible!

teatimest (author)kedwa302011-02-15

Enzymes are proteins and will be digested in our stomach anyway. Ethanol will kill the external bacterias that live on their exoskeleton but not those in their gastrointestinal tract. It is safer to sterilize the since they might carry some pathogens. Ethanol is edible but you need to use food grade, not medical grade or industrial grade ethanol.

JohnJY (author)2010-07-07

Could the same be done with crickets? I once had very tasty salt and vinegar flavored crickets, I would like to home make them .

DurMan (author)2010-07-01

The part of me that wants to be disgusted is being overpowered by the part of me that has deliquescent curiosity.

teatimest (author)DurMan2010-07-01

Yes, curiosity always wins.

Trigonography (author)2010-02-03

I have a book that, aside from not having a single numerical measure in it, has a recipe for cicadas. It recommends catching them while still in the pupa and peeling them or when newly emerged, before they dry out "or they will not be good." Does it make a difference?

teatimest (author)Trigonography2010-02-03

 I have not thought about that!. It will be like soft shelled crab, isn't it?

Trigonography (author)teatimest2010-02-04

I actually wouldn't know. I've never had soft-shelled crab. Or cicada, though come summer, I'll be giving the little land-prawns a try.

teatimest (author)Trigonography2010-02-05

 I will definitely try that, too.

Paetzer Sawze (author)2008-08-30

Why do you have to fry them live? Ah well, good eats.

teatimest (author)Paetzer Sawze2008-08-30

Ummm, then I have to somehow manually kill them before I fry. That might involve in some cutting off their heads? That's too cruel.

Paetzer Sawze (author)teatimest2008-08-31

What, dumping them in hot oil and watching them scream is more humane? It's probably very possible to euthanize (via CO2 overdose?) instead.

teatimest (author)Paetzer Sawze2008-09-01

I euthanize mice often with CO2 for biomedical research but ... they suffer and it takes time to die so suffers longer. Killing cicadas in hot oil is instant but with CO2, it will take long and they suffer longer. I think it is not so humane to kill them with CO2.

CanisLupus (author)teatimest2009-01-29

To be most humane, you could OD them with ethanol. Put the insect in a small container fitted with an air-tight seal. Add a few drops of your alcohol and wait for the KO. Add more drops if necessary. While isopropanol and other volatile alcohols would work, stick to ethanol. You could debate on the toxicity of the different alcohols but keep it simple and use ethanol. They wont know what hit them! Freezing them is also a good option (as you mentioned before).

jobergy (author)CanisLupus2009-12-17

or OD them on Viagra so they go down happy : ) 

jobergy (author)2009-12-17 lol 

Jyssa (author)2008-10-11

I tried raw maggot once. I remember thinking it tasted like plum, but I don't remember the taste. I also tried cicada shells (you know, the light brown husks they leave on the trees) It was...crunchy.

komecake (author)Jyssa2009-11-16

  I cannot for the life of me see how a maggot would taste good, I'm sorry. I remember smelling them in a kitchen once and it was the WORST thing I have ever smelled. Perhaps it was the old food and not the maggots, but blech! I don't think I could ever try them just because of that.

wingbatwu (author)2008-09-05

Insects have intestines, right? Do you starve them a bit so they have time to empty their intestines before you eat them?

teatimest (author)wingbatwu2008-09-06

They suck tree saps. So it is always kind of empty. After you capture them, you can't keep them alive for long. They die in a day.

An Villain (author)teatimest2009-07-15

usually give them apple or something.

BEAST14 (author)2008-09-30

Can you kill them before ripping off their wings and frying them, do they have to be alive?

teatimest (author)BEAST142008-09-30

As someone suggested, I should have frozen them to death before frying them alive. I guess that should be more humane, right?

An Villain (author)teatimest2009-07-15

get a mini-knex rod with a blue 3D thing on the end coated with quiksilver and K.O. them with it?

teatimest (author)2009-05-10

You can be really creative on the choice of source (buffalo wing, curry, teriyaki, etc...).

Tagarashi (author)teatimest2009-06-02

Curry is the spice to make poor quality protein taste better. That's why its so popular in not so wealthy countries. Drown out the nastiness.

jeff-o (author)2008-08-29

No offense, but I think I'll become a vegetarian before I get to the point of frying up cicadas for a snack. I'd be ok if they were dried and milled into some sort of protein substitute, I guess.

teatimest (author)jeff-o2008-08-30

Yes, you might have been eating insects. Grains are allowed to have certain number of insects. They are milled and sold as flour.

1337sh33p (author)teatimest2009-02-19

Confectioners glaze is used widely and it is made from insects

Nice Instructable no cicada's here in California though

pfarthing6 (author)2009-01-29

Poor cicadas. For something with a little less environmental impact, might grow your own crickets, worms, and snails. All of them have short lifespans, grow fast, and need l little but a clean enclosure and some grain. My lizard loves crickets, the French love snails, and I've seen some pretty interesting recipes for worms. Heck, just go to Thailand and you can get some scorpion on a stick!

skarah (author)2009-01-09

Per the "be nice" policy, I'll refrain from saying what my stomach feels just now. However, having recently moved to a place that has a large number of cicadas in the summer, and also being somewhat of a food storage, home garden, feed yourself kind of person, I'm actually grateful to know that we'd have a source of free nutrients, should it come to that. I just don't know if I could do it voluntarily. They seem so big and squishy. I had some burrowing beetles cooked the same way in the Philippines, but they were very crunchy, not at all squishy.

teatimest (author)skarah2009-01-09

Once you deep fry the cicadas, they are crispy and crunchy, ready to go into your mouth. They are clean and healthy, too. If you have them plenty, you can try some!

Lithium Rain (author)2008-08-29

So. Disgusting. That last picture makes me really sad! I just want to grab that bug out of that little kid's mouth! But I know many people the world over eat bugs and I respect that. How do you manage to get past what you're eating though?

downgrade (author)Lithium Rain2008-12-03

I think taking food away from a kid is way more depressing.

About This Instructable




Bio: DIY biologist
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