The Best Edible Insect Cookbooks
From a beginner in bugs, to an entomophagy expert, we'll getcha eating good
Nov. 25, 2018
May 5, 2019
May contain affiliate links.
The Western world is finally awakening to what most of the world already knows: edible insects are delicious and nutritious! Ever since the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released its report in 2013, US Americans and Europeans have experienced an increased interest in entomophagy (the consumption of edible insects).
But how do we eat edible insects? Who will teach us this cuisine we've forgotten, or never knew?
Cookbooks to the rescue!
In this article, I'll list the most noteworthy:
Happy reading, and happier eating!
The Best Edible Insect Cookbooks (English Language)
1. Bugs for Beginners by Michela Dai Zovi
I wrote this book; of course I think it's my favorite. Everyone who writes books knows that writing books is a terrible way to make money, and I wouldn't have gone through all the work if I didn't strongly believe that I could improve upon the current selection.
Here's why I think Bugs for Beginners is the best edible insect cookbook:
- It has more than 80 recipes; most other edible insect cookbooks have around 20-30
- Every single recipe has a picture, some have several; most other edible insect cookbooks have one picture for every 5 or so. See some of the pics included!
- It's the most inclusive and international edible insect cookbook there is, with over 20 contributors from more 10 countries
- It cuts down the persuasion and goes straight to the practical, how-to instructions
- It's my baby and I love it
The main drawback to Bugs for Beginners is that it is currently only available in ebook form. I'm currently planning a crowdfund campaign to get it physically printed, but unfortunately, 150 pictures of over 80 recipes is not cheap, which is why most cookbooks are so much smaller!
2. Eat Grub by Shami Radia, Neil Whippey, Sebastian Holmes
I love Eat Grub. Besides Bugs for Beginners, I think Eat Grub is the most cookbook-y of all edible insect cookbooks. It has 55 enticing recipes accompanying gorgeous photos, and the recipes sound delicious. The gentlemen at Eat Grub obviously put a lot of work into this piece, and it has paid off. The only thing that I don't love about Eat Grub is that it's written by one company and features only their products, so when I bought it I felt a little bit like I had just paid for content marketing—albeit gorgeously done content marketing, which is why I made Bugs for Beginners be provider-agnostic.
3. The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, Revised: 40 Ways to Cook Crickets, Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes, and Their Kin by David George Gordon
David George Gordon is the godfather of western entomophagy. Literally every one of us know and love his book, and would not be here without him. His book preceded the modern wave of western entomophagy by at least two decades, and still holds up today. In this book he offers more than 30 recipes for a wide range of insects, from the approachable and easy to purchase crickets, to more exotic species such as scorpions.
I personally felt like I wanted a cookbook with more pictures and fewer words, but I also think that if he had written the book that I wanted at the time that he wrote his book, it probably would have been too out there for publication. People probably would have thought he was literally insane, instead of the endearingly quirky aura he typically has. So it's all good. Everything contributes different things at different times
4. On Eating Insects: Essays, Stories and Recipes by Nordic Food Lab, Joshua Evans, Roberto Flore, Michael Bom Frøst
I adore this book; it is stunningly gorgeous. The pictures are incredible, the construction is lovely. This books is pure art. As someone who travels all of the time I hate that this book is only available in physical form, and not as an ebook, because that made it difficult for me to actually read it. Nonetheless, this book is another pioneer in the field of edible insect cookbooks, and there's nothing else quite like it.
If I may indulge myself in a criticism, it would be that this book is so high-art I doubt many people have ever actually made the recipes featured; many require professional culinary skills, tools, and ingredients. However, the NFL gentlemen make no claims otherwise; they explicitly state they are writing an avant-garde book for culinary professionals. This book is very special and I highly recommend it, not so much as a practical guide, but as pure aesthetic pleasure.
5. The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) by Arnold van Huis, Henk van Gurp, Marcel Dicke
This book is the most academic of all edible insect cookbooks; little surprise, since it's written by prominent scientists in the field of entomology. It's full of thought provoking essays, and is more of a meditation on eating insects, than a practical cookbook. It's an excellent read and highly recommended, although I think it suffers a little bit by mislabeling itself as a "cookbook" when it's more of a general subject-level exploratory anthology, much like Nordic Food Lab's "On Eating Insects".
Edible Insect Cookbooks (not in English)
Unfortunately, I am not in a position to review any of the following non-English language edible insect cookbooks. But I'm sure they're fabulous! If you happen to be fluent in any of the following languages and get a chance to check them out, please email me and let me know what you thought!
Bugs for Beginners contributors:
- (Swiss book, German Language) Grillen, Heuschrecken & Co by Essento
- (Danish Language) Insekter på menuen by Nina Askov, aka The Bug Lady
Other non-English Edible Insect Cookbooks
- (Swedish Language) Äta insekter: Entomaten och det stora proteinskiftet by Anders Engström of Bug Burger
- (German Language) Köstliche Insekten by Andreas Knecht, Edit Horvath
- (Italian Language) Un insetto nel piatto by Giulia Maffei, Giulia Tacchini
- (Italian Language) Le 12 Ricette con gli Insetti realizzate da MasterBug: Preparazioni facili e alla portata di tutti per un pranzo a base di Insetti, dall'antipasto al dessert by Roberto Cavasin
This is not an entomophagy recipe and is not included in Bugs for Beginners, a cookbook which teaches Westerners how to prepare edible insects and safely eat a bug. Text may include affiliate links
I'm Mic. I love reading about, writing about, thinking about, photographing, and especially eating, food. Especially bug food. Enough talk, let's eat!