We Dare You To Try These Edible Insects

Learn which bugs you can safely eat, what they taste like, and their nutritional benefits.

Are you searching for a distinct, nourishing means to bring protein and taste into your eating routine? Look no further than the best edible insects.

girl eating bug

From ants and crickets to dragonflies and wasps, these critters can provide a fascinating twist on traditional dishes.

Do People Eat Bugs?

Discover all of the possibilities with this guide to the best edible insects.


Ants are prevalent worldwide; roughly 20 quadrillion exist on earth in total.

Red imported fire ant

They have been eaten for centuries and can get found in many different cultures.

In some places, they are considered a delicacy and are often served as part of a meal or even on their own.

Ants have an earthy, savory flavor similar to mushrooms but with a hint of sweetness.

I’ve found that the taste of ants varies depending on the species and where they were collected. Many ants get described as having a spicy, acidic taste when consumed. 


Crickets are a popular snack food in many parts of the world. They have been eaten for centuries and can get found in markets, restaurants, and homes around the globe.

insects on sale at a local market

Crickets are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

They contain all nine essential amino acids that humans need to survive. A single serving of crickets contains about 13 grams of protein – more than an egg!


Grasshoppers are a delicacy enjoyed by cultures around the world for centuries.

eating grasshopper

In many parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, they are commonly eaten as snacks or used in dishes like tacos.

Grasshoppers have a crunchy texture and nutty flavor that can get enhanced with spices such as chili powder or cumin.

Grasshoppers are high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates, making them an excellent source of nutrition for those looking to increase their intake of lean proteins.


Termites are a type of insect that have been around for millions of years. They are considered pests, as they feed on wood, paper, and other materials found in buildings and homes.

eating bugs for dinner

They cause billions of dollars in damage every year.  In some parts of the world, they are considered a delicacy and can be eaten raw or cooked. 

Termites have a nutty flavor with hints of sweetness. The taste is similar to roasted peanuts or cashews but with an earthy aftertaste.

Some people also describe them as having a “woody” flavor. Raw termites are crunchy when bitten into, while cooked ones tend to be softer and chewy in texture.


Cicadas are a type of insect known for their loud chirping sound. They can be found in many parts of the world, and have gotten eaten by humans for centuries.


In some cultures, cicadas are considered a delicacy. Cicadas have a mild nutty flavor with hints of almond or cashew. The texture is crunchy and slightly chewy, similar to shrimp or lobster.

Before consuming any insect, it is essential to account for several safety considerations. That includes verifying that only edible varieties get consumed, as some may contain toxins. Tenerals are the best kind of cicada to eat, as they just molted.

You’ll also want to ensure the proper preparation techniques have gotten followed to avoid potential harm from improper handling or cooking methods.


Beetles are a type of insect found in many parts of the world. They come in various shapes and sizes, from tiny to large.

a bowl of deep fried and crispy Ruby roast beetle.

Some species of beetles have been known to eat other insects, plants, and even small animals.

Eating beetles is not something most people would think about doing, but it has been done for centuries by some cultures worldwide.

The taste of beetle varies depending on what kind you are eating, and how they got prepared.

Generally speaking, they tend to have an earthy flavor with hints of nuttiness or sweetness, depending on the species consumed.


Caterpillars are a type of edible insect found in many parts of the world.

fried caterpillars

They have been eaten for centuries, and are considered a delicacy in some parts of Africa and South America.

The flavor of caterpillars often gets described as nutty or earthy, with hints of sweetness and umami. Caterpillars are an excellent source of protein, containing up to 25% protein by dry weight.

They also contain essential fatty acids, minerals such as iron and zinc, vitamins A and B12, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.


Dragonflies are a unique and tasty treat that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

deep fried worm, dragonfly nymph, yunnan local food.jpg

They have a crunchy texture, with an earthy flavor that is reminiscent of shrimp or lobster.

The wings provide a delicate sweetness, while the body has more of a savory taste. 

Dragonflies can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, steamed, or grilled. They only need to be cooked for a few seconds to kill any bacteria, as they are very small. 

