Can You Eat Frogs?

Animal lovers and amphibian enthusiasts have adored frogs for countless years, and many cultures have also enjoyed frogs as a delicacy. Plenty of restaurants around the world serve exotic meat to adventurous patrons. But, there are only a few frog species that are suitable for consumption. 

Only around 20 frog species are suitable for consumption. Some of the most popular edible frog species include the American Bullfrog, Leopard Frogs, Javan Frogs, Edible Frogs, and Anatolian Frogs. However, some of these species are declining in population due to hunting and overconsumption. 

While it is possible to dine on frogs in many countries, not all frogs are equally edible or suitable for serving. Join us as we discuss which frogs can be eaten, which parts of frogs’ bodies can be consumed, how they are generally cooked, and where you can eat frogs in different parts of the world.

There Are About 20 Edible Frog Species

While there are over 7,400 known frog species worldwide, only around 20 frog species are edible. Eating the wrong types of frogs can cause sickness and even death in some cases, so it’s best to make sure that a frog species is safe for consumption before eating it. 

Frogs are deemed suitable for eating based on the following criteria:

  • Size of species and amount of available meat
  • Whether the species is toxic or non-toxic
  • Species population and continuation

The most popular frog species for food include the following: 

Frog SpeciesAverage SizeWhere They Are Eaten
American Bullfrogs7 – 10 inchesNorth America:
Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama
Leopard Frogs3 – 5 inchesNorth America:
Eastern Atlantic regions
Javan Frogs5 – 6 inchesIndonesia
Europe: France, Belgium 
Edible Frogs2 – 5 inchesEurope:
Spain, Northern Italy, France, Belgium
Anatolian Water Frogs4 – 5 inchesMiddle East: Turkey
Europe

Frog meat is often compared to the flavor of chicken meat, although the texture and consistency are somewhere between chicken and fish. Recipes differ depending on the culture and the part of the frog being used for the dish, but it’s crucial to ensure that the frog meat is thoroughly cleaned, prepared, and cooked before consumption. 

Frog Meat Is Nutritional

Frogs are an uncommon but classic delicacy, and they provide some nourishment to those who feast on them. Generally speaking, only the legs are eaten, as the rest of the body is typically not suitable for consumption. The back legs usually have the most meat, which is tender and mild in flavor. 

Here is some general nutritional information for a 100g serving of plain frog legs:

  • Low in fat (0%)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • 8% Daily Value of Potassium
  • 8% Daily Value of Iron
  • 13% Daily Value of Copper
  • 33% Daily Value of Protein
  • 17% Daily Value of Cholesterol

Frog meat contains many nutrients, and frog legs can be beneficial for nourishment when properly prepared, seasoned, and cooked. Do be aware that there is a fairly high amount of cholesterol in frog meat (although 1 large egg has much more cholesterol than 100 grams of plain frog leg meat).

How Frog Meat Is Prepared

Frog hind legs are generally prepared grilled, poached, baked, breaded, boiled, deep-fried, or sautéed. The frog’s entire body is commonly used for soups and stews in frog-based Asian recipes. The frog’s back meat may also be used for certain preparations depending on the size.

Before cooking the frog meat, most recipes may require preparation (especially with frog legs). Soaking frog legs in saltwater for 24 hours will turn black veins into a translucent color and help the meat become tender and moist. Frog legs should also be soaked in milk for an hour before cooking, as this will absorb any impurities while whitening and swelling the legs. 

Frog meat is best complimented by stronger flavor notes such as:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Black Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Hot Sauces
  • White Wine
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Creole Sauce
  • Cajun Sauce

Regardless of the cooking method, the flavor is what ultimately makes or breaks this exotic delicacy. In many cases, frog meat is seasoned before cooking, while other recipes may involve marinating and slow cooking methods. 

What Parts of The Frog Can You Eat?

Generally, only the frog’s legs are eaten and fit for consumption. However, some Asian, African, South American, and Indonesian recipes require meat from the frog’s back and even an entire frog. Generally, the frog is cleaned of its entrails and skin and is chopped into small pieces.

