How To Cook Cicadas & Which Recipe To Try, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Cicada Zodiac

I’ve been getting some questions about BROOD X (Pronounced Brood 10). What is it? Can we eat it? 🤔A small number of annual cicadas appear yearly and are hardly noticed… 🪲


But now, Brood X, one of the world’s largest swarms of giant fly-like bugs – the cicadas – are making an entrance.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this phenomenon, but it is the most interesting time (IMO) to see these little bug-industry-brand-ambassadors-of-education WORRRRRK. 🙌

Intro - Bug Basics

Ok ok ok so it’s been forever since I’ve committed to writing a blog post. Been applying my bug-time deep in the weeds on a project I’ll talk about soon that I think will really make a difference 🙂 But, if you’re new here, or you need a refresher on why I’m writing about eating bugs, what’s this “insect industry” that keeps being referenced, or anything similar, please check out the Bugible FAQ here

The FAQ page goes into the nutrition, sustainability, flavor (and beyond!) reasons why you should consider eating bugs. As a reminder, bugs sold for humans to eat are farmed specifically for human consumption. Be aware that insects caught from the wild could have pesticides or harmful microbial contents. Methods like roasting, boiling, or frying help inactivate potentially harmful contaminants. 

Cicada overview

Crowned by the New York Times as, “The World’s Best Quarantiners” cicadas are kinda epic. The cicadas are a superfamily – the Cicadoidea [insert “idea” pun here] – of insects in the order Hemiptera (otherwise known as “true bugs”). The family is divided into two families: Tettigarctidae (two species in Australia) and Cicadidae (over 3,000 species around the world). 

The Washington Post - Cicada Size
The Washington Post - Cicada Size

Looks like: prominent eyes set wide apart, short antennae, and membranous front wings. 

Sounds like: every neighbor decided to mow their lawns at the same time right outside of your room (this is produced in most species by the rapid buckling and unbuckling of drumlike tymbals). I haven’t lived in a region that experiences this, but for context, the noise is about 90 decibels – loud enough for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require hearing protection.

The Washington Post: Cicada Sounds
The Washington Post: Cicada Sounds

Lives in: trees, typically, feeding on watery sap from  tree xylem tissue (a sap that contains minerals and amino acids). Cicadas will lay eggs in a slit made in tree bark.

Will cicadas destroy your plants? Most likely not. Cicadas don’t eat plants; your flowers and vegetables are safe. 

Most cicadas are cryptic: in addition to being a cool descriptor, “crypsis” is an ecology term that means they have a strategy to avoid predators. 

The Washington Post: Cicada Eating
The Washington Post: Cicada Eating

The Washington Post's utterly fantastic description of the Cicada Courtship Crypsis strategy:

“Every species has a survival strategy. Some have killer claws or jaws, some have camouflage, some taste bad or spew poison. Brood X cicadas, however, are lovers, not fighters, and those red eyes aren’t fooling anyone. Also, they are tasty to pretty much everything, including dogs, birds, reptiles and even some people. ❤️

Their superpower lies in vast numbers. Scientists call it the predator-satiation defense. It means they simply “overwhelm the predators by filling their bellies, and there’s still enough left over to perpetuate the species,” said Michael Raupp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland.” – The Washington Post  

Noteworthy anti-predator adaptations: the list is long, and varies species to species, but I’ll share a few highlights here. Many cicadas are camouflaged. Some species play dead when threatened. Overall, the cicada survival strategy is “reproduce more than can be eaten by any predator ever.” That’s a lot of cicadas. 

Life cycles: Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts 2-5 years. Some species have much longer life cycles, such as the North American genus, have 13 or 17-year life cycles. 

The Washington Post: Cicada Love

Still want more info?

I’ll list all the articles I used for research below, but my two favorites that I can’t recommend enough are: 

the Current Cicada situation

Brood X is one of the largest of 15 broods of periodical cicadas in the United States.Brood X is composed of 3 species — Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula. 🧠

This year’s critters hatched in small tree branches back in 2004 when Greece was preparing to host the Olympics and Barack Obama was a state senator in Illinois. 

Adult cicadas die after intercourse. Females lay eggs in tree branches. After hatching, nymphs fall to the ground and dig down to a nice tree root, where they spent the next 17 years sucking liquid from plant roots, molting, and growing. 

