Manataka American Indian Council








Insect Recipes




Banana Worm Bread


  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 bananas, mashed

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted army worms


Mix together all ingredients. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.


Chocolate Chirpie Chip Cookies


  • 2 1/4 cup flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 12-ounce chocolate chips

  • 1 cup chopped nuts

  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted crickets


Preheat oven to 375. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture and insects, mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.


Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers


  • baker's chocolate

  • candied crickets


Melt baker's chocolate in double boiler.

Fill molds halfway with chocolate, add grasshoppers, fill rest of the way.

A tasty surprise in every one!


Corn Borer Cornbread Muffins


  • Cornbread mix

  • 3/4 c. dry roasted corn borers


Prepare batter according to instructions.

Stir in insects.



Crackers and Cheese Dip with Candied Crickets


  • 8 oz. cream cheese

  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

  • 2 tsp. chopped onions

  • 1 tsp. chopped green pepper

  • 2 tsp Miracle Whip®

  • candied crickets


Soften cream cheese. Introduce remaining ingredients.

Spread mixture on cracker and top with a candied cricket.


Leafhoppers Bug Blox


  • 2 large packages gelatin

  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water (do not add cold water)


Stir boiling water into gelatin. Dissolve completely. Stir in dry-roasted leafhoppers. Pour mixture slowly into 13 x 9 inch pan. Chill at least 3 hours. BLOX will be firm after 1 hour, but may be difficult to remove from pan. Cutting blox: dip bottom pan in warm water 15 seconds to loosen gelatin. Cut shapes with cookie cutters all the way through gelatin. Lift with index finger or metal spatula. If blox stick, dip pan again for a few seconds.


Mealworm Fried Rice


  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 tsp. oil

  • 3/4 c. water

  • 1/4 c. chopped onions

  • 4 tsp. soy sauce

  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 c. minute rice

  • 1 c. cooked mealworms


Scramble egg in a saucepan, stirring to break egg into pieces.

Add water, soy sauce, garlic and onions. Bring to a boil.

Stir in rice. Cover; remove from heat and let stand five minutes.


Rootworm Beetle Dip


  • 2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons skim milk

  • 1/2 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped

  • 1 1/2 tsp. dill weed

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Beau Monde

  • 1 cup dry-roasted rootworm beetles


Blend first 3 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and chill.


Mexican Green Hooper Tortillas


  • About 1000 grasshoppers (the younger the better)

  • 1/2 cup chili sauce

  • pinch of salt

  • garlic

  • onion

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 cup guacamole

  • 6 tortillas

    Soak the grasshoppers in clean water for 24 hours. Boil them, then let dry. Fry in a pan with garlic, onion, salt and lemon. Roll up in tortillas with chili sauce and guacamole. According to the author, "Serves six if you can fund six."


taco1.gif (13520 bytes)Grasshopper Tacos
(Tacos de Chapulines)


1/2 pound medium-sized
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
2 ripe avocados, mashed
6 tortillas (corn or flour)

Roast grasshoppers for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Toss with garlic, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Spread mashed avocado on tortilla. Sprinkle on roasted hoppers, to taste.


Sources of Bug Food

Go to gourmet shops, or ethnic shops and buy canned insect treats such as chocolate-covered insects. Dry-roasted insects can be included in most any recipe that could include nuts, such as cookies, breads, brownies, Rice Krispie Treats (a.k.a. Crispy Critter Krispies), etc.



Insect-Themed Party Food

Compiled by Stephanie Bailey, Entomology Extension Specialist

Bug food cartoon courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 1997


Slice stalks of celery, and spread peanut butter in the groove. Sprinkle with black raisins.


Variations: 1) aphids-on-a-log (sunflower seeds), 2) gnats-on-a-log (currents).



Use cinnamon twists (glazed donut-like pastries formed into the number eight) as the insect body, stick bendable plastic straws in the sides (three on each side) to be the legs, and they should look like giant ants. Use 'donut holes' for ant eggs.



  • 1 cup corn syrup

  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 1 1/4 cup powdered milk

 Combine ingredients, then roll into 1-2" balls, then roll the balls in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together.



  • Fly-in-the-batter cookies: Make chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, adding raisins (flies) or chocolate sprinkles (gnats).

  • Fly-in-the-batter pudding: Vanilla pudding with raisins.

  • Cow Pies: Chocolate pudding with slivered almonds or coconut sprinkles (maggots). Place a few plastic fly adults on top.



Mix a yellow drink (citrus pop or lemonade) with a blue one (kool-aid). You'll end up with a radioactive shade of green.



1) Use a bundt cake & filling recipe or box, but bake in cupcake tins (greased-do not use cupcake papers). When cool, dip or cover with a thin layer of frosting, and then roll in or sprinkle coconut on top.


2) Soften (but don't melt!) caramel candies, coat with melted chocolate and/or roll in nuts/sprinkles/coconut.



