Can You Eat Crickets?

Crickets are considered edible insects. They are even among the top 5 most eaten insect species around the world.

Especially in Western societies it sounds odd to eat crickets, or any bug for that matter, but many cultures have embraced these protein-packed edible insects as a part of their cuisine. If you are curious about whether or not you can eat crickets, their nutritional value, and what cultures eat them, read on!

Are Crickets Edible?

Crickets are considered edible insects. They are even among the top 5 most eaten insect species around the world. Despite the extensive practice of farming insects, mostly only four or five species of edible cricket are farmed economically. Sellers are now saying that consumers prefer farmed crickets over those collected in the wild because they taste better.

Up to 80 percent of a cricket is edible and digestible (compared with 55 percent for chicken and pigs and 40 percent for cattle).

All you need to do to make them edible is to remove their legs, which are very sharp and can scratch your throat, possibly resulting in a trip to the emergency room.

fried crickets on a white plate
Fried crickets are a popular Thai food.

Scientists know approximately 900 cricket species, of which an estimated 60 species are consumed in 49 countries globally (source). These locusts may occur in swarms, which makes them particularly easy to harvest.

Crickets are very nutritious! They are rich in proteins, ranging from 55 to 73%, and lipids, which range from 4.3 to 33% of dry matter. The reported amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is 58% of the total fatty acids. Edible crickets contain a considerable amount of macro- and micro-mineral elements such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, zinc, manganese, and copper. They are also rich in B group vitamins and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.

The edible cricket species are considered safe to be consumed, and they display high proximate content that can replace plant and livestock products.

House cricket (Acheta domesticus)
House cricket (Acheta domesticus)

The House cricket (Acheta domesticus) is globally distributed primarily due to human activity, much like the house fly. This species can be mass produced and resulting adults used for the production of protein, which has gained mass attention for its promise for development of products (e.g. cricket flour) consumed by humans and other animals, including pets.

tropical house cricket
Tropical house cricket

The Tropical House Cricket, Indian house cricket, or decorated cricket, (Gryllodes sigillatus) can be processed to produce flour or other products for human consumption.


Can Eating Crickets Make You Sick?

Like any other food, crickets can also be associated with a number of food safety hazards if they are not properly handled or stored, or if they are contaminated.

Some of the major food safety hazards that should be considered with all edible insects include biological agents (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic) as well as chemical contaminants (pesticides, toxic metals, flame retardants).

If the crickets are not collected in the wild but are farmed, then an important area of food safety consideration is the quality and safety of the feed or substrates used for rearing them.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( has published a comprehensive report on precisely this topic: Looking at edible insects from a food safety perspective. Challenges and opportunities for the sector.”

Which Cultures Eat Crickets?

Crickets have been consumed as food in Asia, Latin America, and Africa as far back as prehistoric times. In Biblical scriptures, cricket consumption is recommended to the Israelites by God to be fit for their consumption: “you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper” (Leviticus 11: 22).

world map with countries where people eat crickets
A world map showing countries where crickets are consumed as food.

In China, crickets have been consumed as food for over 2 000 years. In Africa, crickets have been a valuable complement of food enrichment for many years. In recent years, consumption of edible crickets has become more appreciated in Europe, America, and Australia with the recognition of its nutritional benefits and food security. This is particularly true for protein powders made predominantly from crickets, which are becoming increasingly popular. These protein powders called the ‘Gateway bug’ for Western consumers because they look just like flour.

What Do Crickets Taste Like?

Crickets have a uniquely nutty, slightly smoky essence, with just a hint of astringency on the back of the palate. It’s a very pleasant umami flavor which with deepens with roasting.

Where Can You Buy Edible Crickets?

While edible crickets are found to be rich sources of proteins and other nutrients, there remain challenges and scientific knowledge gaps that need to be filled. One of the challenges for promoting edible crickets for human food is the lack of knowledge of the particular species that are edible and where they are found in the globe.

Fortunately for you, we have a large selection of crickets and other edible insects in our store section.

You also might be interested in sampling some cricket recipes or check out our cookbook selection for ideas on how to cook with crickets.

Interesting Facts About Crickets

  • Crickets require only 2 kilograms of feed for every 1 kilogram of bodyweight gain. That means they need 12 times less feed than cattle, four times less feed than sheep, and half as much feed as pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein.
  • Crickets are considered to become part of the menu for space travel, as their nutritional value including minor components is known and entomophagy is a promising approach to meet human nutritional needs in space.
  • Cricket fighting, once forbidden in China, is again widespread, mainly in large cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, where cricket-fighting clubs and societies thrive. With the migration of Chinese people to other parts of the world, cricket fighting can now be found in places like New York and Philadelphia.
  • In China, singing crickets became domestic pets over 2 000 years ago.
  • It takes more than 4 000 crickets to make a pound of cricket flour.
  • In 2004 in Australia, after a particularly bad locust plague in New South Wales, agricultural officials proposed the renaming of locusts as sky prawns and even compiled 20 recipes in a cookbook: Cooking with Sky-prawns. Dishes include locust dumplings, chocolate-covered locusts, locust-flavored popcorn, and Coonabarabran stir-fry.