Eating frog hind legs is the most common method for frog consumption worldwide since the hind legs usually have the most meat out of the entire body. Frog legs are often fried, grilled, poached, breaded and deep-fried, baked, or sauteed.

The back meat of frogs is generally very minimal in most species. However, some species, such as American Bullfrogs, are bulky enough to be skinned and stripped of their body meat. The meat on the backs of these species generally comes in the form of a chunky strip, which is typically fried, grilled, baked, or added to stews. 

While eating frog meat on its own is more popular, many Asian cultures use entire frogs as a base for stews and soups. These recipes usually require whole dismembered frogs, depending on the species. In these cases, the legs are removed, and all frog meat is usually boiled. People may puree the entire frog with other ingredients or chop frogs finely before continuing with the dish. 

It might be possible to eat other parts of a frog’s body, depending on the species and recipe. Larger frog species may have much more bulk than others, meaning it may be possible to eat the back meat (CTNF). 

How Frog Meat Is Sourced

Frog meat is generally sourced by hunting or breeding frogs. Oftentimes, frog legs that can be purchased at grocery stores were sourced from breeders. Frog meat can sometimes be mislabeled so find out the source and to know if those frogs are endangered before purchasing them.

While hunting frogs for food has been popular for many years, it’s important to understand that it’s only worthwhile to hunt species that are large with steady populations. Hunting small frogs is pointless and will harm the ecosystem more than it will benefit a set of curious taste buds. 

Frog SpeciesSmart Consumer ChoiceReason
American BullfrogsYesInvasive in some places
Edible FrogsYesLarge population
Leopard FrogsNoDeclining population
Javan FrogsNoEndangered, Facing extinction
Anatolian Water FrogsNoEndangered, Facing extinction

Hunting frogs may also be illegal, depending on the species and geographical location. Many frog species are treated horribly for potential profits, and some species may not survive for much longer due to overconsumption and improper hunting practices. 

Make sure to support the humane frog hunting trade by understanding what various frog species are facing and where your frog meat comes from. Choose invasive species or species that have large populations such as American Bullfrogs or Edible Frogs over Leopard or Javan Frogs that are declining in population. 

More About Eating Frogs

Although frog legs are a popular delicacy, frogs are still living creatures, and their continued population should always be prioritized. Make sure to check the suitability of frog species and local laws regarding hunting regulations, capture times, or limitations before you head out in search of frog legs as a tantalizing treat. 

Learn more about eating frogs in these guides on our blog:

Common Questions About Eating Frogs

Is it safe to eat frogs? Frog legs are as safe to eat as any other meat when prepared correctly. Frog legs should be throughly washed with clean water and cooked well to avoid any transmission or development of salmonella.

What does frog meat taste like? As a general rule, frog legs have the texture of chicken and taste like white fish. Frog legs generally take on the flavour of the spices and sauces that are used in their preparation and tend to taste more like chicken when grilled or boiled, but more like fish when deep fried, or sautéed.

What part of the frog can you eat? Generally people only eat the hind legs of a frog. Not only do the legs have the most meat, but frog skin and organs can be dangerous to consume because of diseases they can carry like salmonella. It is best to be safe and stick to the meaty hind legs.

Can you get sick from eating frog legs? As a general rule, you will not get sick from eating frog legs if they are an edible species, are fresh, well preserved, and fully cooked. However, eating the wrong species, spoiled legs, or not handling or cooking them correctly could result in sickness or death.

What are the benefits of eating frogs? Frogs are low in fat, have omega 3 fatty acids and are high in copper, potassium, iron, and protein. Frog legs can make an excellent protein for many meals.

Are frog legs white or red meat? Generally, frog legs are considered white meat (like fish) and not red meat since their natural habitat is water-based. Although muscle-based protein like like fish can be considered a type of meat, frog legs generally have the texture of chicken and taste like fish.

Sources

Fitbit.com: Frog Leg Nutrition Facts, and Egg Nutrition Facts

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.