  • 1 3-oz. pkg. flavored gelatin

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Grease an 8-9" square pan VERY LIGHTLY. Mix boxed gelatin (any flavor) with warm water in a 1 1/2 quart size bowl and microwave 1 1/2 minutes. Stir to dissolve completely. Add marshmallows, microwave 1 minute more or until marshmallows are puffed and almost melted. SLOWLY stir mixture until marshmallows are melted. Allow creamy layer to float to the top-don't mix it all together. Pour mixture into pan. Refrigerate until set (about 1 hr.). Loosen edges with a knife. Roll up tightly like a jelly roll, then (with seam-side down) cut into 1/2" slices with a sharp knife. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


pretzel butterflyBUTTERFLY SNACKS

Use pretzels as butterfly wing frames, and stick them together with softened caramel candy or peanut butter. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.





pretzel spiderStick two oreo cookies together with chocolate frosting. Make 8 curved legs by breaking bow-tied pretzels, and attach them around the middle of the spider by sticking them into the chocolate frosting. Use M & M's for eyes on the front, 'glued' with frosting.


As a variation, use sandwich crackers, instead of sandwich cookies, stuck together with peanut butter.




  • 1 boxed cake mix

  • Black Frosting

  • 1 box green gelatin

  • 8 black licorice sticks

  • 8 gumdrops, M & M's or other round candy for eyes

Prepare any boxed cake mix. Bake it in 2 metal bowls, 1 bigger than the other. Once unmolded, cut the bigger one (the"body") in half, horizontally. CAREFULLY scoop out an adequate cavity in each half. FILL with well-whipped set green Jello, and reattach the halves. Frost both cakes black, arrange on serving platter. Use licorice sticks as legs. Use 2 BIG green gumdrops and 6 little ones as eyes. When the cake is cut into, it spurts green goop, just like a real spider when stepped on.



1) Add a red hourglass to the back for a Black Widow.

2) Substitute pistachio pudding instead of green jello.


Black cake frosting: add blue food coloring to chocolate frosting or purchase black food coloring from a specialty store.




  • 1 20-oz. pkg. chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

  • 1/2 stick margarine

  • 1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 3-1/2 c. milk

  • 2 pkg. instant chocolate pudding

  • 1 12-oz. tub whipped topping

  • 1/4 c. mini marshmallows (for "beetle grubs")

  • 1 new, cleaned plastic flower pot

  • 1 new, cleaned plastic flower

  • plastic ants/beetles

  • gummy worms

Cream margarine, sugar, cream cheese. In another bowl mix milk and pudding. Let sit until thick. Stir in cool whip, mix with cream cheese mixture. Make sure pot holes are plugged. Put 1/3 of cookie crumbs in bottom of pot. Add 1/2 of cream cheese mixture. Repeat cookie crumbs and cream cheese mixture, adding some gummy worms and the mini marshmallows. Add extra crumbs on top (to look like dirt). Refrigerate over night. Add flower(s), plastic bugs, and the rest of the gummy worms on top. Use a new, clean trowel to serve.


Cleaning and Preparing the Insects

Insects, like lobster, are best if cooked while alive or fresh frozen. In contrast to beef, lamb, and poultry, postmortem changes rapidly render insects unpalatable. To facilitate meal planning, many species of insects may be kept alive for several days in the refrigerator. In fact, refrigeration before cooking is advised for the more active forms because it slows down their movements and facilitates handling.


Mealworms and crickets are easy to obtain from bait and tackle shops, or from distributors. If mealworms came packed in newspaper, they need to be changed to bran meal or corn meal or starved for 24 hours, to purge their guts. To separate mealworms from any attached food, waste material, or other debris, place a handful of them in a colander and gently toss. Remove any dead worms, and wash the remaining live insects under cool water. Place the worms on paper towels and pat dry. The mealworms are ready to be cooked or frozen for later use. Crickets should be placed in a refrigerator before attempting to wash them, to slow them down. If, before they are completely washed, they become very active, put them back in the refrigerator. You may want to remove the legs, wings, and ovipositor of crickets after dry roasting them.


Preparing Dry-Roasted Insects

Take cleaned insects out of the freezer. Spread them out on a paper-towel covered baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-2 hours, until the insects can be easily crushed with a spoon.


Reading List

  • Taylor, Ronald L., Entertaining with Insects Or: The Original Guide to Insect Cookery, Salutek Publ. Co.

  • Ramos-Elorduy, Julieta and Peter Menzel, Creepy Crawly Cuisine, Park St. Press, (1998) Naylor, Phyllis R., Beetles Lightly Toasted, Yearling Books, (1989) (ages 9-12)

  • Manes, Stephen, Chocolate-Covered Ants, Apple Publ.(1993) Holt, Vincent M. Why Not Eat Insects? E. W. Classey Ltd.,Hampton, Middlesex. 1967 (1885).

  • Taylor, R. L. Butterflies in my Stomach (or: Insects in Human Nutrition). Woodbridge Press Publishing Company, Santa Barbara, California. 1975.

  • The Food Defect Action Levels: Current Levels for Natural or Unavoidable Defects for Human Use that Present No Health Hazard. Department of Health & Human Services 1989.






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