Washington Post Cicada Life Cycle

The divas that they are, cicadas will only emerge when the conditions are juuuuust right. The ground must have warmed to 64 degrees and it can’t be raining. Then, the now-larger nymphs will crawl out of holes in the ground, immediately climb a vertical surface, and molt one last time into their adult forms. They’ll emerge from the ground in the 100s of billions in densities around 1.5 million per acre 🤯

The Washington Post - Cicada Census
The Washington Post - Cicada Census

Why the buzz around these Diva-Cicadas is fantastic

New York Times Cicada Party Invite

From the re-emergence of classic cicada recipes, to the creation of new ones from celebrity chefs, to articles in the New York Times titled, “An Invitation to the Cicada Party“… this is the most attention the wonderful world of entomophagy (bug-eating) has received in a while! On top of that, the insect industry has advanced enough, in the United States in particular, to capitalize on all this buzz. 

It might take some time before insects become standard American fare. And that’s ok! 👍

Another way to address the food sustainability crisis is to feed insects to farm animals and fish, instead. After all, animals eat insects in the wild already. 🐓+ 🐛=💯

The world is protein deficient, and insects are protein rich. 🤔

Bug & Wine pairings, bug dinners, etc… these are all just messaging tools to get you, dear reader, to think differently about the food and feed system. I’m trying to get the convo going about how what we eat impacts our bodies and the planet. The insect industry is much broader than the insects-for-food that the average consumer might come across…

We’re re-writing regulation to make it possible for you to buy bug-fed-trout (which are more nutritious and sustainable) much like you’d buy grass-feed-beef. We’re expanding our knowledge via ground-breaking research to better understand the role insect microbiology will play in unlocking a galaxy of solutions from waste-management to soil rejuvenation. 

As consumers (and investors) learn more about the potential of this industry, investment into the industry accelerates. With more capital to expand research and hit economies of scale, we can integrate insects as solutions throughout the global food and feed systems sooner – and time is of the essence! 

Ooook. Moral messaging aside, look to your right to appreciate the great content generated on behalf of these cicadas. (Again, highly recommend the NYT Invitation to Cicada Party article.) 

The New York Times - Cicada Party Activities
The New York Times - Cicada Party Activities

Enthusiastic Eaters of Cicadas, Rejoice!

Cicadas are a feast for wildlife like birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and humans, too! Boiled, fried, skewered… there are many recipes online for these crab/lobster-like treats.

These “shrimp of the dirt,” were historically a food source for Native American tribes. They’ve been recorded as part of diets from a variety of cultures throughout history. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered them a delicacy. Aristotle wrote, “The larva of the cicada on attaining full size in the ground becomes a nymph; then it tastes best, before the husk is broken. At first the males are better to eat, but after copulation the females, which are then full of white eggs.”

Also referred as “tree shrimp”, cicadas are close in genetic makeup to shrimp of the sea — but cicadas come from a cleaner environment.” 

Cicada flavor is varied. Like shrimp (and most bugs), cicada flavor depends on the seasoning, prep method, and other factors. The taste has been described as: 

  • nutty, with a bit of an asparagus taste 🥜
  • woody and earthy 🪵
  • similar to a potato chip 🥔
  • “succulent inside a tender-but-firm carapace that chews easily” 🍑
  • “soft-shell crab, but with subtle overtones of boiled peanuts, the kind only a backroads gas station can really do right” 🦀

Like crickets or mealworms, they don’t have a ton of flavor, so you can experiment with spices, sauces and other flavorings. They’re nutritious – high in protein and low in cholesterol. 

Home cooks can prepare cicadas in a variety of ways – parboil or blanch them for about two minutes to “firm them up,” and then they’re ready to cook as you like.

I suggest roasting them, sautéing them in olive oil or butter with garlic, marinating them, toasting them like nuts and, of course, dipping them in chocolate.

Basics of Cooking Cicadas:

We still need to get to the recipes and I’ve been blabbering for a while so I’m going to just give you some bullet point highlights. The source for most of these is The Washington Post:

  • Young grubs are the best to eat since they haven’t developed a hard exterior yet. 
  • Grubs can only be found when they’re coming out of the ground in the evening, so it’s necessary to be vigilant and check a yard or wooded area almost every evening after 9 or 10 PM. 
  • The best way to both kill and store cicadas is to freeze them (if you’re brave, pluck the legs and wings off first). If you’re really into foraging for nutrition nutrient-rich adult females are your target. 
  • You also want to boil them briefly after freezing, just to get any potential microbes off before you proceed with other forms of cooking them. 
  • The safest bet is to harvest cicadas in parks or wherever there is less risk of lead contamination in the ground. They’ve spent years underground, so harvest them in an area free from pesticides.
  • If you have food allergies, especially to shellfish, you may want to forgo or take extra caution. 


Environmentally sustainable eating habits have become a popular way to combat climate change. “What Your Zodiac Sign Says About XXX…” infographics have become a popular way to get people to share content. I thought I’d combine the two…

🥁 *drumroll plz* 🥁

What Cicada Recipe Should You Try, Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

Cicada Zodiac

We all know the old adage: You are what you eat. And on the flip side, perhaps, you eat what you are. For our generation’s pleasure (and, of course, to help you select between the myriad of delicious cicada options available), I’ve done the research necessary to attach your zodiac sign to the perfect cicada recipe for YOU. 


