What Is Cricket Powder And How Is It Used?

Cricket powder, synonymous with cricket flour, is the result of  whole dried crickets being ground into powder. This fine white or brownish powder, just like grain flours, can be used for cooking and baking.

Before and after
house cricket
cricket powder

Nutritional value of cricket powder

Cricket powder doesn’t equal cricket powder. The nutritional value profiles of the cricket powders on the market varies considerably. Like with any other animal, nutritional profiles of crickets depend on how they are raised, how they are processed, and, most importantly, what they are fed.

These are the averages of 29 commercial cricket powder products on the market (please note that there are more but not all of them provide complete nutritional profiles).

Nutritional Profile of Cricket Powder (per 100 grams)

Protein:                       66.0g (range: 57.1 – 75.9g)
Energy:                       451kcal (range: 410 – 525kcal)
Carbohydrates:            6.7g (range: 0 – 18g)
Sugars:                          0.1g (range: 0 – 0.8g)
Fat:                               18.2g (range: 6.8 – 30.7g)
Fibers:                            7.5g  (range: 4 – 10.7g)

Cricket protein is considered a ‘complete protein’ because it contains all nine essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine, methionine, tryptophan, threonine, lysine, histidine, and phenylalanine) that you need to get from your daily diet – because your body can’t synthesize them.

When you eat cricket powder, you’re eating the entire cricket – which is packed with numerous necessary nutrients such as minerals (including zinc, copper, iodine, and manganese), and vitamins B12, B2 (riboflavin) and B7 (biotin).

Crickets are also high in healthy and low in unhealthy fats and oils:  low in saturated fat, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and with the ideal ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

processing crickets
Processing crickets

Research has also shown that our bodies appear to absorb minerals from crickets (and several other insects) more easily when compared to beef: “cricket contain significantly higher chemically available Ca, Cu, Mg, Mn, and Zn than sirloin.” (Source: J Agric Food Chem. 2016 Nov 9;64(44):8420-8424. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b03286)

How is cricket powder made?

It takes roughly 4 000 to 5 000 crickets to make 1 pound of cricket flour. 95% of all cricket powders are produced from one species: the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) – it is the most-farmed cricket worldwide. It also has a milder taste compared to other cricket species, which might explain its popularity (although the taste of the crickets can be determined on the choice of food fed to the crickets such as apples, mint, grain etc.).

Cricket flour producers each use their own proprietary cricket feeds and processes – freezing, drying processes, grinding – in general, the cricket flour production process follows the same steps: the dried crickets are then ground using two different grinding or milling machines. The first machine is set to a coarse grind.  Once the crickets have been placed in the first machine, the coarse cricket flour is then sifted to remove the lighter content which consists of legs, wings, etc. and is removed from the final cricket flour product.  Next, the remaining coarse cricket flour is placed in the second milling machine which is set to a fine grain size to produce a smooth and fine cricket flour.

This powder is then packaged and sold to cricket product manufacturers to make drink powders, energy bars, baked goods, pasta, condiments and so on.

What is cricket powder used for?

Cricket powders are used mainly as an ingredient to enrich the nutrients in other products, such as protein bars [link]. It can be used plain or mixed with other flours. Cricket flour can now be found in a variety of products such as pasta, burger patties, candy, cookies, chips, chocolate bars, and smoothies.

You can even go further by using insect meal in preparations intended to replace a portion of traditional animal or vegetable protein, by making tofu or even insect steaks.

There are quite a lot of recipe ideas on how to include cricket flour in your favorite dishes. Some examples:

Why is cricket powder so expensive?

Pure cricket powder is still very expensive. Expect to pay between $13-$16 per 100 grams. In contrast, regular protein powders made from whey cost around $2-$3 per 100grams.

The fact that insects are less resource intensive than other farmed animals, doesn’t equate to a cheaper product, at least not yet. Cricket farmers need less land, water, and feed but they still need human labor, management, equipment, and most importantly scale which requires a lot of research and increase in demand.

How does cricket powder taste?

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 cricket flour?

We have compiled a list of 40 online retail sources for cricket flours.