June Bugs

June bugs, also known as June beetles or May beetles, are a type of beetle found in the family Scarabaeidae.

Fried june beetle the exotic menu in thailand

They are typically found during the late spring and early summer months, hence their name.

Eating June bugs is not something that most people would consider doing ,but some cultures around the world do eat them as part of their diet due to their high protein content (upwards of 25%).

I find their taste somewhat nutty with an earthy flavor similar to mushrooms when cooked properly.

However, there is a risk associated with eating these insects due to potential parasites they may carry so take caution before consuming any wild-caught specimens!


Locusts are a type of grasshopper considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.

Asian female eating fried locust

They have been eaten for centuries, and their flavor has been described as nutty and earthy. The most common way to eat locusts is to fry them in oil or butter until they are crispy.

Some people also like to add spices such as garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, or paprika for extra flavor.

Once cooked, they can be served with rice or vegetables as part of a meal or eaten alone as a snack. Locusts are high in protein and low in fat and calories which makes them an excellent source of nutrition.

They also contain essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and B vitamins which help keep your body healthy.


Mealworms are the larvae of darkling beetles, and they are eaten throughout the world.

Fried mealworms in a bowl

They can get found in several forms, from freeze-dried to canned to live. Mealworms are high in protein and low in fat, making them an excellent source of nutrition. 

Interestingly, dried mealworms have a higher protein content than in their natural state. If you want to up the nutritional value, try dried or ground mealworms as a supplement. 

Mealworms have a mild nutty flavor similar to roasted peanuts or sunflower seeds. Some people describe their taste as earthy or mushroom-like with hints of sweetness.

The texture is crunchy when cooked but softens when boiled or steamed. 


Scorpions are a unique and exotic food found in many parts of the world. Scorpions are high in protein, low in fat, and contain essential vitamins and minerals.

fried exotic scorpion in chopsticks

Eating scorpions is often considered an adventurous culinary experience due to their unusual texture and flavor. Scorpions have a crunchy exterior with a soft interior.

The exoskeleton has a hard shell that must be cracked open before consuming the meat inside.

When cooked properly, they become crispy on the outside while remaining juicy on the inside.

Scorpions taste like shrimp or lobster when cooked correctly; however, some people find them too salty or fishy-tasting if not prepared properly.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are an interesting type of insect that have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Stink Bugs on green leaves

They get their name from the strong odor they emit when disturbed or threatened.

The smell is often described as a combination of garlic and skunk but can vary depending on the species.

Eating stink bugs may sound strange to some people, but it’s quite common in many parts of the world.

In parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe, for example, stink bugs are commonly used as a food source and even considered a delicacy.

The people there shake them out of trees and season them with salt for a spicy, protein-heavy treat. 


Wasps are unique insects that can get eaten as food. They have a crunchy texture and sweet flavor, similar to honey.

Wasps on Nest

While not commonly consumed in the Western world, wasps get enjoyed by many cultures around the globe.

Wasps contain high protein levels and essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus.

They also provide dietary fiber, which helps with digestion. Wasps have a sweet taste due to their sugary diet of nectar and fruit juices.

I would describe their flavor as similar to honey or molasses, with hints of citrus fruits like oranges or lemons. The taste of the wasp itself largely depends on what they’ve been eating recently.

Best Insects To Eat

  1. Ants
  2. Crickets
  3. Grasshoppers
  4. Termites
  5. Cicadas
  6. Beetles
  7. Caterpillars
  8. Dragonflies
  9. June Bugs
  10. Locusts
  11. Mealworms
  12. Scorpions
  13. Stink Bugs
  14. Wasps

Would You Eat These Insects?

While in the Western world, eating insects has been seen as taboo, their popularity is steadily increasing with exposure and new methods of preparation. Insects are a versatile and readily-available food source that is more environmentally friendly than industrially-farmed meat.

More insect-based products are popping up everywhere, from insect flour to cricket chips. Many mask the insect base or highlight the taste in a fascinating and delicious new way. If you’re not feeling squeamish, try some of these best edible insects today. 

Insects may be a food of the future, so try them out now!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.