Aries (March 21 - April 19)

🥃 Cicada Cocktail – Brood X Rickey

Aries are first. They’re bold and known having exciting energy. That’s why Aries should dive right into cicada cocktails. 

As a brave fire sign Aires, you’ll relish the opportunity to push cocktail boundaries with the Brood X Rickey. The rickey is a highball drink made from gin or bourbon, half of a lime squeezed and dropped in the glass, and carbonated water. For the Brood X Rickey, you’ll use bourbon infused with cicadas (females taste best). 

For best results, combine a high-proof bourbon with fresh and slightly-cracked cicadas into something like a mason jar. Share or stir this once a day. After 24 hours, taste your creation: Do you like it? It’s ready now. If you want more flavor, let the whisky infuse another day and taste it again, continuing until it’s to your liking. Most infusions take 3 – 6 days. Once you’re happy, strain tiny particles out with a cheesecloth and prepare as instructed above!

(Inspired by Mixologist Dan Searing of Room 11, Washington City Paper) 

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

🥔Cicada-Potata Soup

Trustworthy is one of the main words to describe a Taurus, and if there’s one food you can always count on it’s a potato. As an earth sign, you’re drawn to the soothing and succulent flavors of a potato soup. 

Tauruses are resistant to change, but you’re going to give this culinary adventure a try by blending the bugs into potato soup to add creamy, nutty flavors. The careful Taurus is not to be confused and conflated with plain taste; on the contrary! Tauruses are sensual and have indulgent palettes when it comes to food. That’s why you’ll use these critters to take potato soup to the next level. 

(Inspired by Chef Dionicio Jimenez, NYT)

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

🍫Chocolate-Covered Cicadas

Airy Geminis are outgoing and impulsive. What’s more impulsive than diving into mounds of chocolate? Combining them with mounds of cicadas, of course. 

To satisfy your sign’s duality and whimsical curiosity, you’re going to make a novel sweet-treat. You’ll need 8 squares of good-quality semi-sweet chocolate and ~ 30 dry-roasted cicadas. First, roast your cicadas for 15 minutes at 225 degrees F. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double-broiler over low heat. Dip the cicadas in the chocolate, place on wax paper, and refrigerate until hardened. 

(Inspired by Cicada Recipes)

Cancer (June 21 - July 22)

🍜Cicada Miso Soup

Cancers are characterized as compassionate and nurturing, which is exactly how people feel while eating soup. 

Cancers are also known for being aggressive and intuitive – you’ll need one or both of these senses to pull off this slightly advanced dish: first you’ll need to make a deep, savory broth of kelp and oyster mushrooms to pour over a small bowl of raw cicadas. Then, you’ll add a spoonful of red miso to make a cicada miso soup. This treat is a labor of love to make – perfect for the emotion-driven Cancer. 

(Inspired by Chef Bun Lai, NYT)

Cicada Zodiac 1
Cicada Zodiac 2

Leo (July 23 - August 22)


To Leos, the world is a stage and everyone else should grab their popcorn. Leos are known for being playful and fun, which also is why Caramelized Cicada Popcorn is the dish for YOU!

Leo’s are also known for being show-offs, which will come in handy when figuring out this complex popcorn creation process. 

Ingredients: 1 packed cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup unsalted butter + 1/2 cup corn syrup + 4 quarts fresh popped corn + 1 cup dry roasted chopped cicadas + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: (1) Place popcorn in large roasting pan (5 quart) with chopped cicadas and blend together. Set aside. (2) Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a heavy sauce pan, mix sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt. Stir over medium heat until boiling. (3) Continue to boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. (4) Stir in vanilla, then baking soda (it will foam up). (5) Pour over popped corn and cicadas; mix well to coat. (6) Place in oven for 1 hour. (7) Stir every 15 minutes while baking. (8) Cool, break apart and serve or store in a tightly sealed container.

(Inspired by Penn Live)

Virgo (August 23 - September 22)

🦀Soft-Shelled Cicadas

Soft-shelled cicadas show you that what you see is what you get, similar to the humble virtue that Virgos embody. Virgos are also organized, logical, and practical. This standard soft-shelled-marination recipe is nothing that will ruffle a perfectionist’s feathers.

Directions: Marinate ~ 60 cicadas in Worcestershire sauce for several hours. Dip them in egg mix (4 eggs, beaten) and then roll them in 3 cups of flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Gently sauté them in corn oil or salted butter until they are golden brown. 

(Inspired by Cicada Recipes)

Libra (September 23 - October 22)

🥗Smoked Cicada Salad

Harmonious Libras are sure to feel connected to a smoked cicada salad. The presentation is polished, just like how Libras come off to others. This recipe also relates to Libras’s self-indulgent nature, due to the fact that it’s a bit refined and takes some cooking knowledge.

Smoke a string of cicadas over a live fire before adding them to a kale salad you’ve prepared with beet greens and scallions. You might add in some candied nuts (or, heck, candied cicadas if you’re feeling groovy!) to satisfy your sweet-tooth, you Libra-lover-of-all-things-divine! 

(Inspired by Chef Bun Lai, NYT)

Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)

🥪The REALLY Po’ Boy Sandwich 

Scorpios are known for being authentic. That’s why we’ll take a “Po’ Boy Sandwich” and make it even “Po’-er”. A po’ boy (also “po-boy”, “po boy”, or “poor boy”) is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana. It commonly features fried seafood on French bread. 

“The REALLY Po’ Boy,” features cicadas first drowned in Pabst Blue Ribbon, then beer-battered and fried on a hoagie with lettuce and mayo. This recipe is also pretty intimidating… just like Scorpios are known for being. Good thing you have an intense love affair with food, as a Scorpio, and you’re not a *casual* chef. (Want to be even MORE intimidating? Make molasses kettle-corn cicadas as the side snack.) 

(Inspired by Chef Ed Hardy of Bistro Vivant, Washington City Paper)

Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)

🥩 Cicada-Crusted BBQ Flank Steak

The adventurous nature of Sagittarius can be exemplified by the quest to make the perfect cicada-crusted BBQ flank steak. This steak also shows off the versatile characteristic that Sagittarius possess. 

When cooking, you rarely use a a recipe as it’s written; you prefer to put your own personal spin on it. Hypothetical: You want to try these critters. But you also want your meat. (Sagittarius ARE known for being a bit gluttonous… so why not both?) So you gather some cicadas, blanch them in boiling water for 5 minutes, then lay them on a sheet pan. 

Next, you roast them for 2.5 – 3 hours at 200 degrees F. You now have very dry cicadas that you’ll crush into a powder that you’ll combine with olive oil, garlic powder, and parsley. Then, you’ll take the flank steak you’re going to BBQ grill and rub this crust of cicadas all over it. You’ll leave it to marinate overnight before grilling it up the next day. It will have a really a nice woody, nutty profile. 

(Inspired by Chef Xavier Deshayes, NPR)

Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)

🍕Cicada Rice “Pizza”

Persistent Capricorns love pizza. Ambitious Capricorns are game to try this modern modification of pizza: making it out of rice and topping it with bugs. This recipe also explores the Capricorn’s pessimistic nature by removing one of the most loved parts of pizza: the dough. But don’t worry: guests love an invite to a Capricorn meal for the satisfying food but all the enlightening conversation at the table. 

So if you’re feeling fancy and gluten-free: shape sushi rice into a pizza and shower it with mozzarella and Parmesan. Just before it’s done baking, cover the top with cicadas, to provide a pepperoni-like crunch. Scatter some blanched cicadas across your favorite pie halfway through the normal pizza baking time, and the bugs will crisp up without drying out.

(Inspired by Chef Bun Lai, NYT)

Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)

🍌Banana Cicada Bread

Friendly Aquariuses will connect with this heart-warming classic: banana bread with cicadas baked in! You can let your Aquarius creativity shine or leave this as close to traditional as you’d like – giving a chance for both the artistic and scatterbrained traits attributed to Aquariuses to play. As healers, Aquariuses always need a few solid baked-goods recipes on deck, so get your oven-mitts ready! 

Ingredients: 1/2 cup shortening + 3/4 cup sugar + 2 mashed bananas + 2 cups flour + 1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 cup chopped nuts + 2 eggs + 1/4 cup dry-roasted cicadas. Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour to make a loaf. 

(Inspired by Cicada Recipes)

Pisces (February 19 - March 20)

🌮Cicada Breakfast Tacos

The last water sign – Pisces – is symbolized by two fish. They’re deep, creative, and expressive. That’s why tacos are perfect for you, imaginative Pisces – you can use a sea fish AND a land shrimp (cicada) to make these tacos!

Cicada breakfast tacos, inspired by the grasshopper tacos at Oyamel, a José Andrés restaurant focused on Mexican cuisine, are simple: roast up cicadas with a bit of salt, pepper, chile, and combine with eggs, tortillas, and any other desired spices. Tacos are as simple or complex as you make them, so the rest is up to you, dear Pisces. 

Cicada Zodiac 3

ℹ️ Works Cited

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